Since we last looked at the situation a couple of notable facts have come to light. From Anna, Holly learns that in Harry’s last dying moments he made plans not only for Holly, but for Anna as well. Also from Anna, Holly hears that Doctor Winkel, Harry’s own doctor, happened to be passing by the scene and was able to tend to Harry as he died. Thirdly, Holly discovers that the driver of the truck that hit Harry was Harry’s own driver. “It wasn’t the driver’s fault,” says Anna, “Harry had often said what a careful driver he was.” Suspicious circumstances, to be sure, leading to a line of reasoning:
Holly: All of them there. Kurtz, this Roumanian, Popescu, his own driver knocking him over. His own doctor passing by. No strangers there at all.
Anna: I know. I wondered about it a hundred times, if it really was an accident.
At this stupendous moment, a zither-swell turns Holly contemplative again. Processing these new facts, Holly’s brain must—for the first time—acknowledge that Calloway might be right. Harry might indeed have mixed himself up with dangerous people. With his worldview so heavily shaken, Holly convinces Anna that it would be worthwhile to take a field trip to talk to the porter for a third time.
This brings us into today’s frame. Pulled from the slick (if seedy) dressing room of the Josefplatz theater Holly and Anna return again to the scene of the crime, Harry’s apartment overlooking the street where he was killed. In a bizarrely canted framing Holly and the Porter look out at the dark night street and Anna hovers at the edge of the frame. Anna has made her transformation complete, from the Marlene Dietrich figure she was on stage, to the Ingrid Bergman fedora for the dark alleys of Vienna. Seemingly unconvinced by Holly’s crusade to clear Harry’s name, Anna roams the apartment, looking for momentos of Harry. She picks up a cigarette lighter, lights it, and then blows it out (our frame), perhaps contemplating the brevity and fragility of life, or perhaps searching for some connection to a man she loved and hardly knew. Lost in nostalgia and vague grief, Anna floats away from Holly’s third interview with the porter finding such treasures as a picture of herself stuck in the corner of Harry’s mirror. Meanwhile, it becomes apparent that the porter has clearly learned no more English since their last chat, leaving Holly ill equipped again.
Without Anna’s translation help, Holly is able to (very slowly) glean only a little more knowledge from the put-upon porter. Important to his investigation, and our analysis, Holly learns from the porter that all of Harry’s last-minute plan-making may have been a ruse. Holly asks about Harry’s state as he was carried across the street and the man replies, “Alive? He couldn’t have been alive, not with his head in the way it was.” This throws another wrench into the gears of Holly’s plan, and in the effort of illustrating that plan, lets take another look at the events of Harry’s death. I’ve bolded new insertions in the course of events.
1. Harry and Kurtz leave Harry’s apartment.
2. A friend of Harry’s (Mr. Popescu) waves at him from across the street and as Harry steps into the street and is hit by a truck. The truck is driven by Harry’s personal driver. If the porter’s story is to be believed, Harry is killed by the truck, so the rest of this story has been fabricated by Kurtz and those involved with the “accident.”
3. Popescu and Kurtz carry mortally wounded Harry across the street to the square in front of the statue of Emperor Josef.
4. Lying on the ground, Harry tells Kurtz and Popescu to take care of Holly. As Kurtz describes it, “He was anxious that I look after you when you arrived. To see that you got safely home. Tickets . . . you know and all that.” Harry also spent his last minutes making plans to take care of Anna. As this is happening, Harry’s doctor happens upon the unfortunate Harry and examines him, finding that he “was not in much pain”.
6. Harry dies before the ambulance arrives.
This is how things lie in Holly’s investigation. Much of this is known by the police already, though, since Anna’s “new” information came from the police inquest she attended. The only thing that Holly’s investigation has unearthed for all its digging is the testimony of the porter. He tells Holly that “it is better not to get mixed up in things like that,” and admits that he did not testify at the inquest. Holly delves yet deeper, trying to dredge the truth. Will he find what he needs to know or will he fail in the face of his American cultural ignorance? What really happened outside Harry Lime’s apartment? Find out in the next exciting installment of Still Dots.
Over the absolute length of one year — two times per week — Still Dots will grab a frame every 62 seconds of Carol Reed’s The Third Man. This project will run until December 2012, when we finish at second 6324. For a complete archive of the project, click here. For an introduction to the project, click here.