"I found a cool idea on a non-scholarly site: what do I do now?"

-----Original Message-----
From: Inquiring Mind
Sent: Tue 4/1/2003 8:13 PM
To: Sanders, Arnie
Subject: something that might interest you

Roger Ebert likens The Third Man to Casablanca without taking ENG 105 with Arnie Sanders, also has some interesting insights, and some inside information (the accuracy of which is not confirmed however).
----- Original Message -----
From: Sanders, Arnie
To: Mind, Inquiring
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 9:13 AM
Subject: RE: something that might interest you
True, good point, though it's also evidence you're still Internet-surfing non-scholarly sites instead of seeking scholarly sources.  The habit is terribly hard to break.  Unlike most of Casablanca's frankly idolatrous fans who usually treat it as an unique cinematic event, Ebert can actually spend a paragraph noticing similarities and differences between that movie and The Third Man, but he does not explain in detail how the camera work and script etc. construct those similarities and differences because that's not his job as a film reviewer.  For instance, it's one thing to notice that Anna walks away from Holly without loving him and that Ilsa walks away from Rick to aid the Resistance, but it's quite another thing to analyze the shot sequence in which they do so, or to detect the enormous difference in emphasis given to the two female characters.  Hint: where is Ilsa for the last several minutes of Casablanca vs. Anna's presence in The Third Man's concluding shot?  Who has allowed herself to be used as an erotic piece of currency exchanged between two men for a principle she has told us she no longer cares about due to her emotional confusion?  To paraphrase Louis, "If I were a woman, and a man like Rick were around, I'd hate his guts."  But that's just my take on the way the movie treats Ilsa.  Anna gets to own her mind, but she pays the ultimate price.  She's a walking dead woman in that last scene.
     Bear with me a moment--I just want to make sure you remember the difference between a film reviewer and a film scholar: the former wants to convince you to see movies on his recommendation so that you will continue to patronize his web site and earn advertising revenue for him; the latter studies films to learn the truth about how and why they are made, what effects they have on viewers, what relations they have to the aesthetic, political, and other aspects of the culture from which they emerged.  Ebert's OK to use as your "truffle pig," a source too low to cite as an authority in the paper but helpful because it points you to evidence you can use if you can verify its accuracy.  (For instance, if you listen more carefully than Ebert did to the dialogue between Anna and Holly, you'll find that Anna is not "loyal to" Harry Lime--by the end she knows he betrayed her to the Russians to secure his own freedom--she's just not going to join the vast numbers of people in this film who practice betrayal for a living.)  In fact, most sources on the Internet should be used as "truffle pigs" by scholars (i.e., all of it that's not peer-reviewed).  Just keep your guard up about the possibility that Ebert has gotten some of those facts and reasoning wrong--thanks for that caution.
P.S. Mind if I "anonymize" this and use it for the class?  It's a helpful way to deal with the inevitable horde of non-scholarly sources they will encounter.
P.P.S.  Talk to somebody in the other group, the ones reading Greene's novella based on the plot, and ask them how Greene ended the book version!