Harry Lime - Orson Welles

61 x 61cms

oil on board


A commissioned portrait of Orson Welles from the British film noir classic "The third Man", 1949.

Researching this image (which is based on the viewer's first glimpse of Harry Lime illuminated by a neighbour's window ) I discovered that the original doorway still exists in Vienna. In the original film, the character was dwarfed by the doorway so I have bought him closer to the viewer making the painting a portrait of both the man and the doorway. The crazy angles come from the film and have been copied ever since as a way of expressing menace. The villain scences from the 1960s series Batman are a good example of this.

The film was made in black and white so I have kept the colours muted and emphasised the darkness of the shadows. I used colour to give the painting more originality.

The doorway now has a restored wooden door. In 1949 it was bricked up after the 2nd World War to keep out intruders.

I'm not sure if the director intended it .... but to my mind the damaged cherubs above the door, herald the effects of Harry Limes diluted medicines.