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86 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Third Man meets Beautiful Thing
This is one of the most satisfying "gay" films I've seen since "Beautiful Thing," and one of the best mystery-married pairings since John and Sherlock, or should I say Nick and Nora. It's the story of Donald Strachey, tough guy P.I. with a shady past and a sweet tooth for guy pal Sebastian Spence. It's a good story, not a great one, with a sultry jazz score and topical...
Published on August 2, 2006 by A. Hickman

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look
This film has been well reviewed by several others which led me to buy it in the first place. I found the cast to be very solid, but although the story line deserves praise for the credible--and very likable--characters and their relationships, over time, the plot fades and ultimately finishes without much credibility. Moral ambiguity is pretty much a staple in police...
Published on December 1, 2006 by Blue in Washington


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86 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Third Man meets Beautiful Thing, August 2, 2006
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This review is from: Third Man Out (DVD)
This is one of the most satisfying "gay" films I've seen since "Beautiful Thing," and one of the best mystery-married pairings since John and Sherlock, or should I say Nick and Nora. It's the story of Donald Strachey, tough guy P.I. with a shady past and a sweet tooth for guy pal Sebastian Spence. It's a good story, not a great one, with a sultry jazz score and topical references to such controversial subjects as celebrity outing and pedophiliac priests. What makes it work is the unconventional casting of Chad Allen (who is gay himself, but whose somewhat beat-up good looks don't conform to cinematic stereotypes of gay--although one character dubs him "Nancy-boy Drew") as Strachey, who just happens to be very happily married to Timothy (played by Sebastian Spence, who is apparently straight, and maybe that's why his character overdoes the nelly a bit). Allen, as Strachey, is developing very nicely as an actor, and he's more interesting looking now than he ever was as a child. In "Third Man Out," he gets solid support from QAF's Jack Wetherall and Sean Young. Apparently, this is the first in a series, based on the novels by Richard Stevenson and set, contrarily, in Albany, rather than in New York City or San Francisco. Hopefully, it will prove popular enough with its intended audience that other books in the series will also be filmed. Apart from the rather pedestrian direction (by Ron Oliver) and a couple of too obvious twists in the plot, "Third Man" is entertaining throughout.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I tell you, someone is trying to kill me!", August 14, 2006
This review is from: Third Man Out (DVD)
Having just read an interview with Morgan Fairchild in the local gay press about her role in the newest Donald Strachey thriller Shock to the System, it's a real treat to watch the first Strachey film now just released on video and starring the talented and out gay actor Chad Allen.

Based on one of the early novels by Richard Stevenson, Third Man Out is a gorgeously campy homage the forties noirish thrillers - except that there's one twist - the handsome, hunky detective is decidedly gay and lives a respectable suburban life with his boyfriend and love of his life Timmy Callahan (Sebastian Spence), they're even in the middle of renovating their home.

Things get nasty when Strachey is called upon to protect John Rutka (Jack Wetherall), a local gay activist, who runs a webzine dedicated to outing important people, particularly hypocritical politicians. Someone is trying to murder Rutka and although Strachey is initially hesitant to help the man out, he is eventually convinced Rutka is telling the truth when he turns up dead.

Director Ron Oliver keeps the action and suspense flowing, cleverly shuffling around characters, clues, red herrings and various plot machinations. In one instance, suspicion falls on Rutka's younger boyfriend Eddie (Woody Jefferies) as he was seen walking past just as a firebomb was thrown at Rutka's house. Strachey also mistrusts Rutka's sister (Sean Young), who is out to inherit most of her brother's property.

But in typical noir style, the narrative builds as clues and missteps are piled on top of each other and Strachey eventually discovers a furtive pornographic blackmail plot. Keep in mind, Strachey always has his lovely boyfriend to come home to, and it's a refuge, away from the harsh realities he must deal with on a daily basis.

Third Man Out as a slick, gritty feel, heightened by its very gay sensibility and for a television movie on a fledgling television network, the production values are outstanding. Allan is a perfect choice to play Strachey and he totally inhabits the character's penchant for grittiness and sometimes even using violence and threats to get the necessary information. He's a good-looking and sexy, yet totally tough detective, who never shies away from the truth.

Although its prime function is to entertain, Third Man Out also finds room for social comment - the politics of outing, the problems of gay men trying to live in a straight society, the hypocrisy of those in positions of power and sexual abuse by the certain members of the clergy, are all addressed.

Ron Oliver and writer Mark Saltzman have made thrilling and sophisticated movie and I'm sure the series will only get better. Kudos, however, must also go to the talented Allen who imbeds this character with a definitive likability and is able to make the story really work. Mike Leonard August 06.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy effort, August 23, 2006
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This review is from: Third Man Out (DVD)
Having read the original novel "Third Man Out," I have to agree that the screenplay for the movie version was reasonably well adapted. Since I wasn't a huge fan of the book, "reasonably well adapted" to me means that 90% of the book was changed. The movie is loaded with gritty sex and violence that the novel was just missing. Occupations were changed (in the case of one character, from a meteorologist to a singing, puppet-wielding, male Shari Lewis wannabe), motives were changed, personalities were beefed up or changed, scenes were added, a distasteful, unnecessary, and preachy subplot was completely deleted, and the story was transplanted from an obviously early 1990's setting to a vaguely 30's-era seeming present day. None of these are complaints, mind you; everything has been improved. Dramatically.

Unfortunately, whoever adapted the screenplay neglected to change the atrociously bad ending. It negates scenes which took place earlier in the movie, tries to make a point and fails, and is altogether best left unviewed--stop your DVD player about fifteen minutes before the end if you want a satisfactory viewing experience. Without spoiling anything, the twist itself was fine--clever, actually--but various characters' reactions to it were so untrue to life as to be almost offensive. When a character in a movie makes a grand speech at the end that causes other characters to hang their heads in shame, you at least expect the speech to make an ounce of sense and to have any persuasive power whatsoever. Instead, my reaction (to both the book and the movie) was a simple, "Uh huh. Right." Actually, the movie's version of the ending was even worse than the book's, for various reasons.

That, however, is the only reason for a 4-star instead of a 5-star review, and even I wouldn't expect anyone to completely change (or leave out) the ending when adapting a book into a screenplay. The acting is stellar from all of the principals (particularly Chad Allen) and most of the peripherals (I enjoyed the young hotel desk clerk especially), the direction is top-notch and the production values are impressive. I am greatly looking forward to the next Strachey movie.

The only extra on the DVD is a featurette which is actually well worth viewing, particularly for the relevant comments of Chad Allen, who makes more sense than I've ever heard a Hollywood actor make in my life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ok, excuse me while I go "out" my dog., May 27, 2007
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This review is from: Third Man Out (DVD)
"Third Man Out" proves to be a pretty good movie packed with "film noir" moments and a lot of mystery, suspense and drama. The best part of this film is without doubt, it's star actor Chad Allen, who gives a wonderful performance as "Donald Strachey". Strachey is a gay private detective hired to find who has been threatening a notorious member of the gay community noted for outing prominent people living a double life. When he refuses the case and the notorious John Rutka is reported to have been murdered, Strachey is compelled to solve the crime in spite of his personal disdain for the deceased. To do so, Strachey must protect hundreds of extensive files Rutka kept on high profile individuals he felt were a threat to the gay community. All hell breaks loose when he and his lover become the target of those who had a motive to kill Rutka and are seeking to destroy any evidence which might place them at the top of the list of suspects.

I was intrigued throughout the film to stick with it and find out "who dunnit". Never really a dull moment in this first gay mystery movie. The acting was very well done by almost every one of the nearly all-gay cast. A little overacting on the part of Sebastian Spence, who plays the part of Strachey's boyfriend. Not a bad performance, but probably not best suited for the particular role of the more feminine character. This was a role for which I felt the writing could have been more realistic. Allen's character was perfect, macho and more "straight natured" which fit him to a tee. His acting was flawless. I felt the scripting for the character of Rutka to be written a bit sloppy, and the combination of John Wetherall (Rutka) and Woody Jeffreys as his gay lover Eddie, to be a bit strange, but somehow it worked in spite of that. All in all, the actors all gave a great performance considering the script they were given to work with. There were a few things here and there that I was personally not impressed with, such as one unnecessary political reference that I found very distasteful, a little too much flame in the script for Strachey's lover Timmy, and a few unbelievable lines that I felt could have been much more convincingly written. There was the tattoo that changed from one arm in one scene, to the other arm at one point in the film, and I think a little more attention should have been given to detail throughout. All in all though, this is a great movie, very well done, and a first for gay media. Not your typical "coming-out" theme, or dime a dozen gay film topics. It was a nice twist making a GAY police drama, and I personally enjoyed viewing it. If you like suspense and mystery, you are gonna like this film.

There is also a great DVD extra for your viewing. It is a featurette with behind the scenes interviews with the cast. It is well worth watching and fills in a few details you may miss the first time you watch the film. This screenplay is Loosely adapted from the novel "Third Man Out", and the first of a series of Donald Strachey films. I will be watching for the next one. Hopefully it will be a little better written and directed than the first, BUT that being said, I highly recommend this movie. Just don't go overboard with your expectations. It's not the best mystery flick you've ever seen, but the gay theme behind it, gives it a nice flair, and the acting of Chad Allen makes it well worth watching. A great mystery that will keep your attention and dispense a few surprises along the way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN ENTERTAINING WHO DONE IT, WITH A WONDERFUL GAY COUPLE !, March 18, 2007
By 
Jak Klinikowski "justjak13" (El Paso, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Third Man Out (DVD)
I normally review books exclusively, but I'm making an exception for this fine film. Not having read the book this film is based on, I can't compare the two, but on its own this movie certainly entertains.

This is the first in a planned series of films, about out detective Donald Strachey, and his loving partner Tim. Donald is hired by a gay muck-raker, John Rutka, after he's been shot in the leg. Rutka fears someone he has publicly outed is responsible, and wants them stoped before it's too late.

The production values, so lacking in most gay films, are top-notch, and the script is well paced, never allowing the story to drag. The direction is crisp and the performances are well rounded and three dimensional.

It is so refreshing to see a truly loving and strong gay relationship portrayed on screen, and the relationship here is the real foundation of the film. Chad Allen as Donald and Sebastian Spence as Tim are to be commended for their fine work. They make a very impressive and heartwarming team. I'm ordering the second installment, SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM, now !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NO TRANSLATION REQUIRED, August 6, 2007
By 
GEORGE RANNIE "GWRJWMCL" (DENVER, COLORADO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Third Man Out (DVD)
Down through the years, I've been an intense fan of the Detective/Mystery "Film Noir" type of film. The very early: "Thin Man" films have always been favorites of mine. Up until viewing "Third Man out" which is based on a Donald Starchey novel, I've always had to translate the Detective/Mystery film that I was experiencing into my own particular lifestyle. Not with "Third Man out". It required NO translation on my part; it is a film that I can understand completely--a gay detective, a story about the murder of a rather radical gay activist with suspects ranging from closeted government officials, church hierarchy to the man's own partner. Added to this is a wonderful sound tract, a smoked filled night club with martinis, a "cool" jazz singer, a plot with many twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat, unsavory nasty looking characters, the question if it is right thing to do to "out" hypocritical powerful individuals or not and MOST OF ALL, wonderfully acted lead roles that are filled with very appealing actors.

Chad Allen is simply great as a very tough gay detective that only shows his "soft side" in dealing with his partner as played so marvelously and with lots of humor by Sebastian Prince. In fact, all of the actors in this film are wonderful. I particularly liked Jack Wetheral (the uncle in "Queer as Folks") as the "gay activist".

I truly loved this film and have ordered the next one!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look, December 1, 2006
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This review is from: Third Man Out (DVD)
This film has been well reviewed by several others which led me to buy it in the first place. I found the cast to be very solid, but although the story line deserves praise for the credible--and very likable--characters and their relationships, over time, the plot fades and ultimately finishes without much credibility. Moral ambiguity is pretty much a staple in police dramas like "Law and Order" these days, but somehow the writer didn't pull it off in this film. Nevertheless, there is plenty to like here--especially the actors--and I would certainly give the next installment a try.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining gay themed detective story, October 29, 2006
By 
C. B Collins Jr. (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Third Man Out (DVD)
After seeing years upon years of detective shows, like "The Thin Man" , "Peter Gun", "Burke's Law" , "Columbo" or "CSI", it is very interesting to see a very gay interpretation of this genre.

Chad Allen holds the center of attention as he tries to sort out the murder of his client, a journalist who specializes in 'outing' celebrities, priests, and politicians. Chad is supported in his work by a sophisticated and handsome life-partner, played by Sebastian Spence. This couple discusses the odds and ends of the detective's case over nightclub dancing and frequent martinis. Their clever banter and deliberation reminded me of Nick and Nora Charles in the "Thin Man" series.

Because Chad Allen conducts most of the investigation and engages in most of the action without his partner, he reminded me of the old "Peter Gun" type of detective, getting beat up by thugs, rounded up by the police, and shot at periodically as he gets closer to the "truth".

The client, played very well by Jack Wetherall (the superb uncle with AIDS in Queer as Folk), is on multiple hit-lists due to his ability to collect information on the man-on-man sexual activities of local politicians, Catholic priests, and entertainment celebrities. I found it interesting that the character played by Wetherall was regarded extremely poorly by Allen and his crowd. Politicians who vote against gay-rights legislation yet enjoy a hidden gay sex life should be exposed, in my opinion. Thus I sympathized with the character played by Wetherall.

The theme of pedophile priests was also present but not really as well developed as the 'outing' aspect of the story.

If there is any weakness, it is a screenplay whereby all the gay suspects spill their nelly beans when Chad Allen says "boo". Like in "Perry Mason", the suspects tell-all when the least bit of pressure is applied. One fellow secretly films all the sexual adventures in his hotel and sells the dirt on his clientele, yet he gives Allen all the information he needs when Allen threatens to smash a porcelain desk elephant.

There is much masculine eye-candy in the film also. Woody Jeffreys plays Jack Wetherall's handsome young lover while muscle bound porno star Matthew Rush plays a porno star (go figure!) and provides the only full frontal nudity in the film.

Overall it is a fun film, a gay satire on all the pseudo-sophisticated detective stories we watched as kids.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Queer-Noir is Born!, September 24, 2006
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This review is from: Third Man Out (DVD)
If you're craving a soapy queer fix now that Queer as Folk is no longer lathering it up, then the Queer-Noir private eye thriller Third Man Out is sure to soothe your ache. The plot may be a bit serpentine and the dialogue stretched at the corners to cover maximum political ground, but Chad Allen's nuanced and sexily hard-boiled performance easily compensates for these shortcomings. As Private Eye Donald Strachey, Allen comes off as Spenser crossed with Columbo with a dash of Brian Kinney tossed into this enticing mix.

Though Ron Oliver's direction isn't flashy, it's very appropriate for a noir flick set in Albany. Like Richard Stevenson's books--on the pages of which Donald Strachey was conceived--this film is about character and concept and the tension between these two dramatic elements. Stevenson was one of the first writers to infuse the pragmatic, ultra-masculine private eye genre with an unabashedly gay aesthetic. A perfect synthesis of these two influences, Third Man Out gives us a detective who shares waltzes and moonlight martinis with his hubby, drives a banged up Toyota Tercel and can lay bad guys flat with an unsparing right hook.

Third Man's production values are outstanding for a cable film. Keeping Richard Stevenson's Albany setting was a smart move by Here! network, as so many well intentioned films go astray when they aim for glitzy settings and end up with cheap Canadian photocopies.

The only flaws worth citing were: a couple of actor Sebastian Spence's scenes (during which he portrays Donald Strachey's husband as a cross between C3PO and Uncle Arthur from Bewitched) and a heavy-handed score (with good feature songs that are sandbagged by some very obtrusive "tension and suspense" instrumentals).

What most delighted me about Third Man was the thrill of watching a genuine and polished noir flick which was, in every respect, thoroughly but naturally queer. While Third Man isn't Brokeback Mountain, it is a milestone in its own right. It's a well executed, enjoyable film about a hard-boiled detective who wears bad ties and breaks out in a blushing grin when his boyfriend kisses him on the cheek.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this is an amazing movie, September 26, 2006
This review is from: Third Man Out (DVD)
This has to be one of my favorite gay-themed movies that I've recently bought. I was glad to have bought this because I had two bad movies in the mix with this one for my last purchase. It was a sigh of relief. The character that Chad Allen plays, Donald Strachey, is done wonderfully. He has this tough side that he uses for work as a P.I. dectective, but then when he comes home to Timothy, his partner, and becomes this sweet, caring, thoughtful, loving man that wants to just separate his work from home life.

By taking on the task of protecting John Rutka, an outspoken gay activist, he soon realizes that some people aren't really who they say they are. He comes to find out that the type of person John Rutka is is really a man that believes that people should be honest about their sexuality, and doesnt see the harm in outing people when they haven't done so already themselves. We see that some politicans, tv actors, and a priest are really gay themselves, but do everything in their power to keep that part of them a secret and really just away from the press.

I'm so glad that I bought this movie, you should defidently go and purchase this movie, it's worth your while. A++++
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Third Man Out
Third Man Out by Ron Oliver (DVD - 2006)
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