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4.1 out of 5 stars
8
4.1 out of 5 stars
Third Man Out [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
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on 14 August 2006
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 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 so much realism and is able to make the story really work. Mike Leonard August 06.
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VINE VOICEon 22 March 2008
There are worse ways to spend the evening. Third Man Out is a slightly overwraught whodunnit with TV movie production values but it's a bit gay so we have to judge it more leniently as it's better than nothing, right? Well .....YES. Forgive the fact that its really preachy, and that the gay rights message about double-standards isn't exactly subtle, you have to give credit to the fact that everyone involved from Chad Allen to a very well endowed gay porn star give their all to this enjoyable gay themed slice of detective whodunnit!
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 20 February 2012
This is a gay crime mystery that was made for a TV audience and once you get your head around that, that then you know that there will be limitations both in terms of budget and bedroom wrangling. It stars Chad Allen who plays Donald Strachey; he is a Private Investigator who was once a cop. He has a live in boyfriend in Timmy (Sebastian Spence) they have moved into a new home and it is being renovated by `Dykes on Bikes' a la `Petrocelli' the eighties cop that never finished his home.

Strachey drives a battered up heap of rubbish that is as reliable as a Mexican rail time table. A la `Colombo' eighties TV cop. He is gay so likes to suck on things a la `Kojak' seventies TV cop (lollies). So a bit of a composition of cops we have seen before. And what is wrong with that, as just because his sexual orientation is not the same that he should be completely different in all respects.

He gets hired by one of those gay activists that go around `outing' hypocrites. He has been receiving threats and thinks his life is in danger. The thing is he has upset so many people that Strachey tells him to keep his money and his job and his hot boyfriend - might have wanted to think through the last one.

The plot develops and you know our lovable cop will take on the role. There are some questionable bits like the car in the studio with the background being projected; I have not seen that for a while. There are more than a few clichés and some seriously questionable acting including `Dick Steel' enough said.

Despite all of the above I really liked it, it has a heart and a soul and there were some quite funny moments even if they were painfully signposted on more than one occasion, if you grew up liking Scooby Doo before you started to like males of the two legged variety (or three if you are really lucky), then the plot twists will not be a problem at all. If you want something devilishly deep and sinister then this should go on your rental `c' list.

So a made for TV gay, cop show that is no genre bender, but for me it worked.
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on 23 May 2015
Stylishly riveting whodunit it says on the DVD case. This is a comedy. The storyline is silly. The acting is wooden. The characters do not even have one dimension. The script was written by a ten year old. Buy it for a good laugh but not if you are looking for Style, being riveted or want to guess whodunit.
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on 22 June 2013
Loved Chad Allen in Dr Quinn so thought i would give it a go. Though very much in a made for TV movie style I think the story acting etc was spot on.
Wardrobe needs some work lol but the whole thing is gay themed and it flows naturally. I am now ordering the entire series as im now addicted
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on 22 October 2014
It's great to see a gay character that isn't a screaming queen, pedophile, psycho or so other sort of loser.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 September 2013
Pretty good for a gay mystery film. Not for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it.
Go on, give it a try!
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on 3 March 2015
good film
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