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|The Third Man||—||—|
Cynical pulp novelist Holly Martins arrives in shadowy Vienna to investigate the mysterious death of his old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime, and thus begins an ever-thickening web of love, deception, and murder that adds up to one of cinemas most immortal treats, as well as one of its trickiest. Thanks to brilliant performances by Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, and Orson Welles; Anton Karass timeless, evocative zither score; Graham Greenes razor-sharp dialogue; and Robert Kraskers haunting deep focus shots, off-kilter angles, and dramatic use of light and shadow, The Third Man, directed by the inimitable Carol Reed, only grows in stature as the years pass.
There have been few better movies in the history of the planet than The Third Man, and fewer still as brilliantly directed from second to second. Orson Welles played the title role, and his legend has tended to engulf the film. But it was directed by Carol Reed and written--except for a Wellesian riff on the Borgias--by Graham Greene, and the credit for this masterpiece is properly theirs. Theirs and Joseph Cotten's; for awesome as Welles is, his Citizen Kane second banana is onscreen about six times as much, and Cotten uses every minute to create one of the most distinctive--if also forlorn--of modern heroes.
You know the story. Holly Martins (Cotten), a writer of pulp Westerns and one of life's congenital third-raters, arrives in post-WWII Vienna only to learn that his old pal Harry Lime, the guy who sent him his plane ticket, is being buried. Everybody, from a cynical British cop named Calloway (Trevor Howard) to Harry's Continental knockout of a girlfriend (AlidaValli) and his sundry absurd/Euro-sinister business associates, feels that Holly should get on another plane and go home. He doesn't. Things come to light. Other deaths follow. The world lies in utter ruin.
The Third Man completed a sublime hat trick--an international critical and popular smash following upon the success of Reed's Odd Man Out ('47) and The Fallen Idol ('48). Although other filmmakers had begun to use war-ravaged Europe as a great movie set, The Third Man is so vivid in its canny mix of gray semidocumentary and insanely angular, Expressionist/Surrealist chiaroscuro that it seems to have imagined not only the postwar thriller but also postwar Europe itself singlehandedly.
What great movie moments: The throwaway details like a mourner who forgets to drop his wreath on a newly dug grave. The sly editing whereby thick-headed Sergeant Paine (Bernard Lee, once and future "M" to 007) goes on leafing through a magazine, knowing just the moment he must rise and subdue the nervy Yank who would take a punch at his boss. The way Anton Karas's legendary zither score seems to jangle in the very guy-lines of a bridge where, far below Robert Krasker's Oscar-winning camera, the Third Man calls a war council. The shadow of a dead man towering, big as Europe, over the nighttime streets of Vienna. --Richard T. Jameson
Stills from The Third Man (Click for larger image)
It's an interesting movie based on a short novella by Graham Green. I like this author and it was my first acquaintance with the film director Orson Welles. I wasn't disappinted. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Oleksandr M. Zbarskyy
Cinematography is fantastic and is filmed on location in post-war Vienna. The characters are perfectly cast and the music (my favorite part) is kitchy & wonderful!Published 15 days ago by Suzanne
The ultimate film noir movie, plus the great zither music of Anton Karas.Published 18 days ago by Wesley Bassett
A classic film noire. Defines the genre. The cast was excellent especially Joseph Cotten. The filming angles and lighting are strange and keep an uneasy feeling, which is exactly... Read morePublished 21 days ago by avid reader
Awesome film Noir. Witty lines, great storyline, excellent actors.Published 25 days ago by Convict 227
I enjoyed watching the movie. I keep telling the younger people to give it a try.Published 25 days ago by June L. Rogers
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|The Third Man Blu-ray Case||
Criterion caught on that people hated the cardboard Digipak cases so they started releasing new titles in the plastic cases around April 2009. Older titles continue to ship in the paper cases (except The Third Man, briefly).
In the case of The Third Man, they started replacing the paper cases... Read More
Nov 12, 2009 by James Goss | See all 4 posts
|Is "The Third Man" Studio Canal Collection Blu-ray in COLOR?||
it is not colorized
Format: Closed-captioned, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, Black & White
Sep 19, 2010 by nichtkomisch | See all 3 posts
|blu-ray edition coming||
This forum IS for the BD edition.
Dec 15, 2008 by BubbaCoop | See all 3 posts
Not the Criterion version. However, the Lionsgate/Studio Canal version does.
Jun 30, 2015 by B. Albert | See all 3 posts
|Bootleg copies of "The Third Man"||
Well the Criterion version is now out of print, so its no longer possible to buy it from Amazon. If you ordered the Criterion and received the StudioCanal edition, let them know and they'll probably refund you. As far as quality, the Criterion edition appears to have a better picture and arguably... Read More
Jul 12, 2011 by Quexos | See all 2 posts
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