The Third Man (1949)

Not Rated   |    |  Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller


The Third Man (1949) Poster

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.


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  • Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten in The Third Man (1949)
  • Alida Valli in The Third Man (1949)
  • Joseph Cotten in The Third Man (1949)
  • Joseph Cotten and Alida Valli in The Third Man (1949)
  • Orson Welles and Carol Reed in The Third Man (1949)
  • Orson Welles in The Third Man (1949)

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18 June 2004 | Galina_movie_fan
Time for Lime
Who was Harry Lime (Orson Welles)? An evil man, devil in the flesh who was responsible for the unspeakable crimes, yet brilliant, cheerful and charismatic. His most famous words, a short speech written by Welles himself, say a lot about his character and motivations:

"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgies they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

No wonder, we like him, even though we know what he'd done…

It has been said thousands of times about the greatest movie entrance ever – but what about his 'exit' – the fingers on the street? I think it is one of the greatest, too…

A beautiful mysterious girl with tragic past was in love with him and the unforgettable ending, so anti–Hollywood, so true to the film - was about her love that goes beyond the grave. I read that both Selznick (the producer) and author Graham Greene had initially argued for something more upbeat (Holly and Anna walking off arm-in-arm), but Reed disagreed. I am so happy that Reed won (I am sure millions of fans are, too). That was the way to finish the movie and make it much more than just typical noir. Makes the viewer think about love, friendship, betrayal, loyalty, the price one pays for them.

Amazing film - perfectly shot; almost flawless. It looks and feels like Welles himself could've made it. The influence of Citizen Kane is undeniable. The only problem I had – the music. I like it but it was very strange to hear it in the film like The Third Man. Maybe that was a purpose – instead of somber, moody, and ominous music that would be expected for the noir film, something completely different and out of place – cheerful but melancholy in the same time…

Criterion DVD is wonderful – the restored version of the film shines. There are two openings of the film available – British and American, and a lot of extras.

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Genres

Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller

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