The 3rd Man

Directed by Carol Reed
Produced by Carol Reed
Uncredited: Alexander Korda & David O. Selznick
Written by Graham Greene
Starring: Joseph Cotten
Alida Valli
Orson Welles
Trevor Howard
Music by Anton Karas
Cinematography: Robert Krasker
Editing by Oswald Hafenrichter
Distributed by British Lion Films (UK),
Selznick International Pictures (US)
Release date(s) 2 September 1949 (UK)
2 January 1950 (US)
Running time: 104 minutes
Country: United Kingdom

Holly, I’d like to cut you in, old man. There’s nobody left in Vienna I can really trust, and we’ve always done everything together. When you make up your mind, send me a message – I’ll meet you any place, any time, and when we do meet old man, it’s you I want to see, not the police. Remember that, won’t ya? Don’t be so gloomy. After all it’s not that awful. Remember what the fella said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias 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. So long Holly.

Just who is Harry Lime? Is he the man who was your best friend for twenty years and who you think you know so well, or is he a racketeer and murderer? Orson Welles’ Harry Lime is central to The Third Man even though he doesn’t appear until after the sixty minute mark of the film. This is a truly great film of mystery and intrigue set in post WWII Vienna.

Harry Lime is dead but no one is sure of the exact circumstances of his death. It is said he was hit by a truck and was carried away by two men, but then his friend Holly Martins hear tales about at third man at the scene, and comes to think that foul play is afoot. Things only become more confusing for Martins after he sets out to solve the mystery and discovers Harry Lime himself, lurking in the shadows. (This is the worst trailer ever made!)

This is really a very enjoyable film that won an Oscar in 1949 for best black & white cinematography, and a BAFTA for best British film.  Carol Reed was nominated for an Academy Award as best director, and was named the 57th greatest film of all time by the American Film institute in 1996, and the #1 British film of all time by the British Film Institute.

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3 responses to “The 3rd Man

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