The Third Man

( 27 )

Overview

In this Cold War spy classic, Holly Martins Joseph Cotten, a third-rate American pulp novelist, arrives in postwar Vienna, where he has been promised a job by his old friend Harry Lime Orson Welles. Upon his arrival, Martins discovers that Lime has been killed in a traffic accident, and that his funeral is taking place immediately. At the graveside, Martins meets outwardly affable Major Calloway Trevor Howard and actress Anna Schmidt Alida Valli, who is weeping copiously. When Calloway tells Martins that the late...
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Overview

In this Cold War spy classic, Holly Martins Joseph Cotten, a third-rate American pulp novelist, arrives in postwar Vienna, where he has been promised a job by his old friend Harry Lime Orson Welles. Upon his arrival, Martins discovers that Lime has been killed in a traffic accident, and that his funeral is taking place immediately. At the graveside, Martins meets outwardly affable Major Calloway Trevor Howard and actress Anna Schmidt Alida Valli, who is weeping copiously. When Calloway tells Martins that the late Harry Lime was a thief and murderer, the loyal Martins is at first outraged. Gradually, he discovers not only that Calloway was right but also that the man lying in the coffin in the film's early scenes was not Harry Lime at all--and that Lime is still very much alive he was the mysterious "third man" at the scene of the fatal accident. Thus the stage is set for the movie's famous climactic confrontation in the sewers of Vienna--and the even more famous final shot, in which Martins pays emotionally for doing "the right thing." Written by Graham Greene, The Third Man is an essential classic, made even more so by the insistent zither music of Anton Karas. The film is currently available in both an American and British release version; the American print, with an introduction by Joseph Cotten, is slightly shorter than the British version, which is narrated by director Carol Reed. Nominated for several Academy Awards, The Third Man won Best Cinematography for Robert Krasker.
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Special Features

Restored high-definition digital transfer with uncompressed mono soundtrack; Video introduction by writer-director Peter Bogdanovich; Two audio commentaries: one by filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and director Tony Gilroy and the other by film scholar Dana Polan; Abridged recording of Graham Greene's treatment, read by actor Richard Clark; Shadowing "The Third Man" (2005), a ninety-minute documentary on the making of the film; "Graham Greene: The Hunted Man," an hour-long 1968 episode of the BBC's Omnibus series featuring a rare interview with the novelist; Who Was the Third Man? (2000), a thirty-minute Austrian documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew; The Third Man on the Radio: the 1951 "A Ticket to Tangiers" episode of the series The Lives of Harry Lime, written and performed by Orson Welles, and the 1951 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of The Third Man; Illustrated production history with rare behind-the-scenes photos, original UK press book, and U.S. trailer; Actor Joseph Cotten's alternate opening voice-over narration for the U.S. version; Archival footage of postwar Vienna; A look at the untranslated foreign dialogue in the film; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by critic Luc Sante
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Carol Reed's The Third Man is one of the odder successes among international films of the late 1940s: at a time when movies were supposedly getting dulled-down, in keeping with audience sensibilities, here was a quirky movie from England, with Hitchcock-like touches and an odd sense of humor, that manages to be grim, topical, and wryly witty, while retaining, even augmenting, a good bit of author Graham Greene's sensibility. For all the film's virtues, its making was a tale of compromises turned into inspiration. Producer Alexander Korda wanted Noël Coward to play the mysterious Harry Lime, but, once Orson Welles was cast in the part, the movie became a testament to his presence and impact; he's only on screen for about a quarter of the movie, but he's the actor that everyone remembers. In fact, Welles was off shooting another movie, reporting to The Third Man only late in the shooting, and he was doubled for many scenes: that was Carol Reed's assistant, future Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton, in the black trench coat running down Vienna's darkened streets, and those were director Reed's fingers reaching through the sewer grating at the chase's end. Recasting Joseph Cotten's Holly Martins as an American in turn allowed Greene to bring to the screen for the first time his antipathy toward Americans and their bright-eyed, bushy-tailed innocence in approaching the world's problems, a theme that would manifest itself even more directly in relation to Vietnam in The Quiet American.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/16/2008
  • UPC: 715515033824
  • Original Release: 1949
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: A
  • Time: 1:44:00
  • Format: Blu-ray

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Joseph Cotten Holly Martins
Alida Valli Anna Schmidt
Orson Welles Harry Lime
Trevor Howard Maj. Calloway
Paul Hoerbiger Porter
Bernard Lee Sgt. Paine
Ernst Deutsch Baron Kurtz
Wilfrid Hyde-White Crabbin
Siegfried Breuer Popescu
Erich Ponto Dr. Winkel
Hedwig Bleibtreu Anna's "Old Woman"
Nelly Arno Kurtz's Mother
Leo Bieber Barman at Casanova
Martin Boddey Man
Alexis Chesnakov Brodsky
Thomas Gallagher
Herbeil Halbik Hansel
Paul Hardtmuth Hall porter
Geoffrey Keen British Policeman
Martin Miller
Eric Pohlmann
Annie Rosar Porter's wife
Paul Thatcher Smith MP
Jenny Werner Winkel's Maid
Technical Credits
Carol Reed Director, Producer
Ivy Baker Costumes/Costume Designer
Joseph Bato Production Designer
Denys Coop Camera Operator
George Frost Makeup
Graham Greene Screenwriter
Oswald Hafenrichter Editor
Guy Hamilton Asst. Director
John Hawkesworth Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Anton Karas Score Composer
Alexander Korda Producer
Vincent Korda Production Designer
Robert Krasker Cinematographer
Hugh Perceval Associate Producer
David O. Selznick Producer
Dario Simoni Set Decoration/Design
Graham Greene Source Author
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

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(22)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Hitchcock could not have done it better.

    Awesome film noir. Fantastic performances and Orson Welles, as usual, the ignimatic character. A suspensful, wonderful film revealing the world of "spywork." RJW

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Blu-ray "THE THIRD MAN" as good as it gets!

    Film buffs have a reason to celebrate.<BR/><BR/>Carol Reed's "THE THIRD MAN," perhaps the most highly-regarded film in world cinema is now available in a jaw-dropping Blu-ray transfer. <BR/><BR/>This wondrous movie has never looked better and it is hard to imagine anything more that could possible be done to improve the image quality. It looks like a first viewing directly from the lab. I doubt Carol Reed ever saw it in such a pristine condition! The blacks are velvety and the grays and whites shimmer with a silvery sheen. Even the intentional fine grain is sharper! And the retro mono sound is sharp. This ultimate edition deserves a special place on the small shelf of great world cinema. <BR/> <BR/>The plot is minimal. American pulp novelist Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton) travels to post WW II Vienna to see his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). But instead ends up investigating the apparent death of the black market operator in a city of fractured, shadowy loyalties. It is a tale that, on the surface, is about love, deception and murder. The dark trinity of great noir mysteries.<BR/><BR/>But it is not so much the plot that makes this remarkable film so highly-regarded but rather the extraordinary sense of time and place. Graham Greene's acerbic dialogue seduces and cuts. There's the brilliant black and white photography by Robert Krasker -- often slight askew and reminiscent of German expressionism. <BR/><BR/>Perhaps most memorable of all is the audacious zither score by Anton Karas. It perfectly frames the mood and atmosphere of this unforgettable film that somehow burns itself into one's own experience. <BR/><BR/>If the story is secondary, what is this film really "about"? Perhaps it is about being lost in a fractured landscape where old ideals and values have evaporated. Where meaning is ephemeral. It is a post-modern amorality tale awash in the frisson of deception and cynicism of our time. <BR/><BR/>But whatever the metaphor, it is a hypnotically compelling film that is much greater than the sum of it's masterful parts. Unquestionably a great film as well as art. A rare achievement indeed.<BR/><BR/>This hi-def disc is a transfer of the previous, restored, two-disc edition. The watchable bonus material -- great documentaries and archival material -- is generous (see product description). I especially enjoyed the enthusiastic and insightful commentary by Steven Soderbergh and Tony Gilroy. Film scholar Dana Polan provides a second remarkably detailed commentary.<BR/><BR/>This Blu-ray upgrade is one for the digital library.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews