The Third Man


Review: Pulp novelist Holly Martins, arrives in post-war Vienna to visit his old friend Harry Lime. Upon his arrival he finds himself investigating the mysterious death of his friend Harry.
Director: Carol Reed
Actors: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard, Bernard Lee, Paul Horbiger, Ernst Deutsch, Siegfried Breuer, Erich Ponto, Wilfrid Hyde-White and Hedwig Bleibtreu
Year: 1949
Genre: Classics, Film-Noir, Mystery and Thriller
Conclusion: 5/5
This film is an atmospheric masterpiece. A well put together cast, but it is Orson Welles who brings that extra special quality to the film and he only worked for one week on this film and is only on the screen for 5 minutes. There is a famous speech given by Orson Welles right by the giant Ferris wheel. This scene was not at all scripted and apparently Welles came up with it at the last minute and it was so good it was kept in. You can’t imagine the film without it. Carol Reed does an astonishing job directing this film. Brilliantly choreographed by cinematographer Robert Krasker, whose other work includes Brief Encounter (1945). I also loved the musical score by Anton Karas, which was somewhat electrifying and worked well with the ongoing paranoid atmosphere that was developing. Even though in 1949 this was the most popular film in the UK, the Austrians did not care for it even though it was set in Vienna. The themes it portrays are existential loss and betrayal. It is also a story about children and grownups. The late Roger Ebert wrote in his review about this “The Third Man” reflects the optimism of Americans and the bone-weariness of Europe after the war.” This film is also on the list of the late Barry Norman’s 50 Greatest British Films that he produced in the Radio Times in 2013. At the Academy Awards in 1951 this won one Oscar for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White. At the Bafta Awards in 1950 this won for Best British Film. 

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