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The Third Man

A movie directed by Carol Reed

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Harry (sub)Lime!

  • Sep 21, 2007
Rating:
+5
Ah, what an excellent, entertaining little film this is! I'd heard of it, off and on, throughout the years, but never seen it until I had the joy of getting the Criterion Edition of the film, so I come to it as fairly recent first-time viewer.

The movie's plot, as you know, centers around an American writer, Holly Martens, who goes to post-War Vienna to work for a friend named Harry Lime. When he gets there, he finds that Lime has met an untidy end, one that gets more and more untidy as Martens begins to pull at the loose threads of the story, until finally he finds a truth he never expected.

As I said, I'd only recently seen the film for the first time, and I was very impressed by it! The acting was amazingly good as was the direction, and the plot was sensational! Kept me guessing all the way through (am I the only one who thought the balloon-man was a certain character in disguise? I bet not).

The film is also filled with incredible moments. The aforementioned ballon-man. The appearance of Welles, which is probably the best reveal in movie history. The cukoo-clock speech. The chase through the sewers was VERY impressive and that alone makes the film worth watching!

The movie was based on a story by Grahm Greene. I've never read any of his works, but this movie makes me want to. Likewise, while I've heard of Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton, and admired their performances in Citizen Kane, I'd never heard of Carol Reed until this movie. Apparently I now have some catching up to do.

The extras on the DVD are all reasonably nifty. It IS a Criterion DVD, after all, and they seldom disapoint. The price tag might be a little steep, but who cares? It's one of the best movies ever made, and worth every penny.

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More The Third Man reviews
review by . August 24, 2010
One of the great film-noir movies of all time!!!
Carol Reed’s 1949 film-noir “The Third Man” is Reed’s greatest work, and probably Orson Welle’s second greatest acting role of his career!  This is not an idle boast considering this movie is considered the greatest British made film of all time by the British Film institute, (#57 on AFI’s top 100).  By the way, Welle’s has the unique distinction of also acting in the #1 movie on the American Film Institute list, “Citizen Kane”!!!   …
Quick Tip by . August 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Caption
Carol Reed’s 1949 film-noir “The Third Man” is Reed’s greatest work, and probably Orson Welle’s second greatest acting role of his career!  This is not an idle boast considering this movie is considered the greatest British made film of all time by the British Film institute, (#57 on AFI’s top 100).  By the way, Welle’s has the unique distinction of also acting in the #1 movie on the American Film Institute list, “Citizen Kane”!!!   …
Quick Tip by . October 30, 2009
Amazing cinematography and soundtrack, great acting. As dark as it gets!!
review by . February 13, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Orson Welles makes an impression!     Cons: Can be tough to follow     The Bottom Line: Cuckoo! Cuckoo!     One of the great tragedies of cinematic history is that Orson Welles really didn't capitalize on the potential he showed with Citizen Kane. He made a couple more noteworthy movies like The Third Man and Touch of Evil, but mostly his career just faded out to the point where he was voicing commercials during his later years to …
About the reviewer
C R Swanson ()
Ranked #60
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … more
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Wiki

This classic noir mystery, from the team of Carol Reed and Graham Greene, is generally considered to be the best filmwork of both of these estimable talents. THE THIRD MAN features Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins, a pulp novelist who has come to post-WWII Vienna with the promise of work from his friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles). When he finds that Lime has just been killed in a questionable car accident, he decides to remain in the city to investigate his friend's demise.

There have been few better movies in the history of the planet thanThe 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, hisCitizen Kanesecond 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 ...

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Details

Director: Carol Reed
Genre: Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 31 August 1949 (UK)
Screen Writer: Graham Greene
DVD Release Date: November 16, 1999
Runtime: 104 min
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