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The Third Man Critrion DVD

A Previous Thrilling Presentation
at Friday Night Movies:

The Third Man
The 50th Anniversary Criterion DVD

Friday the 3rd of February
Pot luck supper @ 7pm, Movie @ 8pm

That's a nice girl, that. But she ought to go careful in Vienna. Everybody ought to go careful in a city like this.
--Popescu (Siegfried Breuer)


USA: 1949 -- Directed by Carol Reed
Written by Graham Greene
Starring Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles and Trevor Howard

Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, 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.
--Orson Welles

The fractured Europe post-World War II is perfectly captured in Carol Reed's masterpiece thriller, set in a Vienna still shell-shocked from battle. Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) is an alcoholic pulp writer come to visit his old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). But when Cotton first arrives in Vienna, Lime's funeral is under way. From Lime's girlfriend and an occupying British officer, Martins learns of allegations of Lime's involvement in racketeering, which Martins vows to clear from his friend's reputation. As he is drawn deeper into postwar intrigue, Martins finds layer under layer of deception, which he desperately tries to sort out. Welles's long-delayed entrance in the film has become one of the hallmarks of modern cinematography, and it is just one of dozens of cockeyed camera angles that seem to mirror the off-kilter postwar society. Cotten and Welles give career-making performances, and the Anton Karas zither theme will haunt you. --Anne Hurley

Hope to see you there. I'll save you an aisle seat and a zither ballad.


Won Oscar for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White

Nominated for Oscar for Best Director (Carol Reed) and Best Film Editing

Won Grand Prize of the Festival at the Cannes Film Festival

Ranks #44 on the Internet Movie Database's Top 250 Movies

More awards

Memorable Quotes

HUNTED...By a thousand men! Haunted...By a lovely girl! - Original tagline

Calloway: We should have dug deeper than a grave.

Calloway: Death's at the bottom of everything, Martins. Leave death to the professionals.
Martins: Mind if I use that line in my next Western?

Calloway: [to Holly Martins] You were born to be murdered.

More quotes


Orson Welles didn't want to film various sewer scenes and left before the sewer sequence could be completed. The shot near the end in which Welles character's hands reach for the sewer grating are actually the hands of director Carol Reed.

Orson Welles said that when he agreed to do the movie, he was offered either a straight salary or a percentage of the profits. Welles chose the salary but he later regretted it because the film went on to become such a huge hit, the percentage was ultimately worth far more than the salary.

The tunnels featured in this film are part of the Wienkanal, which channels the Wien River through central Vienna out to the Danube River. The main tunnel is the huge arched structure through which the river flows a distance of about 1.6km. The gated side passages are connections to a wet weather sewer overflow, and the chamber with the balconies is the overflow point. The spiral staircase is one of 6 exits from the main culvert. Tours are run through the system on a daily basis. Events are occasionally held down the tunnels in commemoration of the film and its characters.

This film tops the "BFI 100", a list of 100 of "the best British films ever" compiled by the British Film Institute (in 1999/2000). Itís the only non-American film named as one of "AFI's 100 Greatest American Movies".

More trivia


Factual errors: When Major Calloway drops Anna's forged passport onto the desk, we see a close up of the passport with the words "Republique d'Autreich" printed on it. this is an incorrect French spelling. It should read "Republique d'Autriche".

Revealing mistakes: In the two separate back projection shots of Calloway, Martens and Paine, supposedly traveling in a jeep at night in Vienna, a double-decker London bus can be seen in background.

Continuity: Three cats were used for Harry Lime's only loved cat. But all three cats had different sizes and colors.

More goofs