This classic noir mystery from the team of Carol Reed and Graham Greene is regarded to be the best filmwork of both of these extreme 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 mysterious death. The Third Man is a masterpiece of melancholia featuring extraordinary writing acting and directing... as well as a classic zither score by Anton Karas. [show more]
This classic film noir regularly appears close to the top of greatest films ever lists and is often referred to as the best British movie of all time. It has the advantage of being based on a story by Graham Greene one of the finest writers the UK has ever produced. The action takes place in post war Vienna. Pulp writer Holly Martins(Joseph Cotten) arrives in town to take up a job promised to him by his best friend Harry Lime(Orson Welles). Unfortunately he arrives just as Harry Lime is being buried. At the funeral Holly is informed by the military police that his dead friend was one of the worst racketeers in Vienna. Refusing to accept this he sets out with the aid of Harry's girlfriend Anna Schmidt(Alida Valli) to prove his friends innocence. As the story progresses Holly's belief falters and in one of cinemas most famous scenes he comes face to face with his "dead" friend and learns the truth. The climax filmed in the sewers of Vienna is as powerful and dramatic as any conclusion in the history of cinema. Joseph Cotten gives his usual excellent performance as an innocent man quickly getting out of his depth. Orson Welles was rarely better than in The Third Man and scripted many of his own lines including the famous "cuckoo clock" speech. A classy supporting cast including Wilfred Hyde-White, Trevor Howard and Bernard Lee give superb back up to the main players. The film also benefits from the most uniquly memorable soundtrack of any film thanks largely to Anton Karas' zither solo. This really is close to the perfect film and is fully deserving of all the accolades it receives.
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Classic thriller written by Graham Greene and starring Orson Welles in which a writer sets about investigating the death of a friend in post-World War II Vienna. Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), a pulp Western writer, arrives in the Austrian capital expecting to take up a job with his old acquaintance, Harry Lime (Welles). When he is informed that Lime died a week previously in a car accident, Martins is intrigued by inconsistencies in the accounts of the death and decides that he can't leave the city without investigating matters further. As a consequence, he finds himself drawn into a web of intrigue and searching for the elusive 'third man' who was at the scene of Lime's death. When the head of the local military police, Major Calloway (Trevor Howard), informs him that Lime was involved in black market drug distribution, the plot thickens even further...