An out of work pulp fiction novelist, Holly Martins, arrives in a post war Vienna divided into sectors by the victorious allies, and where a shortage of supplies has lead to a flourishing black market. He arrives at the invitation of an ex-school friend, Harry Lime, who has offered him a job, only to discover that Lime has recently died in a peculiar traffic accident. From talking to Lime's friends and associates Martins soon notices that some of the stories are inconsistent, and determines to discover what really happened to Harry Lime. Written by
Mark Thompson <email@example.com>
When Holly Martins first encounters Harry Lime across the street in a darkened doorway, he doesn't know who it is and he yells out, "What kind of a spy do you think you are satchel foot?" When he says this line, you can clearly see that he is not saying anything at all. See more »
I told you to go away, Martins. This isn't Santa Fe. I'm not a sheriff and you aren't a cowboy. You've been blundering around with the worst bunch of racketeers in Vienna, your precious Harry's friends, and now you're wanted for murder.
Put down drunk and disorderly too.
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Author Joseph Cotten (Holly) is invited to Vienna by his friend Orson Welles (Harry Lime). There is a major problem with this set-up from the outset as it is revealed that Welles has just been killed. Cotton attends the burial but sticks around in Vienna as there seems to be a great deal of suspicion surrounding the death of his buddy.
The film has an interesting setting and idea for a story but I'm afraid that it just drags - it's drawn-out and never gets moving. Cotten is dreary in the lead role but Welles is the best thing in the film and delivers his amusing famous quote comparing Italy with Switzerland. The scene on the Ferris wheel is a standout scene as the audience experiences the only real moment of tension as the carriage door is opened at the top of the ride. Uh-oh is anybody going over the edge?
A mention must be made of the music it's all zithery throughout. To further clarify, it sounds like a mixture between Greek music and French café accordion music. And it provides moments of over-exaggerated melodrama that just ends up comical. It is also just basically out-of-place belonging more in an art film or 1960s camp comedy horror.
The story is not bad and the film could have been so much more interesting we are given about 30 minutes of plot stretched out to nearly 2 hours. Definitely not the classic that everyone blindly labels it as it is vastly over-rated right up to the final chase scene in the sewers a plot device that was done a year before in the better film "He Walked By Night" (1948) which provided far more tension and a better sewer chase.
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