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The Third Man
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The Third Man (1949) More at IMDbPro »

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The Third Man -- Arriving in Vienna, Holly Martins learns that his friend Harry Lime, who has invited him, recently died in a car accident.

Overview

User Rating:
8.4/10   93,001 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Graham Greene (by)
Graham Greene (screen play)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Third Man on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
31 August 1949 (UK) See more »
Tagline:
Carol Reed's Classic Thriller See more »
Plot:
Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
That Terrific B&W Cinematography See more (375 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Joseph Cotten ... Holly Martins

Alida Valli ... Anna Schmidt (as Valli)

Orson Welles ... Harry Lime

Trevor Howard ... Maj. Calloway

Bernard Lee ... Sgt. Paine

Paul Hörbiger ... Karl - Harry's Porter (as Paul Hoerbiger)
Ernst Deutsch ... 'Baron' Kurtz

Siegfried Breuer ... Popescu
Erich Ponto ... Dr. Winkel

Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Crabbin
Hedwig Bleibtreu ... Anna's Old Landlady
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nelly Arno ... Kurtz's Mother (uncredited)
Jack Arrow ... International Patrol A (uncredited)
Harold Ayer ... Soldier (uncredited)
Harry Belcher ... Man Chasing Holly (uncredited)
Leo Bieber ... Casanova Barman (uncredited)
Paul Birch ... Military Policeman (uncredited)
Martin Boddey ... Russian Military Policeman (uncredited)
Madge Brindley ... Guest at Casanova Bar (uncredited)

Robert Brown ... British Military Policeman in Sewer Chase (uncredited)
Ray Browne ... International Patrol B (uncredited)
Paul Carpenter ... International Patrol D (uncredited)
Marie-Louise Charlier ... Stripper at club (uncredited)
Alexis Chesnakov ... Col. Brodsky - Russian Liaison Officer (uncredited)
Guy De Monceau ... International Patrol C (uncredited)
Reed De Rouen ... American Military Policeman at Railroad Station (uncredited)
Jack Faint ... Guest at Casanova Bar (uncredited)
Peter Fontaine ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Thomas Gallagher ... Taxi Driver (uncredited)
Michael Godfrey ... International Patrol C (uncredited)
Vernon Greeves ... International Patrol D (uncredited)
Herbert Halbik ... Little Hansel - Boy with Ball) (uncredited)
Paul Hardtmuth ... Hartman - Hall Porter at Hotel Sacher (uncredited)
Walter Hertner ... Barman at Sacher's (uncredited)
Lily Kann ... Nurse (uncredited)
Geoffrey Keen ... British Military Policeman (uncredited)
Brookes Kyle ... International Patrol B (uncredited)
Martin Miller ... Headwaiter (uncredited)
Hannah Norbert ... Actress at Josefstadt Theater (uncredited)

Eric Pohlmann ... Waiter at Smolka's (uncredited)
Carol Reed ... Opening Narrator - UK Version (voice) (uncredited)

Annie Rosar ... Porter's Wife (uncredited)
Frederick Schreicker ... Hansel's Father (uncredited)
Hugo Schuster ... Waiter (uncredited)
Karel Stepanek ... Actor at Josefstadt Theater (uncredited)
Gordon Tanner ... International Patrol C (uncredited)
Brother Theodore ... Man on street (uncredited)
Ernst Ulman ... Visitor at Literature Club (uncredited)
Helga Wahlrow ... Josefstadt Theatre Actress (uncredited)
Jenny Werner ... Hilde - Winkel's Maid (uncredited)

Directed by
Carol Reed 
 
Writing credits
Graham Greene (by)

Graham Greene (screen play)

Alexander Korda  story (uncredited)
Carol Reed  uncredited
Orson Welles  uncredited

Produced by
Hugh Perceval .... associate producer
Carol Reed .... producer
Alexander Korda .... producer (uncredited)
David O. Selznick .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Anton Karas (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Robert Krasker (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Oswald Hafenrichter 
 
Set Decoration by
Dario Simoni (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
George Frost .... makeup artist
Joe Shear .... hairdressing (as J. Shear)
Peter Evans .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
T.S. Lyndon-Haynes .... production manager (as T. S. Lyndon-Haynes)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Guy Hamilton .... assistant director
Jack Causey .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Jack N. Green .... third assistant director (uncredited)
George Pollock .... second unit director (uncredited)
Gino Wimmer .... assistant director: Austria (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Joseph Bato .... sets designed with
Ferdinand Bellan .... assistant art director
John Hawkesworth .... sets designed with
Vincent Korda .... sets designed by
James Sawyer .... assistant art director
Sid Leggett .... chief floor props (uncredited)
Peter Mullins .... scenic artist (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
John Cox .... sound supervisor
Jack Drake .... sound editor
Red Law .... sound recording
Bert Ross .... sound recording
Jack Davies .... boom operator (uncredited)
Jimmy Dooley .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
John Glen .... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
W. Percy Day .... matte painter (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Denys N. Coop .... camera operator (as Denys Coop)
Stanley Pavey .... additional photography (as Stan Pavey)
Edward Scaife .... camera operator (as E. Scaife)
John Wilcox .... additional photography
Monty Berman .... camera operator: "b" camera (uncredited)
J. Bicknell .... camera loader (uncredited)
Alan McCabe .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Geoff Meldrum .... focus puller (uncredited)
John von Kotze .... focus puller: second unit (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ivy Baker .... wardrobe
Gene Hornsby .... assistant wardrobe: women (uncredited)
George Murrey .... wardrobe master (uncredited)
Dickie Richardson .... assistant wardrobe: men (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Peter Taylor .... assembly cutter
Derek Armstrong .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Ken Behrens .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Noreen Best .... cutter (uncredited)
David Eady .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Anton Karas .... music played by: Zither music
 
Other crew
Alexander Korda .... presenter
Peggy McClafferty .... continuity
Elizabeth Montagu .... advisor: Austrian
David O. Selznick .... presenter
Angela Allen .... script supervisor: second unit (uncredited)
Teresa Bolland .... production secretary (uncredited)
Robert Dunbar .... production assistant: second unit (uncredited)
Enid Jones .... unit publicist (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The 3rd Man" - USA (poster title)
See more »
Runtime:
104 min | USA:93 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Brazil:14 | Finland:K-16 | Iceland:12 | Japan:G (2009) | Netherlands:6 (DVD rating) | New Zealand:G | Norway:11 | South Korea:15 (2003) | Spain:13 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (re-rating) (re-release) (1994) | UK:PG (video rating) (1989) (2004) (2006) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #14125) | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Rumors have long since been widespread that Orson Welles wrote all of Harry Lime's dialogue and even that he took over the direction of his own scenes. Everyone involved, including Welles himself, have always insisted that the film was directed by only Carol Reed. Welles did claim that he wrote most of Lime's dialogue, which is also a fabrication. The extent of Welles' contributions were Lime's grumbling about his stomach problems (which were improvisations) and the famous "cuckoo clock" spiel at the end of the ferris wheel scene.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: The policemen who come to arrest Anna change between shots. In dialogue scenes the British policeman is played by Geoffrey Keen. In shots of the Jeep driving to the apartment, and in long shots, a different actor is used.See more »
Quotes:
Calloway:Go home Martins, like a sensible chap. You don't know what you're mixing in, get the next plane.
Martins:As soon as I get to the bottom of this, I'll get the next plane.
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?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Das Alte LiedSee more »

FAQ

Is "The Third Man" based on a novel?
How true is Lime's statement about the Swiss?
How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
See more »
22 out of 37 people found the following review useful.
That Terrific B&W Cinematography, 20 June 2009
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas

In a bombed-out Vienna just after WWII, novelist Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives from America to renew a friendship with his childhood buddy, Harry Lime (Orson Welles). Much to the dismay of Holly, a freak auto accident has recently killed his friend, according to those who knew Harry.

But in searching for details of Lime's death, Holly gets contradictory stories that don't add up. One of the persons who knew Lime is an attractive woman named Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli) whose continued presence in the story invites suspicion. The film's plot has Holly searching for the truth about his friend, while trying to stave off a city detective, Major Calloway (Trevor Howard) who tries to persuade Holly to leave Vienna.

The film's story is okay. But what makes "The Third Man" really interesting is the B&W cinematography, by Robert Krasker. Unlike most films, camera movement here is restricted, so as to draw attention to each frame's geometry. Typically in this film, a frame is tilted at an angle so that both vertical and horizontal points of reference are off-kilter. Frame images thus become a series of diagonal straight lines and curves. Further, very high-contrast lighting, especially in outdoor scenes at night, creates a bizarre, almost nightmarish look and feel, and are suggestive of German Expressionism.

All of which results in a visual disorientation for viewers that parallels Holly's disorientation both in the streets of Vienna and in his understanding of the circumstances surrounding Lime's absence. In most outdoor scenes there's a conspicuous lack of crowds, a lack of hubbub one would expect in a bustling city. Instead, only a few secondary characters appear in night scenes. This sparseness in characters on the streets conveys the impression that hidden eyes are watching Holly, ready to pounce at any moment from out of dark shadows.

"Everybody ought to (be) careful in a city like this", says one character to Holly, as an implied threat. Soon, a man who wants to give Holly some valuable information is murdered.

The script's dialogue is quite impressive, with some interesting lines and points of view. Some of the dialogue is in German, which enhances authenticity.

The film's acting and editing are very, very good. Adding a slightly romantic, and at times melancholy, tone to this dark film is the music of the "zither", an instrument similar to a guitar, but sounding quite different.

My one complaint about this film is that it's hard to keep tabs on some of the background characters. Trying to connect names with faces can be difficult, resulting in some confusion.

"The Third Man" tells an interestingly bleak story, set in a bleak, desolate urban environment, rendered truly mesmerizing by the creatively surreal B&W cinematography.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (375 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Third Man (1949)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Great movie, horrible music! oxhan
How does Vudu's version look? hanshotfirst1138
Favorite scene of the Third Man richsass
I enjoy repeated viewings of this more than Citizen Kane peterduray-bito
(Spoiler) One point I can't find a rationale behind guvenis
Spoiler-- Harry committed suicide dspear7777
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