In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
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 led 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Carol Reed went to great lengths to capture the atmosphere of the beleaguered city on film, and he was helped along by city officials and ordinary inhabitants. On nights when rain was unavailable to give the cobblestone streets the appropriate glistening sheen, for example, the city would provide a fire brigade to wet things down. Reed also incorporated many local residents into the film as extras such as the often glimpsed balloon seller. See more »
Martins incorrectly calls Dr. Winkel "Winkel" instead of the correct "Vinkel", even though he has only heard the name (pronounced "Vinkel") and not seen it written at all. See more »
It had meningitis. They gave it some of Lime's penicillin. Terrible pity isn't it.
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The UK version features introductory voice-over by the director Carol Reed; in the US version Joseph Cotten provides the voice-over, as his character Holly Martins. The UK version runs 104 minutes, versus the US version at 93 minutes, which was cut by producer David O. Selznick to give the film a tighter pace. Both versions have been released on video in the U.S., but as of today the most common is the longer British cut. A video comparison between the narrations appears on the U.S. Criterion Collection DVD. See more »
Who was Harry Lime (Orson Welles)? An evil man, devil in the flesh who was responsible for the unspeakable crimes, yet brilliant, cheerful and charismatic. His most famous words, a short speech written by Welles himself, say a lot about his character and motivations:
"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgies 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."
No wonder, we like him, even though we know what he'd done
It has been said thousands of times about the greatest movie entrance ever but what about his 'exit' the fingers on the street? I think it is one of the greatest, too
A beautiful mysterious girl with tragic past was in love with him and the unforgettable ending, so antiHollywood, so true to the film - was about her love that goes beyond the grave. I read that both Selznick (the producer) and author Graham Greene had initially argued for something more upbeat (Holly and Anna walking off arm-in-arm), but Reed disagreed. I am so happy that Reed won (I am sure millions of fans are, too). That was the way to finish the movie and make it much more than just typical noir. Makes the viewer think about love, friendship, betrayal, loyalty, the price one pays for them.
Amazing film - perfectly shot; almost flawless. It looks and feels like Welles himself could've made it. The influence of Citizen Kane is undeniable. The only problem I had the music. I like it but it was very strange to hear it in the film like The Third Man. Maybe that was a purpose instead of somber, moody, and ominous music that would be expected for the noir film, something completely different and out of place cheerful but melancholy in the same time
Criterion DVD is wonderful the restored version of the film shines. There are two openings of the film available British and American, and a lot of extras.
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