The Third Man (1949) Poster



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  • Out-of-work writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) is invited to post-war Vienna (1949) by old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles), who has also offered him a job. When Holly arrives, however, he discovers that Harry has recently died after being hit by truck in front of his building. When Holly begins to ask questions, he gets conflicting replies and decides to investigate himself. Edit

  • English novelist Graham Greene [1904-1991], who also wrote the screenplay for this film, wrote a novella of the same name in preparation for the screenplay, but the novella was not published until 1950, a year after the film was released. Edit

  • Yes. As depicted in the film, after World War II, Vienna (Austria) was divided into four sections-US, UK, France, and Soviet Union-with a central international zone in which the four powers alternated control on a monthly basis. The four-power control of Vienna lasted until May 1955.

    As a citizen of Wien (Vienna) I thought you might find it interesting that the occupation lasted 10 years and that our Nationalfeiertag (National Holiday) is 26 October, the date the last foreign troops left our country in 1955. Edit

  • The official record says there were two men at the scene of the accident. However, the closest witness, the porter, says there were three men. It is never revealed who was the third man, but many viewers assume it was Harry Lime himself. Edit

  • Joseph Harbin, a medical orderly at the General Hospital, the one who was stealing military penicillin for Harry. Edit

  • Watered-down penicillin is not only ineffective, but it also makes the patient immune to future doses of penicillin, thus rendering medical treatment incredibly difficult or impossible. Many of Harry's victims were children with meningitis. Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. The lucky ones, the Major says, died, and the unlucky ones lived and went insane. Edit

  • Horrified by the sight of children dying of meningitis because of the diluted penicillin, Holly agrees to be the decoy so that the police can catch Harry. As Holly sits in the Cafe Marcalrel waiting for Harry, Anna suddenly shows up and begins to berate Holly for betraying Harry. When Harry walks in, Anna warns him about the trap. Harry escapes into the sewers, but the police chase after him.Harry looks for another means of escape but finds police guarding every exit. When Sgt Paine (Bernard Lee) and Maj Calloway (Trevor Howard) catch up with him, Harry shoots and kills Paine, and Calloway shoots and wounds Harry in return. Harry begins to laboriously climb up to a sewer grating but, in his weakened state, he cannot open the cover. Holly picks up Paine's gun and goes after Harry but hesitates to shoot until Harry nods at him. Holly then fires and kills Harry. Later, Holly attends Harry's funeral. As he and Calloway drive away from the cemetery, they pass Anna walking along the road. Hoping to speak with her, Holly gets out of the car and waits for her to catch up. In the final scene, Anna walks past without even glancing at him. Edit

  • The quote: 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. This isn't very true at all. The Borgias' power in Rome began with the election of Rodrigo Borgia in 1492 and ended with the death of Lucrezia Borgia in 1519, and the Borgias were the patrons of Michelangelo. However, Leonardo was patronised by the Medici, arch-enemies of the Borgias, and the Renaissance took place all over Europe, not just in Borgia-controlled Rome. Meanwhile, the cuckoo clock was invented in Augsburg, Bavaria in 1629, not in Switzerland. Switzerland itself did enjoy 500 years of brotherly love, democracy or peace: the Old Swiss Confederacy, a loose alliance of Alpine states, existed from c. 1300. And while it's true that not much came out of Switzerland in this time, this is mainly because it was very poor, with thin mountain soil, and a bad climate. It didn't become a rich country until the mid-19th century. Edit



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