The Third Man (1949)

UK Studio Canal Blu-ray edition

Yes, this is a classic of such magnitude that i can't say anything that haven't been said better and more elaborate by cinephiles.
So here i will write down only some recollections of mine regarding my experience of The Third Man.

I remember watching it as a kid on TV and 3 things has stuck, the Orson Welles light on face scene, Orson's Harry Lime's
desperate search for a way out of the Vienna sewers and the strange haunting music.
As a kid i had no notion about the evil things Harry Lime had done and i wanted him to escape the police, to get out of the trap.
Genius director Orson Welles also was a great actor, a King Actor who you stared at every time he was on the screen. He just
draw your full attention and i wonder if there ever has been a more charismatic actor than Welles ?

The Third Man theme by austrian zither player Anton Karas was a SUPER HIT all over the world and you can easily find a 78 rpm
copy of it catching dust in some second hand store. Everyone with a record player had to have it. The Harry Lime Theme could
be the most famous and recognizable film music ever made and what a genius decision by Carol Reed to use only Karas music
all through the movie even though the producers wanted him to use a Philharmonic orchestra.

Carol Reed the british director who also made the classic 1947 film drama "Odd Man Out" with James Mason as an irish activist
on the run in a post-war Belfast. A Masterpiece also that film. Sorry to say, i don't know much about Carol Reed besides these two
films (you can read more, but in Swedish only, about Odd Man Out on my Cult & Classics Film Page 1) and i would've liked to hear
more about him in the extras (who concentrate on Graham Greene) - Sir Carol Reed 1906-1976.

Obviously Reed and world class author and script writer Graham Greene worked very, VERY well together to create this diamond
of a film. Greene wrote The Third Man as a film treatment but it was published in 1950 as a short story along with "The Fallen Idol"
a story that Carol Reed filmed in 1948 and which is held in the highest regard also (i haven't seen this Greene based film).

1977 UK Penguin Pocket with this foreword by Graham Greene: To Carol Reed in admiration and affection - and in memory of so
many early morning Vienna hours at Maxim's, the Casanova, the Oriental

And, let's not forget about the great actor Joseph Cotten, one of my favourite actors of all time, he's brilliant in The Third Man as
american Holly Martins coming to post-war Vienna promised work by his childhood friend Harry Lime. But Lime is dead, run over
by a car, and already in the beginning of the film Holly has to witness the burial of his old friend.
The british military police led by Major Calloway (Trevor Howard) wants him to go home and not to make any trouble in the War
Zoned parts of Vienna. But Harry has met Harry Lime's actress ex-girlfriend at the funeral, Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli) and he's
enchanted by her and he decides to stay, to the annoyance of the Major ... and to the ditto by some other shady people too.

OMG, Joseph Cotten, what an actor icon, a member of Orson Welles Mercury Theatre, acting in both of Welles early film master-
pieces "Citizen Kane" and "The Magnificent Ambersons". Never a leading man but some sort of "normal guy" for the viewer to
identify with, like a protagonist in an Eric Ambler novel. Rarely a bad guy, but he mastered that too as in one of Hitchcock's best
movies the 1942 "Shadow of a Doubt". 1972 he played evil Baron Blood in Mario Bava's "Gli Orrori del castello di Norimberga.
In the extras of this bluray we can hear a Q&A with an old and sick but funny Cotten and he receives a standing ovation, so nice.

Alida Valli, a fine italian actress appeared in many a great film, as in Georges Franjus's 1959 "Les Yeux Sans Visage" but for me
she will always be the second scariest witch in film history as Ms. Tanner in Dario Argento's 1977 "Suspiria" (and the scariest
then can only be one - Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz).

My favourite scenes of The Third Man would be 1. The Cemetery scenes especially the ending one with Valli walking past Cotten
without taking any notion whatsoever of his existence, ouch Holly, take that! 2. Orson hiding in the doorway, 3. Holly meeting
Harry at the Pratern with the Welles "Cuckoo clock" monologue, and 4. The hunt in the Sewers.
Plus Vienna as a whole with it's WW2 ruins giving extra atmosphere to the ongoing crime drama.

Three filmcrews were used and cinematographer Robert Krasker won an Oscar for his work.

The bluray presents the film in it's original fullscreen 1.37:1 aspect ratio with DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono audio with english subtitles
black & white, region B. Extras:

Audio commentary with assistant director Guy Hamilton, 2nd unit woman Angela Allen and Simon Callow
Shadowing the Third Man (90 minutes documentary), Interview and Zither performance by Cornelia Mayer,
audio interview with Joseph Cotten from 1987 (47 minutes), audio interview with Graham Greene from 1984 (8 minutes),
The Third Man Vienna Interactive Tour with Dr. Brigitte Timmerman (a brilliant woman and a great extra), The Third Man on the
Radio: The Lives of Harry Lime 1951 - A Ticket to Tangier - written and performed by Orson Welles (30 minutes),
Alternate opening with Joseph Cotten narrating instead of Carol Reed, The Third Man: A Filmmakers influence (16 minutes),
Restoring The Third Man (19 minutes), Dangerous Edge: Graham Greene Documentary (56 minutes), Trailer


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