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The Third Man: The Criterion Collection


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Product Details

  • Actors: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard, Bernard Lee
  • Directors: Carol Reed
  • Writers: Orson Welles, Carol Reed, Alexander Korda, Graham Greene
  • Producers: Carol Reed, Alexander Korda, David O. Selznick
  • Format: Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Vid Canada
  • Release Date: March 23 2001
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000025RE7
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,710 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

Orson Welles stars as Harry Lime, and Joseph Cotten plays his childhood friend, Holly Martins, in this all-time classic thriller scripted by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed. Martins searches for Lime through the seedy underworld of postwar Vienna and gets caught up in a web of love, deception, racketeering, and murder. The Third Man's stunning cinematography, twisting plot, and unforgettable zither score are immortalized in Criterion's pristine special edition, following the 50th Anniversary theatrical re-release.

Amazon.ca

The fractured Europe post-World War II is perfectly captured in Carol Reed's masterpiece thriller, set in a Vienna still shell-shocked from battle. Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) is an alcoholic pulp writer come to visit his old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). But when Cotton first arrives in Vienna, Lime's funeral is under way. From Lime's girlfriend and an occupying British officer, Martins learns of allegations of Lime's involvement in racketeering, which Martins vows to clear from his friend's reputation. As he is drawn deeper into postwar intrigue, Martins finds layer under layer of deception, which he desperately tries to sort out. Welles's long-delayed entrance in the film has become one of the hallmarks of modern cinematography, and it is just one of dozens of cockeyed camera angles that seem to mirror the off-kilter postwar society. Cotten and Welles give career-making performances, and the Anton Karas zither theme will haunt you. --Anne Hurley

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Dynan on July 27 2003
Format: DVD
The Third Man is, unquestionably, one of the greatest films of all time. It is probably the greatest British film of all too. Based on a screenplay by Graham Greene, set amidst the rubble of post-war Vienna and starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten and Trevor Howard, this one was always going to be good. It was, for many years, regarded as the film noir to beat all others and is my favourite movie. Radical in it's cinematic concept and brilliantly shot by Robert Krasker, the film has more atmosphere than any film I have seen before or since.
It all starts with Holly Martins (Cotten), a drunkard who writes the type of books which used to be known as "penny dreadfuls", arriving in Vienna not long after the end of WWII on the promise of a job. It turns out that his prospective employer, Harry Lime (Welles), has been killed in an accident and Martins has arrived just in time for the funeral. Lime's friends soon make contact with the wayward Martins, who becomes convinced that his friend has been murdered, and eventually through a series of encounters, he winds up in the hands of the Military Police.
In the opinion of this reviewer, this is Cotten's best film and though I've never been a big fan of his, he suits the role admirably. I also believe this is Trevor Howard's finest performance. So good is Howard that there is little doubt over his conviction that Martins is wrong and the scene where all is revealled to him is a feature of the film. Orson Welles was an acting giant in anyone's terms although by this time he was almost universally regarded as box office poison. His characterisation of the psychopathic Lime has been the model for so many film baddies and in may ways is as sinister as Hannibal Lecter.
The cinematography is superb.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nolene-Patricia Dougan on Aug. 17 2007
Format: DVD
Whether the greatness of Citizen Kane is due to Orson Welles's writing or Herman J. Mankiewicz's contribution to the screenplay has always been up for debate. The Third Man squashes this argument. On the spur of the moment, Welles comes up with one of the most memorable and brilliantly written monologues in cinema history.

Harry Lime: Don't be so gloomy. After all, it's not that awful. Like the fella says, 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. So long, Holly.

And the zither music ain't bad, either!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo on July 12 2004
Format: DVD
First at all , the ravishing presence of Orson Welles is felt all along this movie in such level you may well state this film was four hands directed . The powerful and menacing atmosphere that surrounds Vienna after the WW2 , the expressionist style , the superb photograph , the bitter and clever dialogues , the high caliber acting level , the somber passages under Vienna's streets , the sideral beauty and presence of Alida Vali , the extraordinary performance given by Joseph Cotten , the unforgettable zither music of Anton Karas and the dark secrets all along the story demands from you special attention. This film won Cannes Festival 1949.
You will never get tired of watching over and over this giant work. A Cold War spy classic. From Graham Greene novel.
Magnificent!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I. Sondel on July 7 2004
Format: DVD
This was one of the very first films I purchased on DVD. I was lucky enough to see this on the big screen when it was re-released to theatres after the restoration. The quality of this DVD is outstanding. Seeing the widescreen version is truly sublime. Robert Krasker's cinematography is stunning. The Anton Karas score is haunting. The direction of Carol Reed and the screenplay by Graham Greene could not be improved upon. (film lovers will also want to see "The Fallen idol" by Reed and Greene). Cotten, Howard and Valli are great in their parts, but Orson Welles as Harry Lime steals the film - he should have won the Oscar for his brilliant work here. A work of art.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ian Clapperton on March 2 2010
Format: DVD
The original B+W film with an all star cast that brings you back and ungulfs you in the real quality of movie making without special effects. A terrific piece of film history and entertainment. The score is also a classic zither recording. The second CD is full of interesting narrative and actor interviews. A real gem for anyone who appreciates superior entertainment.

Ian C., Almonte, ON
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By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER on Aug. 26 2010
Format: DVD
This is one of those films that everyone thought he/she saw. This is of course because of all the popular actors and directors. Of those viewers that have seen this film they will never forget.

The default version is the U.K. version. However, you can see the different versions compared on the DVD extras. Speaking about extras, one of the best extra is that of the abbreviated play being read voice-over the film. I defiantly ordered the book.

This film is presented in black and white. You can see how tight the presentation is without a wasted word or glance. The Music is also one of the main characters of the film. I only remember the Blu-ray version so I cannot tell the quality of the other versions.

Even though the book looks from the view of Major Calloway (Trevor Howard in the film) and the film from the view of Holly Martins, it is the character of Sergeant Paine (Bernard Lee) that we find endearing.

Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton) an out of work novelist (Westerns) is offered a job in post war Vienna by his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). When Holly arrives he finds he is late for Harry's funeral. The authorities are besmirching Harry's memory. Harry's girl (Alida Valli) after hearing of a mysterious third man at Harry's car accident suggested that Harry's death may not have been an accident.

Now it is up to Holly to clear Harry's name. We may be in for a few surprises.

The Fallen Idol - Criterion Collection
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