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  • The Third Man: The Criterion Collection
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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: #53,227 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.

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 Robert Badgley TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 7 2008
Format: DVD
Well,Criterion has another release triumph here with "The Third Man".Criterion is well known for its' quality and an eclectic array of films already released in its' catalogues and many more on the way.Most are unavailable anywhere with Criterion consistently setting the release standards for DVDs,and this film is no exception.
"The Third Man" is a film originally released in /49 in Britain to great acclaim(this is the film we see),then released a year later in the U.S.The latter market had about 11 minutes cut out of it and the opening narrative changed from director Carol Reed's voice to star Joseph Cottons'.
This two disc collection includes everything you ever wanted to know about this film,and so much more.Included is a nine minute vignette with a self explanatory title "Insiders' Info" ,the US Trailer,the UK Press Book,another small vignette translating the foreign language sequences into English with sub-titles(five min.),a /51 radio show starring Orson Welles as "Harry Lime" in "Ticket to Tangiers",a Lux Radio Theatre show from /51 of "The Third Man",an award winning documentary from 2000 called"Who was the Third Man?"(30 min),a /68 profile of Graham Greene from the BBC show "Omnibus",a three min./54 newsreel of zither player Anton Karas at London's Empress Club,another three min.Pathe newsreel of the policing of the Vienna sewers called "The Underground of Vienna",and "The Third Man's Vienna",a background vignette on the real post war Vienna that Greene brings to life in the film.To top this all off is a 26 page booklet with several articles about the making and producing of the film which are quite intriguing,along with production credits,transfer specs,cast credits and much more.
I won't go into the plot as it is very well known by most by now.
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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.
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