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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: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000025RE7
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,819 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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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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8 of 9 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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film edition is lovingly released with other background material of interest to any 'The Third Man' enthusiast......all in glorious black and white.
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By Sarah on June 20 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Bought this used as a gift, it was in great condition, at a great price for an OOP criterion and it shipped within a week. I'm very happy!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lowell Peterson on April 2 2000
Format: DVD
Usually reliable Criterion here does a great disservice to a classic movie. The dark mood created by Robert Krasker's famous black and white photography is wrecked by a transfer that is too bright and without the proper contrast. Those who remember the great look of this movie from seeing it in the theatre will be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson on July 22 2003
Format: DVD
What movie better captures the descent of the victory over the Nazis into the suspicion, paranoia, and corruption of the Cold War? The movies strange off-angle camera shots, the way the plot twists and shifts who is covering up what and why is simply wonderful. It is one of those rare movies that absolutely convinces you it is one kind of movie and ends up being another.
The always commented upon zither music does contribute mightily to the atmosphere of the film. So does the untranslated German used throughout the film. The palpable tension between the occupied Germans, the communists, and the allies is done better here than almost anywhere else. I think it helps that the film was done at the time all the post WWII occupation was actually happening and still new.
Orson Welles, Jospeh Cotten, Alia Valli, Trevor Howard, and all the rest are wonderful. And the way Criterion has done the transfer is magnificent.
There is also an intro by Peter Bogdanovich, trailers, info on how the restoration was done, some radio shows from the Third Man, and some reading of Graham Greene's treatment.
This is a great disk.
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Petronius on Feb. 7 2009
Format: DVD
I was impressed with the writing and the cinematography most of all. The shadows and repressive overall feel as we try and find out what happened to Harry Lime is incredible.

Heartily recommended.
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