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The Third Man (1949)

Posted By: Mindsnatcher
The Third Man (1949)

The Third Man (1949)
The Criterion Collection
BDRemux | mkv | AVC @ 35.7 Mbps, 23.976 fps | 1920 x 1080 | 1hr 45min | 26.2 GB
Russian DTS 2ch @ 1509 Kbps; English DTS MA 2ch @ 1509 Kbps | Subtitle: English, Russian
Genre: Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller


The Third Man (1949)
The Third Man (1949)
The Third Man (1949)
The Third Man (1949)
The Third Man (1949)


A young American novelist, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten, Portrait of Jennie, The Abominable Dr. Phibes), heads to Vienna looking for his friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles, Citizen Kane). Once in the city, however, he learns that Lime has passed away. Shocked by the news, Martins starts asking questions - a lot of them. He is told a number of different stories that eventually lead him to believe that Lime was killed.

Determined to find out who is responsible for Lime's murder, Martins embarks on a treacherous journey amidst the unfriendly streets of Vienna. Eventually, he encounters the beautiful Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli, Eyes Without a Face, Lola), a Czech national with forged Austrian papers, who agrees to help him find his friend.

Based on a script by legendary novelist Graham Greene (Our Man In Havana), Carol Reed's The Third Man is a terrific hybrid of a film in which noir, neo-realism and Hollywood bravado are mixed to perfection. Set in post-war Vienna, the film is very much a dark caricature of sorts where the finesse, elegance and tradition of Old Europe are seen through the eyes of a naive but ambitious American looking for his missing friend.

Contrary to what many critics have claimed, the narrative is rather complicated. A giant mystery surrounding Welles' character is slowly peeled off, piece by piece. As a result, The Third Man quickly evolves into a guessing game of sorts in which every little detail must be scrutinized. As expected for a noir-film, there is also a dangerous femme fatale who becomes a prominent player as soon as the main protagonist reaches Austrian soil.

In addition to strong dark overtones, The Third Man also boasts a great deal of nihilism. For example, betrayal and impossible love are depicted by Reed with a sense of realism that feels uncannily contemporary. Not surprisingly, The Third Man works incredibly well not only as a non-stop adventure film, but also as a realistic depiction of a world struggling to recuperate after an enormous tragedy.

Even though The Third Man is a British film, its view on Old Europe is distinctively American. The clash of cultural ideologies, as witnessed through the interactions between Valli and Cotten, is particularly impressive. There are entire scenes where Reed focuses on the American whose alarming naivety produces some of the most hilarious yet disturbing sequences that compliment the mystery.

Anton Karas' soundtrack is beautiful. The mellow sounds produced by his zither gives The Third Man a very special flavor, one that blends with the dark vistas from Vienna's sewers exceptionally well. Naturally, the atmosphere The Third Man sustains is often cited as its greatest strength.


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