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Film: The Third Man
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.

1949 British Film Noir set in post-war Vienna starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Vali, Trevor Howard, and Orson Welles.

Down-on-his-luck American writer Holly Martins (Cotten) arrives in postwar Vienna to meet with an old friend, Harry Lime (Welles), who has offered him a job. Unfortunately, the day Martins arrives, he finds out that Lime is dead.

Martins becomes entangled in a web of stories that make his pulp Westerns seem quaint in comparison. Investigating the death of his friend in order to clear his name from the selling of stolen and diluted penicillin he meets Lime's former love interest, a seemingly crooked cop, and a porter who has seen far too much. Martin's quest to clear the name of his friend drags him into dangerous territory and challenges his preconceived notions of good and evil.

The story takes many of the tropes commonly associated with Film Noir and plays with them. The film is also notorious for Orson Welles stealing the show in the final act, and for its hypnotic music score by zitherist Anton Karas (whose title theme became a huge hit).

Led to the Radio Drama series The Lives Of Harry Lime.


This film provides examples of:


Stray DogFilms of the 1940sUnder Capricorn
The Thin ManRoger Ebert Great Movies ListThis Is Spinal Tap
Key LargoFilm NoirWhite Heat
Things To ComeCreator/The Criterion CollectionThis Is Spinal Tap

alternative title(s): The Third Man
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