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* CastTheRunnerUp: Creator/TrevorHoward was briefly considered for Harry Lime before being cast as Major Calloway.

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** The scene showing the waning moments of Harry Lime's life in which he extends his fingers futilely towards freedom through a grate in the sewer was suggested by Welles. The hands actually used in that shot belong to Carol Reed.


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* CastTheExpert: The Vienna Police Dept. has a special unit that is assigned solely to patrol the city's intricate sewer system, as its network of interlocking tunnels make great hiding places for criminals on the run from the law, stolen property, drugs, etc. The "actors" playing police officers in the film were actually off-duty members of that unit.


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* TheRedStapler: In Vienna there are canal tours called "Der Dritte Man -Tour" which visit the exact places where the scenes of Harry Lime being chased by the police were shot.


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** The original script included a return appearance by Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, playing Captain Carter and Captain Tombs respectively, similar to Charters and Caldicott, the two English cricket enthusiasts who first appeared in ''Film/TheLadyVanishes'', and later in Carol Reed's ''Night Train to Munich'' (1940). However, the two characters were streamlined into the role of Mr. Crabbin, played by Wilfrid Hyde-White.
* WriteWhoYouKnow: Graham Greene based Harry Lime on British double agent Kim Philby, who was Greene's superior in the British Secret Intelligence Service.


* RealitySubtext: Graham Greene used to work for British Intelligence in [=WW2=], where his boss and friend was the DoubleAgent Kim Philby. It's been speculated that Lime (a charismatic yet amoral friend secretly working for Soviet Intelligence) reflected underlying suspicions Graham had of Philby. In a particular irony, after Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean fled to Moscow to escape arrest, Philby fell under suspicion of being "the third man" in their spy ring.

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* RealitySubtext: RealitySubtext:
**
Graham Greene used to work for British Intelligence in [=WW2=], where his boss and friend was the DoubleAgent Kim Philby. It's been speculated that Lime (a charismatic yet amoral friend secretly working for Soviet Intelligence) reflected underlying suspicions Graham had of Philby. In a particular irony, after Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean fled to Moscow to escape arrest, Philby fell under suspicion of being "the third man" in their spy ring.ring.
** Post-war Vienna is almost a character itself. Carol Reed stated that the fact it was still being tussled over by the US, Brits and USSR gave it an air of tenseness it normally wouldn't. [[invoked]]


** AFIS100Years100Movies:

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** AFIS100Years100Movies: AFIS100Years100HeroesAndVillains:


* ActorInspiredElement / WrittenByCastMember: The cuckoo clock speech wasn't in the original script. It was suggested by Creator/OrsonWelles, inspired by a Hungarian play.

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* ActorInspiredElement / WrittenByCastMember: ActorInspiredElement[=/=]WrittenByCastMember: The cuckoo clock speech wasn't in the original script. It was suggested by Creator/OrsonWelles, inspired by a Hungarian play.



* SelfAdaptation: Creator/GrahamGreene adapted his own novel. It was his only original screenplay.



** There was a casting tug-of-war between Selznick and Carol Reed. Reed wanted Orson Welles from the start but Selznick didn't think Welles had enough appeal and tried to push Creator/CaryGrant for the role, before Reed won out. Reed's first choice for Holly Martins was Creator/JimmyStewart, but Creator/JosephCotten got the nod because he was under contract to Selznick.

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** There was a casting tug-of-war between Selznick and Carol Reed. Reed originally wanted Orson Welles from the start but Selznick didn't think Welles had enough appeal and tried to push Creator/CaryGrant for the role, before Reed won out. Reed's first choice and Creator/NoelCoward for Holly Martins and Harry Lime, as in the novel both characters are English. Reed's second choice was Creator/JimmyStewart, Creator/JamesStewart. Selznick suggested Creator/RobertMitchum, but Creator/JosephCotten got the nod because he was under contract to Selznick.actor's arrest for marijuana possession made that impossible.
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* BadExportForYou: Because of differing cultural tastes and content standards, the original American release trimmed 11 minutes from the British version. Carol Reed's OpeningNarration was replaced with one by Creator/JosephCotten, Holly's scenes were edited to change him from an AntiHero into TheHero, and some content that would run afoul of UsefulNotes/TheHaysCode was taken out (most memorably a scene with a dancer who was topless except for pasties). The British release is now the one in general circulation.


** There was a casting tug-of-war between Selznick and Carol Reed. Reed wanted Orson Welles from the start but Selznick didn't think Welles had enough appeal and tired to push Creator/CaryGrant for the role, before Reed won out. Reed's first choice for Holly Martins was Creator/JimmyStewart, but Creator/JosephCotten got the nod because he was under contract to Selznick.

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** There was a casting tug-of-war between Selznick and Carol Reed. Reed wanted Orson Welles from the start but Selznick didn't think Welles had enough appeal and tired tried to push Creator/CaryGrant for the role, before Reed won out. Reed's first choice for Holly Martins was Creator/JimmyStewart, but Creator/JosephCotten got the nod because he was under contract to Selznick.


** There was a casting tug-of-war between Selznick and Carol Reed. Reed wanted Orson Welles from the start but Selznick didn't think Welles had enough appeal and tired to push Creator/CaryGrant for the role, before Reed won out. Reed's first choice for Holly Martins was Creator/JimmyStewart, but Creator/JosephCotten got the nod because was under contract to Selznick.

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** There was a casting tug-of-war between Selznick and Carol Reed. Reed wanted Orson Welles from the start but Selznick didn't think Welles had enough appeal and tired to push Creator/CaryGrant for the role, before Reed won out. Reed's first choice for Holly Martins was Creator/JimmyStewart, but Creator/JosephCotten got the nod because he was under contract to Selznick.


* ExecutiveMeddling: David O. Selznick tried to micromanage the film from Hollywood, greatly annoying the British creative team. Selznick's main issue was the portrayal of Holly Martins as an AntiHero. He lost that battle, but succeeded at softening the character in the edits for the original American release.



* ThrowItIn: The hotel manager points in the wrong directions when talking about Heaven and Hell due to the actor's trouble speaking English, which Reed loved as a symbol of post-war Vienna's skewed morality.

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* ThrowItIn: The hotel manager points in the wrong directions when talking about Heaven and Hell due to the actor's trouble speaking English, which Reed loved as a symbol of post-war Vienna's skewed morality.morality.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** This was intended to be the first of four films co-produced by Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick, but the two constantly clashed and never worked together again.
** There was a casting tug-of-war between Selznick and Carol Reed. Reed wanted Orson Welles from the start but Selznick didn't think Welles had enough appeal and tired to push Creator/CaryGrant for the role, before Reed won out. Reed's first choice for Holly Martins was Creator/JimmyStewart, but Creator/JosephCotten got the nod because was under contract to Selznick.


* MoneyDearBoy: Creator/OrsonWelles [[OneForTheMoneyOneForTheArt took the role as Harry Lime in order to fund his film adaptation]] of ''Film/{{Othello}}''. Also crosses over into WhatMightHaveBeen, in that Welles was offered either a straight paycheck or a third of the film's gross. He took the paycheck (being desperate for cash), but considering how huge a hit the movie was, had he taken the percentage, he might never have had to do paycheck work again.

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* MoneyDearBoy: OneForTheMoneyOneForTheArt: Creator/OrsonWelles [[OneForTheMoneyOneForTheArt took the role as Harry Lime in order to fund his film adaptation]] of ''Film/{{Othello}}''. Also crosses over into WhatMightHaveBeen, in that Welles was offered either a straight paycheck or a third of the film's gross. He took the paycheck (being desperate for cash), but considering how huge a hit the movie was, had he taken the percentage, he might never have had to do paycheck work again.

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* EnsembleDarkhorse: Despite only appearing in the latter third of the movie, Harry Lime became such a popular character that a prequel RadioDrama series with Lime as the protagonist (played again by Welles) was produced in 1951-52.


* MoneyDearBoy: Creator/OrsonWelles took the role as Harry Lime in order to fund his film adaptation of ''Film/{{Othello}}''. Also crosses over into WhatMightHaveBeen, in that Welles was offered either a straight paycheck or a third of the film's gross. He took the paycheck (being desperate for cash), but considering how huge a hit the movie was, had he taken the percentage, he might never have had to do paycheck work again.

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* MoneyDearBoy: Creator/OrsonWelles [[OneForTheMoneyOneForTheArt took the role as Harry Lime in order to fund his film adaptation adaptation]] of ''Film/{{Othello}}''. Also crosses over into WhatMightHaveBeen, in that Welles was offered either a straight paycheck or a third of the film's gross. He took the paycheck (being desperate for cash), but considering how huge a hit the movie was, had he taken the percentage, he might never have had to do paycheck work again.


* BFILists/BFITop100BritishFilms: #1.

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* BFILists/BFITop100BritishFilms: UsefulNotes/BFITop100BritishFilms: #1.


* BigNameFan: RogerEbert ''loved'' [[https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-third-man-1949 this movie]], and included in his [[RogerEbertGreatMoviesList Great Movies Essays]]. He later said it was one of the [[https://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/ten-greatest-films-of-all-time 10 greatest films ever made.]]

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* BigNameFan: RogerEbert Creator/RogerEbert ''loved'' [[https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-third-man-1949 this movie]], and included in his [[RogerEbertGreatMoviesList Great Movies Essays]]. He later said it was one of the [[https://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/ten-greatest-films-of-all-time 10 greatest films ever made.]]

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* BigNameFan: RogerEbert ''loved'' [[https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-third-man-1949 this movie]], and included in his [[RogerEbertGreatMoviesList Great Movies Essays]]. He later said it was one of the [[https://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/ten-greatest-films-of-all-time 10 greatest films ever made.]]

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