ByTowne ByTowne Cinema
325 Rideau St. Ottawa K1N 5Y4
Info Line: (613) 789-FILM
Must-See Cinema! The most memorable noir ever!
The Third Man is about secrets, lies and the tension between naiveté and loyalty. Summoned to occupied post-war Vienna by his schoolfriend Harry Lime, brash American pulp writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives to find his old chum being widely mourned, especially by the actress Anna (Alida Valli), though less so by British Major Calloway (Trevor Howard). In this quartered, ruined, double-talking city, however, it’s as well to take nothing at face value…
The Third Man remains among the most consummate of British thrillers: Reed and Greene’s sardonic vision of smiling corruption is deliciously realised with superb location work, a roster of seasoned Viennese performers and the raised eyebrow of Anton Karas’ jaunty zither score.
Although his screen time is famously scanty, Orson Welles’ Harry haunts each scene: everywhere and invisible, he’s a smirking Cheshire cat of a villain, a superb case study in shameless charisma as poisonous contagion.
Playing American heroics against British pragmatism, elements of noir against horror (the empty grave, the burning torches), The Third Man is suffused with irony yet ultimately serious-minded: without personal responsibility, it says, there is no hope for civilisation – however charming the smirk.”
– Ben Walters, Time Out London
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