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The Third Man (1949)

Director:
Carol Reed
COUNTRY
United Kingdom
GENRE
Thriller
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Den tredje mann
RUNNING TIME
104 minutes
Producer:
David O. Selznick
Alexander Korda
Carol Reed
Screenwriter:
Graham Greene


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Holly Martins Joseph Cotten
Harry Lime Orson Welles
Anna Schmidt Alida Valli
Major Calloway Trevor Howard
Porter Paul Hoerbiger
Baron Kurtz Ernst Deutsch
Popescu Siegfried Breuer
Sgt. Paine Bernard Lee

 

Review

One of history's films de grandeur, Carol Reed's The Third Man has got it all. It is basically a murder mystery (set in post-war black market-struck Vienna) but it works on several levels. The direction by Reed is stylishly and slickly poised. He's so confident that he can even afford to at times sacrifice suspense just to dwell on the visuals. And the photography, by Robert Crasker, is one of a kind. Some shots are classic segments of cinema in their own right - such as Orson Welles' first appearance, or the stair-crawling towards the end. The mystery is satisfyingly complex and has its fair share of surprises, but the real genius here is the diversity, intricacy and development of the characters. The performances are great too, with the devilishly charming Welles and the commanding Trevor Howard as standouts. One of the truly all-time greats.

Copyright 4.1.2005 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang [HAVE YOUR SAY]