Starring Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles,
Trevor Howard and Alida Valli
Screenplay by Graham Greene
Directed by Carol Reed
Running time 104 minutes
One of the most iconic of all British movies this film noir set in post-war Vienna has a wonderful twisting screenplay by Graham Greene and an unforgettable central performance by Orson Welles as the film’s charismatic antihero Harry Lime. Combine those elements with Anton Karas’ theme music played on the zither and the extraordinary angles of Robert Krasker's black and white expressionist cinemaphotography and you have an undoubted masterpiece which perfectly captures the dangerous and ambiguous atmosphere of pre-Cold War Europe.
Holly Martins , a pulp novelist, arrives in Vienna to meet his childhood friend Harry Lime who has offered him a job. However when he gets there Holly finds that Lime has been killed by a speeding car and then discovers that he may have had criminal connections. But is Harry really dead and what was the nature of his business?
Joseph Cotten plays Holly, a man struggling to hold on to his friendship as he sinks deeper into the mystery. Alida Valli is Lime’s lover - the beautiful and enigmatic Anna. A host of great British actors are in attendance but the real star of this film is the cityscape of Vienna - ravaged by war and full of unlit doorways and dark corners. The climax to the picture takes place in the elaborate underground tunnels and caverns of the sewer system and provides us with one of the most famous chase sequences in cinema.
If you have only ever watched The Third Man on television don’t miss this opportunity to see it projected - it will be a very different experience!