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    Unique ID Code: 0000032598
    Added by: DVD Reviewer
    Added on: 14/4/2002 12:29
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    The Third Man: The Criterion Collection

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    Hunted by men...Sought by WOMEN!
    Certificate: none
    Running Time: 104 mins
    Retail Price: $39.95
    Release Date:

    Orson Welles stars as Harry Lime and Joseph Cotton plays his childhood friend, Holly Martins in this all-time classic thriller scripted by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed. Martins searches for Lime through the seedy underworld of postwar Vienna and gets caught up in a web of love, deception racketeering and murder. The Third Man`s stunning cinematography, twisting plot, and unforgettable zither score are immortalized in Criterion`s pristine special edition, following the 50th anniversary theatrical re-release.

    Special Features:
    Video Introduction by writer-director Peter Bogdanovich
    Abridged Recording of Graham Greene`s Treatment, Read by Actor Richard Clarke
    The Third Man On The Raido: (1) The 1951 "A Ticket To Tangiers" Epsiode Of The Lives Of Harry Lime Series, Written and Performed by Orson Welles; and (2) The 1951 Lux Radio Theatre Adaptation Of The Third Man
    Joseph Cotton`s Alternate Opening Voiceover Narration For The U.S. Version
    Archival Footage of Composer Anton Karas and the Film`s Famous Sewer Location
    A Collection of Rare Behind-The-Scenes Photos, with a Brief Production History
    Original and Re-Release Theatrical Trailers
    Restoration Demonstration

    Video Tracks:
    Standard 1.33:1

    Audio Tracks:
    Dolby Digital Mono English

    Subtitle Tracks:

    Directed By:
    Carol Reed

    Written By:

    Erich Ponto
    Ernst Deutsch
    Paul Hörbiger
    Trevor Howard
    Orson Welles
    Alida Valli
    Joseph Cotten

    Soundtrack By:
    Henry Love
    Anton Karas

    Director of Photography:
    Robert Krasker

    Oswald Hafenrichter

    David O. Selznick
    Carol Reed
    Hugh Perceval
    Alexander Korda


    Your Opinions and Comments

    10 / 10
    In The Third Man — probably the greatest British thriller of the postwar era — director Carol Reed and screenwriter Graham Greene set a fable of moral corruption in a world of near-Byzantine visual complexity: the streets and ruins of occupied Vienna.
    It is a Vienna far removed from the rollicking erotics of Ernst Lubitsch or the wistful elegance and melancholy beauty of Max Ophüls. Decadence and rot have seeped into the city's very soul, poisoned it, left almost nothing unstained. This Vienna is a movie milieu as densely evocative and haunting as Curtiz' Casablanca or Sternberg's Morocco — yet, unlike them, it is primarily the real Vienna, the real streets, the real rubble: shot by Reed and cameraman Robert Krasker in such a striking style (almost constant off-angle compositions and wide-angle lens distortions), that it takes on a patina of nightmare. Through this macabre landscape — over which Anton Karas' legendary zither score jangles with ironic jauntiness — the tale unwinds.

    A naïve and foolishly romantic American novelist, Holly Martins (a specialist in Zane Grey-style westerns) pursues the murderers of his best friend, Harry Lime; spars with the cynical British police major, Calloway; hunts for the mysterious "third man" who witnessed Harry's death; and falls hopelessly and unrequitedly in love with Harry's mistress, Anna. Finally, in two symbolic settings — a Ferris wheel towering above the city, and the shadowy chaos of the sewers — Holly comes face to face with the supreme evil, the supreme betrayal: both Harry's and his own.

    The Third Man is one of those rare films that captured its audience immediately and was regarded as a classic almost from its first release. It marks one of those unusual conjunctions of script, director, subject, cast and setting — and, of course, music — in which everything works.
    Graham Greene's script, based on his novel, is a brilliant evocation of the urban battleground of good and evil, with just the right proportions of drama, atmosphere, action, rich character and tense construction. The acting ensemble is superb, with the mixture of Americans and Europeans in the cast creating an ideal balance: Trevor Howard as the pragmatic and brutally unsparing Calloway; Bernard Lee as the gentle Sergeant Paine; Wilfred Hyde-White as Crabbin, the slightly addled literary entrepreneur; Ernst Deutsch as the sinister, ferrety "Baron" Kurtz; Alida Valli, exuding fatalistic romance as Anna; and those two refugees from Citizen Kane, Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, as the two old friends torn asunder, the dark side and the light, Harry and Holly — their names so similar Anna often confuses them.
    Welles' relatively brief performance as Harry Lime is perfection itself: the bemused, lightly condescending, affectionate look with which he greets Holly; the murderous fluency of his Machiavellian story of the cuckoo clock (which Welles himself wrote); or the wild desperation as he flounders in the sewer. This is magnificent, highly charged film acting. Because the two great set pieces in The Third Man — the Ferris wheel confrontation and the chase through the sewers — both revolve around Welles, and because they're shot with the kind of weirdly angled grandiloquence and impudent virtuosity for which he's noted, there's been a temptation to believe that he directed them. Invaluable as Welles' contributions and performance were, the directorial triumph is Reed's. He is the hero, and dominating influence — insisting that it be shot in Vienna; insisting that Welles play Harry Lime over distributor David Selznick's forceful nomination of Noel Coward; resisting Selznick's usual indefatigable memos and attempted "Americanisation" of the script; discovering Anton Karas and his zither in a tiny beer and sausage restaurant ("The Harry Lime Theme" became a major hit record of its day); and finally, rejecting even Graham Greene's suggestion of a climatic rapprochement between Anna and Holly. (Ironically, there is a famous moment in Welles' performance which is Reed's too: Harry Lime's hands, reaching desperately through the sewer grating, fingers flailing in the windy night air, actually belong to a stand-in — the director.)Yet, perhaps Carol Reed took too seriously the suggestion that Welles' hand lay somewhere in The Third Man. He never again caught the peculiar and vibrant visual stylisation, the special "look" which makes this film and his earlier Odd Man Out such a stunning experience. (William Wyler, after watching the film, presented Reed with a spirit level, to place on his camera next time, forcibly preventing any angle shots.)
    This was the one time Reed, as a director, reached perfection; and he did it as much by assembling and marshalling a brilliantly talented company as by the power of his own vision. Together he and Greene — and Welles, Cotten, Howard, Valli, Karas, Krasker, Korda and all the others — created a portrait of post-war corruption and the death of idealism that has lodged ever since in our collective consciousness. Together, they made a rich, moody masterpiece of guilt, love, and ambivalent redemption.

    The Third Man is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1. This new digital transfer was created from the restored 35mm fine-grain master positive, made from the original nitrate camera negative. The sound was digitally restored from the original optical track negative. Telecine supervisor: Maria Palazzola; Telecine colourist: Jeff Burgess/Soho Images, London;
    Additional colour correction: Kim Schneider/Modern Videofilm, L.A.

    At the time of writing (April 2002) the sound and picture on this disc is far superior to the copy that the BFI have in their library for exhibition

    Also on the DVD is
    Video introduction by writer-director Peter Bogdanovich
    Abridged recording of Graham Greene's treatment, read by actor Richard Clarke
    The Third Man on the radio:
    (1) The 1951"A Ticket to Tangiers" episode of The Lives of Harry Lime series, written and performed by Orson Welles;
    and (2)Tthe 1951 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of The Third Man
    Joseph Cotten's alternate opening voiceover narration for the U.S. version
    Archival footage of composer Anton Karas and the film's famous sewer location.
    A collection of rare behind-the-scenes photos, with a brief production history
    Original and re-release theatrical trailers
    Restoration demonstration
    English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
    posted by Tony Myhill on 14/4/2002 19:31