Write descriptive essay about The Third Man movie 1949, write an essay of at least 500 words on The Third Man, 5 paragraph essay on The Third Man, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
The Third Man
Thriller, Mystery, Film-Noir
IMDB rating:
Carol Reed
Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins
Alida Valli as Anna Schmidt
Orson Welles as Harry Lime
Trevor Howard as Major Calloway
Bernard Lee as Sergeant Paine
Paul Hörbiger as Karl - Harry's Porter (as Paul Hoerbiger)
Ernst Deutsch as 'Baron' Kurtz
Siegfried Breuer as Popescu
Erich Ponto as Dr. Winkel
Storyline: An out of work pulp fiction novelist, Holly Martins, arrives in a post war Vienna divided into sectors by the victorious allies, and where a shortage of supplies has lead to a flourishing black market. He arrives at the invitation of an ex-school friend, Harry Lime, who has offered him a job, only to discover that Lime has recently died in a peculiar traffic accident. From talking to Lime's friends and associates Martins soon notices that some of the stories are inconsistent, and determines to discover what really happened to Harry Lime.
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Carol Reed and Orson Welles are pure genius
Harry Lime: "Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly".

The Third Man is about Harry Lime who has died in a car accident. Previously he had invited one of his closest friends to join him. His friend now must find out if the story is true and the mystery behind it.

The Third Man or best known has Orson Welles second best movie with Citizen Kane still at number 1. This time Carol Reed takes the directing chair and not Orson Welles but I got to be honest here I actually thought that Orson Welles directed this movie just by the way it was shot and acted it looked like his kind of film, because while watching the movie I didn't do any research on the film so I just watch the movie without nothing about the film and while watching the movie I was wounding if Orson Welles directed it's not until the end credits when I find out that Carol Reed directed it. Orson Welles and Carol Reed are both genius when it comes to movies and The Third Man isn't anything different as this is one of the best movies ever made.

Carol Reed directing in this movie is absolutely magnificent and pure cinema gold. At times I felt like I was watching a Orson Welles movie just by the way it was shot and how it was acted and how it was executed made it feel like another great movies all together in one. Carol Reed was a fantastic director for this movie as he made a brilliant mystery thriller like The Third Man. Nice work Carol Reed.

The movie has this gloomy but yet a wide cinematic feeling to it that made this movie truly special then it is. With every shot in this movie that's both stunning and dazzling to my eyes. The famous scene in the sewers with that ionic image of Orson Welles is cinematography at it's best. Excellent work Robert Krasker the Cinematography of the movie.

Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles both did a outstanding performance in this movie and so did everyone else in the film. Everyone in the movie delivered so much to they characters and to be honest I didn't find anyone else in the movie that did a terrible job. You can tell while watching the movie that these actors put a lot into they characters and it paid off brilliantly.

Now for the problems that I had with this movie: I honestly didn't find a single thing that was a problem to me or even a flaw in this movie. You could say that it might be perfect, do I think it's perfect? well yeah, I do.

Overall The Third Man is a movie that's absolutely worth checking out. These some other things in the movie that I could have brought up but to be honest and I do bring this up a lot and for good reasons. I want you the viewer to watch this movie like I did by not knowing much about the movie but only knowing the praise the movie got, I'm telling you to do this so you can experience what I experience. The Third Man is a classic at it's best.
Unforgettable film
Has there ever been a film where the music more perfectly suited the action than in Carol Reed's "The Third Man"? Anton Karas is responsible for this unforgettable soundtrack. At the beginning, he wasn't part of the film, but after one day of filming, Reed and some cast members (Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli and Orson Welles) had dinner and retired to a wine cellar, where they heard the zither music of Karas, a 40-year-old musician, who was playing only for tips. When Reed heard him, he realized that this music was perfect for his film.

The film begins with the spoken prologue "I never knew the old Vienna, before the war. . ." On the background it is presented post-war Vienna. After the war, Vienna was divided in 4 zones: French, British, American and Russian. American pulp Western novel writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) comes to the city seeking his old best friend, Harry Lime. Upon arrival he finds out that Harry was killed by a truck while crossing the street. Martins attends Lime's funeral, where he meets two British policeman. One of them is Sergeant Paine (Bernard Lee), a huge fan of Martins' novels, and Major Calloway (Trevor Howard), who says Lime was a criminal and suggests Martins leave town. After the funeral Martins goes with Major Calloway to have a drink. Calloway says that Lime was the biggest gangster in the city, but Martins didn't believe him, and starts a fight. Calloway send Martins to a hotel with Sergeant Paine. At the hotel Martins met Crabbin, who is the head of a discussion group, about culture. Crabbin is offering to pay for his lodging, in exchange for a lecture about American culture at his group.

Viewing this an opportunity to clear his friend's name, Martins decides to remain in Vienna. He receives a call from "Baron" Kurtz (Ernst Deutch), who tells Martins that he, along with another friend, Popescu (Siegfried Breuer), carried Lime to the side of the street after the accident. After that he goes to Lime's place, where he meets the porter (Paul Hörbiger), who says that Lime was carried by three men. He also finds out, that Lime had a girlfriend Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli), who was acting in a play at Josephstadt.

From now on the suspense and adventure begins. Who killed Lime? Why? Who was the third man? If you want to find out you have to watch this amazing noir film. This is one of my favourite movies, with an unforgettable story, music, and characters. I hope you will consider to watch it, because you won't regret it.
Easily the best Euro-Noir...
... and perhaps the best noir of all time.

I am reviewing the criterion collection version of this classic film - which is available via Netflix. I strongly recommend avoiding other versions - the transfers do not do this beautiful film and its unique soundtrack justice.

Carol Reed's the Third Man follows desperate pulp writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) through the streets of post-war Vienna as he attempts to discern the truth about the death of his boyhood friend and would-be benefactor Harry Lime (Orson Welles). Lime was killed by a truck driven by his own driver on the very day that Martins arrived in Vienna to begin work with Lime on a prosperous business venture. The main witnesses were two shady Austrians and a mysterious third man who nobody seems able to identify.

As Martins digs deeper, he begins to understand the deep corruption of his new-found home through an adversarial acquaintance with a British military policeman (Trevor Howard) and slowly falls for Harry's similarly mysterious former lover, Anna Schmidt (Valli).

Cotten makes a rather unsympathetic character (Martins is a classic noir loser) sympathetic. In a role that is barely a cameo, Welles creates an unforgettable persona. Valli is remarkable. And Howard and the rest of the supporting cast are great. Despite the excellent cast, however, what makes The Third Man the great film that it is the combination of absolutely perfect noir cinematography, an entirely believable and compelling story set in exactly the right location, and tight, powerful, directing. And the unusual zither-dominated soundtrack helps to make the film unique even among noirs.

Like many of Kurosawa's best efforts, every scene of The Third Man is wonderfully framed and painted in stark contrasts, making the camera as much of a performer as any member of the cast. It's BAFTA award (best British film), Cannes Palm d'Or(Grand Prize), and Oscar (cinematography) are minor achievements in comparison to the film's lasting impact on its genre and on cinematography in general.
Astounding Visuals Make It A Treasure
Story - pretty good.

Cinematographry - amazing!

If you want to enjoy the camera-work, please see this on the Criterion DVD. That's not a plug for the company. It's just that no one else has ever offered a cleaner version of this film. After suffering for years with lousy VHS transfers of this gem, it was nice to see it given justice.

To me, the visuals here make this DVD worth owning because the story is okay, but nothing super. To an average first-time viewer, the first hour of this film can drag. I found that to be the case on my first viewing, but the more I watch this, the better the story seems to have gotten for some reason. Despite his billing, Orson Welles has a small role in here. He doesn't even appear until after 65 of the film's 104 minutes have elapsed. Meanwhile, Joseph Cotten dominates the story, along with Alida Valli, sort of a poor man's Ingrid Bergman. Those two are okay but the story picks up dramatically after Wells finally appears.

In addition to the fabulous cinematography, an unique feature of this movie is the music, which is very strange for a film noir. It's lighthearted music from a zither, almost circus-like in its sound and melody....but I liked it. It helps make this movie different.

The visuals involve a lot of nighttime photography, lots of shadows and cobblestone streets. The tilted camera angles and the closeups - all traits of Wells the director, are here to enjoy
Simply Beautiful
I don't know why this movie always hooks me the way it does; it's obviously a masterpiece and a revered piece of British/American cinema - but that alone is not the reason (there are other such masterpieces which fail to have that effect on me). Maybe it's the setting: the beautiful city of Vienna right after World War II, the scars of the most devastating conflict in human history still visible at every corner. Or it's the contrast between the eerily happy music tune - which plays throughout the entire film - and the dark, tragic story of murder and betrayal which I find so strangely captivating. Whatever it is, I just love this movie.

'The Third Man' now has more than 60 years on its back, but its age hardly shows. Despite the story's dark themes, the general mood of the narrative is rather light, sometimes darkly funny, and the slightly cynical tone and morally ambiguous characters give the movie a very modern feel. What also stands out and makes the film memorable - in addition to the fantastic soundtrack - is the outstanding, Accademy Award winning cinematography. Black and white has rarely looked better. The way DOP Robert Krasker plays with unusual angles and virtually "paints" this city of Vienna with light and shadow, he adds an almost expressionistic quality to the film. I always felt that the city plays an essential part in the story, - a key character if you will - with its damaged buildings reflecting the damaged human characters. The recent war is a looming presence throughout the film, and to me this is as much a story about the desensitizing effect of war on people as it is a murder mystery. And there is yet another quality to the film which needs to be mentioned: it's very entertaining. 'The Third Man' has fantastic pacing and there is simply not a dull moment in it.

To sum up my overall impressions, this is one of those rare occasions where everything just falls right into place and helps create a unique film experience: Carol Reed's masterful direction and the wonderful performances by the fantastic actors (Joseph Cotten, Trevor Howard, Alida Valli and Orson Welles); the beautiful soundtrack by Anton Karas; the gorgeous cinematography by Robert Krasker, and, perhaps most importantly, the story and screenplay by Graham Greene with its unexpected twists and turns (although the unusual, iconic ending wasn't Greene's idea). A true work of art and highly enjoyable entertainment: 10 stars out of 10.

Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

Lesser-Known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/
This motion picture belongs in the all time top ten list
Notwithstanding 'Citizen Kane', this is the finest movie Orson Welles has ever made. Indeed, this is one of the finest movies anyone has ever made. The classic Welles touch permeates this fine film and anyone who wishes to know what the man was all about should start with this one. All of the actors, fine performers in their own right, seem to have peaked in this movie. I have not read the Graham Greene novel but I would have to believe that, contrary to the usual book/movie comparisons, this movie has surpassed the book. I say this partly because of the almost dreamlike scenes and camera angles , something of a signature of Welles' work, and partly because of the hauntingly lovely strains of Anton Karas' zither, tying one scene to another and delicately enveloping the whole work. A book cannot do that. I don't know how many times I have seen this movie but, like a fine painting, I see it again at each opportunity. If you have not seen this movie you are missing a major contribution to the world of cinematography.
Beautiful cinematography, but contrived and incoherent plot
As "The Third Man" is considered a cinema classic, anyone who gives it a less than glowing review risks being labeled a philistine or worse. However, I found it a bit disappointing, viewed sixty-six years after its release.

I liked the locations. Costumes were fine. Cinematography was suitably moody, although a bit contrived. The askew camera angles seemed neither annoying nor fraught with allegorical significance; however, the balloon vendor's exaggerated shadow and the brightly lit sewers were distracting. The acting was better than average for the period, but largely consisted of posturing to deliver exposition. Dialogue was good, with a lot of subtext. I liked that the dialogue was delivered in the language of the character and appreciated the confusion it caused. I liked the ending – cynical, dismaying and very un-Hollywood, but effective.

What disappointed me was the plot, which made no sense at all. If one were to rearrange the events in chronological order, as I understood them, they would go something like this:

Spoiler Alert!!

In post-war Vienna, penicillin is scarce. Charles Lime hatches a scheme to steal it from a British military hospital with the help of orderly Joseph Harbin, dilute it and sell it on the black market to other hospitals.

The diluted penicillin proves ineffectual or worse. Major Calloway launches an investigation.

Lime conspires to cover his tracks by murdering Harbin and switching identities so the authorities believe he is dead. He will then defect to the Russian sector. But first he offers pulp fiction author Holly Martins a job and sends him a plane ticket.

Although Martins is apparently a popular, successful author, he is broke and leaps at the opportunity to travel to Vienna, where he learns that Lime is dead and tries to unravel inconsistencies in the stories told by witnesses.

The movie suggests that the penicillin somehow caused the patients distress and exacerbated their conditions. This might make sense if the penicillin were somehow contaminated in the dilution process. But absent an allergic reaction, a weak dose of penicillin shouldn't cause any immediate harm. When the dosage proved ineffective, one would expect the doctors to suspect it had been diluted and simply increase the dosage at considerably greater expense and/or renegotiate with Lime. Similarly, if it were contaminated, one would expect it to cause infections and for the doctors to suspend using it. One might just as easily blame the doctors for buying and administering suspect drugs on the black market. Everybody knows penicillin is scarce. It seems no different than drug dealers purchasing heroin. They need to conduct quality control inspections to be sure they get what they paid for. For all they know, Lime could have filled used vials with tap water.

The murder/fake death plot doesn't make much sense either. Apparently Dr. Winkel, Popescu and Kurtz were involved in the penicillin scheme and assisted Lime in faking his death. Two walk with Harbin, one entices him to cross the street and the fourth runs him over with a truck. Or maybe they pushed him. This is done in broad daylight in front of witnesses who don't want to become involved, but are ready to chase Martins all over town when they suspect he was involved in the porter's murder.

Calloway, who has a personal axe to grind with Lime and is heading the investigation, has time to attend funerals and escort visitors around town but doesn't find time to verify that the accident victim was Lime, even though some of the witnesses made inconsistent statements.

Meanwhile, Lime, who has done all this so he can get away clean, doesn't go anywhere. He manages to slip into his apartment building, where everybody knows him, in broad daylight without being seen, and murders the porter then slips out again.

Artistically, the film is superb. It has many excellent qualities. But the plot is flimsy, incoherent and relies upon numerous coincidences and contrivances.
Old classic
An example from the classic era of film noir. Director Carol Reed introduces us to post-war Vienna filled with harsh angles, Gothic shadows, lonely streets and gleaming streetlamps. Pulp novelist Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives to the city looking for a job his good friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles) has promised him. Immediately upon arrival he finds out that Lime has been run over by a car. Police think it a simple accident, but Martins has other ideas.

Reed is a known expressionist and this shows heavily in the film. Dutch angles fill almost every shot and a lot of time is given for the buildup and the atmosphere of the city. And the film is to be praised for this. Many of the shots seem eerily familiar to the viewer. Not because you've seen the film but because so many later directors and cinematographers have been influenced by it. The shot of Lime's shadow looming against a wall as he slowly approaches is a fine, fine piece of film making and the most iconic the film has.

Eerily familiar also describes the story to a tee, but in this case that is not a compliment. The plot is fairly easy to predict, despite of it containing some pretty clever twists. I can only imagine how revolutionary a film such as this one must have seemed like back on its day. But now, as someone who has watched so many other similar films... Well, it honestly makes the film something of a bore. I can appreciate it visually and the actors are extremely talented, but the story didn't leave me with much.

And this is honestly the problem with a lot of mid-century films. At least for yours truly. There is something to be said about being one of the first to do something. But if that thing continues to be done better and better throughout the years, is it okay, at some point, to let the first examples go. Am I doing this film and others like it a disservice by not having seen them earlier when I would have been more able to appreciate them?

Perhaps. Or perhaps history and time march on, like they always do. Nevertheless, it's a fine film. Very well made, very well acted. And the story is a good one. The fact that it has been made again so many times since then is a testament to that.
Some Idiosyncratic Comments On THE THIRD MAN
I am not sure if anyone mentioned the ending, which has me bursting out in tears and heartbreak, and reaching for a cigarette, in deep resignation and yearning, every time I see it.

And, how about the absurd comedy that always, in reality, accompanies the darkest, direst situations in life? It's in there! (Like Prego Pasta Sauce!) I experience a visceral need to see this film at least once every 3 months. In fact , I might stop typing now and.....And, who can honestly tell me that they don't feel like the down and out ex-repatriated American , like Holly Martins, almost all the time nowadays! And the death of Sgt Payne still stings horribly. It's Callo-WAY , not Calla-Han, Holly, so get it right!!
long shadows in the wet streets of Vienna
For me it wasn't an advantage that I knew how well this movie is regarded by most people. My expectations were of course very high also because my favorite film critic from my own country (Denmark) simply regard "the third man" as the best movie he has ever seen. Since I also know Graham Greenes work well, as he is one of my favorite writers, I had expected more.

That Holly Martins is mistaken for a serious and intellectual writer when he is only a writer of "cheap novelettes" can easily be identified as the fingerprint of Mr. Greene; it is a common theme in Greenes books that a person is mistaken for something grander than he really is which poses some very interesting dilemmas. This also leads to one of the humoristic scenes as Martens is invited to talk about "the contemporary novel" at the "cultural reeducation section" which actually is hilarious. He ends up being asked questions about James Joyce and "stream of consciousness" which he of course has no chance in hell to answer since he only writes lousy western novels (like "Bill & Ben" I suppose).

I didn't like the casting of Holly Martins - and I can see that others are critical of him too. His role wasn't interesting either; He wasn't interesting or mysterious – he was just what he appeared to be: an American who wrote cheap books on a mission to find the truth as to why his friend died; all for the wrong and naive reasons.

Anna Schmidt who was Limes mistress was tiresome in the long run. I didn't understand why she had fallen so desperately in love with Lime. Lime appears very charming but still…

I can see from the other reviews, that a memorable part of the movie is the discussion on morality. It is as if Lime almost succeeds in persuading you of his alternative way of seeing the world. And this is scary.

What I really really loved about the film was the photography… Oh my god. The wet and dark Vienna with the long shadows. The faces. Baron Kurtz. Orson Welles.

I can only give this one 6/10 but I will certainly wonder why it didn't appeal more to me.

Regards Simon
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