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NOIR: The Third Man

(Rated PG)

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"You were born to be murdered"

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Overview

Set in a fractured and increasingly seedy post-WWII Vienna, Carol Reed’s noir thriller juxtaposes the hopefulness and despair of post-war Europe, alongside themes of friendship and betrayal. American pulp Western writer, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton) arrives in Vienna to seek out his old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles), soon finding out that Harry has, in fact, been hit by a car and killed just days earlier. Various accounts of the story, however, don’t quite add up, so Holly, with the help of Harry’s girlfriend, Anna (Alida Valli), begins to investigate the mystery of the suspicious ‘third man’ who was present at the time of Harry’s death.

Why You Should See This Film

Winner of the Grand Prix at the 1949 Cannes Film Festival, The Third Man was an instant classic and still resonates to this day. Of the film, acclaimed critic Roger Ebert wrote, “Of all the movies that I have seen, this one most completely embodies the romance of going to the movies.” It will forever be remembered for its artfully expressionistic cinematography with oblique angles and unconventional editing, its superb performances, and its defining and disconcertingly jaunty score played on a zither by Anton Karas. It's little wonder that the British Film Institute voted it as the Best British Film of the 20th Century.

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  • Year: 1949
  • Rating: PG
  • Director: Carol Reed
  • Cast: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli
  • Duration: 93 minutes
  • Language: English
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