15 For 15: Celebrating Rialto Pictures

The Third Man

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The Third Man
Carol Reed, 1949
UK | 104m minutes

In postwar Vienna, pulp Western writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives to meet up with his old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles), only to find that he’s dead—or is he? As the supremely naive Martins descends through multiple levels of deception, tracking down Lime’s erstwhile actress girlfriend (Alida Valli) and liaising with British Army policeman Trevor Howard, the plot thickens. With its Vienna locations (including the gigantic Prater ferris wheel), tilted camera angles and Anton Karas’s unforgettable zither theme, The Third Man is a triumph of richly cinematic atmosphere. Then there is Welles, arriving in one of the greatest star entrances ever, and adding the famous “cuckoo clock” speech to Graham Greene’s original script. Nominated for three Academy Awards (including a win for Robert Krasker’s extraordinary cinematography) and winner of the Palme d’Or (then called the Grand Prize) at the 1949 Cannes Film Festival.

Series: 15 For 15: Celebrating Rialto Pictures

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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