101 Years of Orson Welles- The Third Man

Aug 14, 2016

(1949) In rubble-strewn postwar Vienna, its occupation divided among four powers, Joseph Cotten’s pulp Western writer Holly Martins arrives to meet up with his old friend Harry Lime, only to find that he’s dead — or is he? And as the supremely naïve Cotten, a monoglot stranger in a strange land, descends through the levels of deception, and as he discovers his own friend’s corruption, the moral choices loom. A triumph of atmosphere — with its Vienna locations (including the gigantic Riesenrad ferris wheel and the dripping sewers), its tilted camera angels, its Robert Krasker-shot shadows, and Anton Karas’s unforgettable zither theme — and with its stars in perhaps their most iconic roles: bereted Trevor Howard at his most Britishly military; Alida Valli, here truly enigmatic and Garboesque; and Welles’ Harry Lime, arriving in one of the greatest star entrances ever, and adding the famous “cuckoo clock” speech to Greene’s original script, with the whole topped by its legendary, almost endlessly drawn-out finale shot. Three Oscar nominations: for director Reed, editor Oswald Hafenrichter, and cinematographer Krasker, with a win for the latter; the Grand Prize at Cannes; and the only film on both the AFI and BFI Top 100 lists of, respectively, the greatest American and British films (#1 for the Brits), as well as being named The Greatest Foreign Film of All Time… by the Japanese! 35mm. Approx. 104 mins.-Film Forum