The third man

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German title The third man
Original title The Third Man
The third man logo 001.png
Country of production Great Britain
original language English , German
Publishing year 1949
length 104 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Carol Reed
script Graham Greene
production Carol Reed,
Alexander Korda (uncredited),
David O. Selznick (uncredited)
music Anton Karas
camera Robert Krasker
cut Oswald Hafenrichter

The Third Man (AKA: The Third Man ) is an in black and white twisted British film noir by Carol Reed from the year 1949 . The film was based on a script by Graham Greene . The main character is the American author Holly Martins ( Joseph Cotten ). Due to a job offer of his friend Harry Lime ( Orson Welles ), he travels in the Vienna of the postwar period and is drawn there in criminal activity. Alida Valli can be seen in another leading role .

The film's fame was made possible by the Harry Lime theme played by Anton Karas on the zither , the expressionist camera perspectives, Orson Welles' much-cited "cuckoo clock speech" and the final chase through the Vienna sewer system .


Vienna after the Second World War : the city is divided into the occupation sectors of the four victorious powers USA , Soviet Union , France and Great Britain . A fifth, international sector, the Inner City, is administered jointly (i.e. alternately on a monthly basis) by the four powers.

The American Holly Martins, author of cheap Wild West novels , is financially at an end. An offer of work from his childhood friend Harry Lime, who lives in Vienna, comes in handy. On arrival, Martins learns that Harry had recently been killed in a traffic accident right outside his house. At the funeral, the British Major Calloway spoke to him and told him that his deceased friend had been a bad man, which Martins indignantly rejects. Calloway recommends that he fly home on the next plane.

Martins begins his own research and comes across a number of strange coincidences: Harry was run over by his own driver. Two of Harry's acquaintances (Kurtz and Popescu) who were out with him carried the dying man to the sidewalk, and Harry's general practitioner Dr. Winkel, who happened to be present a few minutes later, found out that he was dead on the spot. During his research, Martins also meets Harry's former girlfriend Anna Schmidt, who works as an actress in the Josefstadttheater . During a house search, Anna's papers are revealed to be forgeries and they are retained. Since she comes from Czechoslovakia and lives in Vienna with papers organized by Harry, she is threatened with extradition to the Soviet occupation forces.

The doorman in the house of Harry's apartment innocently tells Martins of a "third man" who helped carry Harry across the street. When Martins tries to persuade him to make a statement to the police, the two of them fight. However, the doorman later asks Martins to come over for another chat that evening. Martins informs Popescu that the doorman has seen a third man. When Martins arrives at the porter at the appointed time, the porter is dead, he was murdered. Martins comes under suspicion even for a moment. After an event by the British Council , he barely escapes two shady persecutors whom Popescu harasses on him.

He is then informed by Major Calloway that he had messed with the most dangerous gang of smugglers in Vienna. Harry Lime ran business with stolen penicillin , which was stretched to maximize profit and which caused permanent harm and even death in those treated. Joseph Harbin, a military hospital employee and member of Harry's gang, put Calloway on this lead, but the man had been missing for a few days.

Martins visits Anna, with whom he has fallen in love, but Harry cannot forget her. As he leaves their house, he notices a man in a doorway across the street who he initially believes to be a pursuer, but then, to his amazement, he recognizes Harry. Martins runs after him, but loses sight of him. Calloway then orders an exhumation . In Harry's coffin lies Calloway's informant Joseph Harbin.

Martins lets Harry through his acquaintances Kurtz and Dr. Winkel know he wants to meet him. On Ferris wheel in Vienna Prater it comes to the encounter, the climax of the film. Both men get into one of the Ferris wheel wagons. During the journey, Harry justifies his penicillin fakes with the insignificance of the lives of individual individuals (whereby the viewer gets the impression that he could throw Martins out of the car at any time). He even admits that he had betrayed his former lover Anna to the Soviet officials so that they would tolerate him in their sector and that she meant nothing to him. Martins turns down Harry's renewed offer to work for him.

Calloway urges Martins to lure Harry from the Soviet-occupied sector of Vienna to one occupied by the Western Allies. In return, he wants to help Anna travel to the West. Martins agrees. When Anna found out at the train station the price at which her departure was made possible, she made Martin's violent accusations and refused to board the train. Martins withdraws his promise to help Calloway. Thereupon Calloway takes Martins to a children's hospital to show him some victims of Harry's machinations. Shocked, Martins now declares that he is ready to work as a decoy for Calloway and hand Harry over to the police. He arranges to meet him in a coffee house.

When Harry gets there, Anna, who found out about the meeting, warned him. He flees into the widely ramified sewer system connected by all five sectors of Vienna, followed by a large police presence. Harry fatally hits one of Calloway's associates, but is himself injured. When he tries to escape through a manhole cover and cannot open it, his fate is sealed. He nods to Martins and implicitly asks him to shoot him, which he does.

In a long final shot you see Martins waiting for Anna after Harry's funeral in Vienna's central cemetery . But this passes him by without giving him a look.




The film producer Alexander Korda asked Graham Greene if he could write a new screenplay for director Carol Reed after Kleines Herz in Not (Original title: The Fallen Idol, 1948). Greene told him about the first paragraph of a story he had sketched on an envelope years earlier:

“A week ago I said goodbye to Harry when his coffin was lowered into the frozen earth in February. So I could not believe my eyes when I met him in London saw the crowds of people of, beach 'with no sign of recognition hurrying to me. "

Korda didn't think the idea was okay. Greene thought of setting the story in Rome or Paris . However, Karl Hartl , Korda's production assistant before the Second World War and now head of Wien-Film , suggested that he move the story to Vienna and shoot the film at the original locations.

Greene received £ 10,000 from Korda and traveled to Vienna to do research and deliver a draft script. Greene was inspired by a visit to the sewer system and a report by a British officer about a ring of penicillin valves operating in Vienna. Korda had hired the British writer and director Elisabeth Montagu (1909–2002), who he had already hired for the production of Anna Karenina , as Austrian advisor ( title sequence ) for Greene's support at the film location in Vienna . In Italy, Greene then wrote a treatment . As Greene later noted, The Third Man was "written not to be read but to be seen". The following script versions were created in close collaboration with Carol Reed. Among other things, the nationalities of some characters and their motivation were changed. So the British Harry Lime became an American, and the use of his slide ring to spread anti-Soviet propaganda was canceled.

Alexander Korda agreed on a co-production with David O. Selznick with a view to distributing the film in the USA . So Joseph Cotten and Alida Valli, who were under contract with Selznick, could be engaged. In return, Selznick received all of the revenue from the American market and artistic control over the US version. After accepting a fee of 100,000  US dollars , Orson Welles took over the role of Harry Lime. Welles stated in later years to have written his dialogues himself; a statement that Frederick Baker's documentary Shadowing the Third Man (2004) shows as untrue. Only the “cuckoo clock speech” was written by Welles. According to various sources, this goes back to a Churchill quote from 1938.

In August 1948, Reed and Greene met with Selznick, who had been given a say on the script, but none of his suggestions were accepted. On the other hand, Reed was able to successfully prevail with his view that the happy ending of the first draft (Holly Martins and Anna get together) would not work. In Greene's later published novel , which was based on the first treatment, the happy ending was retained.


Filming in Vienna, which lasted seven weeks, began in October 1948. A total of three recording teams were employed in parallel, one of them exclusively for the night shots that Robert Krasker took. In order to make the pavement and the streets visible in the night photos, the fire brigade had to keep them constantly wet. In a take on the taxi ride to the British Council event, you can see a fire engine in the background and the firefighters at work. Another team shot the scenes in the sewers. For the third team, the Austrian film veteran Hans Schneeberger was in charge of the camera; he was responsible for the Vienna images in the opening sequence.

Orson Welles was only there for two weeks, so many of his scenes were shot without him or with doubles . These included recordings in the sewer, Harry Lime's first appearance with the cat and the shot in which Harry Lime suddenly appears on the rubble.

The film also contains lines of dialogue in German in the original English that have not been dubbed. In addition to the Austrian actors, the foreign-language leading actors also speak some German sentences, most of them Alida Valli. Paul Hörbiger did not understand English, but spoke his own English sentences, which he learned by heart word for word.

With Bernard Lee and Robert Brown , two later actors of the "M" can be seen in the James Bond films as members of the British military police. Assistant director was Guy Hamilton , later director of several James Bond films.


Harry Limes' grave was faked on the way to the left of the Elchinger family's grave.
Palais Pallavicini on Josefsplatz, in the film Limes residential building

The film was shot at the Vienna Central Cemetery , in the Vienna sewer system and at various locations in the 1st district, the inner city . The Palais Pallavicini (Limes house), the historic Am Hof square and the Hohe Markt are located here on Josefsplatz . Further scenes are the Judengasse , the Mölker Bastei , the churches Maria am Gestade and St. Ruprecht as well as the Reichsbrücke over the Danube.

The scenes in the amusement park of Vienna's Prater , in what was then the Soviet sector of the city, were created - with the exception of the interior shots in the Ferris wheel wagon  - at the original location. The Ferris wheel was reopened in 1947 after restoration work.

Some of the authentic locations were adapted to the requirements of the script: The advertising column on the Am Hof ​​square, through which Lime descends into the sewer system, was just as a dummy as the fountain with the angel sculpture; both do not exist. The “Marc Aurel” café, the scene of the meeting of Harry Lime, Holly Martins and Anna Schmidt, was a backdrop erected on the Hohe Markt.

After filming in Vienna, further recordings were made in Isleworth and Shepperton Studios , London, which ended in March 1949. There, among other things, parts of the chase in the Viennese sewer system were created that had not been shot on the spot.

Film bug

For the rear projection shots in Calloway's Jeep, film material that was obviously not shot in Vienna was used: In the scenes in which Martins and Calloway drive from the cemetery, stone and Celtic crosses can be seen through the car windows instead of the gravestones customary in Vienna, and on the way back from A London double-decker bus drives past in the background Children's Hospital .

On the door of Soviet officer Brodsky across from Calloway's office it says "Russian Liaison Officer". It should have been correctly called "Soviet Military Liaison Mission" or "Soviet Liaison Officer". On Anna Schmidt's forged identity card, “Republique d'Autreich” can be read instead of the correct spelling “Republique d'Autriche”.

When Martins asks Calloway at "Limes' funeral" at the cemetery who is going to be buried there, behind him is a tombstone with the inscription "Resting place of the Elchinger family". Then Martins goes a long way until he reaches Limes' grave. There he stands behind Anna Schmidt, next to whom the same gravestone can be seen again.

Film music

The film music by Anton Karas played on the zither and conveying local Viennese color plays a special role . Reed had Karas, whom he had heard playing in a pub, record pieces on the zither in his hotel room, which had been converted into an improvised recording studio. Whether Reed or producer Korda decided to set Karas' music to the entire film instead of just partial is presented differently. The sources agree that this decision was only made during post-production and that Karas was flown to London for this purpose. The leitmotif , the "Harry Lime theme", became an international bestseller.

Other compositions to be heard in the film are Das alten Lied by Henry Love and Irving Berlin's Managua, Nicaragua.

Film start

British and American versions

The third man premiered in London on August 31, 1949. David O. Selznick produced an eleven-minute shorter version of the film for the USA, as he disliked the unfavorable portrayal of the American hero Holly Martins, among other things. This started on February 2, 1950 in New York . While director Carol Reed spoke the introductory words at the beginning of the film in the British version, Joseph Cotten took on this role in the American version.

German version

The film was released in West German cinemas on January 6, 1950, and launched in Austria on March 10 of the same year. The version was edited by Mars-Film . The script and direction were in the hands of Georg Rothkegel. This version was shortened by about a minute because due to the continuous synchronization, some shots with comprehension problems between local and foreign-language characters no longer made sense. In 1963 Atlas Filmverleih made a new dubbing, but kept the streamlining. In addition, Atlas provided the film with a different opening credits , in which the zither strings seen in the original were replaced by black and white graphics. Gerda von Rüxleben wrote the book for this version, based on the first version. Curt Ackermann directed the dialogue .

The German synchronization also made some changes in terms of content: the interchanged gestures of the porter to heaven and hell were corrected; In the scene after the ride in the Ferris wheel (cuckoo clock monologue), a comment on the Borgias in both versions is ascribed to the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini .

In 2006, The Third Man appeared for the first time in full in Germany on DVD . The Mars synchronization was broadcast several times by ARD stations around 2010, while the Atlas version is the basis of all previous DVD and Blu-ray releases. In 2015 Studiocanal / Arthouse released a special edition without cuts on Blu-ray . The additional scenes are in the English original with German subtitles.

role actor Voice actor 1949 Voice actor 1963
Holly Martins Joseph Cotten Wolfgang Lukschy Horst Niendorf
Anna Schmidt Alida Valli Elisabeth Ried Dagmar Altrichter
Harry Lime Orson Welles Friedrich Joloff Werner Peters
Major Calloway Trevor Howard Hans Nielsen Heinz Dragon
Sergeant Paine Bernard Lee Hans Emons Benno Hoffmann
Baron Kurtz Ernst German Ernst German Erich Musil
Crabbin Wilfrid Hyde-White Wolfgang Kühne Erich Fiedler
Dr. angle Erich Ponto Erich Ponto Wilhelm Borchert
Popescu Siegfried Breuer Siegfried Breuer Curt Ackermann

Hedwig Bleibtreu (Anna's landlady) and Annie Rosar (porter's wife) were taken from the original without any changes. Paul Hörbiger (porter) dubbed himself twice for both synchronized versions. Ernst Deutsch, Erich Ponto and Siegfried Breuer, on the other hand, can only be heard in the first version with their own voices.

The introductory commentary (originally by Carol Reed) was made by Wolfgang Kieling in 1963 .

Film analysis

Genre assignment

Although The Third Man is considered a film noir in some books , his status as a representative of this genre is controversial. According to the unanimous opinion of film historians, the hallmarks of film noir are the urban setting, the morally ambivalent main characters (especially the female ones), the gloomy mood and the often negative outcome of the story, which is sometimes revealed in a framework narrative at the beginning. The gloom and uncertainty are visually underlined by high-contrast, expressively illuminated low-key images and extreme camera perspectives (taken at an angle or from far above or below).

Despite his role models u. a. in French cinema of the late 1930s, however, many historians consider film noir to be genuinely American. (In order to classify films made in Great Britain with elements of noir, some authors coined the term “British noir”, the relevance of which was in turn doubted by others.) While The Third Man by James Monaco , Foster Hirsch and James Naremore without restrictions in their works was performed for film noir, Bruce Crowther positioned it "outside the noir canon". Paul Schrader saw film noir as an American phenomenon and films like The Third Man as "foreign offshoots". Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward even excluded him from their encyclopedia entirely. Phil Hardy's The BFI Companion to Crime and Crowther simply called it a "thriller".

A number of other films made between 1945 and 1950 also used a war-torn metropolis as a setting, including Germany in the Year Zero , The Four in a Jeep or the German “ Trümmerfilme ”. In contrast to most of the examples mentioned, however , The Third Man refrained from open social criticism or political analysis and thus belongs more to the category of films such as Berlin Express (1948) and The Rat from Soho (1950), in which the crime story is in the foreground .

"Inclined camera"

Robert Krasker's weird camera images, the visual trademark of the film and praised by Variety as “of an exceptionally high level” at the start of the film , also gave cause for criticism. Manny Farber of the New Republic called the camera work “pretentious” and said that the tilted camera left the feeling “as if you had seen the film from a fetal position”. According to Bruce Mamer's book, Film Production Technique, reviewers complained that the use of oblique perspectives would lead to predictability and ultimately banality. The rororo film lexicon was also negative about the camera work, such as the excessive use of shadow effects. On the other hand, 50 years after the premiere , Roger Ebert still defended Reed and Krasker's “ruthless” visual style, which conveys a world “that has gotten out of hand”. - The third man remained the only film in Reed in which he made use of this stylistic device.

The social network analysis records all important characters and reflects their importance for the action or the intensity of their contacts.


In his analysis More than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts , James Naremore described the fascination and contradiction of the characters in the film: “Holly Martins, the protagonist and narrator of the story, resembles both a James innocent and a Conradian silent partner. Like Marlow in Heart of Darkness , Martins is a passionate, sentimental romantic, and like Marlow, he's looking for a villain who appears late after he's been described by a multitude of people. "

For Naremore, Lime was “the most melodramatic character in the film - a bold, extravagant crook reminiscent of Fantômas or the Shadow . The naive Martins admires him, and since Joseph Cotten embodies him, one feels reminded of Jed Leland's relationship with Charles Foster Kane. The beautiful and masochistic- romantic Anna [...] longed for him, even after he handed her over to the Soviet authorities. For the two of them and for the audience, Lime offers a glamorous alternative to the social mechanisms in post-war Vienna. ”Even after Limes death, Naremore continues, the film retains the moral ambivalence it created, and even in the final scene, in which Anna carelessly walks past Martins, “he mourns the loss of both of them. In the last few seconds the film seems to be longing for Limes' return, if only because it portrayed the most colorful and 'liveliest' person of all. "

Georg Seeßlen saw a reason for the film's success in the story of a human relationship to which the audience could draw parallels to their everyday experience: “This is how the intrigue of a thriller becomes a reflection of the viewer's own experiences. Suspense is […] also achieved through the psychological process of separating two people who have once been friends. [...] First of all, it is just Holly's efforts to rehabilitate his friend Harry that put Harry in danger and destroy his carefully planned intrigue. And even in Harry's attempts to defend himself by all means and in the mistakes he makes, there is still a remnant of his affection for his former friend. In films like this one, the thriller depicts the destruction of personal relationships, also through political circumstances. "

Political analogies

Since Reed consciously renounced a clear political positioning of the film (as she wished for example by David O. Selznick) and concentrated on the human drama, The Third Man remained open to a wide variety of interpretations. In his article Film in Context: The Third Man , Siegfried Beer quoted three different perspectives: While historian Marc Ferro discovered a clearly anti-communist standpoint and a tragedy against the backdrop of the Cold War in the film , Pauline Kael saw an indictment against the war and its own Effects on the survivors who turned into tired opportunists. Critic Lynette Carpenter, on the other hand, wanted the film to be understood as an appeal to humanity and compassion in the midst of corruption and the fascination of evil. A reference to Austria's political past can be seen in the chase through the sewer system: In a shot in the 96th minute of the film, the abbreviation O5 can be seen on the canal wall, the symbol of the Austrian resistance movement against National Socialism .

According to Adam Piette, author of The Literary Cold War, in an early draft of Greene's organization, Harry Lime's organization served not only the drug trade, but also the spread of American anti-Soviet propaganda. This was organized by the American gang member Cooler (who was later renamed Tyler and eventually rewritten to the character of the Romanian Popescu). “So the concept was a film about the tough choices Britain had to make when working with the US after the war. One of those decisions was to act on the corrupting, subversive, and 'totalitarian' amorality of the Cold War. "

Harry Lime, still a British citizen in the first drafts, became an American while the work on the script continued. He and Holly Martins thus represented two different types of American man for Piette, with Martins being the nice, humane and good American. "Lime is still the product of American underground complicity with the fascist remnants of the war, but this time as an American."

For Piette, the character of Anna was also designed as an analogy : “In the crude cold war power game of the first draft of the script, Tyler and Lime plan to sell Eastern Europe (in the guise of Anna) to the Russians in return for their drug trafficking in the new international ones Zones of war-torn Europe. This corrupt business must be stopped by the Anglo-American alliance Martins-Calloway in order to pave the way for an ethical Europe. The disadvantage of this alliance is that Martins has to betray his alter ego and his friend [...], sacrifice on the altar of the new, sober and pragmatic Anglo-American Cold War. Anna, a collection of romantic clichés about Eastern Europe that has come into being, rejects the Anglo-American approach [...] and is obviously being given up in order to be swallowed up by the ominous Soviet bloc. "

Cuckoo clock speech

A special moment in the film is the monologue improvised by Orson Welles spontaneously during the shooting and received by Winston Churchill as "cuckoo clock" speech that Harry Lime at the Ferris wheel of Vienna Prater holds. He says there:

“In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce ...? The cuckoo clock. "

“In Italy, in the 30 years under the Borgias , there has only been war, terror, murder and blood. But for that there was Michelangelo , Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance . In Switzerland brotherly love prevailed. 500 years of democracy and peace. And what do we get from it? The cuckoo clock ! "

The meaning is: War and terror produce great things, peace and democracy only such banal things as the cuckoo clock. An example of the monologue and improvisation stylistic devices that is excellent in terms of film history and director .

In a conversation with Peter Bogdanovich Welles later confessed: "When the film came out, the Swiss very kindly pointed out to me that they had never made any cuckoo clocks - they all came from the Black Forest , in Bavaria [sic]!" According to Wolfram Knorr Welles resorted to this “historically incorrect garden gnome wall clock picture” to illustrate the cliché of “Switzerland as a kind of cloud cuckoo home ”.


The press response at the start of The Third Man was almost unanimously positive: "[The film] adds additional depth in the drawing of characters and an expanded vocabulary in the cinematic language to the type of breathtaking thrillers that made Alfred Hitchcock famous," praised the New York Time Magazine . The British tabloid Daily Mirror wrote that the film combined "great craftsmanship with 100 percent entertainment value".

More critical voices complained, despite all the stylistic brilliance attested, a lack of substantive depth. "Reed's extraordinary talent," said Dilys Powell in the London Sunday Times , set expectations so high that one felt "a hint of disappointment in the face of well-known tricks and situations". Bosley Crowther sums it up in the New York Times : “With all the hype that has been going on around him, 'The Third Man' is a superbly constructed melodrama - nothing more. It is not an in-depth study of Europe's problems […] It has no 'message'. He does not present a personal point of view. [...] As soon as this is clear, no further objections are required. [...] The highest recognition goes to Mr. Reed, who shaped all the individual parts into a thriller, with great results. "

In Austria, the Arbeiter-Zeitung , unlike most other Viennese newspapers, was also positive: “'The third man' is basically a ripple and has in common with most suspense films that some of the prerequisites of the plot are logically weak. [...] But - does it matter? […] He wants to show an excerpt from the time that went out of joint, in a city that reflects all the madness of that time, with the peculiar, oppressive atmosphere of occupation and insecurity, of hardship and post-war immorality. And that was a masterly success. "

The German criticism also found words of praise. The Protestant film observer saw a successful mixture of entertainment value and aspiration: “An exciting and also internally gripping film. The script, direction and cast (right down to the smallest supporting role) are excellent and convey an in-depth picture of the people of this time. ” Die Zeit described the film as a masterpiece and a“ mirror of continental life ”. “It's played brilliantly,” said Der Spiegel , but saw the main credit for the success of Krasker, Karas, Reed and especially Graham Greene, who “has now written himself to the forefront of the younger generation”: “Graham Greene had more purpose as a sensational script to write. He wanted to portray the nihilism of the post-war years without mercy. "

The positive opinion of the critic has become more solid today. Roger Ebert wrote in 1996, “of all the films I have seen, this one embodies almost completely the romance of going to the cinema” and counted it among his personal “100 great films”. Ebert's verdict is consistent with that of well-known American colleagues such as James Berardinelli , J. Hoberman ( The Village Voice ) and Leonard Maltin and, in the UK, the reviewers of the Guardian , the Independent and Time Out magazine . The lexicon of international films speaks of a “subtle political crime thriller that was given an unmistakable atmosphere by the expressively filmed original locations and Karas' world-famous zither theme”.


Cannes International Film Festival 1949
Grand Prix
British Film Academy Award 1950
Best British Film
Nomination in the Best Film category
Academy Awards 1951
Oscar in the category Best Black and White Camera to Robert Krasker
Nominations in the categories of Best Director and Best Editing

In 2012, The Third Man was voted the best British film of all time by film critics in a survey conducted by the film magazine Sight & Sound . In the list of "Critics' Top 250 Films" it was ranked 73.

Despite being a British production, The Third Man was voted number 57 of the American Film Institute's 100 Best American Films of All Time in 1998 . The British Film Institute voted The Third Man # 1 in 1999 for the Greatest British Films of All Time .


Due to the popularity of the film, numerous radio adaptations were made . In 1951 the Lux Radio Theater of the American radio station CBS broadcast a one-hour radio play version of The Third Man in which Joseph Cotten repeated his film role. Evelyn Keyes spoke the role of Alida Valli, Ted de Corsia that of Orson Welles. Ray Milland took on the role of Joseph Cotten on another broadcast that same year .

1951-1952 aired the British BBC a radio play series with the title The Adventures of Harry Lime . Orson Welles repeated his role as Harry Lime. In terms of time, the Limes' adventures told in the episodes preceded the movie (“ prequel ”). In the US, the series ran under the title The Lives of Harry Lime.

In 1959, Michael Rennie took on the role of Harry Lime in the television series The Third Man, which ran until 1965 , and had nothing in common with the original character except for the name.

In addition to a “ Third Man Museum ”, Vienna also offers a series of guided tours of the locations in the old town and the sewer system. These are offered partly by the City of Vienna and partly by private initiatives.

In June 2013 the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien secured the rights to the material for a musical.

The Burgkino in Vienna's 1st district, one of the oldest cinemas still in use in Vienna (since 1912), has been showing the film The Third Man in the original English version at least three times a week for many years .


The third man is available internationally on DVD and Blu-ray Disc , as is the film music, although many soundtrack releases are post-recorded recordings.


  • Graham Greene: The third man. Easy readers. Klett, Stuttgart / Munich 1991, ISBN 3-12-536251-2 ( English ).
  • Graham Greene: The third man. (Original title: The Third Man, translated by Fritz Burger and Käthe Springer). 9th edition. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-423-11894-1 .
  • Graham Greene: The third man. Translated by Fritz Burger and Käthe Springer. Illustrations by Aljoscha Blau. Afterword by Renate Welsh. Dressler, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 978-3-7915-3601-9 .
  • Jürgen Heizmann: The traitor from lost innocence. Notes on "The Third Man". In: Traitor. Edited by Hans Richard Brittnacher. Projections. Studies on nature, culture and film 9. Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-86916-371-0 , pp. 16-27.
  • Alexander Glück: In the footsteps of the Third Man in Vienna. Pichler, Vienna 2014, ISBN 978-3-85431-664-0 (also published in English).
  • Brigitte Timmermann, Frederick Baker: The third man. On the trail of a classic film. Czernin, Vienna 2002, ISBN 3-7076-0143-9 . (See also the film Shadowing the Third Man by Frederick Baker with the participation of Brigitte Timmermann.)
  • Eva Horn : Graham Greene's Heart of Darkness: Post-War Vienna in The Third Man. In: Michael Hansel, Michael Rohrwasser (Eds.): Cold War in Austria: Literature - Art - Culture. Zsolnay, Vienna 2010, ISBN 978-3-552-05515-5 , pp. 91-107.
  • Lynette Carpenter: "I never knew the old Vienna": Cold War Politics and The Third Man. In: Film Criticism. Volume 11, Fall / Winter 1987, pp. 56-65.
  • Bert Rebhandl : The third man: the rediscovery of a classic film. Czernin Verlag, Vienna 2019, ISBN 978-3-7076-0677-5 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Certificate of Release for The Third Man . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , June 2009 (PDF; test number: 67 2VD V / DVD / UMD).
  2. The third man: Anecdotes from the shooting (2). ( Memento from June 1, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) On: June 21, 2012.
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Shadowing the Third Man. Great Britain / Austria / France / Japan / USA 2004, directed by Frederick Baker.
  4. a b Preface to Brigitte Timmermann, Frederick Baker: The third man. On the trail of a classic film. Czernin, Vienna 2002, ISBN 3-7076-0143-9 , accessed on April 2, 2012.
  5. Elizabeth Varley. (English). In: June 1, 2002, accessed September 18, 2002.
  6. a b Graham Greene: Foreword to The Third Man. 9th edition. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-423-11894-1 , pp. 7-10.
  7. a b c Interview with Graham Greene at a Guardian and National Film Theater event , 1984.
  8. ^ A b Adam Piette: The Literary Cold War, 1945 to Vietnam. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 2009, ISBN 978-0-7486-3527-6 , pp. 27-29.
  9. Among other things, Kay Halle: Irrepressible Churchill - a treasury of Winston Churchill's Wit. The World Publishing Co. 1966, p. 136. Sarah Johnstone, Tom Masters, Vesna Maric: London City Guide. Lonely Planet 2010, ISBN 978-1-74179-226-3 , p. 94.
  10. ^ Charles Drazin: Behind The Third Man. Article in the booklet accompanying the discontinued Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection, accessed on June 6, 2012.
  11. ^ Franz Zwetschi Marischka: Always smile. Amalthea, Vienna / Munich 2001, pp. 110–111.
  12. The third man in the Internet Movie Database (English)
  13. The third man. On: Turner Classic Movies, accessed April 1, 2012.
  14. a b The third man in the lexicon of international filmsTemplate: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used .
  15. ^ Vienna & "The Third Man". On: Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  16. Comparison of the cut versions of the abridged German version and the uncut version of The Third Man on .
  17. The Third Man (1949) in the German synchronous file .
  18. The Third Man (1963) in the German synchronous file .
  19. Z. b. Andrew Spicer: Film noir. Longman, Harlow (England) 2002, ISBN 978-0-582-43712-8 , pp. 175 ff.
  20. Spencer Selby: Dark City: The Film Noir. Mcfarland & Co., Jefferson NC 1984, ISBN 978-0-89950-103-1 , p. 126.
  21. James Monaco: Understanding Film. Art, technology, language, history and theory of film. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1978.
  22. ^ Foster Hirsch: The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir. Da Capo Press, New York 2001, ISBN 0-306-81039-5 .
  23. a b James Naremore: More than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts. University of California Press, Berkeley / Los Angeles / London 1998, ISBN 0-520-21294-0 .
  24. a b Bruce Crowther: Film Noir. Reflections in a dark mirror. Virgin, London 1988, ISBN 0-86287-402-5 , p. 141.
  25. ^ Paul Schrader: Notes on Film Noir. In: Kevin Jackson (Ed.): Schrader on Schrader and Other Writings. Faber & Faber, London / New York 2004.
  26. Alain Silver, Elizabeth Ward (Ed.): Film Noir. An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style. Third Edition, Overlook / Duckworth, New York / Woodstock / London 1992, ISBN 978-0-87951-479-2 .
  27. Phil Hardy (Ed.): The BFI Companion to Crime. University of California Press, Berkeley / Los Angeles 1997, ISBN 0-520-21538-9 , p. 323.
  28. ^ "Camera work on an exceptionally high plane" - The Third Man ( Memento from September 15, 2012 in the web archive ) in Variety , September 6, 1949, accessed on April 3, 2012.
  29. ^ "Pretentious camera [...] a tilted camera that leaves you feeling you have seen the film from a fetal position" - Manny Farber: Negative Space: Manny Faber on the Movies. Da Capo Press, New York 1998, ISBN 0-306-80829-3 , pp. 38-41.
  30. ^ Bruce Mamer: Film Production Technique: Creating the Accomplished Image. Wadsworth, Belmont CA 2009, ISBN 978-0-495-41116-1 , p. 10.
  31. Liz-Anne Bawden (Ed.): Rororo Filmlexikon. Volume 2, Films A – J. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1978.
  32. ^ "Reed and [...] Krasker, also devised a reckless, unforgettable visual style. More shots, I suspect, are tilted than are held straight; they suggest a world out of joint. ”- Roger Ebert: Review in Chicago Sun-Times, December 8, 1996, accessed March 4, 2012.
  33. Main characters in the film Citizen Kane , 1941, also played by Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles.
  34. Georg Seeßlen: Cinema of fear. The story and mythology of the movie thriller. Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1980, ISBN 3-499-17350-6 , pp. 154–157.
  35. ^ Siegfried Beer: Film in Context: The Third Man. In: History Today. Volume 51, No. 5, London 2001, p. 46.
  36. Quoted from Elisabeth Knowles (Ed.): Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2007, ISBN 978-0-19-920-8951 , p. 114 and Ernst Schnabel : A day like tomorrow . Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, 1952, p. 49.
  37. Interview with Graham Greene at a Guardian and National Film Theater event , 1984.
  38. "When the picture came out, the Swiss very nicely pointed out to me that they've never made any cuckoo clocks - they all came from the Schwarzwald, in Bavaria!" Quoted from: Orson Welles, Peter Bogdanovich: This is Orson Welles . Published by Jonathan Rosenbaum . HarperCollins, New York 1992, ISBN 0-06-016616-9 , p. 221.
  39. Wolfram Knorr: It greets the cuckoo . Die Weltwoche , edition 32/2013.
  40. ^ The Third Man - Critical Reception. British Film Institute, accessed June 6, 2012.
  41. "[…] it adds an extra depth of character insight and a new texture of pictorial eloquence to the kind of spellbinding thriller that made Alfred Hitchcock famous." - Review in: Time Magazine, February 6, 1950, accessed on June 6 2012.
  42. ^ Reg Whitley: "[...] the film combines superb artistry with 100 per cent. entertainment value […] ”- Review in: Daily Mirror, December 2, 1949.
  43. "Mr. Reed has never before elaborated his style so desperately, nor used so many tricks in the presentation of a film "- Review by Dilys Powell in: The Sunday Times. September 4, 1949.
  44. "'The Third Man,' for all the awesome hoopla it has received, is essentially a first-rate contrivance in the way of melodrama — and that's all. It isn't a penetrating study of any European problem of the day [... ] It doesn't present any "message." It hasn't a point of view. […] Once it is clearly understood, there is no need for further asides. [...] top credit must go to Mr. Reed for molding all possible elements into a thriller of super consequence. ”- Bosley Crowther: Review. In: New York Times . February 3, 1950, Retrieved April 3, 2012.
  45. ^ William Cook: The Third Man's view of Vienna. In: The Guardian . December 8, 2006, accessed June 6, 2012.
  46. ^ Review in Arbeiter-Zeitung , No. 60, March 12, 1950, accessed April 4, 2012.
  47. Protestant Film Observer No. 48, 1950.
  48. The Third Man - A Cinematic Masterpiece. In: Die Zeit , No. 2/1950.
  49. The third man is wanted . In: Der Spiegel . No. 40 , 1949 ( online review).
  50. "Of all the movies I have seen, this one most completely embodies the romance of going to the movies." - Article by Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times of December 8, 1996, accessed on August 30, 2012.
  51. ^ Roger Ebert: Great Movies: The First 100. At: Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  52. Critics' mirror on, accessed August 30, 2012, and Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide. Signet / New American Library, New York 2007, p. 1385.
  53. See the reviews in The Guardian in The Independent ( Memento of May 25, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) of August 11, 2006 and in Time Out No. 1877 of August 2006, accessed on August 31, 2012.
  54. ^ Sight & Sound - The Greatest Films Poll. British Film Institute, accessed August 30, 2012.
  55. 100 greatest American movies of all time. American Film Institute, accessed April 2, 2012.
  56. The Third Man - The Musical. Rights secured for Vienna! At: Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  57. [1]
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on September 11, 2012 .