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Criterion Collection: Third Man [Blu-ray] [1949] [Region A] [US Import]

Orson Welles , Joseph Cotten , Carol Reed    Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)

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Criterion Collection: Third Man [Blu-ray] [1949] [Region A] [US Import] + Citizen Kane [Blu-ray] [1941]
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Product details

  • Actors: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard, Bernard Lee
  • Directors: Carol Reed
  • Writers: Orson Welles, Carol Reed, Alexander Korda, Graham Greene
  • Producers: Carol Reed, Alexander Korda, David O. Selznick
  • Format: Black & White, DTS Surround Sound, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 16 Dec 2008
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001EP8EKS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,400 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The fractured Europe post-World War II is perfectly captured in Carol Reed's masterpiece thriller, set in a Vienna still shell-shocked from battle. Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) is an alcoholic pulp writer come to visit his old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). But when Cotton first arrives in Vienna, Lime's funeral is under way. From Lime's girlfriend and an occupying British officer, Martins learns of allegations of Lime's involvement in racketeering, which Martins vows to clear from his friend's reputation. As he is drawn deeper into post-war intrigue, Martins finds layer upon layer of deception, which he desperately tries to sort out. Welles' long-delayed entrance in the film has become one of the hallmarks of modern cinematography and it is just one of dozens of cockeyed camera angles that seem to mirror the off-kilter post-war society. Cotten and Welles give career-making performances and the Anton Karas zither theme will haunt you. --Anne Hurley

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent package. 15 Aug 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I see that Amazon have been merging review lists of movies with any similarity in the name, making a complete mess of product identification, so please note that this review applies to the 2-DISK SPECIAL EDITION DVD SET.

Of course I love the movie - it's in my all-time top ten, probably because of the noir visuals, the sly character and dialogue of Harry Lime, plus his famous entrance to the movie, and the unique Anton Karas zither score. I can see why some find the latter annoying: it's the kind of music that can go on and on in your head forever! But hey, I love it anyway.

The quality of this transfer is excellent, the picture is stable and clean, the audio quality is likewise. I see that others have complained about picture quality in a different release, so I just wanted to emphasise that the special edition does not have that problem.

The special edition comes with a retrospective making-of documentary which was certainly quite interesting, though obviously limited in what it can do now that just about everyone involved has since passed away.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Studio Canal Third Man Blu-ray 17 July 2012
By Mandog
Pretty disappointing Blu-ray of the Third Man. Not any better in quality really than my DVD copy or the version shown on digital television in the United States by Turner Classic Movies via digital cable. Picture quite lacking in contrast, very bland, no different from many other old black and white unrestored films shown on cable TV. Certainly didn't look like a HD release of a restored film master. Details were OK, pretty sharp, but nothing like I have seen on other restored old films transferred to Blu-ray where you can't believe the fine detail, seeing the pores and tiny wrinkles on peoples faces and subtle textures in clothing. I had to boost my HD TV contrast up high to get an approximation of a decent picture, and that was not very satisfactory. I would only recommend this to someone who does not already own a good DVD of the film, this Blu-ray won't look much better. It is not bad, just a disappointment for a Blu-ray. Also, my disc cover states English subtitles, but the subtitle menu on my disc only shows German, Spanish, French and Dutch or no subtitles, so you may not have English subtitles. My disc is a Spanish Studio Canal Blu-ray release by Universal, and the cover states "perfect image". Well, that is certainly a gross exaggeration and let down for a film fan of movies from the 30s through 50s who has many many hundreds of old films in his collection. I have numerous Blu-rays of old black and white films and TV shows that look better than this one. Also, Studio Canal has one of those long obnoxious forced ads for their other releases at disc startup that you cannot skip over or get to the menu from, but must fast forward to get past. Hopefully I can come across a copy of the Criterion Blu-ray of this film somewhere. Not an impressive introduction to Studio Canal Blu-ray, give this a pass if you already have a DVD version.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. Blu
This is a review of the first BD release of "The Third Man" not to be Region A locked, coming after Criterion's Region A locked transfer which is now out of print after their rights to the title expired and were subsequently bought up by Studio Canal.

I have not seen Criterion's BD, but having compared still screenshots from the Criterion release, I must admit that thís version does appear inferior, but not vastly so. Generally the image quality is very good for a 61 year old film. Close-ups are often very richly detailed, showing texture, sharpness and well balanced b/w tones. Welles's agonised face seeking a way out in the sewer, Valli lying in bed before her re-arrest and many shots of Cotten digesting new revelations are the stuff of HD dreams. But some mid-range shots are a little disappointing, particularly bright outdoor shots (e.g. some graveyard scenes) where the contrast is a little wonky and there is some unsettling image softness, which occasionally looks as though some DNR might have been applied. That is not to say that the film is grain-free, and the grain that is present is never likely to offend any but the most sensitive.

The best news is that the most iconic scenes seem to have come out of this transfer best: Harry Lime appearing in the doorway, the ferris wheel scenes, and the sewer chase all look really rather splendid. The detail on the stones of the sewer interior is very impressive at times.

The worst news is that more detail clearly was possible. The texture of people's coats looks more detailed and real in Criterion shots. Those who have seen it report better contrasts and richer blacks; although the blacks in this version are actually quite solid, and the screenshots I have seen don't make it clear that contrasts are much better.
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully atmospheric 11 Feb 2007
By hillbank68 TOP 100 REVIEWER
This glorious film is a true classic, and a historic document as well as marvellous cinema, with its footage of post-War Vienna, a divided and unhappy city beginning to come to terms with itself. Everything about it is memorable - the naggingly catchy zither tune by Anton Karas which opens it (the Harry Lime theme), the eerie black and white photography, Graham Greene's excellently mysterious plotline, and in particular the performances, not so much of Joseph Cotten, who is fine and doesn't let the side down, as of Trevor Howard trying to make good British sense of an out-of-control situation, Alida Valli as Lime's doomed, tragic, world-weary, stunning girlfriend and Orson Welles as Harry Lime himelf, one of the most memorably delayed entries in all cinema, seductive and sinister at the same time. It is beautiful to the eye and completely compelling, one of the very great films.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent film, Welles at his very very best
Published 12 days ago by p cox
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and wonderfully atmospheric. Post war Europe torn and ripped...
Dark and wonderfully atmospheric. Post war Europe torn and ripped apart and open for business for any one on the make. Read more
Published 13 days ago by bondy
5.0 out of 5 stars YES!
Published 29 days ago by linda rybarczyk
5.0 out of 5 stars Dance to the zither
Wonderful movie. Thank goodness for Blu-ray!
Published 1 month ago by Rock Hyrax
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Still part of the same present,
Published 2 months ago by David J. Clifton
5.0 out of 5 stars Art forms collide
There isn't a word for the art that is `The Third Man'.

It is a film, certainly, but it is so much more than a mere movie. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Hamish Adam
3.0 out of 5 stars Canal Blu Ray Single Disc - Better than some versions but not as good...
Although infinitely better than the appalling BFI "restoration' of several year's back, this Studio Canal Blu Ray edition is not up to the standards of the Criterion Region A... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Adrian Drew
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece
must see classic, great price on Amazon, thanks!
Published 2 months ago by Terich
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Mr D J Mannion
5.0 out of 5 stars Consistently voted 'the best thriller movie of all time
This Criterion Collection version is the definitive, newly restored version of The Third Man. Consistently voted 'the best thriller movie of all time. I am proud to own it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tim Costello
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