Classic thriller written by Graham Greene and starring Orson Welles in which a writer sets about investigating the death of a friend in post-World War II Vienna. Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), a pulp Western writer, arrives in the Austrian capital expecting to take up a job with his old acquaintance, Harry Lime (Welles). When he is informed that Lime died a week previously in a car accident, Martins is intrigued by inconsistencies in the accounts of the death and decides that he can't leave the city without investigating matters further. As a consequence, he finds himself drawn into a web of intrigue and searching for the elusive 'third man' who was at the scene of Lime's death. When the head of the local military police, Major Calloway (Trevor Howard), informs him that Lime was involved in black market drug distribution, the plot thickens even further...
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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