The Third Man: Special Edition [DVD] 
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
loved every minute ,just as I remembered it when I first went to see it,
they don't make them like that anymore,
Fancy a classic black and white thriller. You could jot do better that giving this monster Classic a go. We had never seen it and we're both being a bit experimental by listing it. Read morePublished 18 days ago by A. West
This was the one film (seen in my teens) that made me aware of a wider world, far outside my cocooned existence.Published 24 days ago by Sonia Graham
A good film if you like your classics. Obviously there are no special effects, just good "old fashioned" acting. Read morePublished 28 days ago by rhoffers
One of history ' s greatest films and a good looking blu-ray too...Published 1 month ago by stefan adler
A classic film and many of the moments are iconic - though some techniques seem sooo dated now. The image remastering is good but the sound is not, it's fine in parts but quite... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tarrquin