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The Third Man: Special Edition [DVD] [1949]

4.6 out of 5 stars 227 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard, Bernard Lee
  • Directors: Carol Reed
  • Producers: Alexander Korda
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, PAL, Special Edition, Mono
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Sept. 2006
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (227 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HEVTEA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,232 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

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...

From Amazon.co.uk

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
One of the best crafted and well acted films of all time. There are no slack moment, no wasted lines, no superfluous characters, and the story is just brilliant. The moment with the cat round Harry's ankles and then he's exposed by a light is one of my single favourite moments in film. The blu-ray is excellent and no more than you would expect. This film should be in every lover of a good story collection. Being in balck and white adds more to this film, it adds to the bleakness of the Vienna setting, I think being in colour would have detracted from the film to be honest. I can, and do, watch this film over and over, there is always something new to enjoy, or favourite moments to relive. I am a huge Graham Greene fan, the adaptations of his work into film rarely lets down the viewer, he had a real eye for a story and they translate so very well to film.
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Format: Blu-ray
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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By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Feb. 2007
Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a review of the movie not the specific edition. I'm not a film historian or a serious critic so I had a somewhat naive viewpoint when I watched this movie. Just so you know how naive I was, I was actually taken by surprise when a certain famous actor showed up playing what I now know is considered to be one of his iconic roles. As with all older films, it can sometimes be hard to appreciate how amazing they must have been in their original context. I could see a modern moviegoer finding the plot a bit lacking (there is no real mystery here). But something that is perhaps a bit hard to appreciate now is that they actually filmed this on location in Vienna, which must have been no small feat (and expensive?) in 1949. Because of this, it gives the film an atmosphere that would be impossible to recreate on a hollywood film lot. Vienna's great architectural beauty is allowed to starkly contrast with extensive WWII ruins. The crazy wide angle camera shots combined with the stark lighting made me feel as though I was stalking the tranquil yet slightly menacing streets right along with the main character. As I already said, the plot was not filled with twists and turns or was really in any way surprising, but instead was an interesting examination of the many different faces of morality. One of the more interesting characters was that of Anna Schmidt, who showed herself to be fiercely loyal and yet at the same time oddly amoral, perhaps as a direct result of her more than likely intense experiences during the war. And I have to say the "cuckoo clock" speech was certainly one to remember. A great movie, I'm glad I watched it.
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