The Third Man


Directed By

Carol Reed


Upon its release in 1949, Carol Reed’s atmospheric thriller The Third Man instantly became a classic, winning the Grand Prix at Cannes, a BAFTA for Best British Film, and the Oscar for Best Cinematography for Robert Krasker. Featuring some of cinema’s most memorable set pieces and quotable lines, the film’s Viennese locations quickly etch themselves in the memory – the vast sewers, the Ferris wheel, the elegant avenues of its central cemetery. The city may have been bombed out and strewn with rubble, divided into four sectors by the Allies, but it still stood tall in all its faded grandeur.

Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), a writer of pulp Westerns, arrives in post-war Vienna on the invitation of his childhood friend Harry Lime. But on arrival he finds that Harry has recently been killed by a car whilst crossing the street, leaving a grief-stricken lover, Anna (Alida Valli). When local British investigating office Calloway (Trevor Howard) claims that Lime was an unsavoury criminal, Martins accepts an offer from a local book club to stay in Vienna in order to clear his friend’s name. As he investigates his friend’s last hours, he grows closer to the doomed Anna, and learns of an unidentified “third man” at the scene of the accident, who may hold the key to the deepening mystery surrounding Harry’s death.

The Third Man has since been acknowledged as the masterwork of many of its key players – Reed, Cotten, Welles as actor, and novelist / sometime screenwriter Graham Greene, who wrote the script holed up in the now legendary Sacher Hotel, where Martins stays in the film. Then unknown, composer Anton Karas was a musician for hire playing in the wine gardens of Vienna when Carol Reed first encountered him. He then brought Karas to London for 6 weeks to work on the soundtrack to the film and the resulting unique and melancholy zither score became a worldwide phenomenon in itself.

Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard And Orson Welles
Other Credits

Written By Graham Greene
Music by Anton Karas
Cinematography by Robert Krasker

Release Date
20 July 2015
  • New The Third Man: A Filmmaker’s Influence – a documentary featuring exclusive interviews with fans such as Martin Scorsese, Ben Wheatley, Hossein Amini
  • New Restoring The Third Man
  • A Dangerous Edge: documentary on Graham Greene
  • Audio commentary with Guy Hamilton, Angela Allen and Simon Callow
  • Shadowing The Third Man documentary
  • Interview and zither performance by Cornelia Mayer
  • The Third Man Interactive Vienna Tour
  • The Third Man on the Radio
  • Guardian NFT Interview with Joseph Cotten (audio only)
  • Guardian NFT Interview withGraham Greene (audio only)
  • Joseph Cotten’s Alternative Opening Narration
  • Trailer
  • English SDH
Restoration Details

Having identified five different potential elements of The Third Man to use, the evidence, after scrupulous comparison, suggested that the best quality one from which to work would be a fine grain master positive struck from the original negative.

Scanning at 4k resolution, the ARRI has the capability to disengage the pins for archive work that, due to some minor shrinkage on the source element, allowed us to gain a safe scan of The Third Man. The integrity of the filmed image is paramount and the intention was to produce a restoration that balances the benefits of higher resolution and film technology but is akin to a first print showing. On this project a combination of Nucoda, MTI and Diamant were used to their individual strengths. Release prints were used as a reference for the grade: these were put side by side with the digital image as a guide for a first pass, setting the contrast levels and matching the shots within each scene to get an even flow throughout the film. Deluxe Restoration are immensely honoured to have been chosen to by STUDIOCANAL to work on the The Third Man to deliver the definitive 4K scan and restoration of this classic piece of cinema.

Restoration: Deluxe, UK

Senior Colourist: Stephen Bearman

Related Titles

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Ken Loach1967
Joseph Losey1964
Richard Lester1974
Sam Peckinpah1977

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