The Third Man

Synopsis: An out of work pulp fiction novelist, Holly Martins, arrives in a post war Vienna divided into sectors by the victorious allies, and where a shortage of supplies has led to a flourishing black market. He arrives at the invitation of an ex-school friend, Harry Lime, who has offered him a job, only to discover that Lime has recently died in a peculiar traffic accident. From talking to Lime's friends and associates Martins soon notices that some of the stories are inconsistent, and determines to discover what really happened to Harry Lime.
Director(s): Carol Reed
Production: Rialto Pictures
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
93 min

?? [ Bells Chiming ]

?? [ Zither ]

[ Man Narrating ]

l never knew the old Vienna

before the war...

with its Strauss music,

its glamor and easy charm.


suited me better.

l really got to know it in

the classic period of the black market.

We'd run anything if people wanted it

enough and had the money to pay.

Of course, a situation like that

does tempt amateurs...

but, you know, they can't stay

the course like a professional.

Now the city, it's divided

into four zones, you know,

each occupied by a power-- the American,

the British, the Russian and the French.

But the center of the city,

that's international,

policed by an international patrol,

one member of each of the four powers.

Wonderful ! What a hope they had,

all strangers to the place...

and none of them

could speak the same language,

except a sort of smattering

of German.

Good fellows, on the whole.

Did their best, you know.

Vienna doesn't really look any worse

than a lot of other European cities.

Bombed about a bit.

Oh, wait. l was gonna tell you

about Holly Martins,

an American, came all the way

here to visit a friend of his.

The name was Lime.

Harry Lime.

Now, Martins was broke, and Lime

had offered him some sort of a job.

Anyway, there he was, poor chap,

happy as a lark and without a cent.

- Passport, please.

- Oh.

-What's the purpose of your visit here ?

-A friend offered me a job.

- Where are you staying ?

- With him. 15 Stiffgasse.

- His name ?

- Lime. Harry Lime.

- Okay.

- Thought he'd be here to meet me.

?? [ Man Singing ln German ]

[ Bell Rings ]

[ Man Speaking German ]

- Speak English ?

- English ?

[ Mutters ]

A little, little.

[ Speaking German ]

Ten minutes too late.

- Already gone.

- Who ?

Mmm, his friends

and, uh, no--

- Uh, coffin.

- Coffin ?

Mr. Lime's.

An accident.

Knocked over by a car,

here in front of the house.

Have seen it myself.

Killed at once, immediately.

Already in hell...

or in heaven.

Sorry for the gravediggers.

Hard work. lt is frost.

Can you tell me, uh,

who's the--

A fellow called Lime.

[ Speaking German ]

[ Speaking German ]

[ Priest Continues ln German ]

[ Mourners Repeating Priest ]

[ German ]

Like a lift to town ?

l've got a car here.


- My name's Calloway.

- Martins.

- You a friend of Lime ?

- Yeah.

- Been here long ?

- No.

You've had a bit of a shock, haven't

you ? You could do with a drink.

- Could you buy me one ?

- Of course.

- Thanks.

- Schmolka ?

l guess nobody knew Harry

like he did, or like l did.

- How long ago ?

- Back in school.

l was never so lonesome

in my life till he showed up.

- When did you see him last ?

- September, '39.

- When the business started ?

- Mm-hmm.

- See much of him before that ?

- Once in a while.

- Best friend l ever had.

- That sounds like a cheap novelette.

[ Groans ]

Well, l write cheap novelettes.

l'm afraid l've never heard of you.

What's your name again ?

- Holly Martins.

- No, sorry.

You ever hear of

The Lone Rider of Santa Fe ?

Can't say that l have.

Death at Double-X Ranch ?

Uh, raunch.

- Nope.

- [ Groans ]

He must've known l was broke.

He even sent me an airplane ticket.

- lt's a shame.

- What ?

Him dying like that.

Best thing that

ever happened to him.

What are you trying to say ?

He was about the worst

racketeer in this city.

- Policeman, huh ?

- Come on, have another drink.

No, l never did like policemen.

l have to call them sheriffs.

- Ever seen one ?

- Pin it on a dead man.

Some petty racket

with gasoline or something.

Just like a cop.

You're a real cop, l suppose.

- lt wasn't petrol.

- So it wasn't petrol.

So it was tires

or saccharin or--

Why don't you catch

a few murderers for a change ?

Well, you could say that murder

was part of his racket.

lt's all right, Paine. He's only

a scribbler with too much drink in him.

Take Mr. Holly Martins home.

Holly Martins, sir ?

The, uh, the writer ?

The author of

Death at Double-X Ranch ?

- [ Martins ] Listen, Callaghan--

- Calloway. l'm English.

You're not going to close your

files at a dead man's expense.

So you're going to find me

the real criminal ? Sounds

like one of your stories.

When l'm finished with you,

you'll leave Vienna.

Here's some army money. lt should see

you through tonight at Sacher's Hotel,

if you don't drink too much

in the bar.

We'll keep a seat for you

on tomorrow's plane.

Please be careful, sir.

Up we come.

- Written anything lately ?

- [ Calloway ] Take him to Sacher's.

Don't hit him again

if he behaves.

And you go carefully there.

lt's a military hotel.

l'm so glad to have met you, sir.

l've read quite a few of your books.

- Auf Wiedersehen.

- l like a good western.

That's what l like about them. You can

pick them up and put them down anytime.

- Oh, Mr. Hartman ?

- Yes, sir ?

Mr. Calloway said this gentleman's

got to have a room for the night.

Passport, please.

Can't very well

introduce you to everybody.

Would you mind

filling this in ?

- Mr. Crabbin.

- What is it, sergeant ?

- Mr. Holly Martins, the author.

- Who ?

- Thought you might be interested.

- Never heard of him.

He's very good, sir.

l've read quite a few of his books.

Author ? Martins ?

Thank you, sergeant.

Mr. Martins ?

My name's Crabbin.

l represent

the C.R.S. of G.H.Q.

- You do ?

- Yes. Cultural Reeducation Section.

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Graham Greene

Henry Graham Greene (2 October 1904 – 3 April 1991), better known by his pen name Graham Greene, was an English novelist regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Combining literary acclaim with widespread popularity, Greene acquired a reputation early in his lifetime as a major writer, both of serious Catholic novels, and of thrillers (or "entertainments" as he termed them). He was shortlisted, in 1966 and 1967, for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Through 67 years of writings, which included over 25 novels, he explored the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world, often through a Catholic perspective. Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a Roman Catholic novelist, rather than as a novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes are at the root of much of his writing, especially the four major Catholic novels: Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair; which are regarded as "the gold standard" of the Catholic novel. Several works, such as The Confidential Agent, The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Human Factor, and his screenplay for The Third Man, also show Greene's avid interest in the workings and intrigues of international politics and espionage. Greene was born in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire into a large, influential family that included the owners of the Greene King Brewery. He boarded at Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire, where his father taught and became headmaster. Unhappy at the school, he attempted suicide several times. He went up to Balliol College, Oxford, to study history, where, while an undergraduate, he published his first work in 1925—a poorly received volume of poetry, Babbling April. After graduating, Greene worked first as a private tutor and then as a journalist – first on the Nottingham Journal and then as a sub-editor on The Times. He converted to Catholicism in 1926 after meeting his future wife, Vivien Dayrell-Browning. Later in life he took to calling himself a "Catholic agnostic". He published his first novel, The Man Within, in 1929; its favourable reception enabled him to work full-time as a novelist. He supplemented his novelist's income with freelance journalism, and book and film reviews. His 1937 film review of Wee Willie Winkie (for the British journal Night and Day), commented on the sexuality of the nine-year-old star, Shirley Temple. This provoked Twentieth Century Fox to sue, prompting Greene to live in Mexico until after the trial was over. While in Mexico, Greene developed the ideas for The Power and the Glory. Greene originally divided his fiction into two genres (which he described as "entertainments" and "novels"): thrillers—often with notable philosophic edges—such as The Ministry of Fear; and literary works—on which he thought his literary reputation would rest—such as The Power and the Glory. Greene had a history of depression, which had a profound effect on his writing and personal life. In a letter to his wife, Vivien, he told her that he had "a character profoundly antagonistic to ordinary domestic life," and that "unfortunately, the disease is also one's material." William Golding described Greene as "the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man's consciousness and anxiety." He died in 1991, at age 86, of leukaemia, and was buried in Corseaux cemetery. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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