Welcome to the first episode of Section F – our Spy Movie track on the Spybrary Spy Podcast. Our handpicked hosts and guests discuss their favorite spy movies both the classics and the hidden gems of spy films. Today Section F delve into the classic film ‘The Third Man,' discussing its plot, rewatchability, and notable moments. The music and cinematography of the film are also explored.
Meet Your Section F – Spy Film Hosts.
Producer: Shane Whaley
You can also watch this Third Man discussion!
The question of whether ‘The Third Man‘ can be considered a spy movie is debated, with the moral ambiguity and themes of betrayal being highlighted. The influence of real-life spy Kim Philby on the story is examined, and the charm and complexity of the character Harry Lime are discussed. The iconic Ferris wheel scene and its cinematography are analyzed.
The episode concludes with the hosts sharing their pitches for why someone should watch ‘The Third Man.' In this episode, the hosts discuss Carroll Reed's trilogy of films, including Odd Man Out, The Fallen Idol, and The Third Man. They highlight the unique elements of The Third Man, such as the untranslated German dialogue and the suspenseful scene with the child pointing at the murderer.
The hosts also recommend other films for fans of The Third Man, such as The Spy in Black, Berlin Express, and Cornered. They mention books like The Prague Coup and Night Falls on the City by Sarah Gainham that provide further immersion into the post-war Vienna setting. Lastly, they suggest a double feature of Casablanca and The Third Man as bookends to the themes discussed.
- Carroll Reed's trilogy of films, including Odd Man Out, The Fallen Idol, and The Third Man, are highly recommended.
- The Third Man has unique elements that contribute to its suspenseful atmosphere, such as untranslated German dialogue and the scene with the child pointing at the murderer.
- Other films recommended for fans of The Third Man include The Spy in Black, Berlin Express, and Cornered.
- Books like The Prague Coup and Night Falls on the City provide further immersion into the post-war Vienna setting.
- A double feature of Casablanca and The Third Man can be an interesting exploration of themes of disillusionment and naivety.
That and more in this episode of the Spybrary Spy Podcast.
More About The Third Man (1949)
The Third Man is a 1949 film noir directed by Carol Reed, written by Graham Greene, and starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles and Trevor Howard, set in post-war Vienna. The film centres on American Holly Martins (Cotten) who arrives in the city to accept a job with his friend Harry Lime (Welles), only to learn that Lime has died. Martins decides to stay in Vienna and investigate the suspicious death.
The atmospheric use of black-and-white expressionist cinematography by Robert Krasker, harsh lighting, and subtle “Dutch angle” camera technique are major features of The Third Man, combined with the iconic theme music by Anton Karas, bombed-out locations, and acclaimed performances from the cast. The style evokes the atmosphere of an exhausted, cynical, post-war Vienna at the start of the Cold War.
Greene wrote the novella as preparation for the screenplay. Karas's title composition “The Third Man Theme” topped the international music charts in 1950, bringing international fame to the previously unknown performer. The Third Man is considered one of the greatest films of all time, celebrated for its acting, musical score, and atmospheric cinematography.
In 1999, the British Film Institute voted The Third Man the greatest British film of all time. In 2011, a poll for Time Out ranked it the second-best British film ever.
The Third Man Full Cast
Orson Welles as Harry Lime
Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins
Alida Valli (credited as Valli) as Anna Schmidt
Trevor Howard as Major Calloway
Paul Hörbiger as Karl, Lime's porter (credited as Paul Hoerbiger)
Ernst Deutsch as “Baron” Kurtz
Erich Ponto as Dr. Winkel
Siegfried Breuer as Popescu
Hedwig Bleibtreu as Anna's old landlady
Bernard Lee as Sergeant Paine
Wilfrid Hyde-White as Crabbin
Looking for more spy movie content then check out our John le Carre Movie Club – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
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