Just in

Classic Cinema/The Third Man /Sky Arts

This was a tribute to the recently passed film critic Derek Malcolm – a keen admirer of Carol Reed’s 1949 classic.

For most cinema buffs this would be high on the list of their favourite films, justifying the praise that – however many times you have seen it – you start watching for a few minutes and soon get caught up in it and see the whole film.

It has all the elements of great film: a strong cast comprising Trevor Howard, Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli and Orson Welles; the haunting signature music played on the zither by Antoine Karas; a screen play written by Graham Greene; superb cinematography and the atmosphere of a bombed-out Vienna in 1949.

Reed considered Noel Coward for the rôle of Harry Lime immortalised by Orson Welles.

The great actor proved elusive and had to be chased round Rome, Florence and Nice before he was finally cast.  Just as well he was, as one cannot imagine the Ferris wheel scene – nor the scene when the cat snuggles up to his shoes in a portico – played so well by another actor.

About eight years ago I went to Vienna with Bob Tickler and his p/a Polly and we went on the The Third Man tour.

Ever the joker, Bob assumed the role of Harry Lime, scurrying away down a street actually played in the film by assistant director Guy Hamilton as Welles had not yet joined the set – and we were much amused by Polly, in an elegant cream Ted Baker coat, looking so fearful she would be lowered into a sewer.

We also visited the exact portico where Harry Lime appeared with a playful smile and – in a nice touch – then repaired to a café where the theme tune was played.

The Sky team of film critics – Ian Jarvis, Neil Nathan, Steven Armstrong and of course Derek Malcolm – pay proper tribute to it.

Along with Brief Encounter, I’m All Right Jack, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Lawrence Of Arabia, Rebecca, Zulu!, Alfie, The Italian Job, Get Carter  and The Long Good Friday it is esteemed as one of Britain’s finest post-War films.



Avatar photo
About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts