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4 astonishing facts about “The Third Man”

Have you seen the classic 1949 British thriller The Third Man (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site)?  If not, watch it immediately!  Either way, consider the following nuggets I recently unearthed about possibly the best film of all time.

My review at the link above sets out 8 reasons The Third Man is movie magic.  But did you know:

(i) The Third Man was nearly never made.  In early discussions, producer David O Selznick said a film called “The Third Man” could never be a hit.  You can find out more in Frederick Baker’s 2004 documentary Shadowing the Third Man;

(ii) the classic ending to the movie, which I shall not reveal here, was nearly changed.  Graham Greene, who wrote the screenplay, initially planned for an upbeat final scene with Anna and Holly Martins forming a relationship.  How this could have squared with the rest of the story, which leads inexorably to the magnificent ending as it was eventually released, I have no idea;

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The Third Man Museum: a Vienna gem 10/10

The woman at the entrance seems delighted to see me.  Having sold me a ticket, she rises from her seat and accompanies me to the first room of the museum, highlighted key exhibits.

The “Third Man Museum” in Vienna’s 4th District (Pressgasse 25) is one of the finest small museums in the city.  Interested in the film?  Want to know more about post-WW2 Viennese history?  Want to see what obsession can achieve?

Look no further.

The first surprise about the Museum is its breadth.  Part 1, comprising seven rooms, is packed with fascinating detail about The Third Man: clips, shooting locations (including the sewers and the Central Cemetery), and the stars of the classic 1948 film often described as the best movie ever (see my review at the link).  I noted a fine quote from Orson Wells: “My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four… unless there are three other people”.

Film stills and publicity stills from Room 1

Part 2 focuses on the music of the film, including the famous “Third Man theme” played on the zither.  A mighty 1930s cinema projector (more…)

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