The “Real” Third Man

I watched a documentary on YouTube called Shadowing the Third Man about the movie The Third Man. The person who posted the version I watched took it down. However, I found another version

I became a fan of the film many years ago. I enjoyed learning some of the stories behind the film.

I particularly liked some of the technical aspects of the film. The lights they used inspired many shots. They were very large and threw impressive shadows on the walls. Since Orson Welles wasn’t always available, they used a lot of shots of shadows on the walls to give the impression he was there.

One interesting tidbit was the origin of the name Harry Lime. Lime is a shade of the colour green, which is likely a reference to the author of the story, Graham Greene. The first name, Harry, refers to Greene’s good friend Harold “Harry” Philby, better known as Kim Philby the Russian double agent. Ironically, a dozen years later, when Philby defected to Russia, people called him the “third man” in the Cambridge spy ring.

I was also surprised to learn that many of the small parts in the film, such as the caretaker, were famous Austrian actors.

When I read the script years ago, I was surprised to see that originally they said Holly Martens was a Canadian. That would imply that Harry Lime was also a Canadian. I’m glad they changed that in the film.

The impression I got from the documentary was how so many elements of the film came about by chance and luck. I’m a little skeptical about that. I suspect they exaggerated a little there.

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