Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Third Man

Just reviewed Orson Welles' best-known work as a director, now onto his best-known work as an actor.

Pulp fiction writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) is invited to Vienna by his friend Harry Lime (Welles). When he arrives, Martins finds out that Lime was killed after getting hit by a truck. Martins tries to figure out what happened the night Lime was killed by asking people that knew him very well.

The movie is noted for the "cuckoo clock" speech that Welles utters shortly after his character is revealed. It goes:

"You know what the fellow said--in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace--and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

Interesting bit of trivia: Welles ad-libbed that speech (and after the film's release, he was corrected by the Swiss saying "that they've never made any cuckoo clocks"). Bravo, Mr. Welles. Bravo.

My Rating: *****


  1. I love this movie and that is a really great line. However, I think my favorite line from the movie is:

    "Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax - the only way you can save money nowadays."

    It is just so cold and callous... and Orson Welles' delivery is just so great. Its been awhile since I have seen this one, I'll need to give it a rent from Netflix soon.

  2. I still remembered ahole movie. The movie was released in 1949. The great role has been performed by Robert Brown and Geoffrey Keen..According to me, you must go for it.


Comments are appreciated. More so if they are appropriate.