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Thread: The Third Man

  1. #1
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    In my new DVD of The Third Man, the German is not translated. The Austrian cast (for instance, Hedgwig Bleibtreu, the landlady of Anna, who was very funny) had some of the best lines. My question is (because I can't remember, having been too young) was the original film subtitled? If not, were these lines scripted by Graham Greene, or did they make them up as they went along?



    Also, the cast list gives "Kurtz's Mother" but I couldn't find her anywhere in the film. Was she cut out?

  2. #2
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    Yvonne,



    On the original British version (VHS) there are no subtitles.



    The movie is based on a novella by Graham Greene and he wrote most of the script, except for the famous cuckoo clock line by Welles and perhaps a few lines by Reed.



    Regarding Nelly Arno as Kurtz' mother, the only scene that I think could be her was when Kurtz was playing violin at the restaurant - the corpulent woman who was eating soup as he played. Other than that she may have been cut?



    A few hors d'oeuvres:



    The largest deletion in the American cut was an exchange of dialogue between Martins and Kurtz outside Lime's building, just after Martins asks about Anna's identity.



    The scene in which Lime jauntily walks across the amusement park to meet Martins at the base of the Great Wheel is cut by about seven seconds. And the unforgettable final sequence -- with Martins waiting for Anna as she slowly walks up the avenue -- is a full 35 seconds shorter than the British version.



    In several instances, scenes with characters speaking German were trimmed. A few seconds of the play in which Anna appears was removed, and at least three shots of Anna's German-speaking landlady were substantially shortened.



    It gives a sense of a stranger in a strange land. I think it was a good effect.



    Selznick proposed Cary Grant star as Martins, opposite Noel Coward as Lime and later, Jimmy Stewart as Martins and Robert Mitchum as Lime. Reed wanted Welles.



    Also, Welles was not in Vienna for the final shooting and so Reed's fingers are what we see coming through the manhole.



    Gibbie

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    Thank you for the interesting reply.



    No, it wasn't the fat lady in the Casanova club. I can only think that she must have been cut when Holly goes to Kurtz' house and he leans over the balcony. Or maybe when Kurtz was arrested, which isn't shown, but which Anna refers to. Anna's landlady boasts that the house has been lived in by titled people and even that "a Metternich visited". She also has some dialogue with Geoffrey Keene, when he just nods and she says "Everybody can nod. I should have thought you'd have learnt some German, you've been here long enough". These are good lines and ought to have been subtitled. I still can't understand why not.

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    Thanks.



    I figured she wasn't the one in the Casanova Club, but guessed. Also, she could have been in the cememtary scenes intro/outro?



    My understanding is that the reason was to give the viewer the feeling of being the stranger in a strange land to add to the perplexing post-war drama.



    Gibbie

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    Well, we'll maybe never know. Since Kurtz lived in the Russian Sector, she was probably cut from Holly's visit just before he met Harry. She wasn't at the cemetary either time. Kurtz and Winkel had been arrested by the second funeral. I thought Harry's long walk to the Big Wheel was rather pointless,since we knew who it was, whereas cutting Anna's walk down the road from the cemetery seems like vandalism.

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    Yes, perhaps we'll never know?



    Actually, the big wheel scene is one of the most profound scenes in post-war film. Personally, I think it was the most poignant scene, if one were to study late-20th century art and culture.



    Part of the excellence in the film is its cadence. This is one factor where British and some of European filmaking is much better than Hollywood. On the continental side, I think of the late-Krzysztof Kieslowski and his sense of narrative. "Babette's Feast" is too slow to many movie goers, but fits the village and period story. In Britain, I think Lean holds the title. "Chariots of Fire" moved at a 20s pace (mix of reflection during constant change) - this works, but many who have seen this, want warp speed and don't want to think.



    Cadence is a thinker's element to film, but it doesn't have to be slow. And, hopefully the editor won't cut moments, like Selznick's American version.

  7. #7
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    I agree Gibbie!The big-wheel scene in my opinion is perfection in cinema art,it will remain in my heart, one of the most stirring moments in film.Orson Welles is sublime in his evil,his cool,his control,think about it for a moment.....can you thi~k of another character in film history,that's so damnable,but so endearing at the same time?Scintillating! :) Have you seen the uncut version?Because I agree with Yvonne,any cuts in this film are most definately vandalism. :mad:

  8. #8
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    Thanks. Yes, I own the British uncut version, which I agree, Decks, is the one to own.



    Gibbie

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