CANNES CLASSICS – The Third Man and the Zither

Carol Reed © RR

66 years after scooping the Grand Prix at the Festival de Cannes, The Third Man by British filmmaker Carol Reed returns to Cannes Classics in a restored version. Orson Welles would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year.

Who can forget Orson Welles in the shadows, the screenplay by Graham Greene, the final chase through the sewers of Vienna, but also the legendary theme played on the zither by Anton Karas? The melody, which made the fame and fortune of this Viennese composer discovered in a brasserie in the Austrian capital by Carol Reed, was certainly the first film score “hit“, sometimes considered more famous than the film itself. Impossible to get out of your head, the famous melody was unique in its genre and innovative because “this was a time when music was essentially symphonic” with “very few small groupings of instruments.” The unusual choice of this tightly strung instrument marked a “desire to break out in a unique direction” explains journalist Thierry Jousse, director and specialist in film music. The piece reached the top of the American hit parade in 1949, amongst hits by Bing Crosby, Franck Sinatra and Big Joe Turner.


Shot in 1948 in a war-ravaged Vienna, this pioneer of the ‘film noir’ genre is also a pictorial testimony to the destruction of the Second World War.

The film was restored image by image in 4K by Deluxe in the UK, using a “marron”, a second-generation nitrate print, supervised by StudioCanal.



Thursday 14 May / Salle Buñuel / 2 pm

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