Classic thriller ‘The Third Man’ screens in a new light at Landmark Nuart

The restored 1941 thriller ‘The Third Man’ will screen in 4K high-resolution at the Landmark Nuart
Joseph Cotten, left, and Orson Welles in “The Third Man.”
(UCLA Film and Television Archive, UCLA Film and Television Archive)

A film of brilliant pieces that coalesce into a superb whole, “The Third Man” is back in the best shape of its life. Opening Friday for a one-week run at the Landmark Nuart in West L.A., the film appears in the new 4K high-resolution version that was the toast of Cannes, the first restoration of this Carol Reed-directed, Orson Welles-starring thriller since its release in 1949.

Into the cesspool of casual amorality that was post-World War II Vienna comes Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), a bumbling, self-righteous and therefore dangerous American. (Graham Greene, who wrote the screenplay, didn’t think there was any other kind.) Martins has naive notions of justice and righteousness plus a great deal of misplaced confidence in his ability to get to the bottom of things. In the hands of master director Reed, Martins’ tale is the story of a man’s unsentimental education, of the hard road he travels in the getting of wisdom. Whether you’ve seen “The Third Man” before or are new to the material, experiencing this restored masterpiece on the big screen is a must.

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