So recently I got the chance to see one of my all time favorite films, Carol Reed’s The Third Man , in the theatre in the new 4K restoration. I’ve been lucky enough to see it before on the big screen but this was special as it has been restored in a new digital presentation. While there have been some really great versions of the film over the years, including the 50th anniversary and the now out of print Criterion Blu-ray, but to see it restored in full 4K is quite an experience.
The Music Box Theatre in Chicago is doing a special Orson Welles retrospective throughout the summer showing several of his films. I’ve been able to see a couple of his films for the first time on the big screen this summer including Citizen Kane and Touch Of Evil both in 35mm. The special 4K digital restoration screening worked out perfectly in the timing. While not one that Welles directed it is definitely one of his best acting performances.
I admit I was a little late coming to The Third Man compared other films on my top favorite list. The other films were mainly ones I saw when I was younger and had a huge impact on me. While I had seen parts of The Third Man numerous times over the years I actually thought I had seen it. One of those you think you had but realize clips were used so many times in seminars and film history documentaries that I convinced myself I had seen it. Needless to say this had to be corrected and luckily it was and sure enough I was both thrilled and angry. Thrilled by the amazing film itself but angry in that I hadn’t seen it earlier.
Since then I have watched the film countless times. Considering how often I have stopped on it when TCM shows it the count is not even possible. One of those films that if it’s on and I stop on it and see all of three seconds then there is the highest probability I will keep it on from that point until the end. And if you have ever been near me when my phone rings then you will know my ringtone for the last 6 years has been the Anton Karas theme.
A truly incredible piece of work which is arguably one of the best films ever made. One that I am always inspired by every time I see it. The new restoration is just stunning and if The Third Man comes to your area be sure to see it. I’m sure a new Blu-ray will be coming but there is nothing like seeing it in the theatre.