How well do you remember The Third Man?

By: Torrance Grey
Image: youtube

About This Quiz

This black-and-white film is the one a lot of people think of when they think of film noir: A story of jaded expatriates in post-WWII Europe. Test your knowledge of this Orson Welles classic with our quiz!

In what European city does "The Third Man" take place?

Vienna, as the narrator tells us, is still struggling to recover from the war. It's home to a flourishing, opportunistic black market -- which will be key to the plot.

Which of the following is NOT a nation that polices and administers Vienna?

The narrator explains that Vienna is divided into quarters: French, American, British and Russian. Holly Martins mostly has dealings with British administrators and police.

Who played Holly Martins?

There are some unusual names in this picture, including the first name "Holly" for a man and the plural last name "Martins." Okay, we'll try this another way ...

Although "The Third Man" is commonly known as an "Orson Welles film," which actor plays Holly Martins?

Cotten and Orson Welles were longtime friends, as their characters were in the film. Welles himself, incidentally, doesn't appear until about halfway through the movie.

Likewise, Orson Welles was a renowned director -- but he didn't direct "The Third Man." Who did?

Carol Reed was a British director. You can hear his voice doing the narration, early in the film, about "the old Vienna."

What was the name of Orson Welles' character?

"Lime" is another of the movie's less conventional names. Both he and his friend Holly are named after plants.

Which of the following is NOT the title of a Holly Martins novelette?

Holly Martins writes "cheap novelettes" about the American West. This comes in handy, as he gets free lodging in Vienna in order to give a lecture on writing to British expatriates there.

Why has Holly come to Vienna?

Harry, an old school friend, says he has work for the cash-strapped Holly. Later, Holly will realize that work would have been distasteful.

What does Holly learn upon arriving?

The porter in Harry's building tells Holly, in broken English, that Holly just missed Harry's friends "and the coffin." Holly departs to join Harry's funeral, already in progress.

How does Harry's lover, Anna, get to and from the cemetery?

Anna comes to Holly's full attention when he sees her walking down the road after Harry's funeral. She has a very purposeful, quick stride.

At what bar did Harry Lime meet Kurtz and other friends?

Fun fact: Giacomo Casanova probably didn't bed many more women than other noblemen of his era, nor were his memoirs solely about his affairs. It's just that he wrote so well about women and seduction, and at such length, that his name became synonymous with womanizing.

What book is Kurtz carrying when he meets with Holly?

Kurtz, like the Briitsh peacekeeper Sgt. Paine, claims to be a fan of Holly's work. He brings "The Oklahoma Kid" so that Holly will recognize him.

What is Kurtz carrying, other than the book?

Later, he'll see the same dog at the apartment of Harry Lime's doctor. Is this a suggestion of a criminal conspiracy? A hint at a sexual relationship? We just don't know.

Where does Holly next meet Anna?

When Holly seeks out Anna for information, she is in a drawing-room comedy that requires her to wear an old-fashioned powdered wig. Afterward, in classic noir style, Holly fires questions at her while she's taking off her makeup in the dressing room.

What sort of pet does Anna have?

The cat, which appears gray and white (within a black-and-white film, bear in mind), only really liked Harry. This is important later, when the cat twines itself around the feet of an unseen man in the shadows.

When Calloway asks why Holly needs to find Harry's doctor, what does Holly say is the reason?

Holly is busting Calloway's chops about how Sgt. Paine leapt to Calloway's defense, hitting Holly and knocking him down on his first day in Vienna. Hey, Holly -- you started it!

What did Harry sell on the black market?

That wasn't the real problem. The issue was, Harry diluted it,, so that children died or suffered permanent brain damage from meningitis.

Why isn't the porter able to meet Holly at their arranged time?

Admit it: didn't you know this guy was a goner as soon as he hinted that he had information for Holly, but arranged to tell him later? The character who has key information, but doesn't live to share it, is a classic noir plot twist.

What does Holly mainly find suspicious about Harry's accident?

Okay, there IS such a thing as coincidence. But Harry was hit by his own driver, the doctor who gave him medical advice was a passerby, and his Romanian friend just happened to be across the street. Hmmm.

Why do the onlookers think Holly killed the porter at Harry's building?

Hansel saw Holly arguing with the porter earlier. This was after Hansel followed his Narrative Device -- er, his ball -- to the open door of Harry's apartment.

Where do Harry and Holly have their only significant conversation?

Above the Prater amusement park, Harry waxes cynical about humanity and morality. (Also, watch when Harry gets off the ride and walks away -- you can see a little girl actually pushing the carousel so another child can ride. Man, postwar life was tough!)

What does Harry say Switzerland's "500 years of democracy and peace" produced?

Harry's take on history is a little off. The Swiss didn't make the cuckoo clock, the Germans did. Nor, people have pointed out, was Switzerland always the bastion of neutrality it became in the 20th century.

What minor medical condition does Harry suffer from?

Harry says regretfully that the tablets which help aren't available in Vienna. This marks him as a hypocrite: He cares about his own heartburn, but not about the children his diluted penicillin has harmed. Nice!

How does Calloway persuade Holly to draw Harry out of hiding?

Holly has a conflicted loyalty to Harry. But seeing the children permanently brain-damaged by Harry's watered-down penicillin changes his mind. He agrees to be Calloway's "dumb decoy duck."

Where is the film's climactic chase?

The sewers for Vienna actually look clean and appealing, like parts of the catacombs of Paris. Even so, Welles refused to film there, instead doing his shots on a soundstage mock-up.

Who kills Harry Lime?

Harry, who already has one gunshot wound, wants to die. He gives Holly, who has drawn a gun, a slight nod. We then hear the shot echo through the sewers.

What does Anna say to Holly at the film's end?

Harry's real funeral at the end mirrors his fake one at the film's beginning. But this time, Holly gets out of Calloway's car to wait for Anna -- who walks past without looking at him.

Who played Anna Schmidt?

"Valli" was Alida Valli, an Italian-born actress. She has distinctive, cat-like features.

What does the title "The Third Man" refer to?

Accounts of Harry's death conflict. But Holly becomes convinced that there was an unidentified third man at the scene of the accident. He tells Popescu that he's researching a new book called "The Third Man."

Who was the "third man"?

Our vote for the never-identified third man is Joseph Harbin, the man who was found in Lime's coffin. Since everyone at the scene was somehow linked to Harry, it's possible that Harbin died at that very scene, and everyone involved stuck to a cover story.

That's Not My Name! Part One: What does Holly regularly call Major Calloway?

Holly makes this mistake throughout the movie's first half; maybe he keeps doing it to needle Calloway. He stops when he starts to take Calloway, and his accusations about Harry, seriously.

That's Not My Name! Part Two: What does Anna call Holly several times?

Anna slips up and calls Holly "Harry," which bothers him. It's also a sign, of course, that she still loves Harry, no matter what comes to light about him.

That's Not My Name! Part Three: "Anna Schmidt" is an invention for the forged passport. What's her real name?

Anna explains that she is from Czechoslovakia, and would be subject to deportation if the Austrians knew. It was Harry who got her the forged passport.

What odd passerby is seen at more than one point in "The Third Man"?

The balloon man might be a nod to Fritz Lang's "M," the thriller about child murder. A balloon man, and balloons, figure in that movie, too.

Who wrote the novella on which "The Third Man" was based?

You could quibble with the idea that the movie was "based on" the short novel. Greene wrote "The Third Man" as a book first to get a feel for the story and its atmosphere before writing the screenplay. He never really intended for it to be published, although it was.

The score to "The Third Man" relies solely on which instrument?

You can even see the strings of a zither being plucked under the opening credits. The late film critic Roger Ebert praised the movie's distinctive, single-instrument score.

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