Nothing like metonymy when you’re at the movies

Michael Wood

  • The Third Man & Other Stories by Graham Greene
    Macmillan, 342 pp, £9.99, July 2017, ISBN 978 1 5098 2805 0

Graham Greene started the research for what would become The Third Man (story and movie) in Vienna in February 1948, and wrote the treatment as a free-standing fiction in March and April. Carol Reed directed the Vienna location shooting (three cameramen and three crews) between October and December of that year, and finished filming at Shepperton Studios in March 1949. After some editing and work on the soundtrack the movie opened in London in September, and won the Grand Prix at Cannes the same month. I take these details from Charles Drazin’s excellent In Search of The Third Man (Limelight, 1999), and if you want to immerse yourself in the legend and history of The Third Man without going too far from a good library, there is plenty more to read: a continuity script (StudioCanal, 2015), a screenplay (Lorimer, 1973), Greene’s writings on film (The Pleasure Dome, Oxford, 1972; Mornings in the Dark, Carcanet, 1993), Brigitte Timmermann’s The Third Man’s Vienna (Shippen Rock, 2005), and Alexander Glück’s On the Trail of The Third Man in Vienna (Styria, 2014), replete with fine photographs.

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