Orson Welles’ Iconic 1949 film “The Third Man” gets a 4K remake to celebrate the actor’s 100th birthday

by on May 8, 2015

Stephan Jukic – May 8, 2015

Leading up to the centennial of the birth of the iconic film director Orson Welles, one of his finest and most famous movies (aside from, you know, Citizen Kane) will be getting a complete 4K ultra HD restoration and heading right back into movie theaters in several key U.S cities as well as the Cannes Film Festival.

The remastered version of director Carol Reed’s 1949 detective noir stars Welles as a black market trader playing his part in an increasingly tangled and confused maze of deception, betrayal and murder in the mysterious atmosphere of Vienna, Austria right after the Allied occupation at the end of World War 2.

The movie plot was written by renowned thriller author Graham Greene, who also published a novella version with the same name in the wake of the movie’s success. The film tells the story of hack writer (played by actor Joseph Cotton), who travels to Allied-occupied Vienna in an attempt to follow up on a job offer from a childhood friend who is played by Orson Welles. However, once Cotton’s character arrives in Vienna, he quickly becomes entangled in a web of murder and deception that revolves partly around the Welles character.

The film will be premiering at the Cannes Film Festival later in May and will then go on to open in New York on June 26th, Los Angeles on July 3d and other U.S cities at the same time or shortly afterwards. And for those who haven’t yet seen any of “The Third Man”, here is the original 1950 movie trailer, courtesy of YouTube…

NYC-based film distributor Rialto Pictures announced the news this Wednesday the 6th of May, the day of Orson Welles’ 100th birthday.

“The Third Man” was widely regarded as one of the finest movies of all time and was both a critical and commercial hit during its time, going on to win the Palme D’Or at Cannes and an Academy Award for the highly expressive black and white cinematography.

The 4K resolution restoration was carried out by the company Deluxe on behalf of StudioCanal and is possible because most older films were produced on reels whose maximum resolution when digitized goes well beyond the scope of even 4K ultra HD resolution. In fact, the film could likely even be scaled up to a digital resolution of 8K if it were possible to widely screen in theaters today.

Similar efforts have been made for other iconic older movies such as the original 1950’s Godzilla, which was recently remastered to 4K digital clarity in Japan.

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  • pelverud
    May 8, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    1949, not 1940. Famous for its shots of post-war Vienna.


    • Stephen
      May 8, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      You are correct Pelverud, that was a typo, as the article title states, 1949 is the correct date, considering the movie takes place during the Allied occupation of Vienna. It has been corrected. The war hadn’t even yet reached the city in 1940. Thanks.


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