In one of the many extras in Criterion’s sumptuous DVD presentation of Carol Reed’s The Third Man, Peter Bogdanovich calls the film "the greatest non-auteur film ever made." The idea that Reed was not an auteur, merely a gifted technician, is difficult to credit in light of the director’s career and particularly The Third Man. True, individual elements shine here -- Graham Greene’s impeccable script; Vincent Korda’s superb art direction; a fabulously polished studio look (some of it was shot at Shepperton Studios, some on location in Vienna); even the haunting zither score by Anton Karas. But the film’s beauty and power clearly come from the same directorial sensibility behind Odd Man Out, The Fallen Idol, and Outcast of the Islands.
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