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Published on May 13, 2010
The Third Man is a 1949 British film noir directed by Carol Reed and starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. The screenplay was written by novelist Graham Greene based on Greene's novella of the same name, which was written in preparation for writing the screenplay, and was published in 1950. Anton Karas wrote the notable score, which used only the zither; its title cut topped the international music charts in 1950.
The Third Man won the 1949 Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, the British Academy Award for Best Film, and an Academy Award for Best Black and White Cinematography in 1950.
The musical score was composed by Anton Karas and played by him on the zither. Before the production came to Vienna, Karas was an unknown wine bar performer.
"The Third Man Theme", was released as a single in 1949/50 (Decca in the UK, London Records in the US). It became a best-seller—by November 1949, 300,000 records had been sold in Britain, with the teen-aged Princess Margaret a reported fan.The exposure made Karas an international star.