Orson Welles Week: Twist of Lime

A large part of the twentieth century was born in 1915. That storied year, an all-star lineup of cultural giants found their way to our reality, and in short order proceeded to make it better while turning it every which way. The UIP big blog already posted on blues colossus and 1915 alum Muddy Waters, a man who needs no introduction.

Now we turn our uncanny gaze onto Orson Welles: filmmaker, actor, stage producer, radio dramatist, spoken word poet, straight man for Dean Martin, raconteur, magician—in short, a true artist forced to do just about everything to fund his visions, even sleight-of-hand on The Tonight Show. We’ll be posting all week on Welles as part of our ongoing 1915: Whatta Year! series.

Today, though, we turn away from print to embrace something visual. Let’s delve into a film Welles didn’t direct, but certainly made memorable.

For years, a theater in Vienna showed The Third Man every Friday night. It may still do so. Certainly, Viennese entrepreneurs still tap the film by taking people on “Third Man Tours.” With that in mind, it’s no surprise this cinema sat in a well touristed part of town. Vienna takes second to few cities when it comes to producing influences on Western civilization—Mahler, Freud, Klimt, and so on. Yet its cinematic immortality rests squarely on the noir classic, a story of a pulp writer who comes to visit old friend Harry Lime (played by Welles) and learns that Harry recently died in a car wreck. Or did he? Film historian and director Peter Bogdanovich takes it from here: