Martin, a broke, cheap novel writer, travels to just-post war Vienna
to see old buddy Harry Lime who has a job for him. But Martin turns
up to see Lime's apparent funeral.
of Lime's neighbors tells Martin he saw three people at the accident
in which Lime was supposedly killed, not two as the police apparently
think. This intrigues Martin who tries to investigate but the police
seem to think he is interfering.
neighbor wants to tell more to Martin who has by this time met up
with Lime's lover Anna Smith, but before the neighbor can tell all,
he is killed.
turning up to meet the neighbor, Martin and Smith see a group outside
the building waiting for the dead neighbor to be taken away. A little
boy, who in a previous scene had witnessed the neighbor and Martin
having an argument, says things in non-English which seems to frighten
Holly and Anna (Anna can speak the language) who run off in an eerie
scene being chased by a child, hiding in a cinema.
to Martin going in to get a Taxi. He gets into a taxi, and before
saying where he wants to go the driver screeches off like a maniac.
Martin thinks he is trying to kill him. He isn't, he is taking him
to the writers guild talk which Martin had promised to do in return
for their hospitality in the city.
talk seems to go badly, Martin struggles to answer questions from
the audience, and then from an apparent police officer whom Martin
tells he is going to write a novel about the third man. This rattles
Martin who runs away from the officers, and on his way is bitten
by a parrot.
falls in love with Anna. Anna is grieving over Lime.
a meeting one night with Anna, Martin sees Lime hiding in the street,
but Lime runs away before Martin can talk to him.
tells the police, who then tell Martin what Lime is supposed to
have done - watered down penicillin which caused death and madness
Lime grave is dug up and a missing person the police were looking
for is found in there.
meets Lime in an improbably positioned, little used, fairground
Big Wheel. After an eventless discussion in the Big Wheel, Lime
says the legendary cookoo clock comments (below).
Martin's agreement, the police use him as a foil to smoke Lime out.
They are set to meet in a cafe. It works but Anna stops it just
in time so Lime escapes down into the sewers.
of officers chase him. During the chase sequence, Lime shoots a
police officer, and while then running away gets shot in return.
He pulls himself up the stairs but then, being discovered by Martin,
gets Martin to shoot him.
is then taken to the airport to be flown home, meets Anna along
the way who refuses to talk to him. The End.