The Third Man – opening monologue

I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamour and easy charm.

Constantinople suited me better.

I really got to know it in the classic period of the black market. We’d run anything if people wanted it enough – hmm – and had the money to pay.

Of course a situation like that does tempt amateurs…

But they – well, you know – they can’t stay the course like a professional.

Now the city – it’s divided into four zones, you know, each occupied by a power: the American, the British, the Russian and the French. But the center of the city – that’s international – policed by an international patrol. One member of each of the four powers. Wonderful! What a hope they had! All strangers to the place and none of them could speak the same language. Except a sort of smattering of German.

Good fellows on the whole, did their best you know.

Vienna doesn’t really look any worse than a lot of other European cities. Bombed about a bit.

Oh, I was gonna to tell you, wait, I was gonna to tell you about Holly Martins, an American. Came all the way here to visit a friend of his. The name was Lime, Harry Lime. Now Martins was broke and Lime had offered him, some sort – I don’t know – some sort of a job.

Anyway, there he was, poor chap. Happy as a lark and without a cent!