His film would have been forgotten in a week. In the book, Anna does walk away from Lime's grave, but the text continues: I watched him striding off on his overgrown legs after the girl. Reed convinced Greene he was wrong.
One can understand why, even while disagreeing with him. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace — and what did that produce?
But Lime is being buried when Martins arrives in Vienna. According to Guy Hamilton, Reed met Karas by coincidence at a party in Vienna, where he was playing the zither. Reed and his Academy Award-winning cinematographer, Robert Kraskeralso devised a reckless, unforgettable visual style.
The only trusting faces are those of innocents like the hall porter Paul Hoerbiger who tells Holly, "There was another man. The hero doesn't get the girl in either movie--but in "Casablanca," Ilsa stays with the resistance leader to help in his fight, while in "The Third Man" Anna remains loyal to a rat.
You suddenly become aware, for instance, of the way the strings of the zither at the beginning are later echoed in the cables of the suspension bridge seen from above in the sequence in which the conspirators meet with Lime on the Danube, and later the wires of the Great Wheel in the Prater pleasure park, where Lime and Martins are to have their crucial meeting looking down on the world.
After a long pause, Holly lights a cigarette and wearily throws away the match. It's a story about grownups and children: Adults like Calloway, who has seen at first hand the results of Lime's crimes, and children like the trusting Holly, who believes in the simplified good and evil of his Western novels.
His eminent gifts for compressing a wealth of suggestion in single shots, for building up agonized tension and popping surprises are fully exercised.