In the book version of Graham Greene’s masterly The Third Man, he wrote a romantic ending for Anna Schmidt and Holly Martins.

He was unconvinced by Carol Reed’s uncompromising conclusion but when he saw the movie, he changed his mind.

The first time you watch it, you think for all the world that Anna (Alida Valli) will link arms with Holly (Joseph Cotten) and they will make a life together, united in grief over the death of Harry Lime (Orson Welles).

You have to admire Reed’s boldness as the long walk from the cemetery concludes with Anna walking off screen without so much as a glance in the direction of Holly. He lights a cigarette and tosses away a spent match. Roll credits.

This is the umpteenth time I’ve seen the movie and this closing scene gets me every time – the best ever ending to a movie in my humble opinion.

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