Harry Lime
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Harry Lime

The Third Man

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About Him

Grew Up… fast. According to his childhood friend Holly Martins, Harry Lime was already street-hustling with cards and confidence games at the age of 14. But as Harry’s girlfriend Anna puts it, “He never grew up. The world grew up round him, that's all.”

Living… in Allied-occupied Vienna right after World War II. This isn’t the old Vienna – the glamorous, pre-war Vienna of the Belle Epoque, the Vienna of artists and composers. Now the city, like Austria as a whole, is divided into four sectors. Harry lives in Spittelberg, in the British sector, trying to make his way through the madness.

Profession… black-market racketeer. More grandly, he is the procurer of rare and sought-after items. If someone wants something badly enough, and has the money, Harry will get it. In post-war Vienna, there’s a buck or two to be made off of antibiotics.

Interests… money, profit, and a bit of glamour. Harry makes a point of knowing the right people, and one gets the impression that he likes working a racket for more than just the money. Harry likes danger – and has a penchant for attracting it.

Relationship Status… dating Anna Schmidt, an actress living in Allied-occupied Vienna on a false passport. The beautiful Anna is loyal to Harry and he does well providing for her. It seems Harry will do anything for Anna, and she will do anything for him.

Challenge… rising from the dead. When Holly first arrives in Vienna, Harry is being buried. Or is he? In shadowy post-war Vienna, nothing is quite what it seems. Harry’s smuggling of diluted penicillin has resulted in the deaths of many and made him the target of the authorities. But they can’t arrest a dead man, can they?

Personality… ruthless and calculating. Harry believes in survival of the fittest, and therefore does what needs to be done. As he tells Martins, “In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

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