Cannes Film Fest 1949: Year 3–Carol Reed’s Third Man Wins Top Award

The third Cannes Film Fest was held on September 2-17, 1949.

No festival was held in 1948.

The Grand Prize of the Fest went to the The Third Man, Carol Reed’s masterpiece starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles.

third man | Emanuel Levy


The festival opened with L’Arroseur Arrosé by Louis Lumière, a 1895 French comedy short-film, paying tribute to cinema’s first comedy.


The entire jury was French.

Georges Huisman (historian) (president)

Jules Romains (president)

Mme. Georges Bidault

Georges Charensol

Paul Colin

Roger Désormière

Jacques-Pierre Frogerais

Étienne Gilson (author)

Paul Gosset (author)

Georges Raguis (union official)

Rene-Jeanne (critic)

Carlo Rim


Films in Competition

Feature films

Act of Violence directed by Fred Zinnemann (US)

Almafuerte directed by Luis Cesar Amadori

An Act of Murder directed by Michael Gordon

Au grand balcon directed by Henri Decoin

Der Apfel ist ab directed by Helmut Käutner

Der Ruf directed by Josef Von Báky

Die Buntkarierten directed by Kurt Maetzig

Eine große Liebe directed by Hans Bertram

Eroica directed by H. Walter Kolm-Veltee

Främmande hamn directed by Hampe Faustman

House of Strangers directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (US)

Images d’Ethiopie directed by Paul Pichonnier

L’amorosa menzogna directed by Michelangelo Antonioni

Le Mura di Malapaga directed by René Clement

Lost Boundaries directed by Alfred L. Werker

Mughamarat Antar wa Abla directed by Salah Abu Sayf

Na svoji zemlji directed by France Stiglic

Obsession directed by Edward Dmytryk (UK)

Occupe-toi d’Amélie directed by Claude Autant-Lara

Pueblerina directed by Emilio Fernández

Rendez-vous de juillet directed by Jacques Becker

Retour à la vie directed by Jean Drévill, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Georges Lampin, André Cayatte

Riso amaro directed by Giuseppe De Santis

Sertao directed by Joao G. Martin

The Passionate Friends directed by David Lean

The Queen of Spades directed by Thorold Dickinson

The Set Up directed by Robert Wise (US)

The Third Man directed by Carol Reed (UK)

Without Honor directed by Irving Pichel (US)


Films out of Competition

Passport to Pimlico directed by O. H. Cornelius]


Feature Films

Grand Prize of the Festival: The Third Man by Carol Reed

Best Actor: Edward G. Robinson for House of Strangers

Best Actress: Isa Miranda for The Walls of Malapaga

Best Director: René Clément for The Walls of Malapaga

Best Screenplay: Eugene Ling and Virginia Shaler for Lost Boundaries

Best Cinematography: Milton R. Krasner for The Set-Up

FIPRESCI Prize: The Set-Up by Robert Wise


Short Films

Short Film Palme d’Or:

Palle Alene i Verden by Astrid Henning-Jensen

Pacific 231 by Jean Mitry

Seal Island by James Algar

Bialy Redyk by Stanislas Mozdenski

Images Médiévales by William Novik


The entire jury consisted of French members.

Hollywood films and actors did rather well.

Edward G. Robinson, who had never been nominated for a competitive Oscar, won the Best Actor.  In 1973, Robinson received a compensatory Honorary Oscar.

There were several American film noir, such as Zinnemann’s Act of Violence, but it was Robert Wise’s The Set-Up, starring Robert Ryan, which made the strongest impression.

Dmytryk’s crime film Obsession was released in the U.S. as The Hidden Room. It was based on the book A Man About A Dog by Alec Coppel, who also wrote the script and then turned the story into novel.

David Lean, later known for the Oscar winners The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia, makes a first (modest) appearance in Cannes Fest.