The Third Man Tour
Image by David Monniaux under Creative Commons License.

Austria, Vienna Guide (A): The Third Man Tour

The Third Man is a classic of film noir and in 1999 the British Film Institute voted it the best British film of the 20th century. With famed novelist Graham Greene and renowned director Carol Reed behind the film, it is no wonder that it has been considered a film noir classic since its release in 1949. This tour will show you many of the key points from the film while also providing some history of Vienna.
This article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on iTunes App Store and Google Play. You can download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the attractions featured in this article. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Walk Route

Guide Name: The Third Man Tour
Guide Location: Austria » Vienna
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 4.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.7 Km
Author: J. Raimund Pfarrkirchner
Author Bio: By twenty years old Austrian-born J. Raimund Pfarrkirchner had already lived on four continents, in places as diverse as Nepal, Uruguay and the United States. He has recently returned from a social project in the Philippines to Vienna where he is in the process of publishing his first book, A Natural Fortress, on the topic of Hindu and Himalaya culture.
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Theater in der Josefstadt
  • Burg Kino
  • The Third Man Museum
  • Hotel Sacher
  • The House in 'Stiftsgasse'
  • Anna’s Flat
  • Hoher Markt and Café Marc Aurel
  • Kutrz's Flat
  • Riesenrad
1
Theater in der Josefstadt

1) Theater in der Josefstadt

While the Burgtheater in the Ring Road may be one of the most notable theatres in the German-speaking world, Theater in der Josephstadt is not without its own merit. Beethoven and Wagner both conducted there during their lifetimes and quintessential Austrians actors and playwrights Ferdinand Raimund and Johann Nestroy were affiliated with the theatre.

Theater in der Josefstadt is located in the 8th district of Vienna, which is famous for being a middle-to-upper-class district that has served as the home for many of Vienna’s mayors and at least one of Austria’s presidents. Famed logician, mathematician, and philosopher Kurt Gödel also called the 8th district home for a while.

In The Third Man, the Theater in der Josefstadt is where Anna, the girlfriend of Harry Lime works, and it is there where, after Baron Kurtz informs Martins of Anna’s employment there, Martins and Anna met.
Image by Gryffindor under Creative Commons License.
2
Burg Kino

2) Burg Kino

Not of any particular significance itself, the Burg Kino is definitely crucial for anyone wanting to experience Vienna through the proverbial eyes of the protagonists and antagonists of The Third Man. The Burg Kino, located near the Burg Park and located almost directly opposite a statue of Goethe, screens The Third Man several times a week. Although times are subject to change their screening late Friday evenings has been a staple for some years now.

The Burg Kino is also one of the best locations to watch OV, ‘Original Version’, films for those who prefer to watch a film in English, French, Italian, or any other language as opposed to German. The Burg Kino also has occasional screenings of ‘Shadowing the Third Man’, a documentary of the making of the Third Man.

Please call for exact screening times

Tel.: +43 1 587-84-06
Image by Buchhändler under Creative Commons License.
3
The Third Man Museum

3) The Third Man Museum

For any devoted fan of the film and subsequent novelette the Third Man Museum is not to be missed. Its 13 rooms document the production of the film, the actors themselves and their idiosyncrasies (Orson Welles, for example, refused to enter the Vienna sewer system during filming and thus the scenes with him in the sewer were actually shot in a studio in London), and it also documents the turmoil behind the film, such as the cultural differences the Americans and British filmmakers had in agreeing upon plot, title and dialogue.

Every Saturday 14.00 - 18.00 pm (regularly)

Every Tuesday 18.00 - 20.00 pm (on request)

Tel.: +43 1 586-48-72
Image by Ben Snooks under Creative Commons License.
4
Hotel Sacher

4) Hotel Sacher

This luxury hotel doubles as a landmark of Vienna and crucial epicentre of action in The Third Man. After the Second World War Vienna was divided into four sectors (British, French, American, and Soviet) and it was in this hotel that the British made their headquarters. Originally only the aristocracy and dignitaries were allowed inside, but now anyone willing (and capable) of paying the for the experience are welcome to stay at one of the most posh hotels in Vienna, built on the location of Antonio Vivaldi’s former residence, and located directly opposite the Vienna Opera House.

It was here, in The Third Man, that the protagonist was put up for a week so that he could continue is amateur investigation of who really killed his friend, in exchange for promising to make a speech on the 'modern novel'.
Image by Gryffindor under Creative Commons License.
5
The House in 'Stiftsgasse'

5) The House in 'Stiftsgasse'

One should first note that despite being referred to as 'in Stiftgasse' in the film the house is actually located on Josefsplatz. This house is an essential stop for anyone wanting to experience Vienna a lá The Third Man. Although, not extraordinary itself, this house, the residence of Mr. Harry Lime in The Third Man is not without its charm. Aside from the brief shots in Wien Westbahnhof it is here that the viewer catches the first glimpses of a war-torn Vienna. Opposite the house is the statue at the feet of which Harry Lime 'died'.

It is inside the house, in the stairwell, that protagonist Holly Martins learns of Harry Lime's death from the porter. The porter was played by Paul Hörbiger, a well-known and well-respected Austrian film and stage actor of the day. Hörbiger was not fluent in English at the time of filming (his accent is not an act) and makes the mistake of pointing up when he says 'hell' and down when he says 'heaven'. Although originally fixed during editing, in current screenings one can see the original mistake, which adds a bit of humour to the otherwise bleak scene.
Image by Manfred Werner under Creative Commons License.
6
Anna’s Flat

6) Anna’s Flat

Although the address is never mentioned in the film, careful inspection of the background places the flat of Anna, the object of affection of both protagonist and antagonist, at the Southeast corner of Am Hof.

During the Roman epoch of Vienna troops were often garrisoned here, and it was at this place that the dukes and counts of the Babenberger family (Austria’s ruling family in pre-Habsburg times) made their residence.

In the film it is also here were Harry Lim disappears into the sewers by way of a kiosk. Interestingly, the kiosk was in invention of the film crew and never actually existed. One may also note that it is approximately three metres tall, unlike the normal kiosks in Vienna, which was probably done to hide the column in the middle of the square.
Image by Gryffindor under Creative Commons License.
7
Hoher Markt and Café Marc Aurel

7) Hoher Markt and Café Marc Aurel

The Café Marc Aurel does not, and did not, exist, but rather was a creation for the film. If the location were real it would be on the site of Oswald Steiner and Comp, a stationary shop, which is in Hoher Markt.

Hoher Markt is the oldest square in Vienna, dating back to at least Roman times when the city was called Vindobona. Hoher Markt was known as the ‘old forum’ to the Romans and it was here that the Commander of Roman troops had his palace. It was also here that Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180. In the Middle Ages executions were carried out here and it was also the most popular market for cloth.

In the film, Holly Martin agrees to meet Harry Lime here while working with the international police in an attempt to capture Harry Lime and bring him to justice.
Image by August Stauda under Creative Commons License.
8
Kutrz's Flat

8) Kutrz's Flat

Once Holly Martins realised that Harry Lime is not dead he immediately calls on Kurtz at his home address and insists that Kurtz organise a meeting with Lime.

In the 1960s the façade of building in which Kurtz lived was removed, but the structure itself remains standing. It is interesting to note the pile of rubble directly behind character Holly Martins was the remains of the Gestapo headquarters in Vienna.

The building that housed Gestapo headquarters began life as the Hotel Metropole in 1873 to mark the beginning of the Vienna World Exhibition, and then was commandeered in 1938 by the Gestapo.

Now the location is graced by a Holocaust Memorial with granite taken from the quarry at the infamous Mathausen concentration camp in Upper Austria.
Image by Gryffindor under Creative Commons License.
9
Riesenrad

9) Riesenrad

Perhaps the most famous scene of The Third Man—the dramatic confrontation between Holly Martins and Harry Lime, which includes the renowned ‘Cookoo-clock speech’—takes place on or at the foot of Vienna’s most famous landmark.

The Riesenrad, or Ferris wheel, was constructed in 1897 to mark the celebration of Kaiser Franz Josef’s fiftieth year on the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Some twenty years later the demolition of the Ferris wheel was issued but owing to the great penury that plagued both Austria and Germany in the 1920s it remained standing.

Although it sustained heavy damage towards the end of the Second World War, it was repaired and reopened in 1947. Now, after more than 110 years of faithful service to Austrians and visitors alike it has the distinction of being the oldest Ferris wheel in ‘continual’ operation in the world.

Not only is a visit to it crucial on a ‘Third Man’ tour but it also provides the visitor with some of the most spectacular views of Vienna, especially at sunset (a sunset ride on the Riesenrad was also featured in the 1995 film 'Before Sunrise'), and in the new German language crime-comedy novel Schwarzkopf (a revisiting of the Third Man) by Richard K. Beuer the Riesenrad also plays a central role.
Image by David Monniaux under Creative Commons License.

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