Great quotes, great memories
I’d have to say that many of my earliest impressions of Vienna were formed by the classic film “The Third Man” with Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton. It involves a second-rate writer (Cotton) who goes to Vienna in 1949 to see his former friend Harry Lime (Welles), only to find that Lime was killed in a motor accident – or was he? Needless to say, Lime still lives and simply wanted to disappear because the police were getting too close to his dodgy pharmaceuticals racket . And that is where the story really begins!
If you go to this Youtube film clip, you can see one of the key scenes, set on the Riesenrad ferris wheel, and finishing with the classic Welles “cuckoo clock” quote.
The film was set in the war-torn Vienna of 1949, with many buildings still largely piles of rubble. At that time, the city was still divided into four zones (Russian, American, French, British), leading to the “four men in a jeep” scenes seen in the film. Oh yes, my heading photo for this tip! At the opening of the film, there is a series of marvellous evocative still photographs around Vienna. I was determined to reproduce one which always appealed to me, and that’s it. Taken at the front of the Rathaus, looking toward the Votive Church, the one major difference with time is that, in the area I have marked with a faint parallelogram outline at the top right, in 1949 there was a large sign saying “Entering American Sector”. Photo 2 is taken from the Reisenrad at the Prater.
If you’re a Vienna (or film) enthusiast, I can only recommend seeing the film – then trying to place the settings. You could, of course, take one of the walking tours which visit many of the sites.