Thursday, March 20, 2014

DIY Third Man Tour

People keep complaining about the weather.  “Oh, my god!  When will it stop snowing?”  “When will it get warmer?”  Complain complain complain.  I love it.  In fact, this may be the best winter I’ve experienced in DC since moving here in 2000.  I love the cold.  I love the snow.  And this year, the winter is especially wonderful to me.  It is the winter I went to Vienna, and I feel like when I've been carrying around Vienna everywhere I go, so long as the weather remains chilly.  When things finally start to warm up, something about Vienna will disappear from my daily consciousness.

Vienna was amazing.  I had an absolute blast.  If you love history, go.  Just go.  You won’t regret it.  Or, if you love beautiful things, Vienna has a lot of beautiful things.  Good food, too, but not recommended for vegetarians.  I’m sure there are places for them, but one really should have an affinity for wurst and schnitzel.  Just don’t get the deep fried hot dogs.  That wasn’t right.

One thing that Vienna does not have in the winter is Third Man tours.  They are just from May to October.  No private tours either (yes, I tried).  So what is a rabid Third Man fan like myself to do?  Make my own damn tour.

Site 1:  Hotel Sacher.  This is where Holly Martins stays while he is in Vienna, put up by the Allies, or more specifically, Major Calloway.  I only have shots of the exterior.  We didn’t go in to eat, drink, or even view the lobby, because the place was a veritable tourist trap and very crowded.  I got all windswept before we went and said I’d love to spend just one night there, but the cheapest room is €395 (roughly $550), so … that didn’t happen.  Next to the Hotel Sacher is the Café Mozart, where Graham Greene and Carol Reed hung out.  Again, very touristy, so we didn’t go.  Incidentally, to the south of the hotel (the building to the right) is the back of the Vienna Opera House and to the west (where I was standing on the balcony taking this picture) is the Albertina Museum (we got there too late to warrant paying the €11.90 apiece).

Site 2:  The Red Army Bridge.  It’s actually now called the Reichsbrücke (Empire Bridge), but when The Third Man was filmed, it was the Red Army Bridge.  It’s touted as Vienna’s most famous bridge on Wikipedia and was built in 1872.  Given how bombed out Vienna was during WWII, it should be called the Miracle Bridge.  At any rate, this is where Lime meets with Winkel, Kurtz and Popescu and discusses what they are going to do about Karl, the sole witness to the staged death of Lime.  Incidentally, I found out later re-watching the film when I got home that I should have been on the other side of the bridge facing Mexikoplatz, which is where Reed’s camera was, because you can see Heiliger Franz von Assisi / Jubiläumskirche (St. Francis of Assisi Church or Kaiser Jubilee Church) in the shot on the left.  One can no longer stand on the bridge as the characters do (so yeah, I ran out onto the street for my shot).  There is a walkway and bike path below the bridge.  Also, the bridge was renovated starting after the film was made through 1952, which is why you no longer see the suspension.

Site 3:  The Prater.  We were there on Christmas Day, which I expected it to be closed, but it wasn’t.  It has a bit of a goofy museum that is made out of the cars they use on the wheel with little scenes of the area throughout the years.  You can rent out certain cars that are outfitted with a table and linen for a romantic meal.  Inside the cars, there’s a lot of graffiti.  The view is pretty impressive, though.

Site 4:  Zentralfriedhof (Vienna Central Cemetery).  It was a very grey Christmas in Vienna, but oddly enough, I really enjoyed walking around this cemetery.  So many famous people were there (the music area alone housed the remains of Beethoven, Mozart [well, they actually don’t know where in the cemetery he’s buried, since he was buried as a pauper, but he’s in there somewhere, and there is a nice monument for him], Brahms, Schubert, Strauss, and Müller).  But I was there chiefly for the site of the beginning and end of the film, where Harry Lime (and also Joseph Harbin) is buried.  The area this is located is gruppe 43A, reihe 14.



Site 5:  Exterior of Anna Schmidt’s apartment.  This is the big reveal scene, when Martins sees Lime’s face in the glowing light of an open window.  It’s a rather unassuming little area.  Directly in front of it, to the north, is the National Theater (Burgtheater), and across the street from that is the Rathhaus (City Hall).  It was very quiet with no one around, and the grade on the street is pretty sloped (enough to have a warning sign).

Site 6:  Exterior of Harry Lime’s apartment.  It's a pretty big deal that they filmed this where they did.  His apartment is near Josefsplatz, which is very close to the royal apartments of the former Emperor and also to two important churches (Michaelerkirche and the Augustinerkirche is across the street ) and literally next door to the Spanish Riding School where the Lipizzaner Stallions are kept.  The building is called the Palais Pallavicini, built in 1783.

Site 7:  The Third Man Museum.  This is near Nachtsmarket, where you eats all the good foods.  This place was awesome.  I thought I was a fan.  These people are Super Uber-uber fans.  Their collection was astounding.

Because I didn’t get a chance to check out the tour, the main thing I missed was the sewers, which I can live with.  I did see the entrance to the tour, because it is close to the Secession (which we didn’t go into but walked by).  This was by no means all of the sites from the movie, but what I saw I really enjoyed.  Hope you like it, too.  I may do another post that goes into my deep regard for Prinz Eugen von Savoy, but we’ll see (he’s not connected with movies in any way).

As a bonus, I'm including something that I think is one of the best things I've ever laid eyes on.  It's in the Kunstkammer section of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum).  I saw the boat behind glass, but this video shows what it looks like when it is activated.  They had a whole section of clockwork items.  This is something that completely captures my imagination.  Enjoy!