That scene contains the most frequently quoted passage from The Third Man, and as it ends, you can hear part of Anton Karas’s famous musical score, played on the zither.
The Third Man is a classic 1949 film noir set among the ruins of Vienna during the post-WWII occupation. An American, Holly Martins, spends much of the movie trying to find out what happened to his friend and potential employer, the mysterious Harry Lime. The film, with Joseph Cotten as Martins and Orson Welles as Lime, was written by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed. With that much talent involved, it’s not surprising that the British Film Institute named it as the greatest British film of all time.*
I’ve mentioned that one of my little side projects on this trip was an exploration of some of the historical cafés and coffee houses of Vienna. Here’s how The Third Man fits in.
Café Mozart is identified by name in the movie, but the scene that was set there was actually filmed at another Vienna café. The real significance of Café Mozart is that this is where Graham Greene worked on the script.
As I headed for the café, I walked past this building, and recognized it immediately.
In The Third Man, this is the entrance to Harry Lime’s apartment building. It looks unchanged from when the film was made in the 1940s.
Café Mozart can trace its origins back to 1794, and was renovated in 1994.
Café Mozart Interior. Image found on the Web.
Knowing myself as well as I do, I realized that once I was comfortably seated in a nice warm cafe, drinking a nice hot cup of chocolate, it would take an enormous effort to get me back onto the cold, windy streets of the city.
Hot chocolate, with a chocolate and pistachio sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.
Cream Cheese Dumplings on a berry compote.
Let’s just say I stayed a little longer than I’d planned, and much longer than was absolutely necessary. But can you think of a more pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a chilly afternoon?
*A solid choice, although I’d probably go with Kind Hearts and Coronets or The Bridge on the River Kwai.