Museum Releases Promotional Booklet Ahead of ‘The Third Man’ Film Anniversary

Photo Credit: Ernst Haas / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Ernst Haas / Getty Images

In advance of the 75th anniversary of the post-Second World War film The Third Man (1949) in 2024, a hand-sized booklet had been published to guide visitors to and around the various film locations in Vienna, Italy.

Individual holding 'The Third Man' anniversary booklet in a cemetery
Anniversary booklet for The Third Man. (Photo Credit: Geoff Moore / The Travel Trunk)

The owners of The Third Man Museum, Karin Höfler and Gerhard Strassgschwandtner, worked together on the booklet, which features locations around Vienna that can be easily visited by tourists and film buffs alike. The booklet even provides QR codes to place you in the right spots via Google Maps.

Consisting of 66 pages, the guide is illustrated with images and maps. For instance, there’s the doorway where Harry Lime (Orson Welles) appears with a cat at his feet, or where the balloon seller shows up as Maj. Calloway (Trevor Howard) waits to catch Lime.

Places like where Lime runs into the sewers are also included in the booklet, as are the character’s apartment building and the Wiener Riesenrad.

View of the Wiener Riesenrad from the ground
The Wiener Riesenrad in Vienna played a key role in The Third Man, which is about to celebrate its 75th anniversary. (Photo Credit: Geoff Moore / The Travel Trunk)

Even the main city cemetery can be visited, as several key scenes were filmed there. However, one key element unfortunately no longer exists: a large black marble gravestone that was the site of two burial services.

Thankfully, the resourceful museum owners took matters into their own hands and obtained a giant grave marker that had been recently forfeited by its family; it appears graves are rented for a period of time, and there were either no family members left to pay or the pre-paid rental period had expired.

The 1,300-pound marker was removed and is now in the cellar of The Third Man Museum, just a short distance away from the city center. Holding a picture of Maj. Calloway from the movie, Höfler and Strassgschwandtner pictured the scene prior to the marker being removed. This part can be found on pages 50-51 of the booklet.

Replica grave marker in the basement of 'The Third Man' Museum
The iconic marble gravestone from The Third Man, located in the basement of the museum. (Photo Credit: Geoff Moore / The Travel Trunk)

In 2024, there are more plans to feature The Third Man‘s history at such a key moment in history, when Vienna was divided into four military zones following World War II, managed by the British, the United States, the French and the Soviet Union.

While visiting the city, I, Geoff Moore, was lucky to stay at what was once Soviet Headquarters – or the Imperial Hotel. This grand building has been visited by royalty, rulers and film stars over the years, and, most recently, pop singers.

Much of the hotel has been updated, and there hasn’t been evidence of the Soviet occupation for some 10 years, apart from a tiny graffiti mark on the grand staircase.

Woman taking a picture of a doorway at night
Doorway where actor Orson Welles, portraying Harry Lime, is first seen in The Third Man. (Photo Credit: Geoff Moore / The Travel Trunk)

The Third Man Museum is a private enterprise by two very dedicated individuals, who have, over the years, accumulated a large collection of film-related items. These include scripts used by Howard and the Zither used by Anton Karas to play the haunting music heard throughout the movie.

As well, there are items from Welles and Herbert Hablik, who made the memorable, yet short, appearance as Little Hansel – Boy with Ball.

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If you have any interest in this post-wartime period or the making of the film itself, The Third Man Museum is definitely worth a visit. It does have restricted opening times, however, so it’s worth making contact with the owners in advance to let them know you’re interested in visiting.

Geoff Moore

Geoff Moore is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE