The Third Man Museum

It may seem odd to some but there is a museum that is dedicated to a 1948 British film that starred an American actor and showed the gritty side of post-war Vienna. The ironic and interesting twist in this story is that while the film itself received dismal reviews from the locals because it showed the “seedy side” of the city it has gone on to win international critical acclaim, earned a cult following around the world and decades later has even turned into one of Vienna’s popular tourist attractions.
The Third Man Museum in Pressgasse near the popular Naschmarkt area is a private museum borne from the extensive collection of film memorabilia by Karin and Gerhard Strassgschwandtner. With over 2,500 original items and documents, 400 cover versions of the “Harry Lime Theme” (including one by the popular British band The Beatles) and important pieces such as the original Anton Karas zither used to record the film music, you need not be a fan of the film to appreciate the display. There is also a 1936 Ernemann cinema projector that shows a short black-and-white clip from the film. The 13-room museum not only showcases the film but also provides visitors a different perspective into Vienna, pre- and post-World War II as well as what moviemaking was in the 1950s. And because the museum is open only on Saturdays, those who are interested to see the movie or have seen it before but want to watch it again, the Burg cinema offers screenings three times a week.

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