The Oscar-winning film "The Third Man", named best British film of all time by the British Film Academy, was filmed in Vienna in 1949. Today you can walk in its footsteps and have several possibilities to do so.
You know the film "The Third Man" with Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten in the title roles and the famous film music by Anton Karas? Then this tour is a must for you anyway. You don’t know it, but you are still curious how it looks like under the stately houses of Vienna? Then dare, you will not be disappointed.
Entering the Viennese canal network
Entrance at Karlsplatz
I spontaneously decided to do a "3. Man Tour" through the Vienna Canal determined. Meeting point is from Thu-Sun between 10.00 and 20.00 o’clock at every full hour at Karlsplatz-Girardipark, vis-a-vis of Cafe Museum only a few walking minutes away from our Hotel Erzherzog Rainer. (English tours always at 15.00 hrs) Since a few reserved seats were not needed – a reservation is recommended – I was lucky and could join the tour right away. The tickets are sold quite uncomplicated from a small bus and before you know it, you have already a helmet on.
Not for the faint of heart
During the briefing by a competent guide, after all no one should get lost, I briefly consider whether it was wise to have eaten beforehand. It is supposed to be narrow and you should not be very sensitive to smells either. I can reassure you, it was not quite that bad.
Off to the underground
Not much has changed here since 1949: The covers of the exit open in a star shape (stargate, so to speak), a spiral staircase leads down. In the first area, a Wien Kanal employee talks about the very arduous but extremely important work in the 2.400 km long Viennese canal network, underlined by a short film. In the next room, we are already on the set, because this is as far as Orson Welles got even in 1949, and the sewage continuously roars past us. The air becomes stuffier – but it is bearable.
As the last stop – the air is getting fresh – we come to the huge tunnel of the Vienna River, in which a 4-5 story house would fit easily. At the top, light comes through the duct grating every 80 meters – we are ca. at the height of the Secession. The tunnel is 2.5 km long. During the last flood of the century the water stood here up to 2/3 of the height.
When we emerge again I am surprised, the hour flew by. It was very impressive to learn what is going on under the streets of Vienna.
More "The Third Man
If you want to know even more, every Monday and Friday at 16.00 o’clock (meeting point in front of the U4 station Stadtpark/exit Johannesgasse) a city walk to the original film locations in the city center. Or you can visit the "Third Man Museum" in the 4. District, open every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 o’clock. There are 400! Listening to cover versions of film music.
As a crowning finale, the Burgkino shows every Friday at 22.45 o’clock as well as on Sunday and Tuesday (different starting times) the original most personally.
All images provided by: Magistrate of the City of Vienna – Vienna Channel