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AUSTRIA: Orson Welles's Vienna no more – 'The Third Man' shows its age.

By Patti McCracken / September 17, 2009

Orson Welles plays Harry Lime in a scene of Carol Reed's 1949 award-winning film "The Third Man".

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A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

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VIENNA – This month marks the 60th anniversary of the 1949 award-winning film “The Third Man,” a tale of espionage in the dark streets and sewers of Vienna starring Orson Welles and directed by Carol Reed. In tribute, the Austrian Post Office recently unveiled a commemorative “Third Man Stamp” during a celebration at The Third Man Museum.

For the most part, “The Third Man” reminds many local residents of a war-ravaged history they would like to leave behind. Vienna has since transformed itself from a destitute city divided by Allied forces to a booming metropolis voted No. 1 in a “Best Cities to Live In” poll. But for movie buffs, “The Third Man” has long drawn tourists to Vienna eager to visit key spots filmed in the movie.

“Most people have no idea what Austrians went through after the war,” says Christopher Timmerman, a Vienna Walks tour guide. “It’s a time they’d [Austrians] sooner forget.”

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