28 February 2015

Vienna, Austria

In the British film noir THE THIRD MAN Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) visits his old school friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles) in Vienna, capital of Austria. Upon arrival he is informed that Lime was killed in a mysterious car accident. Martins tries to find out what really happened.

The Third Man, 1:37:37
Warning: the text may give away details of the plot.
Filming in Vienna was done from 22 October until 11 December 1948, in a city where the destructive traces of World War II were still visible on every street corner. The centre was supervised by the Allied Commission and divided in an American, a British, a French and a Russian zone. This situation would not end until 1955. Unlike The Sound of Music, which was also shot in Austria, The Third Man is a film that the Austrians appreciate.
Just after my stay in Vienna I found out that there are still many locations that can be visited. There are special tours that include a visit down the original staircase from the movie into one of the older parts of Vienna's sewer system. There is even a The Third Man-museum and the movie is still being shown regularly in a cinema. In 2009 a commemorative stamp was releases to mark the sixtieth birthday of the film.

More or less by accident we photographed a few locations that can be seen throughout the movie.
When Holly Martins arrives in Vienna the city is introduced with several images of the postwar-situation, including the Schönbrunn Palace that served as headquarter of the British forces. Today the palace and its gardens are one of Vienna’s most popular attractions.

The Third Man, 0:02:08
Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, 10 July 2014

Just after his arrival, Holly Martins meets one of Harry Lime’s friends, Kurtz (Ernst Deutsch). He takes him to the street where the car accident happened, just in front of the house where Lime lived. This scene was filmed at Josefsplatz, a square near the Hofburg Palace. In the centre of the square is a statue of the emperor Josef II but only the base can seen in the movie.

The Third Man, 0:15:22
The Third Man, 0:15:32
Josefsplatz, Vienna, 12 July 2014

The famous Giant Ferris Wheel is part of the Wurstelprater, a large park with fairground attractions, and was erected between 1896 and 1897. It has become the most famous construction of Vienna. The entrance of the ticket sale reminds of the movie with a portrait of Orson Welles as Harry Lime. Judge for yourself if it is convincing.

The Third Man, 1:06:20
Entrance Giant Ferris Wheel, Vienna, 12 July 2014

At the end of World War II the park and its attractions were heavily damaged and most of them burnt down to the ground. However, after three years the Giant Ferris Wheel was already restored and could be used as a filming location. When Holly Martins finds out Harry Lime is still alive he meets him at the park and together they ride the ferris wheel.

The Third Man, 1:15:30
Giant Ferris Wheel, Vienna, 12 July 2014
The Third Man, 1:15:53
Giant Ferris Wheel, Vienna, 12 July 2014

Located next to the Giant Ferris Wheel is the Austrian branch of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Orson Welles is portrayed in wax as Harry Lime, just at the moment as he enters the cafe to meet Holly Martins. Very appropriately, the statue can be seen at the museum’s cafe.

The Third Man, 1:33:50
Madame Tussauds, Vienna, 12 July 2014

A few moments before the scene at the cafe the police are on the lookout at the Michaelerplatz. With the mysterious shadow seen on the building, this is one of the many camera angles so characteristic of this movie. On the right are two sculpted figures. They are part of the fountain “The Power of the Sea”, celebrating Austria as a naval army. The fountain is dated 1895 and was designed by Rudolf Weyr. On busy days it is hard to make a photo without a tourist posing in front of the statues.

The Third Man, 1:31:10
"The Power of the Sea", Michaelerplatz, Vienna, 12 July 2014
"The Power of the Sea", Michaelerplatz, Vienna, 12 July 2014

Many thanks to the website The Third Man locations where almost all locations from the movie are listed.
Screenshots © Studio Canal

12 February 2015

Amsterdam, Netherlands

To investigate a worldwide network of diamond smugglers, James Bond (Sean Connery) travels to Amsterdam in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. He disguises himself as smuggler Peter Franks (Joe Robinson) and meets his contact Tiffany Case (Jill St. John). The visit of James Bond to the Netherlands is brief, in the film it lasts less than ten minutes.

Dutch newspaper Leidsch Dagblad, 7 July 1971
When the announcement was made in April 1971 that Amsterdam was chosen as a filming location, it made headlines in the Dutch press, also because Sean Connery would return as James Bond. He stayed at the Esso Motorhotel at the De Boelelaan, which today is a Holiday Inn. There were rumours that James Bond would fall into a canal during a fight and that Schiphol Airport was one of the locations but these were not true.

Filming was done in a single day, on 3 July 1971, finally a sunny day after days of rain. Besides a film crew of more than 50 persons from Great Britain 25 extras from the Netherlands were hired and a Dutch supervising producer by the name of Jos van Weeren. The shooting of an international movie production attracted a large crowd but people were disappointed because there was little action to see and no gun was fired.

Shooting started at one of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions, de Magere Brug (’Skinny Bridge’). Just as a canal tour is passing, the body of Mrs. Whistler (Margaret Lacey) is being lifted out of the water. Stuntman Malcolm Weaver had to jump in the Amstel river four times and every time the boat had to go back and forth before director Guy Hamilton was satisfied. The bridge has hardly changed in the passing years but one of the historic houses, the third one from the left on the first picture, has been replaced by a new building.

Diamonds are Forever, 0:16:20
Amstel river, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015
Diamonds are Forever, 0:16:26
Magere Brug, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015

Standing on the bridge are Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith) and Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) who are responsible for the death of Mrs. Whistler. In the background James Bond arrives in Amsterdam in his yellow Triumph Stag.

Diamonds are Forever, 0:16:54
Magere Brug, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015

Coming from the Keizersgracht, James Bond arrives at the Reguliersgracht and goes to number 36, the house where Tiffany Case lives. It is not known why this particular house was chosen, at the time it was property of the owner of the Amstel Hotel. It still looks much the same, only the white parts have been repainted. No filming was done inside the house, this was all done at the studio.

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Reguliersgracht, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015
Diamonds are Forever, 0:17:15
Reguliersgracht, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015
Diamonds are Forever, 0:17:21
Reguliersgracht number 36, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015

At night the real Peter Franks makes a visit to the house. James Bond is standing in front of number 34. When we took a photo of this house, one of the students living there came outside to tell us we were photographing the wrong house, not knowing that his house can be glimpsed in the movie as well. It was already a student house during World War II and a commemorative stone in the wall reminds of the people who where hid there during the war.

Diamonds are Forever, 0:21:49
Reguliersgracht number 34, Amsterdam, 31 January 2015

The Polygoonjournaal, a Dutch cinema newsreel, made a short report of the filming at the Magere Brug (Dutch spoken, no subtitles).

Another Dutch report on the film was made by Simon van Collem for his television programme Avroscoop, broadcasted on 20 December 1971. It was broadcasted again as ‘Bond in Amsterdam’ on 4 April 1992 when Diamond are Forever was first shown on Dutch television (Dutch or English spoken, Dutch subtitles).

Screenshots © EON Productions
News paper © Leidsch Dagblad