This blog post was published under the 2015 to 2024 Conservative government

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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

10th May 2019 Vienna, Austria

Celebrating Vienna’s Third Man Legacy

As a big fan of The Third Man I was delighted to attend two events last week, celebrating 70 years of the 1949 classic in Vienna.

My previous blogs on the film, including how I re-named the bedrooms in the British Ambassador’s residence after scenes from the Third Man, are here and here.

First, I joined the opening of the 70th anniversary exhibition of the film at the brilliant Third Man Museum in Vienna.

The museum – one of my favourite spots in Vienna, open only on Saturdays – features countless fascinating artefacts from the private collection of Third Man enthusiasts (that may not be a strong enough word) Gerhard Strassgschwandtner and Karin Höfler.  The collection includes not only objects  related to the film – including original scripts, cameras and the zither used by Anton Karas to play the ever so catchy central film theme  – but also excellent exhibits on Vienna from 1945-55, including pictures of the first Soviet troops arriving in Vienna and items from the British, French, Soviet and US occupation zones.

“If you want to understand Vienna as it is today,” I tell people, “visit the Third Man Museum”.

At the opening I even managed to sit in a vintage US army jeep similar to those used in the film.

The next day, I joined a special tour through the Vienna sewers where parts of the Third Man were filmed.  Famous British artist and illustrator Geoffrey Grandfield has designed five large illustrations inspired by scenes from The Third Man to be placed as part of the tour in the Vienna underground.  Grandfield worked with students from the Vienna University of Applied Arts to realise the project.

For those who haven’t seen the film: the Burgkino in Vienna have English language screenings at least twice a week. I recommend it (that may not be a strong enough word – Ed).

Third Mann Tours through the Vienna sewers run every day, advanced booking is required!

About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.