The Third Man Theme

Album: The Third Man (1950)
Charted: 1 1

Songfacts®:

  • Karas was an Austrian who played the zither. He was playing in a Vienna tavern when British director Carol Reed heard him and decided to have him score and play for the soundtrack of the film he was then shooting in Vienna, The Third Man. This was a brave decision by the director as Karas had absolutely no experience in composition or film scoring.
  • This was the first #1 in the USA for an Austrian.
  • Karas followed up with an album of his own pieces and other Viennese songs on Decca. He used his earnings from the film and recordings to buy a wine bar in Grinzing called "The Third Man."
  • In the UK, this was titled "The Harry Lime Theme" after the main character in the film.

Comments: 3

  • Bob Hardy from Vergennes, VtI have a Telefunken 78 rpm "Das Harry Lime Thema, Nr, A10856
    Zither solo by Anton Karas, flip side Der Cafe, Mozart Waltz. also played by Anton Karas. Platter looks good to me.
    Any interested parties, please contact me.
    Bob Hardy.
    Vergennes, VT 05491
  • Terry from KnutsfordI remember 1949 when everyone in the street was whistling the 'Third Man' theme along with the 'Twelfth Street Rag', both in the hit UK parade at the time.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumI already loved this song when I saw the film for the first time, it's very top and I still love it now. A great song and a great film, a joy forever.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Gavin Rossdale of Bush

Gavin Rossdale of BushSongwriter Interviews

On the "schizoid element" of his lyrics, and a famous line from "Everything Zen."

Van Dyke Parks

Van Dyke ParksSongwriter Interviews

U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.

Yacht Rock!

Yacht Rock!Song Writing

A scholarly analysis of yacht rock favorites ("Steal Away," "Baker Street"...) with a member of the leading YR cover band.

Dar Williams

Dar WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.

Jack Tempchin - "Peaceful Easy Feeling"

Jack Tempchin - "Peaceful Easy Feeling"They're Playing My Song

When a waitress wouldn't take him home, Jack wrote what would become one of the Eagles most enduring hits.

Church Lyrics

Church LyricsMusic Quiz

Here is the church, here is the steeple - see if you can identify these lyrics that reference church.