"But She Ought to be Careful in Vienna..."

"Sometimes there would be a pianist, tinkering – over and over again – with the ‘Harry Lime theme’ from the film the third man; it seemed to be the signature tune of Spare at that period, and hearing it now fills me with nostalgia"

- Steffi Grant recounting early meetings with Spare in pubs and Gin palaces in south London in the early fifties, taken from “Borough Satyr, The Life and Work of Austin Osman Spare”, 2005, and First published in “Zos Speaks”, 1999

"The Third Man Theme" or “Harry lime Theme” was written and performed by Anton Karas for the soundtrack to the film The Third Man (1949).
Karas was playing his zither in a beer garden, not unlike a “local type” Spare may have painted, when Carol Reed, the director of the third man heard him and invited him to score the film, wanting music that wasn’t a waltz but woud be appropriate for the city of Vienna, where the film is set. Karas agreed basing the theme on a melody in a practice book.


Press play, close your eyes and imagine your lungs are filled with thick tobacco smoke, the taste of ale is on your lips, glasses clink and over by the window, next to a young redhaired girl, a scruffy old man fixes his piercing gaze upon you and opens his sketch book...