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Anton Karas


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Anton Karas (July 7, 1906 – January 10, 1985) was a Viennese zither player, best known for his soundtrack to Carol Reed’s The Third Man.

The son of a car worker, Anton Karas began playing the Zither at the age of 12. He subsequently earned his living as an entertainer in a Heurige (Viennese Wine Bar). In 1949 director Carol Reed was shooting The Third Man in Vienna when he heard Karas playing the zither. Immediately taken by the sound of the instrument Reed asked him to supply the background music to the film. He was invited to London and lived with Reed while composing the score.

The success of “The Third Man” changed Karas’ life. He played all over the world, and performed for the British Royal family and the Pope. As a result of the change of fortune, Karas earned the nick name of “Mr. Cinderella”. By the end of 1949, a half million copies of “The Harry Lime Theme” had been sold, an unprecedented amount for the time. The success of the score also caused a surge in zither sales.

Despite his success, Vienna remained close to his heart. On returning to the city he tried to run his own Heurige, but it was not commercially viable. Karas was not highly regarded in his home city, as “The Third Man” was not a film about the glory of the Habsburg monarchy, but about the disgrace of the defeated Austria. Zither music was not popular. Karas found himself and the business subject to numerous lawsuits.


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  • OG-Gurda


    24 Mar 2014 Reply
  • Who_Scared_You


    26 Jan 2013 Reply
  • CodexManesse

    Fantastic soundtrack. Too bad I had my artist tag screwed up for the majority of my plays.

    27 Jan 2012 Reply
  • Heliosonic

    If someone could upload an original recording of Anton Karas or any cd's they own with Zither music composed by him in v0 lame, 320kbps mp3 or FLAC. I'd be really grateful. A link to a working download of the above would be much appreciated as well, bear the quality of the upload in mind. All I have found up until now is a abysmal 128kbps rip :( Please leave a shout or send me a message. One particular album I'm looking for is "The Third Man Theme And Other Viennese Favorites" Many thanks in advance!

    12 Jun 2011 Reply
  • johntardsbaby66

    Also I listen to this soundtrack way too often.

    11 Mar 2010 Reply
  • johntardsbaby66

    The camera angles in this movie are genius, not to mention the acting, directing, writing, and music.

    17 Jan 2010 Reply
  • Psychopu

    Does anybody know if there's a version of "The Third Man" soundtrack available that has no spoken parts from the movie in it, just the music?

    13 Dec 2009 Reply
  • SwimmingKnives

    i think the third man may be my favourite film.

    3 Sep 2009 Reply
  • ihavesoldout


    29 Oct 2008 Reply
  • oecki

    Klassiker der 40er Jahre schlechthin

    7 Sep 2008 Reply
  • ProtoCraken

    "Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly."

    2 Sep 2008 Reply
  • calsimon

    the third man

    17 May 2008 Reply
  • VelBG

    The third man!

    17 Sep 2007 Reply

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