Not too long before Saul Bass took the normal title sequence of names and some sort of backgorund and turned it into something that could set the tone for an entire movie, zither music from a Vienesse musician named Anton Karas and a simple graphic backround of vibrating strings over a oval tone apature provided a tidy, brief introduction to The Third Man.

Today, there’s a salute to it at The Art of the Title.

There’s a curious, almost playful tone set by Karas’s zither music, not just in the title sequence but throughout the whole movie, one that belies the intrigue and immorality of the story.  Almost like the pained sinistry of a carousel horse.

And don’t forget the speech Harry Lime makes:

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.