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The View from Above: Vienna at a Glance

Posted by BFP Staff on Sep 6, 2017 at 06:50 PM

Riesenrad, the giant Ferris wheel.


By Sam Ben-Meir
VIENNA, Austria – Among Vienna’s many landmarks, few are as unmistakable and beloved as its Riesenrad, the giant Ferris wheel that stands in the Prater amusement park, only a few miles from the city center. At its apex of two hundred and twelve feet, visitors are granted a unique vantage on an extraordinary city. This location provides the setting for the pivotal scene in The Third Man (1949), when Harry Lime (played by Orson Welles), a post-war profiteer in bombed-out Vienna, rationalizes his selling of watered-down penicillin to desperate civilians. For Lime, a bird’s-eye view means acquiring a standpoint beyond ordinary moral conventions, unhampered by notions of good and evil, right and wrong – it means reducing individual persons to anonymous, undifferentiated black dots.

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