Saturday, October 28, 2023

Talking Disney Podcast Movie Night: ‘Third Man on the Mountain’

Welcome to the Talking Disney Podcast Movie Night! We love movies here at the Talking Disney Podcast, we watched and talked about each of the Disney animated feature films on Podcast Episodes #51 (The One That Started It All) through #124 (Strange World Is The End Of Our Journey.) We are bringing some of that movie watching magic to the website. We will still talk about some movies in the podcast in the near future as well. Our goal is to watch one movie a week, share some details and publish our thoughts on Fridays (or Saturdays.) Some weeks we may have comments from all three hosts, sometimes two and sometimes just one. 

The movies will be picked at random and for now to make it easier on us, we will choose movies that are currently on Disney+. 

So without further ado, here is our next Talking Disney Podcast Movie Night movie - ‘Third Man on the Mountain.’

Spoiler Warning - There may be spoilers ahead so if you haven’t seen the film check it out first. If you have seen it or don’t care about spoilers then by all means click “Read more >>” below.

'Third Man on the Mountain'  was released on November 10, 1959. A Walt Disney Productions and distributed by Buena Vista Film Distribution Co, Inc.

“Based on a true story, here is the thrilling, critically acclaimed account of Rudi Matt (James MacArthur), a young kitchen worker who is determined to conquer the Citadel — the jagged, snow capped peak that claimed his father’s life. Encouraged by both a famed English climber (Michael Rennie) and the youth’s devoted girlfriend (Janet Munro), Rudi goes through a grueling training period before he is ready to face the incredible dangers of the killer mountain. Shot on location in Zermatt, Switzerland, and featuring spectacular scenery and an outstanding cast, THIRD MAN ON THE MOUNTAIN is one of the finest adventure films of all-time!” (from Disney+)

Directed by Ken Annakin. Produced by Bill Anderson (as William H. Anderson), Walt Disney (uncredited) and Alan Jaggs (Associate Producer). Written by Eleanore Griffin (Screenplay) and James Ramsey Ullman (book “Banner in the Sky”). Cinematography by Harry Waxman (Director of Photography). Music by William Alwyn. Starring Michael Rennie (Captain John Winter), James MacArthur (Rudi Matt), Janet Munro (Lizbeth Hempel), James Donald (Franz Lerner), Herbert Lom (Emil Saxo), Laurence Naismith (Teo Zurbriggen), Lee Patterson (Klaus Wesselhoft), Walter Fitzgerald (Herr Hempel), Nora Swinburne (Frau Matt) and Ferdy Mayne (Andreas). (from Internet Movie Database)

Based on the 1954 novel “Banner in the Sky” by James Ramsey Ullman. The novel was based on the real life first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. The character of Captain John Winter was based on Edward Whymper and the character of Rudi Matt was entirely fictional. The difficulty of making this movie was highlighted in the ‘Perilous Assignments’ episode of Walt Disney Presents. 

The musical score for the movie was done by William Allen and featured the original song “Climb the Mountain” by Franklyn Marks.

Film Technical Specifications - Genre: Coming of Age, Family, Action-Adventure | Rating: G | Runtime: 1 hour and 47 minutes (107 minutes) | Sound Mix: Mono (RCA Sound Recording) | Color: Color (Technicolor) | Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1.

Jason's Thoughts

I was excited when this movie came up randomly as I’ve never seen it. I knew the significance as far as the Matterhorn (called Citadel in the movie) being the inspiration for the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction at Disneyland (see Fun Facts). To be honest my excitement was a little drained as I started watching it and my expectations were extremely lowered. I decided to stick it out, and I’m glad I did. I stopped about halfway through and came across an old Walt Disney Presents television show called “Perilous Assignments” that aired on November 6, 1959 and is a making of the movie type episode about ‘Third Man on the Mountain.’ Shot on location in Switzerland, the amount of work to make it as realistic as possible was amazing. Cast and crew learned how to climb and they had to carry all the equipment (cameras, film, etc.) up the mountain, filming as they went up. So when I started the movie back up to finish it, I had much more appreciation for what I was watching. ‘Third Man on the Mountain’ gets a score of 65.00 (out of 100) from me. 

James' Thoughts

I thought I had seen this movie before, but couldn’t really remember any details about it.  As I started watching it, I quickly realized that I hadn’t seen it.  I have enjoyed a lot of the live action movies that Disney put out in the 50’s and 60’s and was looking forward to seeing this one.  I love that this is based on a true story and that it features the Matterhorn.  Although I think the movie had some slow spots in it, I really did enjoy watching it.  The scenery is perfect and I think all the actors do a really good job with their characters.  I think the story was great and I was a little surprised when it didn’t end quite the way I thought it would.  It may not be one of my favorite movies moving forward, but I did enjoy it and I wouldn’t mind watching it again.  On a scale of 0-100, my rating for this film is a 79.

'Third Man on the Mountain' Fun Fact(s)

~ The Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction at Disneyland Park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California was inspired by this movie. The Matterhorn Bobsleds opened on June 14, 1959.

Have you seen 'Third Man on the Mountain?” What are your thoughts on the movie? Share in the comments below, we'd love to hear them.

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