Tag Archives: Joseph Cotton

The Set of 400: #79 – My Favorite Zither Soundtrack

Today! Because 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 –

The Third Man (1949)

Directed by Carol Reed

Starring Joseph Cotton, Orson Welles (x3), Alida Valli, Trevor Howard (x2), Bernard Lee (x3), Siegfried Breuer, Erich Ponto, Paul Horbiger, Ernst Deutsch

Not coincidentally the basis for my favorite Pinky and the Brain episode, The Third Man is the classic film-noir mystery of Vienna, supposed murders, tense philosophical Ferris Wheel conversations, perpetually wet streets, and yes, a soundtrack dominated by a zither. I imagine this is an instrument with some manner of pedigree and respect, but I’ve always thought of it as a child’s toy, not unlike a kazoo. This is certainly because I had the small kid’s version back in the day, where you’d place the sheet music (shaped like the instrument) behind the strings. Let’s Google that quick:

This was it! Still couldn’t play it worth a damn!

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