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Third Man on the Mountain (1959)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 440 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

A boy attempts to realize his father's dream of climbing an alpine peak known as the Citadel.

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Title: Third Man on the Mountain (1959)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Captain John Winter
...
Rudi Matt
...
...
Franz Lerner
...
Emil Saxo
Laurence Naismith ...
Teo Zurbriggen
Lee Patterson ...
Klaus Wesselhoft
Walter Fitzgerald ...
Herr Hempel
Nora Swinburne ...
Frau Matt
Ferdy Mayne ...
Andreas
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Storyline

A boy attempts to realize his father's dream of climbing an alpine peak known as the Citadel.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

FROM WALT DISNEY A NEW HIGH IN THRILLING ACTION, SUSPENSE AND EXCITEMENT! (original ad - all caps)


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 November 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Banner in the Sky  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction at Disneyland Park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California is inspired by this movie. See more »

Goofs

The amount of blood on Captain Winter's bandage keeps changing from scene to scene at the end of the movie. See more »

Quotes

Emil Saxo: It's the end of it, for him. But it needn't be for us.
Franz Lerner: What do you mean?
Emil Saxo: Tomorrow the weather will be good, after that, who knows? If we leave at first dawn, we'll be there by eight. The boy will stay with him, he won't be left alone. And it's what he would want us to do.
Franz Lerner: It isn't a question of what he would want. A guide - at any rate, a guide of Kurtal - does not leave his client on a mountain and go on alone.
See more »


Soundtracks

Climb the Mountain
Written by Franklyn Marks and 'By' Dunham
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mountain Men
16 May 2002 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

I saw this film on the old Disney show back decades ago, and liked it very much, then sort of forgot about it. These days the Disney channel shows it periodically, and whenever it's on and I'm watching television, I can't help but stayed tuned to this one. For anyone who's ever climbed a mountain this movie is a treat.

The story is beyond simple: a young man in 19th century Switzerland whose father was killed trying to climb the Citadel (which is what the Matterhorn is called here) wants to become a mountaineer himself, and of course climb to the top of the Citadel, which no man has done. His mother strictly forbids it, and his uncle downright nasty to him whenever the subject comes up. Persistent fellow that he is, the boy hooks up with an English mountain climber, then coaxes his uncle to take him along on a climb, makes an ass of himself, then has a go at it again. The boy doesn't really have the maturity for the task, but persists, and in time he grows up, almost in spite of himself.

There's a larger than life quality to this movie, which was filmed on location. Director Ken Annakin, who never achieved his potential, shows himself a first-rate movie man here. The Swiss village and the looming mountains beyond convey an odd mood, as the place feels alternately dangerous, as if on the edge of the world, and beautiful, because of what one sees out the window every day. There's an intimacy between the clannish villagers, with their peculiar garb and gingerbread homes, that's caught to absolute perfection by Annakin and his crew. Everything seems real in this film; stylized as it sometimes is, it has an unmistakable ring of (admittedly Disneyfied) truth.

As to the climbing scenes, they are wonderfully photographed, with the camera seemingly in the right place at all times. One gets just close enough to experience at least some of the danger and excitement of mountain-climbing, with the camera pulling back periodically to show a larger view, invariably breathtaking. The actors are all competent. James MacArthur's non-charisma actually helps movie the picture along, as one is often more aware of who he's with than his character. He fades into the background somewhat, as young men often do, with the older, more experienced adults dominating. James Donald is brilliant as his uncle, creating a fully rounded portrait of a man who looks after his nephew, who for reasons never wholly explained, likes to belittle him. Michael Rennie is sturdy as the Englishman and Janet Munro makes a perky love interest. Herbert Lom almost steals the show as Saxo, the outsider from beyond, who also wants to climb the Citadel, and has a disagreeable disposition. He dresses differently from the others, and even wears a different sort of hat. Lom comes across as foreign, as we can see why people don't take to him in this little close-knit society.

There are few surprises in this film, but it tells its familiar and largely predictable story with great flair and feeling for the people it's about, showing once more that one can make an outstanding, maybe even great film, out of seemingly routine, even threadbare material, if one hunkers down really hard and gives it one's best shot, as clearly everyone connected with this movie did.


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