Third Man

Yes, another Thin Man idea from years ago. This one’s a lot shorter, though. It’s a crossover.


“I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamour and easy charm. I really got to know it in–why, as I live and breathe: Nick and Nora Charles!”

On a lonely railway platform in postwar Vienna, novelist Holly Martins encounters his old pals, the Charleses.

“What are you doing here?”

Nora: “We’re in town to see Herr Von Castorp, the famous dog trainer. He’s teaching Asta to play the zither.”

Holly: “Is that so?”

(Cut to Asta with zither. The dog plays the “Theme from ‘The Third Man‘”)

Holly asks Nick to find a missing friend of his, Harry Lime. Nick tries to beg off, but soon finds himself running through the bombed-out streets of the city and making lone, late-night visits to the sewers. Along with British policeman Major Calloway (who is not the grimly competent figure from the original picture, but a bumbling foil as cops tend to be in the Thin Man movies), Nick & Nora unravel a bizarre black market scheme and a feigned death, with Harry at the center of it.

Eventually Nick tracks Lime down to a compartment in the immense Ferris wheel that hangs over Vienna.

“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,–”

Nick silences Harry with a right to the jaw, knocking him out of the compartment.

“Sorry about that,” Nick says as he rubs his knuckles, “but you can only expect a man to listen to that tripe for so long.”

The last scene is a long, long shot of Nick, Nora & Asta jauntily walking down the street towards home.