Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Overlooked TV -- The Third Man

I don't know about you, but I certainly overlooked this show when it was on the air.  I didn't even know about it until recently.

As you probably remember, Orson Welles played Harry Lime in the movie version of The Third Man.  Lime was an unscrupulous adventurer who at the time of the story had been stealing penicillin from military hospitals.  He later sold the diluted antibiotic on the black market, causing suffering and death.  At the end of the book and movie, he dies.  When Welles later did a radio show, the death was mentioned in the beginning, and the rest of the show was told in flashback.  Lime, in this version, is a softer character, an adventurer but not amoral.  

The TV version, which ran for five seasons, features Michael Rennie as Lime, and he's very much different from the movie, novel, and radio Lime.  They still use that theme song, though.  

Lime obviously didn't die in Vienna, and now he's an international art dealer who travels the world dealing in art and other things while solving crimes on the side.  Rennie is very good in his role, but often Jonathan Harris, who played Dr. Smith on Lost in Space when this series ended, steals the show.  He plays Rennie's assistant, and he's very much in his Dr. Smith mode in the episodes I watched on YouTube.  I've watched three of the shows so far and plan to watch more.  If you've overlooked it, too, check it out.

6 comments:

Deb said...

I think Jonathan Harris was ALWAYS in Dr. Smith mode.

Fred Blosser said...

I remember seeing the show as a kid in the '50s, long before I saw the Carol Reed movie in those pre-Netflix, pre-streaming days, and before reading the novel.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

What Deb said.

THE THIRD MAN is one of my favorite movies. I've never seen this.

Todd Mason said...

This was one of the last series to be launched by the NTA Film Network while it was still acting as a network...you'll note at the end of the credits the notation that it was a production of NTA in collaboration with the BBC.

I've seen only one episode from the first season, before Harris was added to the cast, "Listen for the Sound of a Witch" with Suzanne Pleshette. I will suggest that I much prefer Pleshette's contributions to Harris's. You can see that episode, which is oddly hard to bring up through search engines, embedded in my post here:
http://socialistjazz.blogspot.com/2015/05/overlooked-us-television-networks-nta.html

Bill Crider said...

Thank for the link Todd.

Cap'n Bob said...

I remember it, though it was a bit too sophisticated for me at that age.