Third Man on the Mountain

Third Man on the Mountain is a 1959 American family adventure film by Walt Disney Productions, directed by Ken Annakin and starring Michael Rennie, James MacArthur and Janet Munro. Set during the golden age of alpinism, its plot concerns a young Swiss man who conquers the mountain that killed his father. It is based on Banner in the Sky, a James Ramsey Ullman 1955 novel about the first ascent of the Citadel, and was televised under this name.


While working in a hotel kitchen in the small town of Kurtal in the Swiss Alps, Rudi Matt daydreams of reaching the summit of the Citadel. He is startled out of his daydreams by Old Teo, the hotel's cook and a former mountain guide, and he breaks several dishes. Teo lectures him, but Rudi sneaks away from the kitchen to fetch his hidden climbing gear and go climbing in the mountains outside of town. At the encouragement of Lizbeth Hempel, the hotel proprietor's daughter who has an interest in Rudi, Teo lies to cover for Rudi's absence. Up on the glacier, Rudi hears a cry for help and rescues mountaineer Captain Winter, who has fallen into a crevasse. On their way back to Kurtal, Rudi and Winter discuss the climbing accident on the Citadel that led to the death of Rudi's father, who saved his client from freezing by wrapping him in his red shirt. Rudi tells Winter, ashamed, that he is a dishwasher in the village and asks Winter not to tell anyone that he was climbing in the hills.