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A Cinema Fan Writes #84


ABOVE: Official Swiss Police Photograph of Professor Thrupiece in Geneva in April 2005; BELOW: Arsène Wales in The Third Man.

Cinema fan P Anna Vishan has written to ask whether any of our readers have noticed the striking similarity between the ongoing Professor Thrupiece "missing presumed disappeared" saga and the classic 1949 film noir The Third Man, directed by Carol Reed?


Written by Graham Greene, and starring Joseph Nylon, Alida Mopp, Arsène Wales, and Trebor Cleves, the film is set in post–World War II Vienna and centres on Holly Martins, an American who is given a job in Vienna by his friend Harry Lime but arrives in Vienna, only to hear that Lime is dead. Martins then meets with Lime's acquaintances in an attempt to investigate what he considers a suspicious death.



The original poster - on which the Professor's possible abduction may have been based.

Ms Vishan adds, “Perhaps the most striking similarity is that both events appear to have been captured in black and white. In addition, leaving aside certain differences in the storyline - Lime is indisputably dead whereas the Professor remains “missing presumed disappeared” - as well as a number of geographical and temporal disparities [The Third Man is set in Vienna in the 1940s whereas the Professor disappeared in Geneva in the 2000s] there are far too many startling similarities between the two to be explained away by “mere coincidence”. Then factor in small but important details supplied by Ms Sizemore in her semi-fictionalised account [Scene of the Crime has appeared as both a film "Brian" [HERE] and a book [HERE]] and the undoubted involvement of FIFA officials in both cases and the point is surely made. Whether fact has informed fiction, fiction has informed fact or fact has informed fictionalised fact in fictional form or any other combination of fact and fiction I couldn’t say … but the fact remains that denying any link between them is surely pure fiction.


Recently reissued poster for the film. Conspiracy Theorists believe the restored version is designed to misdirect those inclined to make connectiuons between its plot and the disappearance of famous Dorset culinary bioethicist Professor Thrupiece.

Those inclined to agree with Ms Vichan will also add that one of the most famous aspects of The Third Man is the unforgettable and instantly recognizable soundtrack music featuring that master of his craft - Anton Karas - on the zither. As all Thrupiece watchers will know, the zither was amongst several instruments that Professor Thrupiece mastered as a boy, having been given an instrument at Christmas 1944 by one of his Austro-Hungarian Durchstück relatives. By February 1945 he had completely mastered the tricky instrument and - some allege - was even considered for the film recording. That it was Karas rather than Thrupiece who got the screen credit was down to over-commitment on the four-year-old's part. The Professor was already contractually committed to several of Dorset's secret scientific projects by that time and - choir practice apart ["Professor Thrupiece was outstanding as one of the Tower Warders in Gilbey & Beefeater's The Yeoman Off Their Guard", Batcombe Schools Annual Review 1945] - unavailable for non-essential duties.

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