Music for a Russian Spy Swap in Vienna: “Third Man”


The greatest spy swap since Rudolph Abel walked across a bridge between East and West Berlin back in 1962 in exchange for failed U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers is pending, and if Moscow sources are correct, the perfect locale for the swap has been selected: Vienna.

That’s where the family of an imprisoned Russian scientist named Igor Sutyagin who is serving 15 years for his own alleged spycraft on behalf of the U.S. has allegedly been told to expect imminent transfer. Look for further details later this afternoon in the Manhattan courtroom of District Judge Kimba Wood where the 10 buried-deep-in-the-American-woodwork alleged Russian agents are due to be arraigned.

For those needing to get in the proper Cold War mood, the recommendation is a couple listens to the great Anton Karas’s zither-music theme in the “The Third Man,” the Carol Reed movie made of Graham Greene’s fine entertainment, where brokester Western writer Joseph Cotten and black marketeer Orson Welles prowl Vienna’s alleys and tunnels back and forth between the Russian and allied zones. And stick around for Brit star Trevor Howard’s raspy intro as he tells how he “never knew the old Vienna before the war, with its Strauss music, its glamor and easy charm…”