Music: Zither Dither

For most of British history, Englishmen have been able to take zither music—or leave it to the Tyrolese. Last week, nonetheless, the humble, lap-sized stringed instrument was the musical rage of London. Recording sales were rivaling such alltime British favorites as Gracie Fields and Vera Lynn.

Big reason for the zither dither: the catchy, twangy background music that British Cinema Director Carol Reed (Odd Man Out, The Fallen Idol) had worked into his new smash hit, The Third Man. The picture demanded music appropriate to post-World War II Vienna, but Director Reed had...

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