Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

The Quiet American (1958)


kingrat
 Share

Recommended Posts

{font:Times New Roman} {font}

 

{font:Calibri}I enjoyed The Quiet American (1958, dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz) very much. Americans in 1958 weren’t interested in Vietnam, the movie doesn’t have a feel-good ending, and Mankiewicz apparently inverts the politics of Graham Greene’s novel. Who exactly was the target audience? Maybe it was us. Seeing Saigon as it was then is most interesting. The story is set in 1952, as the Communists are having some success against the French, and the Americans may be interesting in supporting a “third force” which is neither colonialist nor Communist.{font}

 

{font:Times New Roman} {font}

{font:Calibri} {font}

 

{font:Times New Roman} {font}

{font:Calibri}Audie Murphy is the title character, a naïve idealist from Texas—or is he as innocent as he seems? The main character is a cynical English journalist played by Michael Redgrave, and he is superb. The journalist is separated from his wife, who won’t divorce him for religious reasons, and he’s keeping a Vietnamese girlfriend, played by the Italian actress Giorgia Moll. The young American falls for her, too, and the love triangle becomes enmeshed with the political differences of the two men, with two different ways of looking at the world. {font}

 

{font:Times New Roman} {font}

{font:Calibri} {font}

 

{font:Times New Roman} {font}

{font:Calibri}SPOILERS: In the Mankiewicz telling of the story, the journalist’s cynicism makes him just as vulnerable as if he were an innocent, and the sense of a superior knowingness which is central to his being is shattered by those who know how to exploit this weakness. Redgrave gives us the full measure of the man’s ultimate awareness of his moral degradation.{font}

 

{font:Times New Roman} {font}

{font:Calibri} {font}

 

{font:Times New Roman} {font}

{font:Calibri}Claude Dauphin plays essentially the Claude Rains role from Casablanca, and does so well, and Fred Sadoff and Richard Loo play their roles of Communist sympathizers very skillfully. The gifted cinematographer is Robert Krasker (The Third Man), who provides appropriately noirish shadows to parts of the drama. Not a success in its time, but it looks good today.{font}

 

{font:Times New Roman} {font}

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's been quite a while since I've watched this one, but I do remember liking it quite a bit and marveling at how well Greene's story foreshadows a soon to become very contentious era which would have a profound affect upon America's foreign policy.

 

The only letdown for me was Audie Murphy's stiff performance.

 

I also remember thinking that Greene must have had a rather cynical view of Americans himself, what with his character of Holly Martins in "The Third Man" also being written as the na?ve sort in order to move the plot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOL

 

Well first finance, of course I knew why and how Audie got into movies, but secondly, and while very few people have made it the level of Larry O. acting-wise, Audie wasn't bad at all in a few of his films, particularly in Huston's "The Red Badge of Courage" and in his portrayal of himself in "To Hell and Back"....which of course means when it comes to an actor being able to "stretch", Audie wasn't capable of it all that much, if at all.

 

(...maybe it was that baby face of his that he was saddled with all the way to the unfortunate ending of his life)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I went to Hollywood because I had nowhere else to go." -- Audie Murphy

 

America's most decorated war hero becoming a B-movie star certainly says something about something... It's sorta like if lifelong politician Ronald Reagan served his term as president, and *then* signed with Warners as an actor.

 

Murphy steadily improved as an actor over his Universal contract, eventually even developing a nice comedy sense you can see in Joe Butterfly (he's certainly more comfortable in service farce than the Pasadena Playhouse-trained George Nader), and this enhances his performances in things like Night Passage and the B-oater classic No Name On The Bullet.

 

Murphy's best performance may be in The Unforgiven, where he is relieved of the burden of being the romantic lead, and can character actor it up to his heart's delight

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've always thought for an actor it wouldn't be preferable, because it often seems to subconsciously convey to an audience a lack of worldliness or experience...both of which are qualities in a character which I've always found makes them more interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel a little stupid asking this question, but was Audie supposed to be a CIA agent in this film? Was he some kind of US government agent trying to manage the conflict in Vietnam for American interests, or as an anti-communist project?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here ya go, Fred. Everything about the 1958 version and a little about the 2002 version which is more faithful to Graham Greene's original intent as an anti-war story is in this Wiki page....

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quiet_American_(1958_film)

 

(...wait, what am I doin' here?!...I think Fred has me on his ignore function, and so would somebody else post this link for me...well, I guess for Fred actually?)

 

LOL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...