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Graham Greene and the Quiet American


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At long last maybe my quest to see all of Audie Murphy's films is complete. Somehow this one from 1958 had escaped me.


After seeing it I looked it up on the internet and there were comments about it being suppressed due to its theme of American 'bumbling' in Viet-nam, or fear that it might be seen as anti-American. Critics said it wasn't faithful to the book by Graham Greene. And Greene agreed, saying he wanted no part of it.


I preferred this one to the 2002 version with Brandon Fraser and Michael Caine. The novel and the 2002 version takes on amateurs in foreign relations who get in over their heads. The 1958 film is a study in British middle age reporter with supposed superior intellect obsessed with retaining a gorgeous local mistress, and being complicit in the assassination of the young American who wants to marry the girl and provide her a decent life. Michael Redgrave sweats a lot in the story, also enhanced by being filmed in Vietnam with local scenery. The French are still administering the police and local Communists are being careful to remain hidden.


Richard Loo, the Japanese colonel in a dozen World War II movies is the nasty villain in this film as well, playing the undercover Communist operative.


I think Greene specialized in ex-pat middle aged agents and should have appreciated the role as interpreted by Michael Redgrave. This movie reminded me a bit of Casablanca with its just before the BIG war setting, the French prefect of police, and the ex-pat forced to share his lady, losing his lady.

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