Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Quiet American

"The Quiet American is an anti-war novel by British author Graham Greene, first published in United Kingdom in 1955 and in the United States in 1956. It was adapted into films in 1958 and 2002. The book draws on Greene's experiences as a war correspondent for The Times and Le Figaro in French Indochina 1951–1954. He was apparently inspired to write The Quiet American in October 1951 while driving back to Saigon from Ben Tre province. He was accompanied by an American aid worker who lectured him about finding a “third force in Vietnam”.

Graham Greene's allegorical novel about America's role in the Vietnam conflict, and how it was perceived by the rest of the world, is brought to the screen for the second time in this adaptation directed by Phillip Noyce. Thomas Fowler (Michael Caine) is a British journalist who in 1952 is covering the early stages of the war in Indo-China for the London Times, not a demanding assignment since few in England are especially interested in the conflict. When not filing occasional reports, Fowler spends his time with Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen), a beautiful woman who shares lovemaking and opium with Fowler and is willing to accept the fact the married journalist will never make her his wife.

 Watch a scene of a movie based on the novel with the same title.

“He looked at the wet on his shoes and said in a sick voice, “What’s that?”
“Blood” I said. “Haven’t you even seen it before?”
He said, “I must get a shine before I see the Minister.”
P 212

“But what I remembered was the torso in the square, the baby on its mother’s lap. They had not been warned; they had not been sufficiently important.”
P 213

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