Saturday, March 31, 2007

Our Heroine Sees A Movie

The Third Man, to be precise. The last of the Graham Greene noir movies to be shown at BAM, thank Heaven! Anyhow, it's no fault of the movie that I'm glad it's the last. The flick itself was solidly awesome. I'm repeating a thousand critics before me when I mention the zither score. Yes, it's as amazing as they say it is (and oddly creepy in it's unrelenting jauntiness). And the final chase scene through the underground drains is equally worth the praise heaped upon it.

But I throw my hands up in disgust at myself and ask, "Am I a book snob or what?!" I mean, I read in my Portable Graham Greene that the novel The Third Man was never meant to be published. That Greene felt you couldn't write a proper screenplay without first writing a fully-fleshed story. So he writes the novel The Third Man, always intending it to be a movie, then he does the screenplay adaptation, and then says that the movie is, "the finished state of the story." So, if ever there was a situation in which the movie is going to be head and shoulders above the book on which it's based, it's this one, right? Right. And yet...I still liked the book better.

Again, it's not the movie's fault, it's mine. I simply heart good potboiler prose, like this:

How quickly one becomes aware of silence even in so silent a city as Vienna with the snow steadily settling. Martins hadn't reached the second floor before he was convinced that he would not find Lime there, but the silence was deeper than just absence -- it was as if he would not find Lime anywhere in Vienna, and, as he reached the third floor and saw the big black bow over the door handle, anywhere in the world at all.

C'mon, that's good right? That's really, really good (especially considering that no one was ever supposed to read it). Talk about something being better than it had to be.

So, go, Netflix thee a copy of the movie, but even in this instance, you've got to read the book too.

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