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The Quiet American to film

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    Philip Noyce’s adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American to film was a large success. It stayed true to the script, and kept the basic essence of the characters; pulling them from the pages of the book and

    Philip Noyce’s adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American to film was a large success. It stayed true to the script, and kept the basic essence of the characters; pulling them from the pages of the book and creating them visually into marvels on screen. The earlier film made on the book was made in 1958 by Joseph Mankiewicz. Fowler was played by Michael Redgrave, with Audie Murphy as Pyle. This version was forced to reverse Greene’s political stand taken in the book however, meaning it had no-where near as much impact as Noyce’s production. Noyce chose to film in actual Vietnamese locations and without compromise, boldly sticking to the novel by not letting the Americans come out of the story too kindly. The Vietnamese conflict-its roots, effects, and lifestyle was captured brilliantly with Brendan Fraser depicting the deceivingly innocent yet devious Pyle, and Michael Caine as Fowler the ageing and unhappy journalist.

    It’s both an odd love story and a metaphor for American involvement in Vietnam. The hero, Fowler is a washed up, middle aged, English war correspondent, content with his opium pipe and his Vietnamese mistress, Phuong. His world is gradually disrupted by the arrival of an American covert operative named Pyle who is both a zealous ideologue and naïve optimists. Things get complicated when Pyle steals Phuong away from Fowler, yet attempts to remain friends with him. The normally indifferent Fowler soon becomes morally repulsed by Pyle’s seemingly well intended terrorists’ activities, and gradually becomes politically involved. By the time Fowler helps to engineer Pyle’s murder it is unclear even to him whether he is doing so to help the Vietnamese people or to win Phuong back.

    The story also follows closely, the lives of two close friends, Pyle and Phuong. Each of the three main characters are from different countries, and they were used to represent it.

    As the main character in the, Fowler possessed many complex levels to his psyche. He came across as a bitter, cold-hearted person but in actuality was probably the character that felt the most in the book. Like the typical Englishman, he kept his emotions to himself and out of sight from others. He had his own stand points on religion and politics that he definitely stood by. In the war, England did not take sides, on account of their immense losses during WWII, and like them, Fowler did not take sides. Different people in the story felt that “One has to take sides. If one is to remain human”, but as a European, especially an Englishman, he was for the most part, neutral.

    Fowler constructs Pyle as a naïve young man who is an innocent victim of dogmatic and simplistic ideologies. Fowler sees American culture and Democracy as a corrupting influence on an innocent Pyle. This is exhibited th relational processes, where Pyle, as the carrier, is given attributes such as “innocent”, “young and ignorant and silly”. This innocence is highlight by contrasting it with the attribute of “the whole pack of them”, Fowlers serotypes of Americans.

    Pyle’s corruption is seen in the single instance of his operating as a goal, where “they” are processed as having “killed” him. This construction of Pyle as corrupted by his environment is further solidified in Pyle’s role in material processes. The conceptual goal, which Pyle is acting upon “the east”, is processed in service of the ideological beneficiary “democracy”. The manner in which Fowler projects Pyle’s thoughts has Pyle, as sensor, interpreting the reality of “a dead body” through simplistic ideas such as “a red menace”. This ultimately leaves us with a picture of Pyle as being possessed by good intentions corrupted by an ever-present conditioning.

     It seems to examine the peculiar morality of love. Fowler and Phuong form a strange symbiosis. Fowler is estranged from his English wife, and is old enough to be Phuong’s father. His affection for her is unabashedly sexual and certainly not made for day TV in the US. Phuong’s attachment to both Fowler and Pyle is based more on practical reasons than on love. Greene never passes judgment any of the trio. And when Fowler wins Phuong back in the end, he is left-like so many of us-with a lingering doubt about his motives and actions.

    Another equally interesting point is Greene’s exploration of the politics of Southeast Asia in the 1950’s and particularly, the shifting balance of power from European colonialism to American military and economic involvement. As the French wrap up their losing streak, the Americans enter the scene with blind stupidity; you can’t help but cringe at disaster to come.

    “The Quiet American (2002).” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258068/>

    them visually into marvels on screen. The earlier film made on the book was made in 1958 by Joseph Mankiewicz. Fowler was played by Michael Redgrave, with Audie Murphy as Pyle. This version was forced to reverse Greene’s political stand taken in the book however, meaning it had no-where near as much impact as Noyce’s production. Noyce chose to film in actual Vietnamese locations and without compromise, boldly sticking to the novel by not letting the Americans come out of the story too kindly. The Vietnamese conflict-its roots, effects, and lifestyle was captured brilliantly with Brendan Fraser depicting the deceivingly innocent yet devious Pyle, and Michael Caine as Fowler the ageing and unhappy journalist.

    It’s both an odd love story and a metaphor for American involvement in Vietnam. The hero, Fowler is a washed up, middle aged, English war correspondent, content with his opium pipe and his Vietnamese mistress, Phuong. His world is gradually disrupted by the arrival of an American covert operative named Pyle who is both a zealous ideologue and naïve optimists. Things get complicated when Pyle steals Phuong away from Fowler, yet attempts to remain friends with him. The normally indifferent Fowler soon becomes morally repulsed by Pyle’s seemingly well intended terrorists’ activities, and gradually becomes politically involved. By the time Fowler helps to engineer Pyle’s murder it is unclear even to him whether he is doing so to help the Vietnamese people or to win Phuong back.

    The story also follows closely, the lives of two close friends, Pyle and Phuong. Each of the three main characters are from different countries, and they were used to represent it.

    As the main character in the, Fowler possessed many complex levels to his psyche. He came across as a bitter, cold-hearted person but in actuality was probably the character that felt the most in the book. Like the typical Englishman, he kept his emotions to himself and out of sight from others. He had his own stand points on religion and politics that he definitely stood by. In the war, England did not take sides, on account of their immense losses during WWII, and like them, Fowler did not take sides. Different people in the story felt that “One has to take sides. If one is to remain human”, but as a European, especially an Englishman, he was for the most part, neutral.

    Fowler constructs Pyle as a naïve young man who is an innocent victim of dogmatic and simplistic ideologies. Fowler sees American culture and Democracy as a corrupting influence on an innocent Pyle. This is exhibited th relational processes, where Pyle, as the carrier, is given attributes such as “innocent”, “young and ignorant and silly”. This innocence is highlight by contrasting it with the attribute of “the whole pack of them”, Fowlers serotypes of Americans.

    Pyle’s corruption is seen in the single instance of his operating as a goal, where “they” are processed as having “killed” him. This construction of Pyle as corrupted by his environment is further solidified in Pyle’s role in material processes. The conceptual goal, which Pyle is acting upon “the east”, is processed in service of the ideological beneficiary “democracy”. The manner in which Fowler projects Pyle’s thoughts has Pyle, as sensor, interpreting the reality of “a dead body” through simplistic ideas such as “a red menace”. This ultimately leaves us with a picture of Pyle as being possessed by good intentions corrupted by an ever-present conditioning.

     It seems to examine the peculiar morality of love. Fowler and Phuong form a strange symbiosis. Fowler is estranged from his English wife, and is old enough to be Phuong’s father. His affection for her is unabashedly sexual and certainly not made for day TV in the US. Phuong’s attachment to both Fowler and Pyle is based more on practical reasons than on love. Greene never passes judgment any of the trio. And when Fowler wins Phuong back in the end, he is left-like so many of us-with a lingering doubt about his motives and actions.

    Another equally interesting point is Greene’s exploration of the politics of Southeast Asia in the 1950’s and particularly, the shifting balance of power from European colonialism to American military and economic involvement. As the French wrap up their losing streak, the Americans enter the scene with blind stupidity; you can’t help but cringe at disaster to come.

    “The Quiet American (2002).” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258068/>

    The Quiet American to film. (2016, Nov 10). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-quiet-american-to-film/

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