Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Third Man & The Fallen Idol by Graham Greene

Rating: 9/10

Published: 1950
Number of pages: 137

Started: 4 April 2008
Finished: 5 April 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):

The Third Man is Graham Greene's brilliant recreation of post-War Vienna, a 'smashed dreary city' occupied by the four Allied powers. Rollo Martins, a second-rate novelist, arrives penniless to visit his friend and hero, Harry Lime. But Harry has died in suspicious circumstances, and the police are closing in on his associates...

The Fallen Idol is the chilling story of a small boy caught up in the games that adults play. Left in the care of the butler and his wife whilst his parents go on a fortnight's holiday, Philip realises too late the danger of lies and deceit. But the truth is even deadlier.

I had been after this book for a long time so I could see how it matched up to my favourite movie, and I wasn't disappointed. The film was, for the most part, very true to the book. The only slight difference was to the ending, of which I prefer the movie version.

The book and movie are now so intrinsically linked in my mind that I think any attempt at a review of the book will just turn into a review of the movie. :grin: Needless to say, the book is terrific and (dare I say it?) the movie is perhaps even better. But then, how could it fail with Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton and Alida Valli being directed by the brilliant Carol Reed?

Both book and movie are very highly recommended. Usually I would recommend reading the book first, but in this instance I think seeing the movie first is a better idea because there are a few brilliant scenes that pack more of a punch on screen than on a page.

As for the short story called The Fallen Idol, I thought Graham Greene did a great job of building up the tension - it was enjoyable, if somewhat disturbing. It'd be interesting to see the film version of this - it's such a short story that I think they would have to flesh it out quite a bit for a movie.

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