The Journal of History     Spring 2003    TABLE OF CONTENTS
Movie Review

The Quiet American

By Nathan Gant

Graham Greene's novel comes to life in this splendid adaptation of a movie of same name "The Quiet American." The good guy even gets his girl back, and the bad guy, basically the American CIA agent, it's really hard to tell who were the good and bad guys in French-occupied Saigon in1952, but at least the CIA agent finally gets what's coming to him.

The plot is a bit complicated, but that's classic Greene for you (recall that he also wrote "Our Man in Havana").

I can't recommend this movie too much. Get the DVD or videotape when it's released, just so you can watch the movie again and try to follow the intricacies of the story more closely. Or read the book at your local library and think it through for yourself.

Rumor has it that this movie is being held-back in many area movie theaters for the political reasons of the moment - Bush's upcoming war in Iraq. Wouldn't surprise me. If you do get a chance to see it, you probably will come away from this with some strong anti-war sentiment. I know I did. That's probably why the Pentagon no longer allows independent investigators/reporters anywhere near the battlefields anymore. At least until after they can sanitize everything for PR. That wasn't the case in Vietnam in the 1950's and 1960's. All that has changed now, PR/news is integrated into the military Psy-Ops department.

At least, you should remember that "truth is the first casualty in a war" -- quote from US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson (1866-1945). I suppose this movie will help to show you that it is a good example of that maxim.

You really don't know who is on what side at any given time. It's probably true right now in Afghanistan, and that's probably going to be true in Iraq once it is occupied by the US troops. Be sure to look out for the occasional renegade warlord, like Colonel-cum-General Tan in the movie, he might decide to double-cross you when your back is turned!



The Journal of History - Spring 2003 Copyright © 2003 by News Source, Inc.