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The Graham Greene Film Reader: Reviews, Essays, Interviews and Film Stories


(Applause Books). An anthology of reviews, essays, interviews & film stories by this legendary writer.
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(Applause Books). An anthology of reviews, essays, interviews & film stories by this legendary writer.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Payn, who performed as an actor and singer in several Coward plays, lived with the playwright as part of his extended family for 30 years and now administers his estate. Written with Barry Day, an advertising executive, this effusively affectionate memoir of Coward (1899-1973), best known for his sophisticated comedies (Blithe Spirit, Private Lives), is a giddily gossipy account of the luminary's long theatrical career and glittering social life. Renowned actors-Beatrice Lillie, Gertrude Lawrence, Laurence Olivier and Lunt and Fontaine-performed in Coward plays and were also friendly with Payn. Drawing on Coward's diaries and his own recollections, Payn reveals some unflattering details and settles a few scores (e.g., Rex Harrison was tiresome offstage, and Beatrice Lillie forgot her lines). The memoir includes a transcript of a 1961 conversation between Coward and Judy Garland, as well as previously unpublished essays by Coward on the theater. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Although it occupied a short span of his writing career, Greene's stint as a film reviewer had a lasting influence on other film writers. This volume gathers Greene's reviews, along with essays, lectures, and letters on film. As with critic James Agee, the reviews are valuable for insights into Greene's aesthetic credos, even though many of the films reviewed are obscure and difficult to find today. As an unusual number of Greene's novels were filmed, the book includes several Greene film treatments, and a listing of all films made from Greene's fiction. Although many of these films are considered classics, sadly, Greene seemed to have lost interest in films in later life. The editor explains that for Greene, film "which had hitherto guaranteed a way of escape, were now something to be escaped from." More wide-ranging than Graham Greene on Film (LJ 1/1/73), this work is recommended for academic and large film collections.-Stephen Rees, Bucks Cty. Free Lib., Levittown, Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557831880
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Series: Film Reader Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 748
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 2.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Graham Greene
Known for his espionage thrillers set in exotic locales, Graham Greene is the writer who launched a thousand travel journalists. But although Greene produced some unabashedly commercial works -- he called them "entertainments," to distinguish them from his novels -- even his escapist fiction is rooted in the gritty realities he encountered around the globe.


Known for his espionage thrillers set in exotic locales, Graham Greene is the writer who launched a thousand travel journalists. But although Greene produced some unabashedly commercial works -- he called them "entertainments," to distinguish them from his novels -- even his escapist fiction is rooted in the gritty realities he encountered around the globe. "Greeneland" is a place of seedy bars and strained loyalties, of moral dissolution and physical decay.

Greene spent his university years at Oxford "drunk and debt-ridden," and claimed to have played Russian roulette as an antidote to boredom. At age 21 he converted to Roman Catholicism, later saying, "I had to find a measure my evil against." His first published novel, The Man Within, did well enough to earn him an advance from his publishers, but though Greene quit his job as a Times subeditor to write full-time, his next two novels were unsuccessful. Finally, pressed for money, he set out to write a work of popular fiction. Stamboul Train (also published as The Orient Express) was the first of many commercial successes.

Throughout the 1930s, Greene wrote novels, reviewed books and movies for the Spectator, and traveled through eastern Europe, Liberia, and Mexico. One of his best-known works, Brighton Rock, was published during this time; The Power and the Glory, generally considered Greene's masterpiece, appeared in 1940. Along with The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair, they cemented Greene's reputation as a serious novelist -- though George Orwell complained about Greene's idea "that there is something rather distingué in being damned; Hell is a sort of high-class nightclub, entry to which is reserved for Catholics only."

During World War II, Greene was stationed in Sierra Leone, where he worked in an intelligence capacity for the British Foreign Office under Kim Philby, who later defected to the Soviet Union. After the war, Greene continued to write stories, plays, and novels, including The Quiet American, Travels with My Aunt, The Honorary Consul, and The Captain and the Enemy. For a time, he worked as a screenwriter for MGM, producing both original screenplays and scripts adapted from his fiction.

He also continued to travel, reporting from Vietnam, Haiti, and Panama, among other places, and he became a vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy in Central America. Some biographers have suggested that his friendships with Communist leaders were a ploy, and that he was secretly gathering intelligence for the British government. The more common view is that Greene's leftist leanings were part of his lifelong sympathy with the world's underdogs -- what John Updike called his "will to compassion, an ideal communism even more Christian than Communist. Its unit is the individual, not any class."

But if Greene's politics were sometimes difficult to decipher, his stature as a novelist has seldom been in doubt, in spite of the light fiction he produced. Kingsley Amis, Evelyn Waugh, and R. K. Narayan paid tribute to his work, and William Golding prophesied: "He will be read and remembered as the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man's consciousness and anxiety."

Good To Know

Greene's philandering ways were legendary; he frequently visited prostitutes and had several mistresses, including Catherine Walston, who converted to Catholicism after reading The Power and the Glory and wrote to Greene asking him to be her godfather. After a brief period of correspondence, the two met, and their relationship inspired Greene's novel The End of the Affair.

Greene was a film critic, screenwriter, and avid moviegoer, and critics have sometimes praised the cinematic quality of his style. His most famous screenplay was The Third Man, which he cowrote with director Carol Reed. Recently, new film adaptations have been made of Greene's novels The End of the Affair and The Quiet American. Greene's work has also formed the basis for an opera: Our Man in Havana, composed by Malcolm Williamson.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Henry Graham Greene (birth name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 2, 1904
    2. Place of Birth:
      Berkhamsted, England
    1. Date of Death:
      April 3, 1991
    2. Place of Death:
      Vevey, Switzerland

Table of Contents

At the Super-Cinema 3
Rien que les heures 4
Spectator Reviews 5
Night and Day Reviews 200
Spectator Reviews 250
The Average Film 385
The Province of the Film: Past Mistakes and Future Hopes 387
A Film Technique: Rhythms of Space and Time 390
A Film Principle: Sound and Silence 392
Film Aesthetic: Its Distinction for Drama - The Province of the Screen 394
The Middlebrow Film 397
The Genius of Peter Lorre 403
Is It Criticism? 404
Subjects and Stories 409
Film Lunch 418
Ideas in the Cinema 421
Movie Parade 1937 424
Preface to The Third Man 429
Preface to The Fallen Idol 434
Charlie Chaplin: An Open Letter 436
London Diary 438
A Tribute to Korda 439
Ballade for a Wedding 440
The Novelist and the Cinema - A Personal Experience 441
Memories of a Film Critic 445
Preface to Three Plays 456
Film Fragments 462
My Worst Film 473
Screen Dreams 475
Pigs Be British 481
A Grammar of the Film 484
Wings over Wardour Street 486
Films and the Theatre 490
Movie Memories 492
The Extraordinary Profession 493
The Future's in the Air 499
The New Britain 504
The Cinema: a Radio Talk 511
The Spanish Talks 515
The Screenwriter 522
Graham Greene: On the Screen 524
The John Player Film Lecture 530
Guardian Film Lecture 539
6 Letters 565
No Man's Land 581
The Stranger's Hand 623
Introduction to The Tenth Man 666
Jim Braddon and the War Criminal 668
Nobody to Blame 671
The Blue Film 681
All But Empty 686
App. I The Films of Graham Greene 691
App. II Unseen Greene 699
App. III Other Film Books 711
Notes 715
Index of Films 723
Index of Names 730
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