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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Graham Greene's Dark Humor

I am a fan of Graham Greene, especially "Our Man in Havana", "The Comedians" and "The Third Man". Today on Turner Classic Movies (in 31 Days of Oscar) they showed The Third Man ... I tuned in just as the main character, Holly Martins, is taken to the book club to speak on his philosophy of writing (he has none). This is typical Greene humor, to put the main character in some situation where he is presumed to have knowledge he does not possess, and others are confused by his responses. He is not alone in the use of this plot stratagem, but he is a master of it.

In The Comedians, the main character is presumed to be part of the opposition, which he decidedly is not, but he must become what he is presumed to be or be killed. In Our Man in Havana, the main character is hired to be a spy, a profession for which he has not the least shred of aptitude or interest, but as the plot moves on we see he must become one, or someone from one side or the other will kill him.

1 comment:

Osprey said...

Atomic vacuum cleaner ftw