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The Quiet American (1958)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 932 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 13 critic

A young naive American and a cynical older British diplomat disagree over politics in 1952 Vietnam and over a beautiful young native girl.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Claude Dauphin ...
...
...
Fred Sadoff ...
Dominguez
Kerima ...
Richard Loo ...
Peter Trent ...
Eliot Wilkins
Georges Bréhat ...
French Colonel (as Georges Brehat)
Clinton Anderson ...
Joe Morton
Yôko Tani ...
Rendezvous Hostess
Nguyen Long ...
Boy with Mask
C. Long Cuong ...
Boy in Watchtower
Tu An ...
Boy in Watchtower
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Storyline

In this adaptation of Graham Greene's prophetic novel about U.S. foreign policy failure in pre-war Indochina, Audie Murphy plays an innocent Young American opposite the older, cynical Brit Michael Redgrave. They play out their widely different views on the prospects struggle for the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people in their competition over a young woman. Murphy wants to reform her and make her a typical middle class American housewife; Redgrave accepts her inability to formulate or retain a political ideal and while promising her no real future, he objects to Murphy's attempts to change her. It's not clear whether Murphy is just what he appears - a bungling Yankee do-gooder - or a deliberate agent of U.S. covert operations. Written by Rita Richardson <RRichar790@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Thriller | War

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

8 February 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vier Pfeifen Opium  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In Europe, director-writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz was savagely attacked for his film's infidelity to the source novel by Graham Greene, not least by Greene himself. The screenplay essentially turns the novel inside-out, so that the blundering "quiet American", whose extreme naiveté causes tragedy and his own death despite his having only the best of intentions, is transformed into a shrewd and heroic figure, far wiser and more honorable than his British rival. Mankiewicz later referred to the film as "very bad" (although he also liked to point out that Jean-Luc Godard had called it the best film of its year) and claimed that he had not been able to concentrate on the film because of the mental collapse of his wife, Rose Stradner, who committed suicide soon after he had finished it. See more »

Quotes

Bill Granger: [after having some drinks in the bar] I mean the defense of this country was conceived in the 19th Century and being fought in the 20th from Beau Geste forts that were built a century before the trenches of Verdun.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Smart & Smarter (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

La Cathédrale engloutie
(uncredited)
Composed by Claude Debussy
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User Reviews

 
He's in plastics
6 January 2009 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The Quiet American is not one of the greatest Greene books, coming after the successes of the Thirties and Forties, but it is a very entertaining read. Joe Mankiewicz made a great adaptation to the screen with superb actors. I will take Michael Redgrave, Giorgia Moll and Claude Dauphin over Michael Caine, Do Thi Hai Yen and Rade Serbedzija in the 2002 version any day, and as for Audie Murphy--sure he's no Hamlet, but his dogged determination and easy Southern charm impress me more than Brendan Fraser in the role of Pyle, that dangerously quiet American.

I was pleased by the way the story unfolded, the political themes were well worked out, and the Cao Dai scenes were very good. Don't forget that in 1956 the city scapes of Saigon and the countryside still had not been modernized; you are seeing the real thing. The pairing of Redgrave and Dauphin is as entertaining as that of Bogart and Rains in Casablanca: is there any higher praise?


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