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What Happened To The Novel? Essay

1139 words - 5 pages

In The Quiet American, by Graham Greene, there is a close-up look at the involvement of America in the war between the French, Communists and the Vietminh. One of the main characters, Alden Pyle, is in Vietnam to offer aid and who really shines a light onto how terrible American foreign affairs can go. The novel causes readers to question what really happened during the war and the betrayal of those involved in the affairs concerning the war. Graham Greene creates a character who betrays those in his life throughout the whole novel and whether the betrayal is on purpose or not and how that can be shown to have different meanings in different contexts.
There were two movies modeled after ...view middle of the document...

In the end, Fowler has betrayed not only Pyle, Phuong and his wife, but also himself.
In Mankiewicz's 1958 version of The Quiet American, Pyle's character is simply referred to as "The American." For some weird reason, the director never named the character and so throughout the entire movie, he was just referred to as being “young” or being “American”. He was just as important of a character as Fowler was. Poor Pyle was rejected throughout the entire movie and there were not very many details about him, or the ones that were mentioned were not correct according to the book. A detail about Pyle in the novel is that he is from Boston and in the older film version of the movie it says that Pyle is from Texas. That is just a couple of simple details though. The craziest difference is that the older film got rid of any affiliation Pyle had with the American government. There was hardly any information about his job and what he was doing in Vietnam. Luckily in the Noyce version, it is mentioned what Pyle does and what his involvement and the effect of him being in Vietnam was and how it shaped the outcome of the war.
Mankiewicz, who has no interest into actually cluing in the audience about who Pyle is, has him come across as a naïve, innocent man who acts like he does not know what is going on. Even to the end, he has Pyle denying any involvement and reasoning of why he would be in Vietnam with any United States agency. Noyce, on the other hand, does a great job and presents Pyle as Greene built him up in the novel: extremely witty and straightforward. Noyce actually makes quite a bit of effort in picking the right actors for the characters in the novel and invests in plenty of details so the audience is not left in the dark and confused like they can be with Mankiewicz’s film.
Both filmmakers had a lot of scenes with Fowler and Pyle, or the American in Mankiewicz’s case, but they also showed an adult named Phuong. In the case of Phuong, neither men were really good for her. Pyle did dangerous "possibly...

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