Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"I Was a Friend of Harry Lime."

What to say about this movie? This print looks fabulous. Every shot is genius.

The ferris wheel at the park, where they have their meeting. Trevor Howard and his crisp delivery – “I don’t want any more murders in this case, and you were born to be murdered.” The scene in the children’s hospital in Vienna, with the unseen victims of Harry Lime. “It got meningitis. They gave it some of Lime’s penicillin. Pity, isn’t it?” with the creepy, smiling nuns floating around cheerfully, ministering to these unseen things. Greene’s moral universe where if you murder people you never see, it doesn’t count does it? Kind of like today’s predator drones. The brilliantly overlapping dialogue in the ferris wheel. The first shot of Lime, cat between his feet. (“He only liked Harry.”) The crease of his pants just so, hitting the right mark on the shoes. A man dead for two weeks and his pants are still faultlessly pressed. His hail-fellow well met cheery dialogue, covering up his murderous eyes. The last shot, Anna Schmidt walking down the road, Joseph Cotten off to the left, leaves falling as she walks past without acknowledgment. Even after his act of heroism, he can’t get a date. That cloying bouncy zither music punctuating the action – the most counter-intuitive music choice ever for a film, up there with Duke Ellington’s score for “Anatomy of a Murder.” The music is so intrusive, it’s practically another character, and yet somehow perfect.


Jeff Zinn said...

Beautifully written. Perfect capture of what is brilliant about this film. Nicely done David!

David Johnston said...

Thanks, Jeff!