- "Anatomy of a Scene" Sundance Channel show
- Original featurette
- Vietnam timeline
- DVD-ROM study guide
- Original book reviews
The Quiet American
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The acclaimed performances of two-time Academy Award(R)-winner Michael Caine (Best Supporting Actor, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, 1999; HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, 1986) and Brendan Fraser (THE MUMMY, GODS AND MONSTERS) power a stylish political thriller where love and war collide in Southeast Asia. Set in early 1950s Vietnam, a young American (Fraser) becomes entangled in a dangerous love triangle when he falls for the beautiful mistress of a British journalist (Caine). As war is waged around them, these three only sink deeper into a world of drugs, passion, and betrayal where nothing is as it seems. Based on the classic novel by Graham Greene -- you'll find yourself riveted by the fascinating intricacies and ever-developing intrigue of this outstanding motion picture.
The Quiet American proves that elegant and intelligent filmmaking can be emotionally powerful. Michael Caine plays Thomas Fowler, a British journalist in 1950s Vietnam with a lovely Vietnamese mistress named Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen) and a jaded view of the political strife teeming around him. He befriends a seemingly innocuous American named Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser), who falls in love with Phuong--and slowly, Pyle's real purpose in Vietnam becomes revealed. Fowler finds that, to hold on to the carefully balanced life he's created for himself, he must make choices he's long avoided. Caine and Fraser are both superb and give a human face to complicated politics; as a result, The Quiet American manages to be compelling as both history and a story about very specific people embroiled in a very personal conflict. An impressive film from director Philip Noyce (Rabbit-Proof Fence, Patriot Games). --Bret Fetzer
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This is one of many interesting references made in the commentary of THE QUIET AMERICAN (from stars Michael Caine - fought as a 19 year old in Korea(!) at the same time QUIET AMERICAN is taking place - as Brit journalist Thomas Fowler; and Brendan Fraser as The American; and Executive producers Sydney Pollack(!); and Australian Director Philip Noyce reminds: "...Aussies had soldiers in Viet Nam too..." all speak well of themselves as well as the 100's of Vietnamese used as xtras in front and behind the scenes wanting to do their part to represent the Vietnamese in this important personal story...)
THE QUIET AMERICAN is one of those rare movies that feels longer than it is, but is actually a good thing since there is so much history and wonderful period detail of Saigon circa 1952, for example.
Seeing this, again, with subtitles and listening to commentary is nothing less than a marvel of historical significance and further understanding that I would replay scenes and dialogue over and over as the clarity of the not welcome French Colonialists (eventually) inspired Ho Chi Minh to say he preferred 100,000 Americans in Indochina as opposed to any French (in 1952)!
Also, of note, is the fact THE QUIET AMERICAN was delayed release in the U.S because a preview audience just days after Sept 11, 2001 did not react well to (basically OSS -- becoming the CIA) Graham Greene's controversial and debatable, Anti-American stance.
This is one of those reviews I want to 'cram' in so much info, but I do not want to say too much for those who don't know a great deal about the novel.
Laos, Cambodia and the "17th Parallel" were 'born' from this period in time.
Christopher Doyle's cinematography is nothing short of perfectly vivid.
Amazing cinema. If you liked the political dramas "Under Fire" (Nicaragua), "Year of Living Dangerously" (Indonesia), and/or "Salvador", you should thoroughly enjoy this edition to a great, important genre of film.
5 stars! This movie truly deserves more recognition. Watch it once. Watch it again. Use the subtitles and Commentary.
This QUIET AMERICAN blows the, uh, Audie Murphy version away, to put it mildly.
Graham Greene wrote the book in protest of the Unites States' war mongering camouflaged as "spreading Democracy." "The title of Graham Greene's 1955 Vietnam novel is a joke", writes author Robert Stone in his introduction to the Graham Greene Centennial 1904-2004 the Quiet American deluxe Edition (which I bought here on Amazon). Stone continues to observe that, "the eponymous character is not quiet. Like all the Americans who appear in its deft, succinct story, Alden Pyle (the CIA agent) is a prattling fool; Pyle goes on to illustrate the joke's unspoken punch line: the only quiet American is a dead American."
FROM BOOK TO FILM
In the movie by the same name, director Philip Noyce has been faithful to the central theme in Graham Greene's novel, namely as human beings we must choose the humanistic path in order to remain human. This is not a "sheep little film" about love, betrayal, war and politics. It is, however, a masterful and beautiful filmatic presentation of how painful it can be and how much we must endure as humans in order to make the right choices, often under the most severe of circumstances.
In a confusing time like ours with regime changes and social upheavals appearing on the television screens on an almost weekly basis; where respect for human life, integrity and dignity is on a sharp decline, the precision made movie, "The Quiet American" will continue to be a valuable and necessary reminder to all of us of the importance of staying clear of superficial slogans and synthetic regime changes and instead adapt to true, humanistic values.
THE THREE LEAD ACTORS
Sir Michael Caine, Do Thi Hai Yen and Brendan Fraser each play out their roles with convincing intelligence, style and truth-wordiness.
The well known and greatly appreciated English actor, Sir Michael Caine makes a memorable impression in the "The Quiet American" for which he was Academy Award Nominated for best actor in leading role, 2003. Several of Caine's classic films have been remade, including The Italian Job, Get Carter, Alfie and Sleuth. It was reported by Empire magazine that Caine had said that the movie "Harry Brown" which was released on 13 November 2009 would be his last lead role, but he later declared in the Daily Mirror that he had been misquoted by the magazine.
The Vietnamese actress Do Thi Hai Yen is well known for her superb interpretations in films like "Song of the Stork" (Singapore), by Nguyễn Phan Quang Bình (Vietnam) and Jonathan Foo (Singapore). The film received the "Best Feature Film" award at the Milan Film Festival in 2002 and was nominated for Grand Prix award at the Paris Film Festival in 2003.
We know the Canadian actor Fraser James Brendan from his portraying of Rick O'Connell in the three-part Mummy film series (1999, 2001, and 2008) He is known for his comedic and fantasy film leading roles in major Hollywood films, including Encino Man (1992), George of the Jungle (1997), Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003)
The Quiet American is a superbly well made film, with breathtaking cinematographic beauty. A filmatic experience of the highest order definitively not to be missed! Five Stars+