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The Quiet American

The Quiet American“A British journalist has a rival for the
  affections of his much-loved mistress
  in 1950s Saigon with the arrival of a
  ‘quiet
American to an explosive Vietnam
  during the war of liberation from the
  French
an event that will lead to a
  terrible atrocity and a murder
...”

THE BEAUTIFULLY EXOTIC BUT TROUBLED VIETNAM in the 1950s is the backdrop for Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American, which has been adapted to film under the very capable Direction of Phillip Noyce.

The film opens in Saigon in 1952 with a murder investigation during which London Times journalist Thomas Fowler (Oscar nominee for Best Actor Michael Caine) expresses his feelings toward the victim, his friend, and relates his story, beginning with him meeting the lovely young woman who is to become his mistress, Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen), a dancer at L'Arc En Ciel.

By 1952, Saigon is caught in the grip of the Vietnamese war of liberation from the French colonial powers. Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser), an idealistic American aid worker from Boston, arrives in Saigon and is delighted to meet the high-profile Fowler. He is desperate for information about Vietnam and the two men instantly bond, with the older man rescuing him from unwanted attention at the House of Five Hundred Girls.

Fowler would marry Phuong if he could only persuade his Catholic wife to divorce him, but she has consistently refused to do so. Desperately in love with his mistress, Fowler says the fear of losing her is "more terrifying than the fear of any bullet". So when The London Times sends a telegram telling him to return to the UK, he extends his time in Vietnam by seeking a story in the dangerous and uncertain area of Phat Diem.

But Pyle has become infatuated with Phuong and wants to take her back to the 'States to marry her. Phuong's sister (Pham Thi Mai Hoa) encourages this relationship as she is angry that Fowler cannot marry Phuong and so give her respectability.

Fowler is surprised that Pyle follows him to North Vietnam, where they are brought face-to-face with the realities of the horrific times they are living in; reinforced by the warning from a French captain that they would be best advised to shoot themselves rather than be taken alive.

Pyle confesses his love for Phuong but claims he has not pressed her for an answer without consulting Fowler — who is drawn between wanting the best for the woman he loves and knowing that he could not bear to be without her.

But is Pyle all he seems to be? Is there some dark mystery behind the appearance of the American? Why does General Thé (Quang Hai), who has set himself up against both the French and the Communists, become unsettled when Fowler questions him about the atrocities he has witnessed? And who is supplying the general with the materials with which to make bombs? As Fowler and Pyle make their way back to Saigon, there are more dangers to be faced and further reminders of the horrors of conflict.

The Quiet American explores the relationship between two men in love with the same woman as they become entangled with the stunningly-exotic, war-torn Vietnam — an intriguing Graham Greene story that translates exceptionally well to celluloid and is both a reflection upon history as well as compulsive entertainment.

The Quiet American also features: Rade Sherbedgia as Inspector Vigot; Tzi Ma as Hinh; Robert Stanton as Joe Tunney; Holmes Osborne as Bill Granger; Ferdinand Hoang as Mr Muoi; Mathias Mlekuz as The French Captain; Kevin Tran and Lap Phan as the Watch Tower Soldiers; Tim Bennett as American Photographer; and Jeff Truman as Dancing American.

Director of Photography is Christopher Doyle HKSC; Original Music is Composed by Craig Armstrong; Screenplay is by Christopher Hampton and Robert Schenkkan; Based on the novel by Graham Greene; Executive Producers are: Guy East, Nigel Sinclair, Moritz Borman, Chris Sievernich, Sydney Pollack, and Anthony Minghella; Produced by William Horberg and Steffan Ahrenberg; and Directed by Phillip Noyce.

The Quiet American is released on Blu-ray on 19 September 2011. Certificate: 15 | Total Running Time: 100 Minutes | Catalogue Number: MIROPTD2136 | RRP: £24.99.

Extras — Anatomy Of A Scene | Feature Commentary | Original Featurette | Interviews | B-Rolls.

"The Quiet American… an intriguing Graham Greene story that translates exceptionally well to celluloid and is both a reflection upon history as well as compulsive entertainment"
Maggie Woods, MotorBar