British journalist has a rival for the
affections of his much-loved mistress
in 1950s Saigon with the arrival of a
American to an explosive Vietnam
during the war of liberation from the
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
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
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.
Quiet American is released on Blu-ray on 19 September 2011. Certificate:
15 | Total Running Time: 100 Minutes | Catalogue Number: MIROPTD2136 | RRP:
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