Graham Greene

Active - 1937 - 1937  |   Born - Oct 2, 1904   |   Died - Apr 3, 1991   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Spy Film, Crime, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Oxford-educated author/essayist Graham Greene published his first major novel, Stamboul Train, in 1932; two years later, the novel became the first of a multitude of Greene works to be adapted for the screen. Incredibly prolific, Greene divided his books into two classifications. His "Entertainments" were his bread-and-butter mysteries, espionage thrillers and psychological melodramas, examples of which include This Gun for Hire and Our Man in Havana; and his "Novels" were such deeper and (to him) more meaningful works as The Power and the Glory (filmed by John Ford as The Fugitive in 1948) and Brighton Rock. From 1935 to 1940, he was film critic for The Spectator, gaining fame for championing such "populist" entertainers as Laurel and Hardy. During this period, he also served as literary editor of Night and Day.

While Greene adapted many of his own fictional works for films--with particularly laudable results in the cases of two Carol Reed-directed pictures, The Third Man (1949) and The Fallen Idol (1949), the latter project earning the writer an Academy Award nomination--Greene was generally unhappy with the movie versions; the 1958 filmization of The Quiet American, completely distorted Greene's spin on the tinderbox political situation in Southeast Asia in favor of a flag-waving pro-American stance, and in the TV-series version of The Third Man, the wholly amoral and nihilistic Harry Lime was converted into a grown-up boy scout. In 1972, a collection of Graham Greene's Spectator movie reviews were gathered together in the British anthology The Pleasure Dome (published in the U.S. as Greene and Film); and in 1990, a full-length assessment of his screen work, titled Travels in Greenland: The Cinema of Graham Greene, was written by Quentin Falk. Graham Greene's screen credits should not be confused with those of the Native American character actor of the same name.