Film

Words in Motion: Graham Greene as Screenwriter

January 2–17, 2016

Human nature is not black and white but black and grey.
–Graham Greene

Many people think of Graham Greene as a man of contradiction: a writer of great British novels who took a peculiar turn toward the lesser art of writing for the movies. But a closer look at Greene's literary work will reveal that it always embodied the essence of cinema. Like a movie camera, the omniscient eye of the narrator in Greene's novels is frequently in motion, bumping along a disused road in Haiti or running after the shadow of a wanted man in the sewers under Vienna. For Greene, writing and film were always intertwined; his work occupied an intersection between the two.

Though his books have been adapted for film and television dozens of times, Greene himself only wrote screenplays for the five films featured in this exhibition: Brighton Rock, The Third Man, Fallen Idol, Our Man in Havana and The Comedians. It should be noted that despite the cinematic nature of his prose, these books were not easy to adapt for the screen. The directors had to create their own visual language to express the interior complexity of Greene's characters: a shadow dividing or obscuring a face, a stairway railing imprisoning a child, a camera precariously slanted to denote anxiety. Thanks to these artistic choices and Greene's involvement as a screenwriter, these films are rare examples of cinematic adaptations that live up to the treasured books that preceded them.

Ticket Packages

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In This Series

Film

January 2, 2016
12:30 pm–2:05 pm

Directed by John Boulting, (UK, 1947, 92 min.). Presented on 35mm film.

Film

January 2, 2016
3:00 pm–4:40 pm

The Third Man by Carol Reed (USA/UK, 1948, 104 min.).

Film

January 3, 2016
12:30 pm–2:10 pm

The Fallen Idol by Carol Reed (UK, 1948, 95 min.). The story unfolds through the eyes of Phile, the 7-year-old son of a British diplomat. Although...

Film

January 3, 2016
3:00 pm–4:40 pm

The Third Man by Carol Reed (USA/UK, 1949, 104 min.)

Film

January 6, 2016
5:00 pm–6:40 pm

The Fallen Idol by Carol Reed (UK, 1948, 95 min.). The story unfolds through the eyes of Phile, the 7-year-old son of a British diplomat. Although...

Film

January 6, 2016
7:30 pm–9:05 pm

Directed by John Boulting, (UK, 1947, 92 min.). Presented on 35mm film.

Film

January 10, 2016
2:30 pm–4:25 pm

Our Man in Havana by Carol Reed (UK, 1959, 111 min.). Alec Guiness plays James Wormold, a British expat enjoying a modest life as a vaccuum cleaner...