Thomas Fowler is a cynical foreign correspondent in Vietnam. He finds himself thrown into contact with an idealistic American, Alden Pyle and they clash over politics, duty, colonialism and a girl.
Flashing back from the murder of its morally complex hero and exploring themes as diverse as colonialism, duty and faith, this intense analysis of the superpowers' right to settle distant disputes to their own advantage may be set in the 1950s, but it still resonates with significance.
Graham Greene detested this adaptation of his scathing assault on American interventionism in the Third World. Then again, he rarely approved of screen versions of his novels.
However, in this case, he has a point, as Joseph L. Mankiewicz cynically manipulates the story's political sting to reduce it to a personality clash between Audie Murphy's callow philanthropist and Michael Redgrave's world-weary war correspondent, who not only disagree over the future of what was then French Indo-China, but who also love the same girl.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz cynically manipulates the story's political sting to reduce it to a personality clash between the two leads, which lessens the impact of Greene's original story.