Sarah Weinman notes that this year’s Crime Scene, a British film festival devoted to the crime genre, focuses on the work of my ex-boyfriend*, Graham Greene, whose The Third Man and This Gun for Hire will be screened multiple times. Also on the agenda: a documentary on the making of The Third Man, a discussion of Greene’s work in film, and a lecture on the author’s entertainments.
I’d pay good money to see that Third Man documentary. I’ve always been fascinated by Greene’s introduction to the novel, in which the book is depicted as a mere vehicle for the screenplay:
My film story, The Third Man, was never written to be read but only to be seen…. To the novelist, of course, his novel is the best he can do with a particular subject; he cannot help resenting many of the changes necessary for turning it into a film play; but The Third Man was never intended to be more than the raw material for a picture.
Greene reflects on the film as “the finished state of the story,” and on the book as a necessary step on the road to the story’s completion.
Mr. Maud went to film school back in the day, and he and I have had some spirited discussions about Greene’s approach and its implications (or lack thereof) for contemporary film. I keep meaning to ask other screenwriters I know for their opinion of Greene’s approach.
* Apologies to Twinkle Twinkle.