Graham Greene on film and the short story

Mark recently alerted me to the existence of The Graham Greene Film Reader, a giant volume I’m now reading intermittently. I confess I turned first to the interviews section, rather than to Greene’s actual criticism.

Here’s his answer to a question, posed at a “Guardian Film Lecture,” about the cinematic potential of the short story.

I think one thing is certain[:] that a short story makes a much better film than a novel. A novel is too long. There is too much material. There have to be too many compromises. The cuts made may seem unimportant but you suddenly find that an unimportant cut has changed the whole character of a character. Short stories make far better films and I’ve been very happy with the Thames series of my short stories — there were only about four that I disliked out of eighteen — and three or four are among the best films that have been made out of my work.


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