Ed Driscoll

Leave Death To The Professionals

In the New York Sun, Gary Giddens reviews the classic DVD re-release of the week: 1949’s The Third Man, which reunited the stars of Citizen Kane, Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton, under the able direction of Carol Reed. Reed not only supplies Welles with one of the most memorable entrances to a movie, (about a half-hour in, after which Welles owns the film), but allowed Welles to supplant Graham Greene’s otherwise brilliant script with one of the great speeches in the history of the medium, which by all accounts, Welles wrote himself:

Don’t be so gloomy–after all it’s not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

(And if that speech sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen on this blog’s homepage, below Welles’ scene-stealing grin from his entrance to the movie.)