Thursday, July 24, 2008

Whatever happened to writing?

I saw Batman this weekend and while it was entertaining it was a comic book--nothing more.

I thought of Carol Reed's and Graham Greene's and Orson Welles' "The Third Man." I don't it's ever been matched.

The shibboleth of the day is "story-telling." Read the story below. Has it ever been better done?

Opening narrator:
I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamour and easy charm. Constantinople suited me better. I really got to know it in the classic period of the black market. We'd run anything if people wanted it enough and whom had the money to pay. Of course a situation like that does tempt amateurs but, well, umm, you know they can't stay the course like a professional.

Now the city is divided into four zones, you know, each occupied by a power: the American, the British, the Russian and the French. But the centre of the city that's international policed by an international patrol. One member of each of the four powers. Wonderful! What a hope they had! All strangers to the place and none of them could speak the same language. Except a sort of smattering of German.

Good fellows on the whole, did their best you know. Vienna doesn't really look any worse than a lot of other European cities. Bombed about a bit.

Oh, I was going to tell you, wait, I was going to tell you about Holly Martins, an American. Came all the way here to visit a friend of his. The name was Lime, Harry Lime. Now Martins was broke and Lime had offered him, some sort, I don't know, some sort of job.

Anyway, there he was, poor chap. Happy as a lark and without a cent.

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