Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Third Man

I was watching "Law and Order" tonight, and one of the prosecutors referenced the greatest movie ever made: "The Third Man." Starring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles, it the film adaptation of the Graham Greene novella about a writer Holly Martins trying to learn about the alleged death of his friend Harry Lime. I won't ruin what happens in the movie (even if the reference to it on the show tonight kind of did), because everyone should watch this movie.

The movie features one of the shortest, most powerful speeches about the benefits of chaos over peace and civilization. As Lime justifies the horror he has wrought, he argues:

"You know what the fellow said: 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."


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