TheQfactor
Thursday, February 20
 
The Age of Innocence
James Carroll, Boston Globe, February 18, 2003

''THIS IS THE patent age of new inventions/ For killing bodies and for saving souls,'' Lord Byron wrote, ''All propagated with the best intentions.'' The lines serve as an epigram for Graham Greene's ''The Quiet American.''

That novel first appeared in 1955, but a filmed version arrived in theaters last week, a timely renewal of its prophetic relevance. Michael Caine's performance as Thomas Fowler, the opium-ridden British journalist who jousts with - and befriends - an American intelligence operative, just received an Oscar nomination. Americans may go to this movie for the superlative acting, but in the ''patent age'' of a coming war, they may find something more.

Graham Greene was a connoisseur not of good and evil, but of innocence and corruption [...]
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