The Fallen IdolLearn about the other entries on the list.
Graham Greene went to his grave justifiably disappointed in the many movie adaptations derived from his novels. The Comedians, The Honorary Consul, The Human Factor, the first adaptations of The Quiet American and The End of the Affair: all of these fell short, or actively betrayed their source-novels. One of the fascinating conundrums of Greene's career is that this highly perceptive former film critic, fitfully brilliant screenwriter and author of so many novels dubbed "cinematic" should have suffered so badly at the hands of filmmakers, particularly in Hollywood.
The few successful films of his work tended to be adapted by Greene himself and/or made in Britain: John Boulting's Brighton Rock, Alberto Cavalcanti's Went the Day Well? and the long-unseen The Fallen Idol, which Greene and director Carol Reed made in 1948, a couple of years before they embarked on the worldwide hit that was The Third Man. Freely adapted from Greene's 1935 story The Basement Room, The Fallen Idol follows Philippe (Bobby Henrey), the 7-year-old son of the French ambassador in London, who stumbles onto the adulterous affair between his father's valet Baines (Ralph Richardson) — the eponymous object of his worship — and Julie, an embassy secretary (Michele Morgan).
As pregnant with secrets and lies as any of Greene's spy stories, The Fallen Idol is also one of the great movies about childhood innocence accidentally violated by adults, harking back to Greene's literary idol Henry James' What Maisie Knew, and forward to LP Hartley's The Go-Between (whose 1970 adaptation by Joseph Losey is one of the great movies of its period). Reed, an often inconsistent film-maker, handles the brutal mechanics of the plot superbly, with the marbled interiors of the embassy contrasting sharply with his almost neo-realist outdoor shots of postwar London.
Read a 2007 review of The Fallen Idol.