The Quiet American Reviews
Once again, Joseph L. Mankiewicz knows how to tell a good story. The characters are all finely drawn, and though the typical Mankiewicz strategies of flashbacks and voice-overs get tired and over-used, the typical Mankiewicz theme of attempting to maintain one's integrity never gets old. In this iteration of Mankiewicz's oeuvre, a British reporter cares about nothing but his own interests and his own happiness, but the rhetoric of selflessness challenges his worldview. The dramatic question of whether or not he would rise to higher concerns than his own interests is quite compelling.
The remake with Michael Caine is better than the original because it's truer to Graham Greene's novel, but this is certainly a noble effort.
Overall, this is a compelling story and a strong film with great performances.
Against a backdrop of Indo-China warfare, with French colonial forces battling Communists, the film is set in Saigon and features authentic feeling backdrops.
I read of some contention that the book this is based on is delivered more true to word with the more modern making of the film, which I will see in due course.
It may be that I agree with the sentiment expressed and thus see this film in lesser light, but time will tell that tale.