From “Graham Greene on Film: Collected Film Criticism, 1935-1939”

From “Graham Greene on Film: Collected Film Criticism, 1935-1939” July 16, 2014

During the conferences [with David Selznick] which followed I remember there were times when there seemed to be a kind of grim reason in Mr Selznick’s criticisms–surely here perhaps there was a fault in “continuity,” I hadn’t properly “established” this or that. I would forget momentarily the lesson which I had learned as a film critic–that to “establish” something is almost invariably wrong and that “continuity” is often the enemy of life.

Man, that is great advice, especially the bit about “establishing” things. Character can drive plot–as in the old writer’s trick of figuring out what would be the worst thing to happen to this particular character, then doing that thing–but plot can also create character. The fact that the character did this inscrutable thing, seemingly out of nowhere, is a character point. What does he have to be, in order to do that?


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