Graham Greene was so committed to his Vienna-set mystery he penned the story as a novella first, in order to better prepare for the subsequent screenplay. Even then, star Orson Welles couldn't help but write his own dialogue.
Why It's So Impressive:
Greene's preparations brought unusual psychological depth and atmosphere to his story, which is at once a great example of a 'twist' thriller and a damning indictment of the problems facing post-war Europe.
Most Quotable Line:
"You know what the fellow said – in Italy, for thirty 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 five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."