The Rule of the Three, the “third force”, and The Quiet AmericanRoxana Claudia Tompea
This paper explores the three reception phases of the story The Quiet American – the 1955 novel by Graham Greene, its first film adaptation by Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1958 starring Michael Redgrave, Audie Murphy, and Giorgia Moll, and the later adaptation from 2002, directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Michael Caine, Brendan Fraser, and Do Thi Hai Yen. In this sense, it aims to understand the reactions, appropriations, and the chronological depictions associated with each of the three works, and to present the story of the “third force” in the context of the Rule of the Three (omne trium perfectum). As such, the principle of the Rule of the Three presents the three main characters, coming from three contrasting countries with diverging foreign policy aims, in three complex dimensions (historical, cinematographic/ artistic, and political/ individual). The findings suggest that the time of release, the cast, as well as the individual spin of specific historical events have granted each of the three works very distinct results. Ultimately, their legacies witnessed disproportionate peaks of success, with some being categorised as persistent rather than particular. Without being mutually exclusive, both the novel and the two respective movies have succeeded in informing, educating, and entertaining the public about the socio-political quagmire that marked the 1950s turmoil in Việt Nam.