Graham Greene's classic is receiving the big-screen treatment once again, and re-reading the novel reminds us of its strong visual appeal, and cast of remarkable characters.
Pinkie is the adolescent villain, a pathological killer who nevertheless marries mousy Rose to keep her from testifying against him, when he so easily might have killed her instead. Greene makes his anti-hero frigid to Rose's warmth and affection; all the while, Pinkie is hunted by the blousy, busty good-time girl Ida Arnold. England in the 1930s is a wasted land full of broken souls, where a stranger can be killed and nobody cares. Greene's sacred-and-profane brand of Catholicism has since gone out of fashion but it gives his underworld tale added depth.