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Abstract This essay examines the transmedia mythology of the popular but also ‘evil’ character, Harry Lime, who, in The Third Man (1949) written by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed, is shot dead in the sewers of postwar Vienna. The romance of Lime begins with a famous ‘Wellesian’ performance, with Orson Welles drawing on a tradition of Shakespearean ‘heroic-acting’, and Reed’s alteration of Greene’s ‘happy’ closure that effectively underscores Hannah Schmidt’s hero-worshipping of a cult criminal figure. Both creative interventions established the platform for Lime’s ‘resurrection’ in the radio series, The Lives of Harry Lime (1951–52), the television series, The Third Man (1959–65), and Orson Welles’ film, Mr. Arkadin (1955). I argue that the moral rehabilitation of Greene’s fallen figure is indicative of postwar conformist entertainment industry and folk nostalgia for the wartime black marketeer as well as the differing ‘moral codes’ operating across transmedia platforms. But, whereas the radio and TV serializations conscript Lime into the detective-agent genre by burying the evil results of his penicillin racket, Mr. Arkadin de-romanticizes Lime and in turn exposes the cultural amnesia of the 1950s by returning to the 1949 film’s morality and Faustian image of a sadistic racketeer. Written in the spirit of Hans Blumenberg’s theory of myth-adaptation as ongoing ‘points of departure’, this essay debates the ethical issues at stake in this character-oriented misappropriation whereby the protagonist’s moral status is transformed across media platforms. The Third Man, Harry Lime, Graham Greene, Carol Reed, Orson Welles, Michael Rennie and transmedia mythology THE THIRD MAN BOARD GAME ‘The Man Behind the Scenes.’ The Bells Toys’ board game came out in 1959 and was, as stated on the box cover, based on the ‘thrilling’ TV series (1959–65) starring Michael Rennie. On the box cover, Harry Lime’s aggrandized head is seen floating in front of skyscrapers signifying American high modernity. Lime is making a phone call and lines of transmission are beaming from New York to a globe positioned on the right side. The visual alignment and proportioning, plus the caption ‘The Man Behind the Scenes’, tells an intriguing story of postwar international politics: Lime is the chief operator. Each player manoeuvres their three ‘operatives’ into place around the jet-setting board, and when an operative is moved beneath a city (e.g. Athens, Algiers, Naples etc.), an agent can be found, but only when Harry Lime is ‘summoned’. To do so, the player must show Lime the appropriate travel tickets (picked up from the Booking Office) to bring him/her to the desired location. However, if the required travel tickets are not revealed, one of the player’s operatives is eliminated (removed from the board). The game ends when all eleven agents have been ‘captured’. The winner of the game has acquired the most pieces (agents plus operatives still in play). Throughout the game, Lime is visualized in the board’s epicentre (a solitary figure situated on an unidentifiable island), and in the meantime agents and operatives circle the globe. Lime is the enigmatic and elusive ‘third man’ behind the scenes who can be ‘summoned’ by any side; the implication being Lime is a-committal. Ultimately, Lime does not serve any nation or ideological cause. And though Lime is not directly responsible for the removal of the agents, he is a shadowy facilitator in an amoral competition—holding a central and mysterious presence on the world’s stage. INTRODUCTION The 1959 board game is one of the many afterlife manifestations of the Harry Lime transmedia mythology that to a large extent begins with Orson Welles’ cinematic performance in The Third Man (1949) as a black marketeer in postwar Vienna. According to Charles Drazin: ‘The Third Man’s success led to a bandwagon of cash-ins. By public demand Lime cheated death yet again’ (Drazin 138). In other words, a ‘new media mythology’ of Lime emerged: the radio series, The Lives of Harry Lime (1951–52), including an accompanying collection of short stories (1952), the television series The Third Man (1959–65) and Mr. Arkadin (1955). Whereas Graham Greene depicts Lime as a damned Faustian character who is shot dead in Vienna’s sewers, the subsequent transmedia storytelling resurrects and morally rehabilitates Lime by conscripting him into the conformist genre format of the 1950s’ radio and TV series. By delivering a Wellesian performance of Shakespearean ‘heroic-acting’, Welles helped establish a charismatic anti-hero for the radio serialization, and thus the platform for what Hans Blumenberg sees as ongoing ‘points of departure’ in myth-adaptation. In Work on Myth (1979), Blumenberg proposes that rather than interpreting myth in terms of what came before—its terminus ad quem […] we should try interpreting it in terms of its terminus a quo (Blumenberg ix). ‘The historical power of myth is not founded in the origins of its content but rather in the fact that, in its procedure and its “form,” it is no longer something else’ (Blumenberg 16). Focusing on interpretations as ‘points of departure’ enables the critic to overcome the ghost of the ‘fidelity model’, but the moral whitewashing of an evil character raises ethical issues relating to the concept of ‘convergence culture’, and it is this concern that informs Welles’ portrayal of the Lime equivalent in Mr. Arkadin that restores the fallen image so as to re-damn the evil Lime. The essay does not follow a strictly chronological sweep of Lime iterations, for the debut of the Michael Rennie television series predates Mr. Arkadin (also known as Confidential Report) by four years. The purpose is to demonstrate that Welles’ return to the original villainous conception of Harry Lime signifies a creative rupture in the transmedia arc of Lime rehabilitations (as epitomized in Rennie’s transatlantic Lime). HARRY LIME, THE FALLEN ANGEL Holly Martins: ‘Have you ever seen any of your victims?’ (Greene 1988, 97) Orson Welles’ moral evaluation of Harry Lime as ‘Lucifer, the fallen angel’ adequately sums up the evil standing of Graham Greene’s ‘the third man’ (Cowie 210). In Greene’s novella, Rollo (Holly Martins in the film) is taken to a hospital in Vienna to witness the appalling sight of Lime’s victims (the evil consequence of his penicillin racket): ‘children dead with meningitis and the children in the mental ward’ (Greene 1983, 93). The hospital scene forces the viewer, like Holly, to de-romanticize Lime: he is no longer the charismatic maverick and is morally condemned. Through a vertically structured metaphor of damnation, Carol Reed also appositely visualizes the tragic downfall of a sadistic black marketeer. In Vienna—a pleasure park—Holly Martins and Harry Lime converse on theological matters, whilst passengers on a Ferris wheel: MARTINS: ‘You used to believe in a God.’ HARRY: ‘Oh, I still believe, old man. In God and Mercy and all that. The dead are happier dead. They don’t miss much here, poor devils’ (Greene 1988, 98–9). Delivered in a blasé manner, Lime’s reply to the question of orthodox belief speaks of an arrogance that tests the limits of divine mercy. This symbolic scene signals Lime’s hubris before his tragic fall. The Ferris wheel mirrors the medieval depiction of rota fortunae (the capricious nature of fate), and when the car is swung to a standstill at the highest point of the curve Martins imagines (in Greene’s novella) shoving Lime and ‘the body falling, falling through the iron struts, a piece of carrion dropping among the flies’ (Greene 1983, 117). The Faustian death scene further conveys the damnation of an evil black marketeer in a postwar era of moral relativism. In the words of Frank Brady: ‘His fingers reach through the sewer grating like a lost soul from Dante’s Inferno, vainly and feebly searching for salvation, a portrait of the agony of the impossible-to-reach freedom’ (Brady 451). Lime’s Dantesque descent is brought out in Greene’s novella: ‘He wants to die at home, and the darkness is never home to us’ (Greene 1983, 132). Lime slithers back down into the sewage slime and hellish darkness—where he morally belongs. Despite the enigmatic identity attributed to ‘the third man’, Lime is not your typical Greene protagonist—caught between the teachings of the Catholic Church and the complexities of human ethics. Donaghy suggests that the film title signifies the ‘the third man of sin’ that exists in every act (Donaghy 31). Nonetheless, despite his unwillingness to countenance the existence of hell and the idea of eternal punishment, in a post-Holocaust world Greene endorsed a non-negotiable notion of ‘total evil’ (Allain 159). And in this respect, Lime comes closest to the Nazi embodiment of superhuman evil. Lime speaks of the human masses as abstract dots to be eliminated from above and shows no ‘pity’ for the victims of his diluted penicillin racket: HARRY: ‘Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving for ever? If I said you can have twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stops, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money – or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare?’ (Greene 1988, 97). Lime also commands the devotion of Anna Schmidt—a fanatical fidelity comparable to the fascistic cult of the individual. Greene’s depiction of Lime as a fallen figure is very much at odds with a postwar folk nostalgia for the black marketeer as charming rascal—for example, private Joe Walker (played by James Beck), the amiable, but slightly shifty, black market cockney spiv in the Dad’s Army TV series (1968–77). The literary precedents to Lime, which lie elsewhere in Greene’s oeuvre, reveal a preoccupation with the ruthless layers of complicity that inextricably tie the black marketeer to the industrialist—both profiting during times of bloodshed and war. Lime recalls the character of Sir Marcus in A Gun for Sale (1936), a ‘war-novel before the event’ who exhibits a similar callous indifference to human suffering: ‘Old age had killed the imagination. The deaths he [Sir Marcus] had ordered were no more real to him than the deaths he read about in the newspapers’ (Greene 1936, 165). Sir Marcus is a millionaire armaments manufacturer, esteemed as a tycoon of Midland Steel, but who sees war as the answer to his company’s financial problems. In Greene’s moral schema, Sir Marcus represents the ‘ultimate evil of unscrupulous capitalists prepared to kill and destroy for personal profit’ (O’Prey 44). In The Third Man, Holly turns detective and executes his old friend, Lime, who also kills and destroys for ‘personal profit’. SCAPEGOATING ANNA SCHMIDT The transmedia rehabilitation of ‘the third man’ says much about Greene authorship over the moral destiny of two characters: Anna Schmidt and Harry Lime. At this point, it is worth noting that the film (UK release: 31 August 1949. US release: 2 February 1950) is based on the screenplay, and that the novella (published by Heinemann in July 1950 alongside the short story, ‘The Fallen Idol’) was written as the basis for the film script (credited to both Greene and Carol Reed in Lorrimer’s Modern Film Scripts series: published in 1968)—notes and brackets are used in the text to show the additions and omissions made by Reed and by Orson Welles (Wise and Hill 36–37). The novella was not originally intended for publication and was a creative means of helping the author to immerse himself into the atmosphere of postwar Vienna and the characters. In the novella, Greene tells the story of the conflict between loyal friendship and postwar morality through three main characters. Anna is for the most part depicted as a Lime disciple, whilst Rollo turns Judas. When Rollo relays the British police’s report on Harry’s penicillin racket to Anna, it is a test of her absolute fidelity. Rollo realizes, though, that the horrid revelation does not cause a change of affection for Anna: ‘But you still love him. You love a cheat, a murderer’ (Greene 1983, 95). Nonetheless, through the possibility of romance with Holly (as narrated by Colloway), Greene’s originally intended closure intimates the eventual ethical conversion of Anna: I watched him striding off on his overgrown legs after the girl. He caught her up and they walked side by side. I don’t think he said a word to her: it was like the end of story except that before they turned out of my sight her hand was through his arm – which is how a story usually begins (Greene 1983, 134). According to Michael G. Brennan, the false interment of Lime symbolizes how the defeat of evil in a fallen world can be merely illusory, enabling Harry to rise from the dead in a devilish, mock-resurrection (Brennan 91). In this sense, Harry’s second genuine interment signals the final defeat of evil and Greene’s ‘happy end’ – the possibility of postwar moral reconstruction. Instead, Carol Reed’s ending strongly underscores the idea that Anna cannot choose between personal devotion and ethics and her reduction to a female romantic stereotype re-affirms her amoral fanaticism. Reed, likewise, juxtaposes the death of Lime in Vienna’s sewers with the scene of his genuine burial in Vienna’s Central Cemetery, before closing with a long shot of Anna walking down Cemetery Street and ignoring Holly: ANNA is approaching. MARTINS stops and waits for her. [She reaches him and he seeks in vain for a word. He makes a gesture with his hand, and] she pays no attention, walking right past him and on into the distance. MARTINS follows her with his eyes (Greene 1988, 120). Reed felt that Greene’s ‘happy’ ending ‘would strike the audience, who had just seen Harry die, as unpleasantly cynical’ (Greene 1983, 3). However, Reed’s ending shows Anna Schmidt still submitting to the cult of Lime, suggesting that his amoral charisma still lingers on and so leaving open the possibility of a continued afterlife romance of Harry Lime. RESURRECTING EVIL LIME Holly Martins: ‘A man’s not dead because you put him underground’ (Greene 1988, 119). So how did Harry Lime, within a span of ten years, morally evolve from fallen angel to the privileged character-position acted by Michael Rennie? Or to put it another way: ‘For someone shot in a sewer, there has been such romancing of Harry Lime’ (Thomson 1996, 102). To a large extent, the popular cult of Harry Lime is the result of a transmedia phenomenon that Henry Jenkins terms ‘convergence culture’ (albeit in old media). To explain the concept, Jenkins gives an account of a Photoshop collage of Sesame Street’s Bert (a harmless children’s TV hand rod puppet) interacting with terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden as part of a series of ‘Bert is Evil’ images he posted on his homepage (Jenkins 1). Via various media circuits, the ‘Bert is Evil’ collage quickly ended up on anti-American posters distributed across the Middle East as captured by CNN reporters. For Jenkins, this bizarre transformation, from an innocuous character on a children’s TV series to a courted image of ideological evil, illustrates how a ‘mythology’ can be so easily constructed through a fast flowing ‘media-flow’ (Jenkins 3–4). The moral rehabilitation of Harry Lime across the cultural platforms of book, film, radio, and TV mirrors and inverts the ‘Bert is Evil’ media process of character misappropriation (from innocent puppet to global terrorist): evil Lime is morally whitewashed. Lime’s afterlife also relates to what Thomas Leitch sees as fandom ‘resurrection’ with reference to the death and rebirth of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle sent Holmes to his death in ‘The Final Problem’, the concluding story in Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, yet baying fanatical readers eager for more stories of the popular sleuth hero induced a ‘vigorous’ afterlife (Leitch 216). The author was forced to resurrect his famous hero. According to Leitch: ‘Holmes’s death and resurrection have no obvious precedent or parallel in fiction’ (Leitch 217). However, the essential moral nature of Holmes remains fairly consistent and is a point of continuity. Other reputedly evil literary characters have undergone a similar moral whitewashing. For example, in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938), the Bluebeard fairy tale underwrites both the denial of female subjectivity and a fair hearing: Max kills his first wife, and the second wife (and narrator), Mrs de Winter, convinces herself (having internalized Max’s toxic ideology) that Rebecca was an evil monster. Alfred Hitchcock’s film version (1940), to accord with the Hollywood Production Code (censorship was particularly stringent when Joseph Breen was appointed head of the PCA from 1934 to 54), changes the plot to suggest Max is not Rebecca’s murderer and is the victim of a femme fatale, thus casting him as the beleaguered romantic hero and not the gothic villain. Incidentally, the first adaptation of Rebecca occurred in December 1938 and was part of The Campbell Playhouse radio series, starring Orson Welles: and the revelation of Max's murder. The transmedia fudging of Greene’s evil character constitutes a more troubling kind of character rehabilitation; unlike Doyle, Greene did not wish to bring Lime back to life and for a clear moral reason. In a letter written to Catherine Walston (30 September 1947), Greene states: ‘I believe I’ve got a book coming. [….] the Risen-from-the-dead story’ (Sherry 242). The two burials (a sham and a genuine interment) bookend both his novella and the film, and the genuine burial symbolizes the final defeat of an evil monster. In this respect, the commercial rebranding of Lime appears mercenary, especially in a postwar context of cultural amnesia whereby the conscripting of Lime into a conformist entertainment industry was predicated on the burial of his evil standing in the world. So in contrast to Sherlock Holmes, with each point of departure in the Harry Lime transmedia mythology adding to the perceived sense of moral ambivalence, there exists a lack of stability in the moral status of the central character: Lime, the maverick entrepreneur, can be either an admirable capitalist or a craven evil profiteer. ORSON WELLES’ LIME Martin Scorsese: ‘Orson Welles inhabits the part.’ It is fair to say that the transmedia mythology of Harry Lime begins with Orson Welles’ famous cinematic performance. In the words of Scorsese, Welles’ contribution to the role was ‘enormous’, enabling Welles to gain creative ownership of the character (Scorsese). This is despite the fact that Welles was neither director nor author: ‘Ironically, the most successful and beloved movie Orson Welles was ever associated with—and the one that may have had the most significant effect on the remainder of his career—has not been one of his own’ (Rosenbaum 261). In delivering his most memorable performance as an actor on screen, Welles supplied what Leitch refers to as the ‘mythopoetic’ quality to the role. Welles ‘inhabits the part’, because Lime is a Wellesian character: a larger-than-life, charismatic megalomaniac, one that calls for the style of ‘heroic-acting’ that Welles had popularized in radio, theatre, and film (Conrad 136–37). Welles’ own ethical evaluation of Lime, the character, points to the various diabolical, anti-heroic, ‘great characters’ he had performed on stage: ‘I hate Harry Lime. He has no passion; he is cold; he is Lucifer, the fallen angel’ (Cowie 210). In other words, Welles established a platform for Lime’s transmedia afterlife by giving evil a Shakespearean face. The introduction of Orson Welles to the film project established the national identity of Lime that was also a key factor in various reincarnations. It was Harry Alan Towers who was ‘at the forefront of the process of adaptation of American formats’ and ‘who conceived the idea of a prequel to The Third Man and who proposed Orson Welles’ (Mann 227–28). According to Towers, Korda initially struggled to convince Welles to take on the role, because the fee was not right—for Twentieth-Century Fox he was paid 100,000 dollars per film. Selznick’s preference was an English star, Noël Coward, and so he was relieved when Welles agreed to 50,000. Welles needed the money to complete the post-production of his film version of Othello (Towers 22). And with the choice of Welles, the film was supplied with an ‘American villain’ (Greene 1983, 3). Adam Piette views the American Lime as the original scapegoat in the 40s’ context of Cold War politics and the emergence of a superpower that threatens Britain’s policing of international politics (Piette). As Piette points out, the film was made during the Berlin airlift (26 June 1848 to 12 May 1949), a heroic act of US and British cooperation. And in this light, the radio and TV serializations of Harry Lime can be seen to redress the unfair cultural ‘victimisation’ of an ‘American villain’ by promoting a special transatlantic relationship. Undoubtedly, the Swiss cuckoo clock speech, written by Welles himself, encapsulates what Marvin Carlson sees as the ‘invisible’ ghosts of previous roles in theatre (Carlson 113). From his school days at the progressive Todd Seminary for Boys (run by the headmaster Roger Hill) from 1926 to 1931, Welles had been ‘intoxicated’ with William Shakespeare and the ‘sadistic’ look of characters such as Richard III (Callow 67). In the 1930s, Welles had helped to popularize Shakespeare in the United States through flamboyant and expressionistic productions, such as the Harlem stage production of Macbeth. The Third Man was bookended by two Shakespearean productions, and in turn by two memorable dramatic interrogations of ‘evil’: Macbeth (1948) and Othello (1951). And it is in the context of Welles’ Shakespearean oeuvre, we can trace the intertextual performance of Lime’s famous parting speech. ‘[….] In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed – they produced Michealangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce …? The cuckoo clock. So long, Holly’ (Greene 1988, 100). It is a speech closer to that of Iago’s evil stature, because, even though Welles photographed Macbeth as a narcissist, the witches appear as the agents of Macbeth’s fate; whereas according to Hurwitz, Iago, played by Micheál Mac Liammóir, ‘steals the show’: ‘He is infectious, seeping into every corner of Othello’s mind’ (Hurwitz 333). In other words, Welles gives Lime the sadistic agency of Iago. For Rob White, Lime is one of the most memorable villains in cinematic history, and citing Thomson, he sees Welles’ ‘merciless’ speech as pivotal to making a sadistic murderer appear attractive and to retaining audience sympathy: Lime is […] proof of how the court of movie has let iniquitous monsters go free because of charm, smart lines, and knowing where the camera is. Because of Welles, there is never quite enough horror in The Third Man […] (White). Shooting for Othello began in 1949 at the time The Third Man was being released and Lime’s cuckoo clock speech strongly echoes the ‘mysterious creature of unlimited cynicism’, Iago, who also delights in the suffering of others: ‘do it not with poison, strangle her in her bed, even the bed she hath contaminated’. By infusing into Lime the manipulative charisma of Iago, Welles’ performance exceeds the ethical intentions of Greene. In Put Money in thy Purse: The Filming of Orson Welles’ Othello (1952), Liammóir records that Welles contacted him in January 1949 to play the part of Iago, and on March 9th: Find myself almost entirely in agreement with O.’s ideas of our characters: no single trace of the Mephistophelean Iago is to be used: no conscious villainy; a common man, clever as a wagonload of monkeys […] (Liammóir 27). It is a telling account of directorial intervention and character analysis that strongly echoes A.C. Bradley’s essay studies on the ‘great characters’ in Shakespearean Tragedy (1904).1 In ‘Lecture VI’, Bradley is insistent on distinguishing Iago from the diabolic evil of Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost as well as Goethe’s Mephistopheles: ‘He is earthly, but could never live upon earth’ (Bradley 195–96). It is well documented that Welles was instrumental in popularizing Shakespeare in the 1930s when the dramatist was out of favour in the United States. Welles attended a school that encouraged moral and ethical interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays as borne out in his anti-fascist production of Julius Caesar on Broadway, which was set in modern-day fascist Europe. Welles was keen to politicize Shakespeare’s plays and to turn them into a ‘spectacle’ and ‘event’. Welles’ reading of Iago reveals the formative influence of what Katherine Cooke regards as the ‘most famous objection to the Victorian Bradley’: the over-emphasis on character as ‘biographies’ (Cooke 119). For an actor looking for signs of character motivation, early twentieth-century Shakespearean scholars such as Bradley would have offered rich material. G. Wilson Knight’s The Wheel of Fire (1930) presents an alternative ‘interpretation’ of the enduring appeal of Iago’s ‘pure cynicism’: Excellent wretch, perdition catch my soul But I do love thee! and when I love thee not, Chaos is come again (Shakespeare 3.3, 91–3, 287). For Knight, Iago is ‘devisualised […] inhuman’ in a play of ‘vivid human delineation’ (Knight 135). As Joseph McBride points out, Welles’ film adaptation, like an opera, is ‘floridly expressionistic’ and also too fascinated with Iago at the expense of the central character: ‘It is strange, too, to see Welles playing the “innocent” in a drama of power and entrapment’ (McBride 117–19). For Welles, the ‘visual style’ of the film mirrors the ‘perverse marriage of Othello and Iago’ (Filming Othello). In a way, The Third Man is also an expressionistic drama of power and entrapment with Welles bringing Shakespearean bravura to a damned figure and in turn invoking fascistic hero-worshipping. In other words, Welles in humanizing the inhumane paves the way for subsequent character biographies of Lime. Michael Anderegg, in Orson Welles, Shakespeare and Popular Culture (1999), presents a rare detailed account of Welles as a cinematic performer. Welles’ ‘entrance’ happens halfway through the film, which Welles described as the Mister Wu effect when ‘old stars […] don't come on until the end of the first act’, thus turning ‘a guest appearance into a star turn’. His performance serves to remind us that Welles’ ‘fame derives from the projection of a specific and readily identifiable public persona’ (Anderegg 141–42). In other words, the Wellesian performance is one of theatrical excess and is essentially ‘Shakespearean’ (Anderegg 145). It is therefore befitting, given the delayed screen entrance and elevated position he occupies, that Welles would insert a ‘soliloquy’ that, in the words of Anderegg, alludes to the ‘tradition of performance Welles inherits – the outsized, grandiloquent, egotistical, “royal” approach’ (Anderegg 146). Furthermore, Welles ‘delights in playing characters who have occasion to recite a moral tale’ (Anderegg 147). Welles’ cuckoo clock speech is delivered like an anecdotal ‘sermon’ to give nihilistic credence to the idea of people as expendable dots (Anderegg 147). Scorsese sees Welles as ‘inhabiting a part’, but, for Anderegg, Welles rarely loses himself in a role—the dramatic performance is a calculated ‘epic’ effect (Anderegg 152). And in this respect, Welles was well aware of ‘epic’ performance, the seductive power of oratory and its media links to demagoguery. As Peter Conrad points out, the rabble-rousing narration in his Mercury recordings of Julius Caesar bears disturbing echoes: ‘Radio was used by Hitler to bully a society into submission’ (Conrad 116). Welles in his films and performances had the uncanny knack of capturing the drive of hero-worshipping, even though his general aim, as in Citizen Kane, was to discourage political idolatry. In this sense, the performative marrying of a Machiavellian Iago with fascistic oratory in the cuckoo clock speech transformed Greene’s Faustian figure into an appealing figure of villainy. If Welles established the confused romance of Harry Lime through his cinematic performance (enhanced too by Schmidt’s role as fanatical devotee), the radio series, The Lives of Harry Lime, created the postwar mythology of Lime. The shift to first-person narration allows Welles to draw on his radio and theatrical background of performing characters through dramatic monologue. And whereas the third person could claim moral authority, first-person narration, as with the unreliable narrator, allowed for ambivalent character revelation. Welles too gains, as with other serialization actors, a degree of creative authority and collaborative ownership in the ongoing production of a character-oriented platform (Mittell 2015). And by purchasing the character rights, Harry Alan Towers created an afterlife ‘brand’: I knew that my literary agent, David Higham, also represented Graham Greene [….]. I asked him whether his contract with Korda covered character rights. [….] I acquired the rights for a radio series. [….] In that same Grand Hotel suite in Rome, where Korda met Orson, I signed a deal with Orson for fifty-two episodes in The Lives of Harry Lime. Two weeks later, in London, Orson stepped up to the microphone; as the sound of the gunshot interrupted the zither performance of Anton Karas, he uttered the words, ‘This was the shot that killed Harry Lime. He died in a sewer beneath Vienna [….] Yes, that was the end of Harry Lime. But it was not the beginning. Harry Lime had many lives and I can recount all of them. How do I know? Very simple, because I am Harry Lime.’ Korda and Selznick were furious (Towers 22). As Brian Lindsay Thomson argues, the appropriation and exploitation of the film created a ‘proprietary genre’ in which the producers could ‘fill out’ the brand (Brian Thomson 94–96). The sustained popularity of Lime was dependent on the brand manipulating/distorting the original content. It is curious that Greene consented to Reed’s alteration of the ending but distanced himself from the subsequent serializations. In the words of Thomson, ‘there comes a point at which Greene stops authorizing the phenomenon’ (Thomson 94–96). Greene accepted Tower’s request for permission to use the character of Lime in the radio series only on condition that his name never be used in advertising to promote the series (probably because of moral qualms). Seriality, which is dependent on character-centred storytelling, is written into the transmedia cult of Harry Lime. However, as Mittell argues, the ‘anti-hero’ who provokes negative moral allegiance is problematic in a continuing character format (see Mittell 2015, 142–45). According to Dave Mann, ‘in order to placate censors and sponsors, the series was to privilege wit and imagination, rather than violence and guns’ (Mann 239). To overcome the worldview of the film, The Lives of Harry Lime also undercuts the notion of a stable or consistently moral character. The syndicated radio series title itself implies multiplicity in the sense of a divisible character, suggesting that Anna was right after all: there was another Lime, the misunderstood crook, contrary to Greene’s Faustian demonization. The partial redemption was also enabled by conscripting Lime into a conformist genre, for Lime’s ‘radio rehabilitation is tied to generic transformation: Limes is a species of radio’s “glamorous detective genre”’ (Killmeier 106). The US series title, The Adventures of Harry Lime, foregrounds the paratext of Sherlock Holmes and points to another villainous celebrity. Greene reviewed the film, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (20th Century Fox, 1940) and commented on Dr Moriarty (acted by George Zuppo) as being ‘a well-mannered criminal … [who is the] “central figure”’ (Greene 1972, 273–74). The characteristics of a suave villain are made more apparent in Welles’s radio performance of Lime. In the first episode, ‘Too Many Crooks’, originally aired 3 August 1951 and written by Welles, the actor is introduced as ‘the third man – the immortal Harry Lime’ (The Lives of Harry Lime). Harry Alan Towers was keen to obtain a license to use the film’s musical theme: ‘I bought Anton Karas to London to record on his zither the famous theme and also a complete series of cues to provide the score of the radio series’ (Towers 22). Through numerous zither music interludes, Towers skilfully extracts from the film the two popular elements to merge the ‘melodic aphorism’ with Lime’s iconic radio voice (Frank Brady 449). In this episode, Lime is summoned to Budapest and offered £20,000 to foil a bank robbery (to apprehend a tunnelling gang). In the prequel, Lime still remains the ‘world famous crook’, and is hired for this reason (The Lives of...). The series plays on the enigma of the third man, by giving no explanation for his rebirth. Even so, here Lime is used for ‘good’ ends, sustaining Lime as ‘the man of mystery’, who occupies the murky realm between crime and the law, helped in the character transposition from film to radio. In serial storytelling, to overcome the ‘relative morality’ of the anti-hero, Mittell argues that charisma helps both to attract sympathy and to overlook their respective ‘hideousness’ (Mittell 2015, 142–45). The key attraction of Welles’ cinematic performance was a ‘Machiavellian fascination’, which he exploits further in the radio episodes (Mittell 2015, 145). This also helps to place Lime on a continuum from cynical mercenary to detective agent and thus shows up the instability of Greene’s Faustian characterization. The listener is likely to sympathize with a humanized Lime. For instance, while Lime’s motives remain mercenary, often he is outwitted (by women whom he believes he has won over) and duped. In ‘Rogue’s Holiday’ (21 September 1951), he is hoodwinked by Doris Jane, born in Clapham and masquerading as Anne de Boubon, into purchasing a counterfeit pearl necklace. At the very end, Lime reveals the purchase was acquired through counterfeit money. The narrative logic of ‘you win some and you lose some’ gives credence to Lime as an amoral chancer or ‘confidence artist’. And as a proto-Bond type, Lime blends in deftly with the social elite through admirable initiative, wit and wry philosophy. For instance, in ‘Work of Art’ (28 September 1951), Lime takes advantage of the South American context of the war and mixes with people of wealth and status. It is set in Buenos Aires where Nazi stolen artwork determines the stakes of the black market. Lime, ever the mercenary, pays no moral attention to the wider war context and the sources of monetary gain. Ultimately, Lime’s amorality bears certain boundaries: he won’t commit murder, deal in drugs (‘A Ticket to Tangiers’—24 August 1951), or leave vulnerable women in the clutches of dangerous political bandits. For instance, in ‘An Old Moorish Custom’ (14 December 1951), he saves Valerie (grand-daughter of an aristocrat whose estate has been invaded by a Bedouin outlaw and his murderous bandits). Lime shifts his allegiance when it suits him, but a woman in distress will generally prompt his chivalric scruples. In various episodes (e.g. ‘It’s in The Bag’—22 February 1952, ‘Paris is not the Same’—4 July 1952, and ‘Horse Play’—23 November 1951), Lime’s Machiavellian philosophy of exploiting people’s failings, folly or bad motives is voiced through theatrical asides or axioms: The world is full of mugs … millions of them walking like flocks of sheep to be fleeced. ‘Paris is not the Same’, by Joseph Cochran (Welles and Others 69) If I were an honest man, which I am not, this would be my sermon: ‘the man who is swindled is asking for it’. You can’t swindle a man unless he’s [so] full of larceny that when he hiccoughs the breath that comes up is dishonest. ‘Horse Play’, by Peter Lyon (Welles and Others 122) Lime’s humour and phlegmatic philosophy echoes the hard-boiled cynicism of film noir. Lime is not ethically committed to any cause (except himself) but neither is he a perpetrator of suffering. Any romantic fling (and there are many) is a threat to his narcissistic nihilism: for instance at the end of ‘See Naples and Live’ (10 August 1951), a potential affair is undone when Aimee sees through the flirtatious charm into his crooked ways: ‘I had lost the lovely green emerald … and the lovely green eyes of Aimee. [….] She nearly interfered with the great romance of my life … my love for Harry Lime’ (Welles and Others 57). Whereas the TV series plays on Lime’s immortal status and frequently alludes to Lime’s criminal past to reinforce the notion of a reformed character, the radio series makes much of Lime’s criminal amorality whilst downplaying any sinister motive. The radio episode, ‘Paris is not the Same’, ironically echoes Lime’s diluted penicillin racket in terms of selling expensive but diluted perfume to unsuspecting customers: the victims are only wealthy women rather than disabled children. The appeal of the character in the radio series functions by diluting the evil status of Lime. Nonetheless, Lime is not yet fully reconstructed for the corrosive morality of his criminal past is continually evoked through a bloated ego. MICHAEL RENNIE’S TRANSATLANTIC LIME Michael Rennie: Lime is ‘the third man between the law and crime. [….] He’s Harry Lime, Inc. You’ll find him where the money and odds are great enough.’ Greene, unlike other contemporary British Catholic or High-Anglican literary converts, was able to articulate the sense of a fallen modernity through populist forms. As Evelyn Waugh commented, cinema taught Greene ‘a new habit of narrative’ (Waugh 362). Nonetheless, The Third Man (1949) in terms of genre does not fall into an easily identifiable category: British film noir, Cold War thriller, ghost story, quest narrative, or modern Faustian drama? In this respect, conscripting Harry Lime into a specific conformist genre is a method of moral rehabilitation. In the TV series, The Third Man (1959–65), starring the British actor, Michael Rennie, moral reform is immediately signalled during the opening credits when Lime emerges from out of the shadows of a square in Vienna, thus visually quoting the film’s police chase through the sewers. Lime has symbolically come to the surface from out of the dark underworld and henceforth enters into the upper world of the ‘glamorous detective genre’. It is also the symbolic rejection of the Faustian genre, for the morally coded series aims to make a clear distinction between respectable capitalism and the murky criminal underworld. Lime has been brought back into the open spaces of society, to be seen in broad daylight as a glamorous, rich, and powerful man, as well as a moral arbiter working for the super-rich (both beyond and within the system). Nearly every episode alludes to Lime’s past, yet to show that Lime has completely reformed whereas his old accomplices have not. It is a moral progression from Welles’ radio Lime who still cavorted with fellow black marketeers. The series was a transatlantic co-production between BBC television and National Telefilm Associates (NTA). The half-hour telefilm was a new ‘continuing character’ program format that had replaced the popular prewar film series and, as William Brody notes, reflected ‘growing homogeneity’ across TV schedules in the 1950s (Brody 191–92). There were seventy-seven episodes (twenty-five minutes in length) and the opening twenty episodes were shot at the Hollywood studios of 20th Century Fox Films Corporation, while the following episodes (twenty-one to seventy-seven) were filmed at Shepperton Studios and Associated-British Elstree Studios (England). Postwar transatlantic cooperation is very much reflected in the character construction of Harry Lime, who has business offices located in New York and London. The format and genre of the TV series follows in the footsteps of the popular crime drama Dragnet (NBC, 1951–59) that not only innovated telefilm production techniques and the use of reruns but also set the norms for the ‘realistic and glamorous’ TV detective cycle on both sides of the Atlantic during the 1950s (Mittell 2010, 169–71). Dragnet, a documentary-style police procedural series, was an instant hit after its debut and NBC’s highest-rated program (1952–56) while Dixon of Dock Green was a successful BBC TV series that had started in 1955. In fact, Ronald Waldman noted in the Radio Times (25 September 1959) when The Third Man was to premiere on BBC 1 (2 October 1959) as a TV series: ‘The Third Man was killed at the end of the film; so, too was Police Constable George Dixon at the end of another great British film, The Blue Lamp. [….] What sort of man would he have been in the world of today – away from the intrigue, black market, and the sewers in the end-of-the-war Vienna?’ (Waldman). Naturally, the moral shock of London PC George Dixon’s death in Basil Dearden’s The Blue Lamp (1950) is incomparable to Lime’s sewer death. In a classic cinematic moment, ‘Dixon is executed at point blank’ by a petty crook (played by Dirk Bogarde). It was a ‘shocking demise’—by 1950s standards—shattering the ‘social contract of post-war reconstructionism’ (Sydney-Smith 3, 51). In this respect, the weekly resurrection of a benevolent, paternal copper and the community friendly and home loving Jack Warner character, which bolstered the familial ethics of 50s’ TV light entertainment, was enabled by a postwar nostalgic consensus. According to Jason Mittell, the ideological worldview of police drama (as represented by Dragnet that promoted a ‘strict law-and-order mind-set’) was consistent with many threads of 1950s’ culture and the emerging countercultural threat (Mittell 2004, 147; Mittell 2010, 171). Given the context, the resurrected transatlantic Lime was being conscripted into the detective genre and the ‘dominant myth of consensus and American contentment’ (Mittell 2004). Nonetheless, according to Dave Mann, the ‘BBC had little faith in the series and consequently its airing was sporadic’ (Mann 233). Given his criminal past, the reincarnation of Lime for weekly family viewing potentially cuts across the ‘hard dualism’ of law and crime in 1950s’ police drama (Mittell 2004, 141). To be rehabilitated into the transatlantic consensus of the 1950s, it was necessary to distance Lime from his unscrupulous past and the image of uncontrollable virile violence of the criminal underworld. The taming of Lime is emphasized with other characters frequently pointing out: ‘Lime never carries a gun’. The opening episode, ‘One Kind Word’ (directed by Cliff Owen, story and teleplay by Iain MacCormick), which serves as a transitional stage in the transmedia life of Harry Lime, is the last time we see Lime bearing a gun. This episode was first transmitted on BBC 1, 2 October 1959 (9–9.25 pm), and the Radio Times synopsis is given as: ‘A beautiful girl, rescued from the Thames at London Bridge, links Harry Lime with his own earlier adventures in post-war Vienna’ (Genome). The ‘beautiful girl’ turns out to be Hanna (a Polish woman played by Mai Zetterling), once Lime’s fanatical devotee in the film, Anna Schmidt. Generally, the TV series functions as a sequel to the film, but for the process of TV rehabilitation Lime revisits his pre-reformed past and the world of the film. Lime has travelled from New York to London, and walks into a Casualty Department. He has been called over by an inspector of Scotland Yard to visit a dying woman found in the river near London Bridge. The attending nurse speaks to Lime: ‘the inspector asked us to call you. He says you knew her’. Propped on her deathbed, Lime begins to reminisce: ‘We met years ago. It seems she never got that kind word she was asking for.’ The zither signature tune is struck. ‘It was a few years after the war, in Vienna’. And as the scene fades to a flashback of bomb-ruined Vienna, Lime continues: ‘long before the days that a highly respectable firm called Harry Lime LTD was operating in London and New York. In those days, there was just Harry Lime operative.’ The camera pans to a café on New Year’s Eve, with the anonymous inspector (cast in shadow) observing a friendly exchange between Lime (wearing a trench coat) and the proprietor, Paul. As they enter the premises, a low angled shot gives us a glimpse of Hanna’s legs—wearing a fur coat and jewellery, swilling a glass of double cognac. Lime is after a glass of the usual—‘real’ whiskey (and ‘real orange peel’). Lime: ‘I wonder how you get them? Real ingredients. In Vienna, now?’ Paul: ‘After the war, you get what you pay for.’ (The Third Man). Lime ironically plays innocent. Lime is the black market source for the supply of whiskey. The flashback immediately hints toward the rewriting of Lime’s criminal past—Hanna has lured Lime, a friendly supplier of genuine black market goods, into a trap. Given the opportunity to narrate his story, Lime rewrites the past—there is no mention of his hideous penicillin crime and sadistic fascistic sentiments. In fact, the narrative centres on Hanna’s entrapment of Lime: in a bomb-ruined Vienna she lures Lime from a bar to her luxury apartment, decked with black market cigarettes and liquor. Lime soon learns through a shadowing British detective, Colonel Howard played by Bud Knapp (Colloway’s equivalent), that Hanna is the stooge of a Russian black marketer, Prokrian (played by George Pastell). So, conveniently Hanna plays the femme fatale and cavorts with the Cold War enemy and Lime’s crime is reduced to illegal, but benign, entrepreneurship. The conventional demands of 1950s’ seriality determined the moral re-evaluation of Lime. The once ethically questionable Lime is juxtaposed with more explicitly villainous characters, and the episode displaces evil onto the new enemy. In other words, the episode realigns Greene’s scapegoating of the American villain. With clear echoes of Lime’s penicillin racket, we learn that the Russian is directly responsible for the deaths of twelve children, deliberately killed on a land-mined road with their dead bodies driven over by trucks for the mercenary sake of transporting black-market goods across the allied occupied zones. Lime’s racket, though, is limited to cigarettes and alcohol. This is viewed as the trigger point for Lime’s moral conversion—Lime was active in the war and mentioned twice in dispatches, and the suggestion is that Lime’s wartime heroic status has been rekindled. In the end, Hanna refuses to shoot Lime and accidently kills the Russian. Lime again inspires absolute loyalty, but for this she gets her comeuppance. Hanna had lived out a life of alienation and the narrative punishes her for amoral devotion. This narrative of reformation is a reversal of the film’s moral logic. The past catches up with Hanna in London when the Russians take revenge. The past does not catch up with Lime: the man in the film directly responsible for the cruel suffering and death of children. The film noir scapegoating of Hanna is a gendered sacrificial trope that conceals the evil menace. From here on, the TV series can be viewed as a stand-alone endorsement of Lime as transatlantic entrepreneur in the postwar era of European reconstruction. The third man signifies now a jet-setting go-between—a man who crosses borders freely and who uses contacts on both sides of the law to police transatlantic business. ‘The Third Medallion’ episode (Friday, 29 January 1960, 21.00, directed by Paul Stanley, story and teleplay by Milton Gelman) opens with the caption ‘Berlin Today’ and an aerial shot of a restored city that hints towards the Marshall Plan, before fading to bomb-ruined buildings and a blind Nazi survivor. The scene cuts to New York’s skyscraper skyline and then an office door sign ‘HARRY LIME INC. NEW YORK – LONDON’ (The Third Man). Lime’s office is the site of transatlantic cooperation, and as Dave Mann puts it: ‘The name of Harry’s New York company […] is a metaphor for Lime’s conversion to the creed of fiscal probity’ (Mann 243). Lime’s conversion to conventional business matters is backed up by his meticulous accountant and cowardly sidekick, Bradford Webster. Lime is redeemed but he is also given a heroic war record, and seen to redress the wrongs of the war and to protect Europe from a Nazi legacy. ‘The Third Medallion’ plays on the enigma of the ‘third man’ by hiding the truth of his wartime identity and exploits: Lime had been honoured by the French as a resistance fighter and, in a postwar Berlin, he exposes the French traitor who is allied with a Nazi survivor and who attempts to retrieve for his own gain a horde of bullion that belongs to the Free French Government: out of the ruination and evil destruction of the war emerges the true heroic identity of the elusive third man: Lime was after all operating as a secretive war hero and thus easily misunderstood. Anna Schmidt appears again, in another guise, as a nun (Adele) who is serving penance for her wartime sins (yet she also bears one of the three missing French medallions). Like Lime, she is an ambivalent and misunderstood war hero. Lime redeems himself by becoming a modern-day capitalist while Anna can only redeem herself through seclusion. In other episodes, Lime is transfigured into the agent of justice operating within the legacy of Nazism. ‘A Pocketful of Sin’ (1 April 1960, directed by Arthur Hiller, story and teleplay by Lazlo Gorog) is set this time in Paris, and Harry Lime, the international business tycoon, again plays private detective and foils a plot to sell a chemical formula, that was stolen from a professor who had worked with the Nazi regime, to a corrupt foreign embassy. We are given hints of the old Harry Lime: he has a way with the ladies, he is witty and charming, and his reputation is based on an ability to set up mercenary arrangements (but this time motivated by a sound principle). Lime’s recasting prefigures the globe trotting Bond figure with glamorous women at every port, and this is brought to the fore in ‘Barcelona Passage’ (18 December 1959, directed by Cliff Owen, story and teleplay by Gilbert Winfield) which takes place on board a luxury liner (an Orient Express scenario of the muddled rich). Lime plays poker, is cool under pressure, wears a white tuxedo, and is suave and elegant. But there are fundamental differences: Lime never carries a gun (he is a British gentleman with the might of American wealth), and as a free agent he takes on jobs where there is a moral case. The disassociation from state suggests that Lime has reformed from amoral nihilist to trans-state moralist. Frequently, when episodes hint towards the unsavoury Lime of Vienna, Lime figures as a stand-in for the redemptive panacea of postwar American capitalism. In ‘As the Twig is Bent’ (Friday, 3 June 1960, 21.00, directed by Arthur Hiller, teleplay by David Chandler), the emphasis is on Harry making ‘amends’ for past deeds: ‘An incident in Harry Lime’s not-so-innocent past catches up with him and he flies to Genoa to try to make amends’ (Genome). We are given a sense of the narrative logic for the changed character: Lime regrets the crimes he had committed in the past and the reformed Lime uses his criminal skills of the past for citizenly reasons. Lime returns an original painting he stole (he ‘uncommits’ a crime) and makes amends. Resurrecting the ‘Third Man’ gives an opportunity to redeem the bent/crooked Lime—as the idiomatic title implies, Lime, like the child who rejects the parent tree, is renouncing the established character from the film. As he says in ‘Barcelona Passage’: ‘I changed from a rather obscure past into respectability’ (The Third Man). Lime, as a moral agent, is paying for his past sins whilst sorting out Europe’s problems. The casting of Michael Rennie, an actor made famous for playing the humanoid (Klaatu) in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), in the context of postwar reconstruction (i.e. the Marshall Plan) that aligns international justice (i.e. the 1945–46 Nuremberg military trials) with free market capitalism helps to refashion Lime into a man who, like Klaatu, comes in peace bearing a message to the world’s leaders: ‘Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration’ (The Day the Earth Stood Still). The TV series exploits the third man status of Lime as a synecdoche for a stateless third space—operating in the shadow between the law and crime but as a super-agent who switches allegiances not for mercenary reasons but for a moral collective good. This is why in nearly every episode we are told Lime never carries a gun. And yet much is also made of the fact, when he travels from New York to a European city, that Lime is a rich man. Lime’s stateless status helps to impress upon American householders that Lime is the peace-loving face of America’s brand of postwar international politics and reconstruction. The third man is a free-floating agency (as opposed to amoral nihilism). The image of statelessness and free agency is an ideal illusion for postwar American capitalism. Nonetheless, Lime’s brand of individualism that hovers between crime and law and across national borders is conventional to the spy thriller genre. Behind the scenes, so to speak, Lime is an instrument of global American economic imperialism. This is not to say he is a state hired agent, like James Bond—though he is seen to wear the iconographic tuxedo. Because, whereas Bond is emblematic of the British Empire in decline, Rennie’s Lime is one of unchecked free market capitalism in ascendency. The outsider image of Lime is well suited to the cultural discourse of postwar American optimism and transatlantic unity, because the shadow of Lime’s past and the attendant, abiding question remains relevant: how did Lime acquire his fortune? In other words, Lime in retaining his moniker, the man of mystery, still exists on the slippery continuum that spans black marketeering and transatlantic capitalism. MR. ARKADIN—A ‘CASE OF AMNESIA’ Gregory Arkadin: ‘how terrible it is to have a conscience but no memory at all’ (‘Man of Mystery’, episode from The Lives of Harry Lime). Written and directed by Orson Welles, Mr. Arkadin (1955) should be read according to the intertextual Wellesian performance of Harry Lime and in the context of Welles’ fascination with charismatic egotists or tragic villain-heroes. The film is primarily adapted from ‘Man of Mystery’, an episode (originally aired 11 April 1952) from the radio series The Lives of Harry Lime. Arkadin is another Wellesian character modelled on Lime, as Orson Welles himself acknowledged: ‘Arkadin is closer to Harry Lime than to Kane, because he is a profiteer, an opportunist, a man who lives on the decay of the world, a parasite who nourishes himself on the corruption of the world, but he doesn’t try to justify himself, like Harry Lime, by considering himself a sort of ‘super-man’’ (Cowie 130). Through a series of intertextual parallels, the film makes it apparent that Gregory Arkadin is the uncanny double of Lime, a super-rich patriarch who has gained his fortune through unjust means, but in the end is undone by a obsessive desire to conceal from his adoring daughter, Raina (Anna Schmidt’s equivalent), the brutal truth of his murderous past. The novelization by Maurice Bessy, Mr. Arkadin Aka Confidential Report: The Secret Sordid Life of an International Tycoon (1956), is based on Welles’ film script and is also part of the transmedia afterlife of Harry Lime.2 The novel makes more explicit the underlying Bluebeard fairy tale that is present in the film at the level of suggestion and as such fleshes out the film’s linking of postwar cultural amnesia with the suppression of Lime’s criminal past. Both the film and the novel ‘lift’ memorable lines from ‘Man of Mystery’ radio episode, in particular, ‘how terrible it is to have a conscience but no memory at all’, which forms Welles’ narrative premise (Welles 169). In this respect, rather than conscripting Lime into the detective genre to promote the transatlantic consensus of postwar unity, Welles’ film is a quest to expose the continuum from amoral black marketeering to the glamour of the rich and powerful—as emphasized in the film’s preface: ‘A certain great and powerful king once asked a poet, “What can I give you of all that I have?” He wisely replied, “Anything sir … except your secret.”’ (The Complete Mr. Arkadin). So, the film amounts to a critique of wealth and entrepreneurism, one that is absent in Rennie’s vision of a reformed Lime. The film and novel closely follow the original radio plotline: an empty plane is flying itself toward Paris. Gregory Arkadin is one of the richest men in Europe with ‘big interests all the way from Denmark to the Belgium Congo’, and is reputed to be ‘the man of mystery’ because he avoids having his photograph taken by the press. In the novel, a clearer picture of Lime’s business enterprises is offered—a mixture of the colonial, entrepreneurial and the charitable: I had heard people talk of Arkadin in New York, London and Hamburg. I knew that he was deeply involved in all that is really big in big business. He had plantations in Brazil and in Borneo, mines in Alaska and South Africa; he owned oil wells, railways, power stations. He had fleets of fishing boats and of steamers, research laboratories – was he not financing experiments in interplanetary travel? He had schemes for fertilizing the Sahara and for extracting food from deep-sea plants. He supported museums, mental homes, institutes for cancer research. He was everywhere, behind everything, or at least his name was (Welles 2010, 19). Arkadin hires Lime, ‘a little crook’, to investigate his past. Lime’s assignment is to cure a ‘small case of amnesia’. Arkadin cannot recall how he acquired 200 Swiss francs in the winter of 1927, the money on which his present fortune was built. Lime eventually discovers the sinister secret behind the man of mystery and so tells Arkadin (with a line repeated in the film): ‘I’ve got the goods on you, the dirt’. Arkadin had absconded with loot from the ‘Sophie gang’ back in the winter of 1927. The day after reporting his findings to Arkadin, two of Arkadin’s old accomplices, Sophie and Oskar, are strangled and left in a ditch in Havana (Cuba). Lime soon realizes that Arkadin had faked his amnesia in order to flush out and eliminate witnesses to his criminal history. Fearing for his life, Lime informs Raina, Arkadin’s beloved and devoted daughter, that the present-day fortune of her father derives from ‘white slave and dope’ smuggling. Knowing that he will lose the respect of his daughter, Arkadin commits suicide by jumping out of his private plane. Yet this is speculation on the part of Lime: ‘Gregory Arkadin remained to the last a man of mystery’. In the radio episode, Arkadin’s moniker, ‘man of mystery’, resonating with the enigmatic ‘third man’ status, signifies the immoral secret origins of a capitalist’s fortunes. Arkadin sees himself as superior to Lime, the small-time smuggler who ‘dabbles in sordid things’, though in ‘buying’ Lime’s knowledge of the criminal underworld the episode plays on the unethical slippage between black marketing and corrupt forms of capitalism. In Mr. Arkadin, the roles of Arkadin and Lime are shifted about: Welles who played Lime and detective in the radio episode now plays Gregory Arkadin (with Robert Arden playing Lime in the form of Van Stratten). The immediate implication of the role reversal is that Lime and Arkadin, and by extension the world of law and crime, are easily interchangeable. The wider implication is that Arkadin’s faking of amnesia is embedded in a cultural conspiracy to conceal historical traces of the evil past. The ‘hard dualism’ of crime and law (or exploitative and respectable capitalism), promoted in the detective cycle of the 1950s, collapses with Welles reminding us of the inherent cruelty in Arkadin–Lime types. At a masked ball, Arkadin tells his guests an Aesopian fable of a frog and scorpion: ‘“I’ve got to cross the river,” the scorpion said to the frog. “Give me a ride on your back.” But the frog knew all about the scorpion and refused. “If I let you climb on my back, you’ll sting me, and everyone knows it’s fatal to be stung by a scorpion.”’ Had he looked at me when he said that? I did not think his eyes had moved, yet I had felt his glance cross my face with the swiftness of a lizard’s tongue. ‘“Don’t be silly,” said the scorpion. “If I sting you, you’ll die, and if you die, I’ll drown. That’s logical, isn’t it?” Because the scorpion is an intelligent beast, and therefore logical. The frog had to admit it was and let the scorpion climb on his back. But when they were halfway across … Suddenly …’ [….] (Welles 2010, 75). In the end, the scorpion cannot control itself and its other-destructive ‘death drive’: ‘“I can’t help it. It’s my nature”’ (Welles 2010, 75). Arkadin rounds off the story with an ironic toast to himself: ‘Let us drink to those who, as Shakespeare had it, can to themselves be true … no matter what their nature may be’ (Welles 2010, 75). Here, Welles playfully alludes to Lime’s übermensch speech in Vienna’s pleasure park as well as giving toast to a Wellesian performance. In other words, Welles’ intertextual performance intentionally underscores the Arkadin–Lime postwar parallels. In one scene, Arkadin, in his Spanish castle, looms over Van Stratten like Count Dracula. For Frank Brady, Welles makes Arkadin ‘overtly Mephistophelian’ to make the audience think he is ‘evil and fearsome’ (Brady 469). Welles’ intention is to de-glamorize and unmask the amoral entrepreneur. Arkadin’s mission is to destroy people in order to sustain the mask of nobility. But Arkadin’s deadly scorpion sting proves to be his undoing. For, paradoxically, hiring Van Stratten to preserve the public facade of capitalist respectability leads to Arkadin’s downfall. Van Stratten (the smuggler-turned-detective) is the frog carrying the scorpion. The fable of the capitalist’s death drive is also a story of mutual self-destruction, with the frog (the detective) carrying the scorpion (the evil capitalist) on its back in full knowledge of the scorpion’s deadly sting. The film brings to the fore the anti-heroic dimension of Welles’ transmedia oeuvre to expose and debunk the Arkadin–Lime parallels. In order to shatter the theatrical illusion of wealth and power, Welles transforms the Xanadu castle of Citizen Kane into a Bluebeard castle in Mr. Arkadin. The novel further brings to the surface the unhealthy Oedipal complex between Arkadin and his daughter, Raina, and the underwriting fairy tale. Arkadin lives in a castle and Raina associates the love she holds for the patriarchal figure with his medieval castle. And like the wealthy and powerful nobleman, Arkadin hides from Raina the bloody knowledge of habitual murder: ‘I love the castle myself. It suits me. Of all Daddy’s houses it’s the one I like best. I feel sort of protected ….’ (Welles 2010, 47). Raina is frequently described in terms of the coddled, spoilt and protected innocence of a child, and in Arkadin’s mind this is psychologically elevated to a Christ-like symbol: ‘A Child is born, and the sins of the world are blotted out. Did he think his sins were absolved because he had had Raina, loved her, only lived for her’ (Welles 2010, 21)? Her protected innocence is also inextricably bound up with her father’s fortune: ‘Everywhere they went, a great fuss had been made of this girl who must eventually inherit one of the largest fortunes in the world. Miss Arkadin had bought dresses, furs, the most expensive headwear’ (Welles 2010, 25). Raina’s idealized view of her father is also likened to a pure divine symbol. In this respect, Van Stratten also parallels the last wife of Bluebeard who is given the keys to the castle and the forbidden chamber. And when he discovers the secret truth of Arkadin, the enchanting law of the father is reduced to the underlying Bluebeard paradigm: Raina would continue to smile and say: ‘Papa loves a mystery…. He’s a Russian.’ Raina would go on thinking: ‘My father is formidable. He wears his power as he wears his beard; it’s all a trick, to make him seem like God, like Jupiter, like Bluebeard’ (Welles 2010, 215). Van Stratten’s Bluebeard revelation is the cue for Arkadin’s suicidal ‘fall’ from the private plane, one that mirrors Lime’s Dantesque descent in The Third Man. In Clarissa Pinkola Estes’s feminist reading of Charles Perrault’s story, rather living as a naïve woman the last wife of Bluebeard uses ‘the key of knowing’ by opening the door to the bloody chamber (Estes 42–46). However, Raina at the end of Welles’ narrative, rather than embracing an emancipatory awakening, rejects Van Stratten in a way that resembles Reed’s disputed film ending and Anna Schmidt’s indifference to Holly and to Lime’s victims: ‘I watched her walk away from me’ (Welles 2010, 225). Raina also echoes Anna’s unconditional affection for Lime, when Van Stratten (also playing Holly Martins) discloses Arkadin’s murderous deeds: ‘Raina … your father …. Don’t you know what your father was? …’ She shrugged her shoulders. ‘My father …. was …. my father. That’s all. And I loved him. You ought to know better than anyone that I don’t give my love as a good conduct prize. [….] I couldn’t care less about your past histories’ (Welles 2010, 224). Ultimately, Raina’s cynicism endorses Lime’s amoral nihilism, and in this sense Raina’s protected innocence, echoing the fanaticism of Anna Schmidt, is a metonym for the conformist amnesia that shrouds the resurrected Lime. Van Stratten, though, perceives the void at the heart of sublime capitalism that is symbolized in his tragic ‘fall’ from the sky: ‘he [Arkadin] threw himself into emptiness’ (Welles 2010, 225). Arkadin commits suicide perhaps knowing that, in the words of Baroness Nagel (from the film), he is a failure: ‘Those who make real money aren’t counted as criminals. This is a class distinction, not an ethical problem’ (The Complete Mr. Arkadin). Travelling across the world, Van Stratten pieces together Arkadin’s past from the remaining accomplices in his gang, and in doing so brings to the surface the economic links between a criminal network and so-called legitimate business: ‘From Helsinki … to Brussels, Belgrade, Beirut, Torino and Trieste, Marseille and Mogador. I talked to every crook who’d even been around in 1927 and a whole lot of other characters besides. Even some of the big moneymen – financiers up in Arkadin’s league’ (The Complete Mr. Arkadin). Mr. Arkadin, as an intertextually dense allegory that plays on the transmedia mythology of Lime (including Welles’ intertextual performance), constitutes a counterpoint to the image of the tuxedo wearing Lime (played by Michael Rennie), who plays poker with the rich on a luxury liner. Even though Welles fashions Arkadin into another monumental tragic hero, the film de-romanticizes the unethical romance of Harry Lime. THE ‘END MYTH’ David Thomson’s imagining of Harry Lime’s backstory as a brief fictional biography in Suspects (1985) constitutes yet another ‘point of departure’ in the context of transmedia world building. Thomson’s example of character story ‘gap-filling’ is in response to the post-film romancing of Harry Lime in which the resurrected Lime stands for the moral relativism of cultural amnesia. The underlying suggestion is that fandom had absorbed Lime’s toxic ideology: for ‘in life, he was poison’ (Thomson 1985, 102). Like the radio prequels, Thomson plots out Lime’s fall from grace: ‘It was the war that Harry had been waiting for. He did fire-watch duty and he started up a salvage business during the Blitz that made him £100,000 in one year’ (Thomson 1985, 104). Lime’s profitable charitable enterprises turn him into an ‘international figure’ and from here on his moral plight is determined: Harry Lime went to Europe in 1945. He was in Vienna soon after it was relieved, setting up his International Refugee Office. It was a tidy front for his rackets, the most lucrative of which involved medicines. He invited Rollo Martins over – it was Rollo who had done the press pieces on Harry when the IRO was formed, ‘little bits of rehabilitation’, Harry called them (Thomson 1985, 105). Thomson’s de-mythologizing, whilst paying homage to Mr. Arkadin, is predicated on the ‘narrative arc’ of Harry Lime’s transmedia rehabilitation, which is deemed complicit in a wider public conspiracy of sustaining a ‘tidy’ public ‘front’ to an international network of ‘suspect’ business ventures. Thomson’s ‘modern myth-making’ is very much in keeping with Franz Kafka’s ‘rectifications’ of the Prometheus myth, which, according to Hans Blumenberg, transform the ‘pluralism of interpretations’ into another version. Therefore, for Blumenberg: ‘There is no end of myth’ (Blumenberg 633). Each interpretation surpasses one another and yet ‘no version is supposed to deny or to have lost its derivation from a “ground of truth”’ (Blumenberg 634). Thomson’s fictive reconstruction is told as an ‘end myth’, making transparent the intertextual history of the Lime mythology that in turn offers another possible opening or point of departure. So even though Greene had no intention of resurrecting or redeeming Lime, accreting ‘points of departure’, rather than the endless return to the ‘ground of truth’, propel the transmedia myth of Lime onwards: ‘The reception has worked up the story as though it [the originating myth] had never existed’ (Blumenberg 636). In other words, losing sight of the ‘originating myth’ of evil Lime is integral to the resurrection mythology: Lime is dead, long live Lime. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide The Bell Toys’ board game, The Third Man (1959). Copyright information: the company that produced the game is no longer in existence. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide The Bell Toys’ board game, The Third Man (1959). Copyright information: the company that produced the game is no longer in existence. Footnotes 1 I am grateful to Dr Mary Ann Lund for suggesting the significance of Bradley’s and Knight’s character-focused studies in this era. I am also indebted to Dr Guy Barefoot for the loan of materials. 2 First published in French in 1954 by Gallimard, Paris. Though credited, Welles denied authorship and the ‘adaptation’ has recently been credited to his assistant at the time, Maurice Bessy: ‘I think it is impossible to wait for Orson doing a novelization of his story. The best thing to do […] would be that I write the adaptation, which, of course, would be signed by him’ (Foreword by John Baxter, XIII). REFERENCES Allain , Marie-Francoise. The Other Man: Conversations with Graham Greene . Trans. Guidi Waldman . London : The Bodley Head , 1983 . Anderegg , Michael. Orson Welles, Shakespeare and Popular Culture . 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Adaptation – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 6, 2019
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