Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday's Favorite OTR

The Lives of Harry Lime: “5000 Pengoes and a Kiss” 1/25/52

Harry Lime is, of course, the role Orson Welles played so perfectly in the classic film The Third Man. In the film, veteran con artist Lime has apparently allowed himself to sink low enough to get involved in drug smuggling and murder. But when Welles returned to the role for a syndicated series in 1952, we get a look at Lime before his apparent fall from what little grace he had. He’s still a con artist, but he has charm and likability (which, I suppose, all successful con artists have) and his cons don’t sink down to the level of the drug business or murder.

So the show presents us with a globetrotting Lime popping up in different locations around the world, always looking for an opportunity to make a mildly dishonest buck or two. In this episode, he’s in Communist Hungary, where he’s approached by a famous actress for help sneaking over the border to Austria.

He charges her 5000 gold pengoes and a kiss, then goes to the police to sell her out to them. Or does he? Things go wrong when another cop gets involved who wants to arrest Lime as well as the girl at the border. Lime has to improvise wildly at the end of the episode and we’re never quite sure what his original intent was. Did he plan on helping the girl all along while conning the cops? Or was he really selling her out? Circumstances force his hand in one of these directions, but what was his initial plan might have been is pure guesswork.

A good script, Welles’ perfect understanding of how to play Lime, and that great zither music make this a particularly strong episode in the series.

Click HERE to listen or download.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...