23 April 2006

How Greene Was Our Valli

Alida Valli with Joseph Cotten in The Third Man    
     Unfortunately, most of my readership will have no idea who she was, but (Alida) Valli has passed away at the age of 84.  An actress who never really became famous in Hollywood, she is, however, assured a permanent place in film history because of her stunning performance as Anna Schmidt in one of the great movies of all-time, Carol Reed's magnificent The Third Man.  (If you haven't seen it, do so.  Immediately.  And take a look at the excellent collection of images here.)  Few actresses ever have one of those moments that will live enshrined in cinema history as Valli will, namely the final shot from The Third Man in which Joseph Cotten waits casually for her to walk down the cemetary road--- and she simply passes him by.  To me, she remains the eptiome of a Graham Greene femme exotique.   May she rest in peace.

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