This is a review of The Lives of Harry Lime, now running to 4 volumes. This program, produced independently in England, is based on the unsavory character in the film The Third Man. Directed by Carol Reed, the film was a huge international hit and is still extremely popular among cineastes. Harry Lime in the film was a notorious vendor of adulterated penicillin, and his penicillin caused havoc among patients in Vienna. The mise en scene was Vienna during the four-power occupation after World War II. In the film, Lime was a scoundrel, and died on the run in the sewers of Vienna. Orson Welles played Lime beautifully, as a grinning swindler. Because of the fascination of the character, radio producers decided to bring him to the air, but somewhat cleaned up. He still remained a scoundrel, but a likable one. His adventures consist chiefly of efforts to swindle his victims, some decent citizens, some not. Not to make him too likable, Lime always ended up failing to take home the boodle. I suppose not pour encourager les autres. This makes these new adventures somewhat formulaic. But Welles is superb as Lime, and listening to him ham it up is a pleasure. It's a great achievement. The casts of the programs are excellent, no sneering villains. Add to this the excellent sound, and you have--almost--a neverending audio experience. I should add that this is sophisticated entertainment, part of that genre called "international intrigue." If you like this kind of thing, snap up the four albums.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
January 27, 2011
I think Radio Archives has done a real service in providing the Harry Lime shows on CD. The sound is super, and the unforgettable voice of Orson Wells is once again on the air. Three cheers!