Thursday, August 21, 2008

Summer Under the Stars: Trevor Howard

Movie Dearest continues our daily previews of Turner Classic Movies' month long "Summer Under the Stars" celebration:

Now Playing Star Profile for Trevor Howard - Stardates: Born September 29, 1913, Cliftonville, Kent, England; died 1998. Star Sign: Libra. Star Qualities: The modest good looks and restrained romanticism of an idealized Englishman; a gift for quiet understatement enlivened by touches of bravado. Star definition: "One of the greatest, and a lovely man with it." -- John Mills. Galaxy of Characters: Lt. David Baynes in I See a Dark Stranger, Major Calloway in The Third Man, Peter Willems in Outcast of the Islands, Captain Thompson in The Cockleshell Heroes.

In the post-war Vienna of Carol Reed's The Third Man, Howard plays Major Calloway, a British soldier with a steely resolve that is currently aimed at Orson Welles' slick racketeer Harry Lime. He knows that Joseph Cotten's otherwise clueless Holly Martins can lead him to his prey, but he is going to have to play him just right to convince Martins to give up his old friend.

So Calloway takes Martins to see Lime's handiwork at the local children's hospital. See, Lime has been diluting penicillin and reselling it, and the unlucky victims who have taken it now reside there. As Martins gazes into a cradle, a world-weary Calloway states, "It had meningitis. They gave it some of Lime's penicillin."

Yes, "it", not "he" or she" ... chilling.

The Third Man airs tomorrow on TCM at 10:00 PM EST.

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