Italy and The Third Man

From a letter to the editor in the current issue of The Economist on Italy:

SIR – I refer you to some apt lines uttered by Orson Welles in “The Third Man”: “In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

Mathias Koenig-Archibugi
London

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Comments

  1. aaron says:

    He is toying with the idea of putting warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed below aesthetics(was he gay?). He could have rephrased it and deduced that the cuckoo clock brought 500 years of democracy, brotherly love and peace…not a bad achievement for a clock.

  2. The line isn't Orson Welles', it's that of his character, Harry Lime. In the Third Man, Lime is an elusive fugitive war profiteer whose dealings (I think it involved watering down antibiotics but can't remember) are close to mass murder. Useful to keep in mind in evaluating its logic…

  3. Charadrius says:

    Clearly we need more cuckoo clocks.

  4. Bob says:

    cuckoo clocks are from Germany (Black Forest).

Trackbacks

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  3. [...] Paul Kedrosky points to a response to this issue, where a reader quotes this great scene with Orson Welles from The Third Man: [...]

  4. [...] Paul Kedrosky points to a response to this issue, where a reader quotes this great scene with Orson Welles from The Third Man: [...]