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Italy and the human condition

July 4, 2011

Off topic but fun: in the Letters section of the Economist this week there’s a quote from Orson Welles:

“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.”



4 Comments leave one →
  1. Silke permalink
    July 4, 2011 5:34 pm

    my favourite dream is for Israel to become the eye of the storm for the middle-east i.e. acquire that aspect of Swisserdom.

    and I think the danger for them to become subject to cuckoo-clock-dom and supplying mercenaries for those Italians fighting eachother either 😉

    BTW better beware I think the cuckoo clock is the intellectual property of the black forest 😉

  2. July 5, 2011 12:58 am

    I wonder if Welles was an old man or a young man when he said that? Kids like drama. Everyone else likes the movies. Lots of excitement on the screen but we in the audience are safe in neutral territory..

  3. Nycerbarb permalink
    July 6, 2011 7:11 am

    The quote is from the movie The Third Man, said by the Orson Welles character, but actually written by Graham Greene. The movie (1949) takes place in post-war occupied Vienna. Welles plays a racketeer. It’s a really good movie. Very complicated. Lots of twists. I think you will like it, Silke. Great theme song.


    • Silke permalink
      July 6, 2011 8:58 am

      my parents were nuts about the movie when I was a child and we owned about 20 or 30 records. Anton Karas playing the theme song was one of them so much so that even now I remembered his name correctly before typing it into Google to listen to it again.

      imdb says it was released in 1950 in Germany which means I first heard it when I was about 8 at the most 9 years old.

      and I love Orson Welles ( I have a disc with him reading stuff, he is phantastic) – I saw Citizen Kane in 1962 in Paris in a cinema with walls covered in dark lilac cloth, quite a treat.

      Since the line is from Graham Greene I now feel pretty sure that the extra jibe that they didn’t even invent the cuckoo clock is intentional.

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