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Encyclopedia > The Tenth Man

The Tenth Man (1985) is a short novel by British author Graham Greene. Graham Greene Henry Graham Greene, OM (October 2, 1904 – April 3, 1991) was a prolific English novelist, playwright, short story writer and critic whose works explore the ambiguities of modern man and ambivalent moral or political issues in a contemporary setting. ...


In the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of the book (Penguin Books, 1985, ISBN 0-14-018529-1) Graham Greene states that he had forgotten about this story until receiving a letter about it from a stranger in 1983. Greene had first suggested it as an idea for a film script in 1937, and later developed it whilst working for MGM during the 1940s. Nothing came of it and the rights were offered for sale by MGM in 1983. The buyer (Mr Anthony Blond) allowed Greene to revise and subsequently publish the work. Greene also writes of this novel that "I prefer it in many ways to The Third Man" (Greene 1985:10) Penguin Books is a British publisher founded in 1935 by Allen Lane. ... MGM logo Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM, is a large media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of cinema and television programs. ... The Third Man (1949) is a somewhat unconventional film noir directed by Carol Reed. ...

The book was turned into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins as Chavel and Kristin Scott Thomas as Therese. Sir Anthony Hopkins Sir Anthony Hopkins (IPA: ) KBE (born December 31, 1937) is an Oscar-winning Welsh-born actor. ... Kristin Scott Thomas in Random Hearts Kristin Scott Thomas OBE (born May 24, 1960) is a English actress, born in Redruth, Cornwall, England. ...

Plot summary

The story begins in a prison in Occupied France during World War II. It is deemed that one in every ten prisoners is to be executed; lots are drawn to decide who will die. One of the men chosen is a rich lawyer. He offers all his money to anyone who will take his place. One man agrees. Upon his release from prison the lawyer must face the consequences of his actions. Combatants Allies: Poland, British Commonwealth, France/Free France, Soviet Union, United States, China, and others Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, and others Casualties Military dead: 17 million Civilian dead: 33 million Total dead: 50 million Military dead: 8 million Civilian dead: 4 million Total dead: 12 million World War II... A lawyer is a person qualified to give legal advice who advises clients in legal matters and represents them in courts of law and in other forms of dispute resolution. ...

The story comprises four parts. In Part I, set in prison, the occupying German guards issue a decimation order to the thirty inmates. One of the three chosen by drawing lots is a rich lawyer named Chavel. Chavel becomes hysterical and desperately offers his entire wealth to any man willing to die in his place. A young man, known as Janvier, accepts his offer and is executed.
In Part II, the war is over and Chavel is alive and free, but virtually destitute. He returns to the house he sold for his life and finds it occupied by Janvier’s mother and sister, Thérèse. Assuming the false name Charlot, he becomes their servant.
Part III sees the arrival of an impostor, named Carosse, who claims to be Chavel. Carosse attempts to denounce Charlot, win the favour of Thérèse and stake a claim on the property. Finally in Part IV, Charlot, having fallen in love with Thérèse, must save her from Carosse, as a means of redemption from his earlier cowardice. Decimation was a form of extreme military discipline imposed by officers in the Roman Army. ...


  1. Greene, Graham (1985) The Tenth Man, Penguin Group, London, ISBN 0-14-018529-1

  Results from FactBites:
WFB on NRO (743 words)
The sixth man yelled, "I got only $1 out of the total reduction of $20, and he" — pointing to the last man — "got $7." The fifth man joined in the protest.
And yes, the protests arise, reaching maximum volume in the matter of relieving the tenth man from his customary contribution of $59 toward the common meal, lowering it to $52.
The tenth diner isn't going to be lynched because his survival is too necessary to the other nine diners.
Arizona Jewish Theatre Company's "The Tenth Man" (747 words)
While this search progresses, one of the regulars at the service smuggles his "slightly psychotic" granddaughter into the synogogue to save her from a return trip to a mental institution.
One of the two who becomes the "tenth man," also becomes the love interest for the troubled woman.
Hopkins, who plays the disenchanted suicidal dragged off the street to the synagogue to be the tenth man, is a solid actor and plays his cynicism with an even edge.
  More results at FactBites »



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