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Our Man in Havana

Our Man in Havana(1960)

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  • correction of last review

    • kevin sellers
    • 3/10/16

    Oops. I misspoke. This film is the THIRD pairing of Greene and Reed. Forgot about "Fallen Idol," which was #2. Sorry.

  • our man in havana

    • kevin sellers
    • 1/30/16

    This second Carol Reed/Graham Greene collaboration is similar, in subject at least, to the first, the wonderful "Third Man." A naive, innocent finds himself in over his head in a world of moral corruption, violence and death. If, ultimately, this film comes in second to the earlier one it is mainly because Reed does a better job of capturing the squalor and decadence of postwar Vienna than he does the edginess and impending destruction of Havana, just before Castro. There is no sense, for example, like there was in, say, "Godfather Part 2," of the juxtaposition of the amorality of Batista's Havana with the menace of the revolutionaries about to strike. It isn't until the last third of the film, with Alec Guiness' avenging the death of his friend by assassinating the killer in front of a brothel that you get a sense of a nightmare world that was signaled from the get go in "Third Man" via the eerie, creepy zither music. Indeed, the first half is mostly breezy, slightly off kilter comedy, featuring Guiness' trampy, spendthrift daughter,(well played by Jo Morrow) Ernie Kovacs' caricature of a sleazy, Cuban general and Noel Coward's equally over the top bumbling British spymaster. It isn't done badly. Greene is too good a writer, Reed is too good a director, and Guiness is too good an actor for that. But it's just not disturbing at the same time it's entertaining, like "Third Man" was. So let's give it a B. P.S. Great location shooting in Havana by cinematographer Oswald Morris, made possible by the unexpected largesse of Fidel.

  • Great Story!

    • Marian
    • 11/1/14

    Although the plot of this story is intended to be a comedy, it tells a story of government's failure to fully investigate what they're actually involved in and what they're paying for. Elaborate sketches of household vacuum cleaners are submitted as possible enemy warfare or alien equipment. Loved it!

  • Vastly Underrated Gem

    • Jack Rice
    • 7/12/14

    Maltin completely misses the mark on this one. The great Pauline Kael liked it, though she thought it was "too controlled". The "control" is Carol Reed's fidelity to Graham Greene's trademark atmospherics. Think, The Third Man set in Havana. It's a miracle Our Man got made at all, filmed on location in Cuba not long after Castro took over, but with a pre-revolution setting that's thoroughly convincing and fascinating. The running gag -- vacuum cleaners as secret weapons -- frames a comedy that turns black. Nol Coward and Ralph Richardson, who plays "C" before there was an "M," are suitably farcical. Maureen O'Hara's part is mainly decorative, and Burl Ives has trouble with a German accent. But these quibbles pale against the treat of watching Alec Guinness and Ernie Kovacs play opposite each other. Kovacs almost walks away with the movie. Guinness has a classic scene at a country club. This is one of the few films I never tire of watching; it's one you can curl up with.

  • Our Man in Havana

    • Ray Marlitz
    • 7/23/10

    Spy picked and unpicked

  • Our Man in Havana (1959)

    • James Higgins
    • 2/14/10

    Good, but a little disappointing, considering the talent involved. Alec Guiness does well, but it's not one of his more memorable performances. The story is a bit slow moving. I had a hard time getting into the film. The Cuban setting is a plus and the filmmakers make the most of it. Fine cinematography.

  • Excellent!

    • Cheryl
    • 6/11/08

    Directed by Carol Reed ( "The Third Man") with a Graham Greene screenplay, this movie is just perfect. The casting is wonderful, too. It's the story of a reluctant British spy who only takes the job to get extra spending money. He makes up stories to report to headquarters about having fellow agents and drawings of a secret weapons factory. When the people he named as agents start being killed, he sees the situation as being more serious than he thought. Will he confess his lies to headquarters, or will he become the spy they think he is?

  • Our Man in Havana

    • Gary Wolf
    • 8/17/07

    One of those rare films that's not only faithful to its source (in this case the wonderful novel by Graham Greene) but authentic in its own right. The stars were in conjunction when Alec Guinness was tapped for the lead - perfect casting in fact and the supporting actors are superb. Never given the credit it deserves, Our Man in Havana is both stunning prequel to the Bond Era and an apostrophe to the Cold War. Critics and skeptical reviewers seem to have missed the point of this film, a low-key masterpiece in the Ealing tradition: well-crafted and not afraid to make a subtle point.

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