Our man in Havana (Carol Reed, 111', 1959)
Our Man in Havana is a 1959 British film shot in CinemaScope, directed and produced by Carol Reed and starring Alec Guinness, Burl Ives, Maureen O'Hara, Ralph Richardson, Noël Coward and Ernie Kovacs. The film is adapted from the 1958 novel Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene. The film takes the action of the novel and gives it a more comedic touch.
Music by Frank Deniz, Laurence Deniz, Cinematography by Oswald Morris
Plot: In pre-revolutionary Cuba, James Wormold (Guinness), a vacuum cleaner salesman, is recruited by Hawthorne (Coward) of the British Secret Intelligence Service to be their Havana operative. Instead of recruiting his own agents, Wormold invents agents from men he knows only by sight, and sketches "plans" for a rocket-launching pad based on vacuum parts to increase his value to the service and to procure more money for himself and his expensive daughter Milly (Jo Morrow). Because his importance grows, he is sent a secretary, Beatrice (O'Hara), and a radioman from London to be under his command. With their arrival it becomes much harder for Wormold to maintain his facade. However, when they do, all of his imagined information begins to come true. One of his "agents" is killed, and he is himself targeted for assassination. He admits what he's done to his secretary, and is recalled to London. At the film's conclusion, rather than telling the truth to the prime minister and other military intelligence services, Wormold's commanders (led by Ralph Richardson) agree to fabricate a story claiming his imagined machines had been dismantled, bestow honors on Wormold, and offer him a position teaching espionage classes in London.
Casting: Alec Guinness as Jim Wormold, Burl Ives as Dr Hasselbacher, Maureen O'Hara as Beatrice Severn, Ernie Kovacs as Captain Segur, Noël Coward as Hawthorne, Ralph Richardson as 'C', Jo Morrow as Milly Wormold, Grégoire Aslan as Cifuentes. Paul Rogers as Hubert Carter, Raymond Huntley as General, Ferdy Mayne as Professor Sanchez, Maurice Denham as Admiral, Joseph P Mawra as Lopez, Duncan Macrae as MacDougal, Gerik Schjelderup as Svenson, Hugh Manning as Officer, Karel Stepanek as Dr Braun, Maxine Audley as Teresa. Eccellent acting throughout.
Production: The film was shot on location in Havana, just two months after the overthrow of the Batista regime, and on 13 May 1959 Fidel Castro visited the film crew when they shot scenes at Havana's Cathedral Square. Our Man in Havana was positively received by film critics; it has a "fresh" rating of 85% (with 13 reviews) at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. While not quite matching Reed's own The Third Man, it is an established long term top of its kind.
226 - Our man in Havana (Carol Reed, 111', 1959) -Sly spy classic - 17/2/2013