Jim Wormold is an expatriate Englishman living in pre-revolutionary Havana with his teenage daughter Milly. He owns a vacuum cleaner shop but isn't very successful so he accepts an offer ... See full summary »
A man occupies a position of trust with a merchant in an East Asian port. He's sacked when he's caught stealing, but he pretends to commit suicide and a captain he befriended agrees to take him to a secret trading post.
When the Germans march into Prague, armour-plating inventor Dr Bomasch flees to England. His daughter Anna escapes from arrest to join him, but the Gestapo manage to kidnap them both back ... See full summary »
Hard up and with a grudge against insurance companies, Rex Black feigns his death and meets up with his wife and the money in Malaga when things seemed to have quietened down. But when the ... See full summary »
During World War II, tug boats conduct what are called salvage missions - picking up disabled ships. Not well equipped with weaponry, the tugs are sitting ducks for enemy fire. As such, the... See full summary »
A group of conscripts are called up into the infantry during WWII. At first they appear a hopeless bunch but their sergeant and Lieutenant have faith in them and mould them into a good team... See full summary »
Davey Fenwick leaves his mining village on a university scholarship intent on returning to better support the miners against the owners. But he falls in love with Jenny who gets him to ... See full summary »
Nurse Anne Graham is controversially - but rightly - acquitted of murder after her elderly patient dies in suspicious circumstances. Changing her name she gets a position nursing ... See full summary »
Barry K. Barnes,
Two British agents are murdered by a mysterious Neonazi organization in West Berlin. The British Secret Service sends agent Quiller to investigate. Soon Quiller is confronted with Neonazi ... See full summary »
Jim Wormold is an expatriate Englishman living in pre-revolutionary Havana with his teenage daughter Milly. He owns a vacuum cleaner shop but isn't very successful so he accepts an offer from Hawthorne of the British Secret Service to recruit a network of agents in Cuba. Wormold hasn't got a clue where to start but when his friend Dr. Hasselbacher suggests that the best secrets are known to no one, he decides to manufacture a list of agents and provides fictional tales for the benefit of his masters in London. He is soon seen as the best agent in the Western Hemisphere but it all begins to unravel when the local police decode his cables and start rounding up his "network" and he learns that he is the target of a group out to kill him. Written by
Brazilian director Alberto Cavalcanti had originally been in talks with Graham Greene about making a film together just after World War II. They had devised an outline story about a vacuum cleaner salesman operating as a spy in the Estonian capital of Tallinn in 1938. This project stalled when they were refused government permission to lampoon the Secret Service. Undeterred, Greene carried on under his own steam, drawing on his experience observing Abwehr (German intelligence service) agents in Portugal during World War II, who had been paid per report and not according to results. See more »
The draughts (checkers) game is cut to suggest that Wormold makes the second move of the game to his right, and that Segura then captures to his right. This is impossible in an actual game of draughts, but if you watch closely you can see a cut between those two moves where the board configuration has changed. See more »
In our service it is essential to bury the past very quickly and very securely.
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My idea of paradise would be sitting down with a DVD boxed set of Alec Guinness comedies from the 1950's. What will it be tonight? The Man in the White Suit, or The Ladykillers (both by Mackendrick)? Or Kind Hearts and Coronets, where he played eight parts to perfection? No, tonight will be Our Man in Havana, the blackest of black comedies, directed by Carol Reed from Graham Greene's novel. The tone of confusion and mounting panic, the sense of things sliding hopelessly out of control is perfectly caught by Reed, who had already given us the classic The Third Man.
The casting is very good. Noel Coward, Gregoire Aslan, Ferdy Mayne and especially Burl Ives as Hasselbacher, the most reluctant of spies are all impressive. Maureen O'Hara is a Rolls Royce when a Morris would have done for this story, but she plays well. I liked Ernie Kovacs as Segura, the brutal police chief; he had a nice vulgarity blended with sensitivity that worked for me.
Now my pleasure would be complete if this picture were available on DVD, and if IMDb would give us the memorable quotes this film abounds in. Like Segura: "one never tortures except by a kind of mutual agreement", or Beatrice's description of her estranged husband: "He was very beautiful; he had a face like a young fledgling looking out of the nest in one of those nature films..."
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