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 »
Tacey and Harry King are a suburban couple with three sons and a serious need of a babysitter. Tacey puts an ad in the paper for a live-in babysitter, and the ad is answered by Lynn ... See full summary »
In the Post-World War II, the British Susanne Mallison travels to Berlin to visit her older brother Martin Mallison, a military that has married the German Bettina Mallison. The naive ... See full summary »
A man occupies a position of trust with a merchant in a Far East port. When he is discovered stealing he is sacked, but he pretends to commit suicide and a captain he befriended agrees to take him to a secret trading post. In HD.
In Wyoming Territory, a range war is brewing between entrenched cattle barons and new settlers. Cattle king Reece Duncan is opposed by ambitious gambler Jim Averell, who imports his old ... 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 Texas oil millionaire, after failing to secure oil lands in Argentina, seeks out a famous race horse in Buenos Aires and order his representative to buy the nag at any price. Ellison has ... See full summary »
Karen Harrison is a spoiled, rich, American predator who falls head-over-heels for the brooding, tormented, about-to-retire matador, Luis Santos who has inexplicably run away prior to a ... 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
The novel was infinitely darker than the film. Satire is never casually light-hearted; it has a serious purpose. But this film is touched by the hand of slapstick artist Ernie Kovacs and, in an entirely different comedic way, Noel Coward. As many reviewers have noted, Alec Guinness seems at a loss in more ways than one to bring together all the different strands of entirely disparate story lines that are woven around him. The parts are indeed greater than the whole.
The one scene that I have carried with me, lo, these many years is the one where Sir Noel is having a confidential tête-à-tête with Sir Alec in a tropical garden surrounded by a rattan shell, and he suddenly shushes Sir Alec and cautiously moves to close the putative entry door. One of the best sight gags ever.
The sad thing about "Our Man in Havana" is that it came out the same year that Cuba traded in one tyrant for another. And there is nothing funny at all about either Fulgencia Bautista or Fidel Castro. I recommend the excellent film "Before Night Falls" for those persuaded that the latter was the lesser of two evils.
In short, one has to choose the comedic elements over the political ones in order to enjoy the film. And that means essentially anchoring it to the role of Noel Coward and everyone else who falls in his shadow.
17 of 25 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?