Our Man in Havana Reviews
Ironically enough his employers believe him and other agencies believe him and bad things start to take place.
Dry wit and lots of satire. Starring Alec Guiness, Burl Ives, Maureen O'Hara, Noel Coward and Ernie Kovacs. It's sort of interesting but nowhere near as much as people are claiming though I get opinions may differ here, especially with the fanbois/girls who believe this movie can do no wrong.
My general feeling was that the film could not decide on which tone to adapt, bounced around and therefore was unsatisfying in some regards. Additionally, while it was clever in some regards I can't say it was humorous as it intended.
Based on a novel of the same title by Graham Greene, who served in British Intelligence. I suspect I would enjoy the novel more.
STORY/PLOTTING/EDITING: B minus; CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: B minus to B; CINEMATOGRAPHY: B to B plus; SOUND/MUSIC: B to B plus; HUMOR: C plus; WHEN WATCHED: early November 2012; OVERALL GRADE: B minus to B.
Also starring an ever-droll Noel Coward doing what he does; and Maureen O'Hara adding the noirish romance angle. A special mention must also go to Burl Ives affecting performance, delivered with sentimental panache whilst managing to avoid cliché.
One star only is deducted for the slightly uneven script that tries to deliver a message towards the end but never quite manages; and you wish they hadn't bothered. Ultimately however, this is a minor niggle in a sea of entertaining storytelling from a time when they actually knew how to make good films.
The story is fun and interesting, an English vacuum cleaner salesman living in Cuba with his attractive daughter is approached to be a spy for the English government. But, unable to recruit fellow spy's, or come up with any useful intel, he fabricates things to point where London see him as their best spy and send along help from headquarters, at which his house of lies inevitably comes crashing down around him.
For the most part it's pretty far fetched stuff and I found it very difficult to keep ahead of what was going on. I felt like I kept missing major plot points and there were many instances, especially towards the end, that didn't make sense, or weren't explained properly.
The acting's quite good. Though Alec Guinness is a little too refined and proper to be entirely convincing as a poor vacuum cleaner salesman.
The difficulty of following the story, the various unexplained happenings and the overly cheesy, cop out feeling ending are what hurt my experience of the film. But when it makes sense and is easily followable, it's a lot of fun and features that great Carol Reed direction, with the tall shadows, tilted angles and wet, reflective cobblestone streets that feature in many of Reeds greatest works.
Guinness is always likeable and is very charming as the slightly hapless, mostly honorable vacuum salesman who stumbles into a role as a CIA operative, conning his way along until he gets in over his head and he has to get real. The always comforting Burl Ives gives good support and O'Hara brings some spunk and weight to the later acts. It's well directed and constructed effectively enough that it feels effortless and is easily enjoyed. It also happens to bring the laughs, and has no problems playing itself into and out of a comedic tone as it so chooses.
This one was meant to be light and fun and act as a bit of spycraft satire, and it squarely hit the mark. Well worth a breezy late afternoon.