HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Our Man in Havana Ministry Of Fear
Year: 1959
Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Alec Guinness, Burl Ives, Maureen O'Hara, Ernie Kovacs, Noel Coward, Ralph Richardson, Jo Morrow, Grégoire Aslan, Paul Rogers, Raymond Huntley, Ferdy Mayne, Maurice Denham, Joseph P. Mawra, Duncan Macrae, Gerik Schjelderup, John Le Mesurier
Genre: Comedy, Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Cuba, before the revolution, and Englishman Jim Wormwold (Alec Guinness) owns a shop selling vacuum cleaners in Havana, but is not making as much money as he would have preferred when his teenage daughter Milly (Jo Morrow) has a liking for spending his funds on whatever whim she is taken with that week. As his best friend Dr Hasselbacher (Burl Ives) commiserates with him at their local bar, Wormwold wonders about the meeting he had earlier with an important looking man calling himself Hawthorne (Noel Coward) who was British like him, but hadn't bought anything - it was almost as if this posh Brit was sizing him up for something. But what?

Our Man in Havana was one of author Graham Greene's novels that he preferred to call "entertainments", suggesting a frivolous quality to them although when you know Brighton Rock was so termed then you might have other ideas and consider the great writer was being modest. Greene and director Carol Reed had worked together on an acknowledged British classic, The Third Man, and though Alfred Hitchcock had expressed an interest in adapting this Cold War yarn, Greene preferred to work with Reed once more, possibly anticipating lightning striking twice. It didn't work out that way, and although this had its adherents, you could see why it didn't take off in the popular imagination.

It was certainly a good-looking film, with crisp, widescreen photography by Oswald Morris which appeared torn from the pages of Picture Post, subtly capturing the action at an off-kilter angle when things were going wrong for the cowed protagonist who finds himself up to his neck in pointless espionage. This he does when Hawthorne recruits him for the British Secret Service, this in spite of Wormwold having no experience in spying, and the impression is one of bureaucratic quota-filling rather than the men from the Ministry seeking the right fellow for the job. They assuredly do not get him with this guy, as after a few half-hearted tries at collecting contacts at the country club, Wormwold finds it easier to simply make stuff up and pass it along.

While they are paying him for this bogus information, he can allow his daughter her profligacy with no harm done. Yet of course there is harm, and once someone is killed as a result of Wormwold's unintented machinations he wakes up to the idea that the spying world may be full of chancers and bluffers and buffers, but that doesn't mean it's not serious either, particularly when lives are at stake. By the point where he has to commit a murder himself, what began foolish complacency has turned into the corruption of his very soul, a theme which obviously appealed to Catholic converts Greene and Guinness. Yet the odd thing about this was the way it was supposed to be a comedy, with situations established as farce and character bits apparently designed to raise a chuckle at the bumbling on display.

However, you'd be hard pressed to be rolling on the floor at much of the humour here, which ranged from typical longsuffering father with a spoiled teenage daughter business to jokes about haemorrhoids and homosexual encounters in public conveniences, rather more off colour than you might have expected from a nineteen-fifties movie, and more fitting for the Carry On series which were continuing apace. The era's other big hit from the United Kingdom was the James Bond franchise, and though the film versions were three years away you could here understand what spy movies were like before Ian Fleming's tales of derring do really took off; in print, they were selling like hot cakes, yet on film the Brits hadn't gotten to grips with translating such material, hence Our Man in Havana is peopled by stuffy, grey men protecting their nation's interests, with Maureen O'Hara as a token longsuffering woman (drafted as Wormwold's secretary). Comedian Ernie Kovacs dialled down the humour as the sinister lawman, but overall this never found its metier, no matter Guinness' evident skill.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2200 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: