Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Download Ex Machina
Before the DVD release on 8th June
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Take a survey for the chance to win an iPad
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Burl Ives
Alec Guinness
Maureen O'Hara
Ernie Kovacs.
Directors
Carol Reed.
Screenwriters
Graham Greene.
Running Time
111 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Queen And Country
4 Star Empire Rating
Black Souls
4 Star Empire Rating
Station To Station
4 Star Empire Rating
She’s Funny That Way
2 Star Empire Rating
Accidental Love
1 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Look Of Silence
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Our Man In Havana


submit to reddit


Plot
Cuban-based vacuum cleaner salesman James Wormold agrees to spy for British controller Hawthorne to finance his daughter Milly (Jo Morrow)'s social aspirations. However, his eccentric behaviour in compiling bogus reports arouses the suspicions of brutal police captain Segura, who has a courtly crush on Milly.


Review

When Alberto Cavalcanti approached Graham Greene about making a film just after the Second World War, the novelist devised an outline about a vacuum cleaner salesman operating as a spy in the Estonian capital of Tallinn in 1938. The Brazilian-born director allegedly abandoned the project after being refused government permission to lampoon the Secret Service. However, Greene continued to develop the story, which had been inspired by his own wartime surveillance of Abwehr agents in Portugal, who had been paid per report and not according to results and, thus, submitted rumour as fact to boost their expenses.

    Alfred Hitchcock was keen to purchase the rights to the resulting novel. But Greene had considered him an unnecessarily flamboyant director since his days as a critic, and, so he agreed to collaborate once more with Carol Reed - who had directed The Fallen Idol and The Third Man  - and the pair wrote the screenplay in a Brighton hotel room before securing permission to shoot in Castro's Cuba.

    Reed assembled a splendid cast and made atmospheric use of his Havana locations by reducing the light levels as Wormold's initially harmless deception came to have an increasingly sinister upshot.

    However, in trying to translate a book about the act of invention as a comic thriller, Greene was forced to abandon the text's authorial parallels and, consequently, there simply wasn't enough going on to sustain the movie narrative. Wormold was too passive a character to generate much intrigue (although Alec Guinness had wanted to play him as a untidy, defeated soul rather than as a hapless non-entity) and he remained relatively unmoved by the machinations that he had set in motion.

     Greene tried to blame the failing on Jo Morrow, whose tarty flirtations made Wormold's blind devotion seem pathetically foolish. But it was Reed who misjudged both the tone of the satire and the personality of the innocent abroad - something, ironically, that Hitchcock probably wouldn't have done.


Verdict
So much potential in casting, script etc...but the translation from the book didn't quite make sense on screen.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Podcast #162: Hugh Laurie
Is there a doctor in the house?

Who Are The New Mutants?
Fox’s X-Men spin-off features a bunch of fresh faces. Here’s what you need to know...

Stoical Supermen: 10 Quiet Heroes That Get Stuff Done
Silent but deadly...

Ana Lily Amirpour On A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
'There's nothing sexier than a vampire...'

Rick Baker: Creature By Creature
The make-up effects titan on his greatest creations

12 Of The Weirdest Things Jean-Claude Van Damme Has Done On Camera
Outside of his movies, that is...

Spooks: An Oral History
Cast and crew on the spy smash

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe and save 44%

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe and save 44%

Subscribe now and save up to 67%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)