Release date: Feb 3rd, 2009
MSRP: $19.94

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Alec Guinness, Maureen O’Hara, Burl Ives, Ernie Kovacs, Noel Coward

I remembered Our Man in Havana (Columbia Martini Movie)as a good film. I’d forgotten what a little gem it is. Written by Graham Greene, novel and screenplay this follows Alec Guinness pre George Smiley into the world of the spy and posits that you can’t lie down with dogs and not get fleas…or worse. From the opening credit that states it was filmed in Cuba ‘before the recent revolution’, 1953 if memory serves, into the rather lighthearted first scenes, vacuum cleaner salesman Jim Wormold decides to scam the British Government for the extra money he needs for his growing daughter. Lifting names randomly from the Country Club register where said daughter boards her horse he creates a network of agents whose checks he can cash.

When he begins to send drawings of vacuum cleaners as secret facili! ties in the mountains to the powers that be he is flavor of the month and they send him a staff, a radio operator and Maureen O’Hara. Things have taken a decidedly sticky turn and he scrambles to cover his tracks. Then one of his fictitious agents is killed and things are spinning wildly out of control and the tone takes on a somber note.

This is a great cast with the two mentioned above, Burl Ives as the German Doctor and long time friend, and Ernie Kovacs as the slimy Police Captain with designs on Jims daughter.

I don’t want to give away too much but at one point Jim needs a gun and the Captain has one.

This is no James Bond spy thriller but in its low keyed way it is indeed a thriller. Miss it to your detriment.

This is a black and white film which I only mention in case they give you hives.

The specials aren’t but a film of this caliber doesn’t need them.

Order Our Man in Havana from Amazon.

Lee Crawford
For more reviews from Lee, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.