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Our Man in Havana

Director:  Carol Reed
Year Released:  1959
Rating:  2.0

Dapper Mischief Incorporated contact Noël Coward (a real-life spy) recruits vacuum salesman Alec Guinness to build a network of agents for Her Majesty - Guinness accepts but sends bogus drawings to England in an attempt to gain more cash for him and his country-club lovin' daughter. The picture veers between an attempt to be a comedy and an attempt to be a dramatic spy story, unable to gain proper footing in either direction: I'm guessing it's really trying really, really hard to be a spoof (sorry, but the SIS is too smart to be fooled by doodles), but Reed and Graham Greene are too protective to let it get as silly as it needed to get (also not helping: making Castro seem 'safer' than his predecessors). Guinness and secretary Maureen O'Hara are decent together, but I hold a special place in my heart for any and all Coward acting endeavors, with his entrance in this (after the Cuban equivalent of Adam and Eve exchange an apple and a glance) being especially memorable.

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