Queer as I am for black-and-white Scope (2.39:1), I can’t see paying $30 for Twilight Time’s Our Man in Havana Bluray. I saw this agreeably droll Carol Reed film at the Aero two and half years ago, and as pleasant as it was it failed to lift me out of my seat. It was obviously made without any such notion in mind. Yes, I know the Bluray will almost certainly look sharper and richer than it did at the Aero. I would probably cough up $20 but no — Twilight Time insists otherwise.
Maureen O’Hara and Alec Guinness flanking Fidel Castro during making of Carol Reed’s Our Man in Havana.
“Vacuum Cleaner Intrigue,” posted on 8.22.14: Last night I went to see Carol Reed and Graham Greene‘s Our Man in Havana (’59) at the Aero. A dryly amusing, mild-mannered timepiece. Intelligently written by Greene, pleasantly assembled. Handsomely shot in widescreen black-and-white (those old cobblestoned streets of Havana look wonderful under streetlights), although everyone is unfortunately affected with the CinemaScope mumps. Alec Guinness in his prime, Ernie Kovacs, Noel Coward, Maureen O’Hara, Ralph Richardson, Burl Ives, etc. The sort of light-hearted, old-school, mid 20th Century film that was all but eradicated by the cultural upheavals and radical passions of the ’60s and all that followed.
Warning: Trailers From Hell tour guide John Landis says it was shot during Batista’s regime and that Batista visited the shoot — in fact Castro and Che Guevara visited.
Original author and screenwriter Graham Greene: “The book did me little good with the new rulers in Havana. In poking fun at the British Secret Service, I had minimized the terror of Batista’s rule. I had not wanted too black a background for a light-hearted comedy, but those who suffered during the years of dictatorship could hardly be expected to appreciate that my real subject was the absurdity of the British agent and not the justice of a revolution.”