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Our Man In Havana [DVD] [2005]

Alec Guinness , Maureen O'Hara , Carol Reed    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
Price: £4.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Alec Guinness, Maureen O'Hara, Burl Ives, Ernie Kovacs, Noel Coward
  • Directors: Carol Reed
  • Writers: Graham Greene
  • Producers: Carol Reed, Raymond Anzarut
  • Format: Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Arabic, Dutch, English, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish
  • Dubbed: German, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Dec 2005
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BH2TQ0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,947 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

Graham Greene wrote this witty comedy inspired by Cold War paranoia. Jim Wormald (Alec Guiness) is an Englishman selling vacuum cleaners in Cuba on the cusp of the revolution. Hawthorne (Noel Coward), a British intelligence agent, is looking for information on Cuban affairs and recruits Jim to act as a spy. Jim has no experience in espionage and no useful knowledge to pass along, but Hawthorne is willing to pay for his services, and since Jim's daughter Milly (Jo Morrow) has expensive tastes, he can use the money. To keep Hawthorne happy (and his paycheques coming in), he turns in reports on the Cuban revolution that are copied from public documents, "hires" additional agents who don't exist, and presents blueprints of secret weapons that are actually schematics of his carpet sweepers. However, Hawthorne and associate "C" (Ralph Richardson) think that Jim is doing splendid work and encourage him to continue; meanwhile, Capt. Segura (Ernie Kovacs), the elegantly corrupt chief of police, has been fooled by Jim's charade into believing he's a real spy and has also become attracted to Milly. Our Man in Havana also features Burl Ives and Maureen O'Hara in supporting roles.

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Mono ), German ( Mono ), Italian ( Mono ), Spanish ( Mono ), Arabic ( Subtitles ), Dutch ( Subtitles ), English ( Subtitles ), German ( Subtitles ), Greek ( Subtitles ), Hindi ( Subtitles ), Hungarian ( Subtitles ), Italian ( Subtitles ), Portuguese ( Subtitles ), Romanian ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), Turkish ( Subtitles ), ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Anamorphic Widescreen, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Jim Wormold is an expatriate Englishman living in pre-revolutionary Havana with his teenage daughter Milly. He owns a vacuum cleaner shop but isn't very successful so he accepts an offer from Hawthorne of the British Secret Service to recruit a network of agents in Cuba. Wormold hasn't got a clue where to start but when his friend Dr. Hasselbacher suggests that the best secrets are known to no one, he decides to manufacture a list of agents and provides fictional tales for the benefit of his masters in London. He is soon seen as the best agent in the Western Hemisphere but it all begins to unravel when the local police decode his cables and start rounding up his 'network' and he learns that he is the target of a group out to kill him.; SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Golden Globes, ...Our Man in Havana

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
What a treat! Here we have one of the UK's finest twentieth century actors (Alec Guinness) starring in a story by one of the UK's finest twentieth century novelists (Graham Greene). It also stars Burl Ives, Ralph Richardson and Maureen O'Hara. This is a light-hearted black-and-white comedy (Greene called it an 'entertainment') about Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman, recruited into espionage by Secret Service agent Hawthorne (Noel Coward). Wormold needs the money to finance his daughter's expensive tastes, especially with horses, but quickly finds himself out of his depth when expected to find further recruits at his country club. He files false reports and supplies drawings of non-existent secret weapons, based on vacuum cleaner designs. The story takes several darker turns, but by the end we all have a smile on our faces.

It's wonderful to contrast late-fifties Havana with Havana today. The opening credits show a lady doing languid backstroke down a rooftop swimming-pool, then turning to gaze past the twin towers of the Hotel Nacional towards the arc of the malecon and Old Havana - seemingly unchanged. A street hustler approaches dapper, quick-striding Hawthorne and grows increasingly desperate as Hawthorne fails to bite: "Shoeshine? Pretty girl? Dirty movie?...Palace of Art?!" The hustlers are still there, but these days it's more likely to be: "Cigars? Restaurant? Pretty girl?...Viagra?!"

You can watch this film in four different languages, with a choice of 12 languages as subtitles - great! OK, sometimes the subtitles go astray. "Kettle" gets subtitled as "tetera" (= teapot) - not much good for steaming letters open!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining! 10 Jan 2011
By UK Filmbuff TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A very entertaining film, with fine performances by an excellent cast. Alec Guinness, as usual, plays the lead role impeccably. The addition of Noel Coward puts the "icing on the cake".

A complete farce, when a vacuum cleaner salesman is recruited to be a British spy, although quite why he is recruited leaves a lot to the imagination. Having no experience or interest in his new role (apart, that is, from the money it offers him), he finds it impossible to recruit "agents" to work for him. His charming, but totally irresponsible, daughter wants to live the high-life and who is he to deny her the opportunity to do so, merely because of a small thing called money!

Thus, he cleverly creates completely fictitious, potentially dangerous machines and installations, drawings of which he passes on to the British. They, of course, are most impressed and pretty soon he is paid even more money, because his results have become almost legendary.

Things begin to crumble about him, when he is assigned a secretary. There is some real action, where innocent parties are caught up in the web of intrigue and a murder (Burl Ives' character) is committed and another character is abducted. Hence, there is a slightly tragic, as well as humourous side, to the story.

The conclusion is a typical British farce, but I won't spoil it for you. I found the film enjoyable, very easy watching and definitely one I shall be enjoying in the future.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...and the book's good as well!! 29 Jun 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Yes, for some, the late 1950s are ancient history, black and white films are anathema and anything less than high tech wizardry involving the spontaneous combustion of entire planets is tedium.

Yet 'Our Man in Havana', produced in 1959, has for me, retained its status as an excellent film.

At the risk of appearing biased, I have to say that nearly anything involving the late Alec Guinness is usually top notch! This witty, humorous film, of one hour 43 minutes duration, based upon the original story by Graham Greene, is no exception. A raised eyebrow from Guinness can communicate more emotion than the chest heaving, tear jerking, gut wrenching 'pathos' of some contemporary dramas.

If you haven't read the other reviews, briefly, this is a spy spoof with Guinness as Jim Wormold, an English expatriate in Havana, selling vacuum cleaners. Needing funds for his beloved teenage daughter's extravagant requests, Wormold reluctantly agrees to be recruited as an operative for the Secret Service.

Having absolutely no experience of espionage, Wormold is forced to invent information for his reports. Needless to say, vacuum cleaner components play a key role. (The idea of spying on secret military instillations in Cuba was said to predict the Cuban missile crisis of 1962)

Fiction is blithely accepted as fact by London. However, soon fictitious agents and creative drawings assume a life form of their own! Two operatives are dispatched from London to assist Wormold and it seems that discovery is imminent.

Although there are many comic moments, the story has its poignancy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to Be Missed! 14 Feb 2009
By F. S. L'hoir TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
Collaborating for a third time with director Carol Reed ["Fallen Idol"; "The Third Man"], Graham Greene has written a script, based upon his novel "Our Man in Havana," which effervesces like vintage champagne, its humor, both dry and subtle, radiating a brilliance that obscures the fact that this black-and-white film was made in 1957, during the height of the Cold War.

The unlikely plot to which John Le Carré would later pay homage with "Tailor of Panama," is made entirely plausible due to the nuanced performance of the incomparable Alec Guinness, whose portrayal of Wormold, the seller of "Atomic Pile Vacuums" in a seedy pre-Castro Havana, ranges between bemused ineptitude and faux confidence and sophistication as he improvises on the tradecraft of espionage, a profession that has been thrust upon him. Much of the humor, in fact derives from his bumbling efforts to recruit agents. The felicitous combination of Greene and Reed ensures that the humor gradually assumes ominous overtones as Wormold's deception is quickly swallowed whole by one side of the espionage game and slowly detected and regurgitated by the other. Given the fact that the film was made before the Cuban Missile Crisis, the drawings of "secret installations" in the heart of Cuba provides the viewer with a chilling verisimilitude in hindsight.

Burl Ives, who was noted primarily for folk-singing, turns in a more-than-competent performance as Wormold's enigmatic friend, a down-and-out doctor and German First-World-War veteran, whose part in the affair is never completely explained. Although Ernie Kovacs' performance of the dastardly chief of police, Captain Segura, borders on caricature, one cannot imagine anyone else playing the character in any other manner.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Alec Guinness in usual good form, but doesn't have the classic quality...
Alec Guinness in usual good form, but doesn't have the classic quality of all his other movies. A bit disappointing, unfortunately.
Published 7 days ago by SNMD
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 14 days ago by Jorn Haugaard
4.0 out of 5 stars Twisted Ending is Enjoyable.
Enjoyed this film which had a good twist to it. May seem dated but is of it's genre and worth watching.
Published 1 month ago by carole christensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very enjoyable - a classic from every point of view.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Anne Morton
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably witty interaction by some of the best actors of that era...
go to make this an outstanding film. It doesn't seem dated as many films of that time tend to be. Having read the book I was not disappointed with this adaptation. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Comrade X
5.0 out of 5 stars our man in havana
I like Alec Guinness in comedies as well as being in straight films he is a great actor and he is great to watch
Published 3 months ago by sheila anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Very amusing.
I like this this film with Alec Guiness playing the role of Mr. Wormold, directed by Carol Reed. And the screenplay by Graham Greene, based on his own novel. Read more
Published 6 months ago by erealini
5.0 out of 5 stars Spy story with a twist
Alec Guiness's urbane performance in an unlikely spy story with a twist. The film may be set in a bygone Cuba of the late 1950's, but the theme is as alive as ever.
Published 7 months ago by Mark Le Sueur
3.0 out of 5 stars A Classic film.
I was disappointed - the sound track leaves much to be desired and I also found it a bit murky visually. It is still a delicious idea and, of course, wonderfully acted.
Published 8 months ago by duane33
5.0 out of 5 stars Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness is for me a great English actor who acted a lot of different parts in his movies. What a pity, I didn't see him in theatre....
Published 9 months ago by paris
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