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OUR MAN IN HAVANA
1959, Sony Repertory, 111 min, UK, Dir: Carol Reed

Directed by Carol Reed (THE THIRD MAN) and adapted from Graham Greene's novel, this amusingly droll soufflé of a film received only lukewarm reviews upon its initial release, but is more impressive with each passing year. Alec Guinness is single father Jim Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman in pre-Castro Cuba trying to bring up his teenage daughter. When asked by fellow Englishman Hawthorne (Noel Coward) to spy for his country, the strapped-for-money Jim accepts, but proves inept at recruiting contacts. On the advice of a friend (Burl Ives), he comes up with a list of made-up characters - and before he knows it, pleased UK bosses send him a secretary (Maureen O’Hara), and rival Soviet agents begin trying to eliminate him. A great, knowing satire about the unreliability of intelligence-gathering, something more prescient today than ever. With the great Ernie Kovacs as the smoothly sinister captain of police.


THE THIRD MAN
1949, Rialto Pictures, 93 min, UK, Dir: Carol Reed

Director Carol Reed was nominated for a Best Director Oscar and Robert Krasker won for Best Cinematography for this superlative thriller about post-WWII criminal intrigue in still-ravaged, bureaucratically compromised Vienna. Orson Welles excels in perhaps his most famous role as homicidal rogue Harry Lime. In fact, Lime is so charming that his estranged paramour (Alida Valli) remains loyal to him and his old best friend (Joseph Cotten) cannot bring himself to believe the awful truth. With a story and screenplay by Graham Greene (who later adapted it into a novel).


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