Search - Our Man in Havana on DVD

Our Man in Havana
Our Man in Havana
Actors: Alec Guinness, Maureen O'Hara, Burl Ives, Ernie Kovacs, Noel Coward
Director: Carol Reed
Genres: Comedy, Cult Movies
UR     2009     1hr 51min

A vacuum cleaner salesman (Alec Guinness) is recruited by the British secret service to act as a spy in Havana. When Guinness sends off phony reports, "recruits" mysterious agents and "discovers" mysterious installations, ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Alec Guinness, Maureen O'Hara, Burl Ives, Ernie Kovacs, Noel Coward
Director: Carol Reed
Creator: Graham Greene
Genres: Comedy, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Classic Comedies, Cult Movies
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Black and White,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/03/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/1959
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1959
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 51min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Vacuum cleaners, Cuba and death: Another great movie from di
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 01/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Our Man in Havana is an excellent, sly black comedy with a screenplay by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed. James Wormold (Alec Guinness) is a vacuum cleaner salesman in Havana. He's getting by but needs more money to take care of his teen-aged daughter. He's recruited as a spy for Britain by Noel Coward. He doesn't really know what's wanted, but he can use the money. Since he doesn't know anything of value, he begins making up stories and inventing plans, and mentioning the names of people supposedly involved. The names, of course, are just names he picked at random. His masterpiece is his "discovery" of a giant military complex, the plans of which he gets to his controller (Coward), who sends them on to London. The plans are actually the diagrams of one of his vacuum cleaners. This first part of the movie is a funny, sharp-edged parody of British pomposity and the thick headedness of "intelligence."

But then people begin to die.

It seems there may be more than British spies in Havana, spies who also believe the plans are genuine, and who are a lot more ruthless than the British. The second half of the film is darker, less funny and much more sardonic.

The cast is a strange grouping of disparate acting styles, but somehow they all work very well together. In addition to Guinness and Coward, there is Burl Ives, Ernie Kovacs, Maureen O'Hara and Ralph Richardson. Coward is priceless as a mannered, fatuous, obliviously incompetent spy. Kovacs for once is less Kovacs and more the part. He plays the Cuban police's main man in catching spies. He's amusing, and so are his lines. Among them, "There are two classes of people: those who can be tortured and those who can't." He and Guinness share a great scene where Guinness, who has to get away from Kovacs, challenges him to a checkers match with the pieces being miniature liquor bottles. Each time a piece is taken, the victor has to drink it. Guinness manages to lose regularly. Kovacs preens on his victories and only gradually, and increasingly incoherently, begins to suspect.

For Reed, who directed The Third Man, Odd Man Out, The Fallen Idol and other classic films, this is, in my opinion, the last of his first-rate movies. For years it has needed a Region 1 DVD release. There is a fine Region 2 DVD which I have. I'll add to this review if there are any significant differences or extras."
The Ultimate Secret Agent
Richard P. Byrne | Los Angeles, CA | 01/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A simply wonderful adaptation by Graham Greene of his book about how an unwitting British expatriate who is having difficulty supporting his daughter's expensive habits as a vacuum cleaner salesman in Havana is recruited to become a secret agent for the British government. The movie is intelligent, witty, and timely with great casting and excellent performances. While billed as a tongue-in-cheek comedy, it may not be too far from the truth in shedding light on how governments recruit their spies, obtain secret information, and cover their tracks. The film is excellent - and the book is, too."
Why is this great film being denied re-issue in the US?
Joel Marcus Johnson | Easton, MD United States | 07/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is scandalous that this fine film has been withheld from DVD and VHS, Region 1 release in the United States. What possibly could be the problem? It couldn't be because of the director, the same Carol Reed of The Third Man, The Fallen Idol, A Kid for Two Farthings, Oliver, and scores of other fine films. It couldn't be because of the superb cast of Alec Guinness, Maureen O'Hara, Burl Ives, Ernie Kovacs, Ralph Richardson, and Noel Coward. It certainly would not be because of the same infallible textures by photographer Oswald Morris which brought oohs and aahs for Kubrick's 1962 Lolita and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. Surely there could be no argument that novelist Graham Greene's screenplay could be any less entertaining than his book. Given such a superb company, and the undeniable fact that this is an eye-popping, first-rate production, one wonders for the reason of its exile."
Finally on DVD in US
pwmeek | MI, USA | 02/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"At last this great Alec Guiness classic is available. Most of his good comedies came out in a multi-pack years ago, but this was inexplicably missing."