Our Man in Havana (Great Britain, 1960):

Carol Reed and Graham Greene, wanly trying to mold Havana "before the recent revolution" into Vienna circa 1947. The titular bloke is Alec Guinness, a transplanted vacuum cleaner merchant saddled with an expensive teen daughter (Jo Morrow, right out of the blah ingénue bin) and a sudden second career as a secret agent. Recruited by mascaraed government official Noel Coward, Guinness fulfills his I-spy duties by filing in embroidered reports to his London superiors, until comely secretary Maureen O'Hara is sent over, along with enemy agents who take his doodling dead seriously. The plot outline may hint at The Third Man, but the tone is dry-ice lampoon, trying to encompass Coward's sangfroid and Ernie Kovacs' oiliness under a very stiff upper lip. As usual in Reed-Greene tag-teaming, the writer is the brawnier auteur, and the movie abounds in watered-down Greenerisms -- a potential murderer uncloaked by a stutter, surreptitious pathos via Burl Ives' fallen German officer, a checker showdown played with shots of whiskey and bourbon. Pallid both as satire and thriller, the film was nevertheless the last instance when Reed tilted-angled himself out of his customary mealy neutrality to craft something close to a personal view (even if, again, as a servile illustrator of Greene's conceptions of greed and corruption). After that, only the rubbery fussiness of The Agony and the Ecstasy and Oliver! CinemaScope cinematography by Oswald Morris. Also with Ralph Richardson, Grégoire Aslan, and Paul Rogers. In black and white.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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