Shortly before the fall of Batista, an English vacuum-cleaner salesman (Alec Guinness) in Havana is recruited as a spy, but can’t resist the temptation to sex up his intelligence reports. Shot in Cuba right after Castro’s revolution, this story warns of the dangers for organizations like MI6 in relying too much on local talents of varying quality, and Guinness adds a lot of dry humor to his amateur spook. Never as exciting or funny as one would like, it is nevertheless an amusing tale. Whenever Carol Reed fails to lift it out of the ordinary, the look and feel of 1950s Havana makes up for it.
1960-Britain. 107 min. B/W. Widescreen. Produced and directed by Carol Reed. Screenplay, Novel: Graham Greene. Cast: Alec Guinness (Jim Wormold), Burl Ives (Hasselbacher), Maureen O’Hara (Beatrice Severn), Ernie Kovacs, Noël Coward, Ralph Richardson.
Trivia: Alfred Hitchcock allegedly considered directing the film.