Alec Guinness gives yet another great performance in this cinematic adaptation of a Graham Greene novel that provides laughs, tension, and a look at the contorted positions many people will get themselves into rather than allow themselves to be majorly embarrassed. Another classic from director Carol Reed.
Admittedly, it indeed has a great cast and superb cinematography (which seems to dazzle most reviewers), BUT it is one of the most slow, tedious, cynical films you might ever watch about one very unlikeable man's spineless and selfish opportunism. Not tense, not funny, not mysterious. -perhaps it just failed the test of time? If you're after a film with a similar plot, try Boorman's "The Tailor of Panama" (2001).
Greene and Reed team up again after the glorious "The Third Man". But for all its sinister camera angles and wry dialogue, this later effort lacks the spark of that impish Mr. Welles lurking in the shadows. Without Harry Lime's counting the costs of people-as-ants, the buffoonery and cheapness of a second-rate spy's adventures meander...to a merely droll conclusion.
An underrated Carol Reed film full of political intrigue, a comedic attitude, and a wonderfully understated performance by Guinness. Though not the perfect film as The Third Man is, this mixed bag of genres has nice nighttime cinematography & Burl Ives' existential doctor to help things out.
It's true that this isn't the most energetic of films, but perhaps this is a parallel to it being filmed on location in Havana? I find the lack of pace refreshing when films are constantly blurring through their own stories these days... The man and woman staring at each other and eating an apple at the start is a good example. Why does it take so long? We don't know, but we're glad it did. Funny too...
Saw this again yesterday. It was funnier than I had remembered. Still not great, but very dry humor. Despite the fact that it was shot on location in Cuba and the presence of Burl Ives & Ernie Kovacs in the (wonderful) cast, there was zero cigar smoking! I'm also embarrassed that I lost a bet by mistaking Noel Coward for Michael Hordern! Will I ever live it down!?
Tongue-in-cheek British espionage thriller is somewhat disappointing considering it's written by Graham Green and directed by Carol Reed. The convoluted plot is smart and amusing, there are strong performances from an all-star cast, and Reed makes excellent use of his widescreen frame with excellent cinematography by Oswald Morris but the film lacks an overall energy that keeps it from being the classic it should be.