August 14, 2010

Quotes from Our Man in Havana

Our Man in HavanaOur Man In Havana (1958) is a novel by British author Graham Greene. Certain aspects of the plot, in particular the importance of secret military constructions, appear to predict the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

It was adapted into a film of the same name in 1959, directed by Carol Reed and starring Alec Guinness.

Plot summary

The novel is set in Cuba during the regime of Fulgencio Batista (which was to be overthrown by Castro). James Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman, meets Hawthorne, who offers him work for the British secret service. Wormold's wife has left him for another man and he lives with his teenage daughter, Milly. Since Wormold does not make enough money to grant all his daughter's wishes, he decides to take the offer. For lack of any real information to send the secret service, Wormold begins to deceive them by claiming that he has a network of agents. He carries his reports to extremes by sending his clients in London sketches of parts of a vacuum cleaner, telling them that these are sketches of a secret military installation. In London nobody except Hawthorne, who alone knows that Wormold sells vacuum cleaners, doubts this report. Nevertheless Hawthorne does not tell his boss about his doubts for fear of losing his job.
The quotes:DR. HASSELBACHER:  Medicine is my experience, Mr Wormold. Have you never read the advertisement for secret remedies? A hair tonic confided by the dying Chief of a Red Indian tribe. With a secret remedy you don't have to print the formula. And there is something about a secret which makes people believe ... perhaps a relic of magic.And:HAWTHORNE to his superior:  Those are the East Indies sir, the West Indies are over here."Comment:  These things happen. Christopher Columbus made the same mistake.

Rob's rating for the movie:  7.0 of 10.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

Which is why using the term East Indian for "India Indians" is not a good idea.