Our Man in Havana

21 Feb

Great article on Graham Greene’s portrait of Havana, coincidental to Errol’s time and adventures there in the late 50’s.

Did Flynn know Graham Greene? Anyone know? (PW? This is America calling) … I imagine so, being that Greene was such a very respected and successful British writer, and avid traveller, who, I believe, spent significant time in Jamaica as well as Cuba during Errol’s years on both islands. Plus, he, like Our Man Flynn, was a noted supporter of early Fidel.…

Graham Greene’s Havana, cocaine and Obama’s “new chapter”

— Tim


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  1. shangheinz

    February 21, 2017 at 10:05 am


    All I know is that the red swashbucklerette, Mrs. Maureen O`Hara, deeply regretted to not have met Errol a last time in Cuba while filming “Our man in Havanna”.

    • Gentleman Tim

      February 21, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Gracias, hispaniheinz. Castro really was a fashionplate, was he not? The history and making of this film is quite intriguing in so many ways, from its “Garbo” historical roots, to its mockery of MI6, to its extraordinary timing.…

      “Graham Greene’s novel Our Man in Havana was published on October 6, 1958. Seven days later Greene arrived in Havana with Carol Reed to arrange for the filming of the script of the novel, on which they had both been working. Meanwhile, after his defeat of the summer offensive mounted by the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista, in the mountains of eastern Cuba, just south of Bayamo, Fidel Castro had recently taken the military initiative: the day after Greene and Reed’s arrival on the island, Che Guevara reached Las Villas, moving westwards towards Havana. Six weeks later, on January 1, 1959, after Batista had fled the island, Castro and his Cuban Revolution took power. In April 1959 Greene and Reed were back in Havana with a film crew to film Our Man in Havana. The film was released in January 1960. A note at the beginning of the film says that it is “set before the recent revolution.” In terms of timing, Our Man in Havana could therefore hardly be more closely associated with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.”

      From Graham Greene’s 1980 autobiography:

      “Alas, the book did me little good with the new rulers in Havana. In poking fun at the British Secret Service, I had minimized the terror of Batista’s rule. I had not wanted too black a background for a light-hearted comedy, but those who suffered during the years of dictatorship could hardly be expected to appreciate that my real subject was the absurdity of the British agent and not the justice of a revolution.”

      Looks like G.G. fell for both Phidel and for Philby …


  2. PW

    February 21, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    London receiving! Errol knew the English writer and poet Robert Graves, whom he met in Majorca, where the latter is buried. Rather amusingly, Graves’s father, Alfred, a school inspector and Irish scholar, was the author of the popular song,”Father O’Flynn”, which Graves taught Errol. I know this because Grave’s then mistress, Honor, was my father’s cousin. Will get back to you about Greene.

    • Gentleman Tim

      February 21, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      Holy Habana, you are a marvel, PW – from Errol to Graves.…