THE FALLEN SPARROW
1943, Warner Bros., 94 min, USA, Dir: Richard Wallace

Scripted by Warren Duff, from the novel by Dorothy B. Hughes. This convoluted but compelling story, told in creepy Val Lewton style, stars John Garfield as a Spanish Civil War veteran being driven crazy by stateside fascists. Is porcelain-gorgeous Maureen O’Hara his only ally … or his enemy? Stunning photography by RKO’s in-house noir master, Nicholas Musuraca. With Walter Slezak, Patricia Morison and Martha O’Driscoll.


OUR MAN IN HAVANA
1959, Sony Repertory, 111 min, UK, Dir: Carol Reed

Directed by Carol Reed (THE THIRD MAN) and adapted from Graham Greene's novel, this amusingly droll soufflé of a film received only lukewarm reviews upon its initial release, but is more impressive with each passing year. Alec Guinness is single father Jim Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman in pre-Castro Cuba trying to bring up his teenage daughter. When asked by fellow Englishman Hawthorne (Noel Coward) to spy for his country, the strapped-for-money Jim accepts, but proves inept at recruiting contacts. On the advice of a friend (Burl Ives), he comes up with a list of made-up characters - and before he knows it, pleased UK bosses send him a secretary (Maureen O’Hara), and rival Soviet agents begin trying to eliminate him. A great, knowing satire about the unreliability of intelligence-gathering, something more prescient today than ever. With the great Ernie Kovacs as the smoothly sinister captain of police.


RIO GRANDE
1950, Paramount, 105 min, USA, Dir: John Ford

John Wayne stars as an officer defending settlers against Apaches on the Texas border when his estranged son shows up as a new Army recruit - followed by the boy’s mother (Maureen O’Hara), who wants her son back. The last of director John Ford’s “cavalry trilogy,” RIO GRANDE was the first of five pairings between Wayne and O’Hara (as well as the film debut of Wayne’s son Patrick). Costarring Ben Johnson and Victor McLaglen.


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