Cuba (film)

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Cuba
Cuba film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Lester
Produced by Arlene Sellers
Alex Winitsky
Written by Charles Wood
Starring Sean Connery
Brooke Adams
Chris Sarandon
Hector Elizondo
Jack Weston
Denholm Elliot
Music by Patrick Williams
Cinematography David Watkin
Edited by John Victor-Smith
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • December 21, 1979 (1979-12-21)
Running time 122 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Cuba is a 1979 film directed by Richard Lester and starring Sean Connery, portraying the build-up to the 1958 Cuban Revolution.

Connery is as a British mercenary who travels to Cuba, which is on the brink of revolution with the authority of dictator Fulgencio Batista steadily collapsing. Connery encounters a former lover there (Brooke Adams), who is neglected by her Cuban husband (Chris Sarandon). The film ends with Havana falling to Fidel Castro's revolutionaries as most of Connery's employers flee the island aboard one of the last flights out.

The same historical events were featured five years earlier in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather Part II and would be covered again by Sidney Pollack in his 1990 film Havana, starring Robert Redford. Lester's film was perhaps the most stylish of the three, aided by its stirring Spanish locations, "with a marvelous sense of atmosphere."[1]

Plot[edit]

The film's sense of historical accuracy is marred by the opening scene which shows an airliner landing in Havana with the wrong date "1959" superimposed on the screen. It should read "1958", the last year of the revolution. Cuban President Batista fled the capital when Fidel Castro and his guerrillas entered Havana on New Year's Day 1959.

Former British Major Robert Dapes (Sean Connery) arrives in Cuba under General Bello's (Martin Balsam) orders to train the Cuban army to resist Fidel Castro's revolt. Before he even begins his task, he encounters an old flame, Alexandra Lopez de Pulido (Brooke Adams), whom he repeatedly pursues. The plot winds around the tremendous wealth of the Cuban leaders, the mainly American tourists with their seemingly endless money, the poverty-stricken and ex-urban slums where many Cubans live, and the rum and cigar factory owned by Alexandra's husband and managed by Alexandra.

When Alexandra's husband takes her out and expects her to drink with a potential (factory) investor and his prostitute, she leaves the restaurant and encounters Robert. Furious with her husband, she spends time with Robert, reminiscing about their affair in North Africa (when she was 15 and he was 30). They go to a motel and make love. It is clear that they care for each other. But he will not stay in Cuba. Will she leave with him?

The following day the Cuban workers strike, including those in Alex's factory. Alex watches events pass by, believing life will soon return to normal. Robert begs her to leave, either to be with him or simply to escape Cuba. She refuses.

In the final scene of the film, Robert, not seeing Alex at the airport, boards the plane to escape. Meanwhile, Alex is present, outside the fence, weeping as she watches Robert board the plane. Robert and most of the other American, British, and wealthy Cubans flee from Cuba as Fidel comes to power while Alex remains behind, alone, to face an unknown future under the new communist government.

This movie weaves many subplots around these events, as various Cubans, Brits, and Americans try to capitalize on the revolution. What is stunning about this movie, is that it unwinds like a James Bond movie but "inside out." Robert is the cool, competent, knowledgeable spy: inserted into circumstances and events that imposes on him an almost complete passivity: he is present in Cuba to engineer Fidel's defeat; and he knows that Fidel will win. And instead of powerfully sweeping his gorgeous counterpart off her feet, she's always one step ahead of him, and he must let her go.

Cast[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pfeiffer, Lee and Phillip Lisa (2001). The Films of Sean Connery. New York: Kensington Publishing Co. ISBN 0-8065-2223-2. p. 185.

External links[edit]