Free «"The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" and "Our Man in Havana"» Essay Sample

Our Man in Havana is a British-produced film set in Cuba based on a novel by Graham Greene which was published in 1958. The black story set in Havana ridicules the M16 modes of operation when collecting intelligence with James Wormold as the protagonist. James, a vacuum cleaner retailer, approaches to become a British secret serviceman. He is burdened with the costs of caring for his daughter and his failing business, hence chooses to accept the job to supplement his income. Having divorced his wife, Wormold lived with his materialistic and extravagant daughter Milly, a 16-year-old devout Catholic. Wormold has little information to send to his employers in London; therefore, he begins to fake reports from newspapers and invents a fictitious network of agents (Reed). He does not tell his daughter about his spy missions, however, confided in his friend Dr. Hasselbacher. In due time, James decides to make his reports more exciting and creates an impression that there are military installations in some mountains. After this report, the London British Secret service office sends him a secretary and a radio controller with a host of spy equipment. Hawthorne, the person who recruited him, has his reservations about James’s reports but decides against raising his doubts or fear of losing his job.

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On arrival, the secretary informs James that she has orders to take over his contacts, so immediately Wormold is forced to develop an elaborate plan for a fictitious agent, a pilot named Pilot Raul. From this point, James’s lies coincidentally overlap with reality. A real person named Raul is killed in a car accident, and James and the secretary Severn focus their efforts on saving real people who share names with Wormold’s fictional characters. Severn does not realize that they are trailing fictional agents (Reed).

The British intelligence service passes information that Wormold ‘s life is in danger and becomes aware of possible poisoning at a dinner. After alerting Wormold Dr. Hasselbacher is killed in the club bar by Carter, a vacuum sales representative who had earlier tried to poison Wormold. Soon after James and Segura, a high-ranking military officer, meet for a game of draughts and Segura is eventually carried away by alcohol, James steals his pistol and makes a copy of a spy name list to redeem his job. He fails to kill Carter, and the copy of spy list is destroyed. Wormold ends up at a teaching post and agrees to marry Beatrice posted to Jakarta after the Havana mission (Reed).

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is an interesting 1963 Cold War spy film based on a novel authored by John le Carre. The film narrates the story of a British agent sent to East Germany to give disinformation about East German intelligence officers. Together with his English girlfriend Alec Laemas embarks on a dangerous journey. Leamas is suddenly demoted to the banking section at work. He seems to fall deeper and deeper into depression and alcohol creating the perfect picture of a defector, and soon East Germany spies begin to entice him with money in exchange for information (Ritt). Peters interviews him in a house on the coast of Netherlands, and the process is later moved to a country villa in East Germany. The information that Leamas gives to the interrogators is spotty while implicating top East German intelligence.

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After some time, Leamas seems to have lost the mission when he confesses to being a British intelligence. However, after this charade Mundit releases him from his cell with an escape plan indicating that his mission had been a success. Leamas journalist girlfriend accuses him of participating in the murder of an innocent man fielder whom he accused. Leamas gets very agitated by these allegations and tells her that she lives an insulated life. As they cross the Berlin Wall, Perry is shot dead by an East Germany double agent and Leamas goes back to assist her lifeless body and gets killed as well (Ritt).

The two novels have certain similarities and contrasting differences between the plot, characters, theme, and presentation. The main characters in both novels are spies. While James is not trained and does not seem to conduct his Job correctly, Leamas is a qualified agent who manages to skillfully accomplish his mission without jeopardizing his life. Wormold is naive and unsure of what he is supposed to be doing, and instead embarks on fabricating stories and creating fictitious contacts in order to continue receiving payments from the secret service organization. The main distinctive trait between the two protagonists lies in their actions. While Wormold lies to keep his Job and pay, Leamas is forced to admit that he is a spy to push his mission through. Nevertheless, the two protagonists have some similarities. One is that both have something of great value to them that they would not like to lose. When Perry is shot at the wall Leamas despite understanding the dangers of climbing back to her decides to give her help and meets his death doing so (Ritt). On the other hand, Wormold is forced to take up the espionage to finance his daughter’s comfortable life. James does everything possible to make his daughter comfortable.

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The interactions between the protagonists and females in the novels indicate certain standards of respect, care and love for women. Wormold ends up agreeing to marry Severn, a secretary sent to him from London; the relationship between Severn and James seems to develop shortly after the mission in Havana was called off because of fabricated intelligence. Wormold loves and cares for his daughter to the point that he did not consider the contents of Hawthorne’s job offer, instead he finds it as a solution to his financial troubles. Leamas is also a caring man to his girlfriend Perry. Shortly before living East Germany towards the Berlin Wall Leamas and Perry exchange harsh words in the car concerning fielder, an intelligent officer killed as a result of Leamas’ accusations. However, when Perry is shot, Leamas does not hesitate to risk his life for her even when they both do not make it (Ritt).

Severn, James’s secretary and Perry, Leamas girlfriends, have several similarities and difference in the novels. They both play critical roles in building the different protagonists and the story. For Perry, she is the voice of justice to all. She openly disagrees with her boyfriend over fielder, an agent she hardly knew. She also compliments Leamas in the story and plays a significant role in furthering the plot of the novel. On the other hand, Severn together with Perry also compliment the protagonist’s role advancing the plot.

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Leamas cleverly accomplishes his mission even when risking his life by divulging that he is a British service agent. Leamas reveals this information to disarm his opponent and gives them the sense of being in control that would then slacken their alertness. On the contrary, Leamas commits a stupid mistake going back to the lifeless body of her girlfriend (Ritt). Cosequently, it was a stupid decision that cost him life. Wormold, on his side, seems to make stupid decisions from the word go. Lying to the British secret service about the existent agents makes him a target for both the British service and their opponents. In the end, however, Wormold makes the right decision to tell Severn the truth.

In conclusion the characters in both movies have distinct characteristics; nonetheless, they also share considerable similarities due to the almost similar plot, settings, and themes.