September 12, 2005

Cuba at the Movies: Sean Connery in “Cuba” (1979)

As far as I know, Sean Connery never went to Cuba as James Bond, but in the film “Cuba” directed by Richard Lester, it often feels like he wished he were somewhere else.

Connery plays a British soldier of fortune that comes to aid Cuba’s dictatorship from the advancing rebels, but the story is weak and uninspired, and we never feel close enough to any of the principals to understand them or care what happens.

Chris Sarandon’s character, the unnecessarily selfish and unlikable rich-boy-son Juan, seems to be here only to make the romance between his wife (Brooke Adams) and Connery appear plausible. His Cuban-playboy persona is all left-wing stereotypes in broad strokes.

Brooke Adams is the heart and soul of the film; at least what there is of it. At least she seems to respect those in service to her.

The story makes a crucial historical error when the words “Havana, 1959” flash on the screen near the beginning. If we’re to take the story seriously, then it should be late 1958. Another obvious mistake is Castro arriving at the Havana Airport on New Year’s Day, 1959.

The soundtrack is downright awful, which seems impossible when you consider how alive Cuban music has been since the 1930s. There’s some nice drumming here and there, but that Cuban musical urgency is nowhere to be found.

Lonette KcKee is striking in a small role as the Cuban factory worker having an affair with Juan, even though she was just as stereotyped as all the others. But it’s a small role that can’t save a film with bad music, where the male lead would rather be in a Bond movie, and the history of the island seems to have been unintentionally shaken and then stirred.

“I consider the time spent away from Cuba as time lost,” says Adams to Connery in the movie’s best line. As much as I liked the idea of a film like this, and as much as the background politics seemed close to real life, watching it also seemed like time lost.



Anonymous GADITANO said...

Like James Bond, Sean Connery was also in Cuba, although it would be more correct to say that they were in Spain. Die Another Day was recorded in Cadiz, historic city in southern Spain, to which Cuba owes its look due to the relationship between the two cities during the centuries of Spanish occupation. "Cuba" Sean Connery is also recorded in this city, as well as other Jerez de la Frontera and Motril.

8:53 AM, August 18, 2011  

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