Havana (1990)

R | 145 mins | Drama, Romance, Adventure | 10 December 1990

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HISTORY

According to studio production notes in AMPAS library files, the U.S. government would not allow director Sidney Pollack to film Havana in Cuba. After considering San Juan, Puerto Rico, and cities in Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, and Spain, Pollack settled on Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republican, which “offered certain architectural similarities” to Havana. Over a period of twenty weeks, a huge exterior set, consisting of a quarter-mile street surrounded by facades of casinos, hotels, and restaurants, was constructed on a Dominican Air Force base. Most interior sets were created in Santo Domingo warehouses. The 23-30 Jan 1991 Time Out of London, England, estimated that the exterior set of “mini-Havana” alone cost $3-4 million of the film’s overall $30 million budget.
       Actor Raul Julia decided not to be listed in credits because “above-the-title credit” had already been taken by Robert Redford and Lena Olin, and Julia would accept nothing less, his agent told the 16 Dec 1990 LAT.
       As early as 1975, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck were writing a screenplay for Havana, which Richard Roth planned to coproduce with Motown chairman Berry Gordy, according to the 12 Mar 1975 Var. Sidney Pollack replaced Gordy soon after, the 11 Jun 1975 DV noted. Roth told the 30 Nov 1978 LAT that he was looking for either Jane Fonda or Faye Dunaway to star, though neither actress appeared in the final film. Roth later complained to the 25 Sep 1989 DV that, despite being attached to the project since 1974, when it was called The New Orleans Story, he was fired ... More Less

According to studio production notes in AMPAS library files, the U.S. government would not allow director Sidney Pollack to film Havana in Cuba. After considering San Juan, Puerto Rico, and cities in Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, and Spain, Pollack settled on Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republican, which “offered certain architectural similarities” to Havana. Over a period of twenty weeks, a huge exterior set, consisting of a quarter-mile street surrounded by facades of casinos, hotels, and restaurants, was constructed on a Dominican Air Force base. Most interior sets were created in Santo Domingo warehouses. The 23-30 Jan 1991 Time Out of London, England, estimated that the exterior set of “mini-Havana” alone cost $3-4 million of the film’s overall $30 million budget.
       Actor Raul Julia decided not to be listed in credits because “above-the-title credit” had already been taken by Robert Redford and Lena Olin, and Julia would accept nothing less, his agent told the 16 Dec 1990 LAT.
       As early as 1975, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck were writing a screenplay for Havana, which Richard Roth planned to coproduce with Motown chairman Berry Gordy, according to the 12 Mar 1975 Var. Sidney Pollack replaced Gordy soon after, the 11 Jun 1975 DV noted. Roth told the 30 Nov 1978 LAT that he was looking for either Jane Fonda or Faye Dunaway to star, though neither actress appeared in the final film. Roth later complained to the 25 Sep 1989 DV that, despite being attached to the project since 1974, when it was called The New Orleans Story, he was fired in early 1989 by Pollock. Roth claimed that he originally suggested the title and location be changed to Havana, Cuba. Roth sued Pollock’s Mirage Entertainment for $3 million. He was eventually reinstated in credits as producer.
       Havana was set to premiere 10 Dec 1990 at New York City’s Ziegfeld Theater, the 7 Dec 1990 DV noted. The film performed poorly at the box office. According to the Feb 1991 Box, the “dull romance” made “only $4.8 million” during its first two weeks.
       The 18 Aug 1991 LAT reported that Havana was playing at a movie theater in Havana, Cuba.
       A title card near the end of the film identifies “Key West, 1963.” End credits contain the following acknowledgment: “Special thanks Center for Cuban Studies, Sandra Levinson, Director.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Feb 1991.
---
Daily Variety
11 Jun 1975.
---
Daily Variety
22 Mar 1989
p. 2
Daily Variety
25 Sep 1989
p. 8
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1990
p. 28
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 1990
p. 10, 29
Long Beach (CA) Press-Telegram
3 Jun 1989
Section C, p. 4
Los Angeles Times
30 Nov 1978
Section H, p. 23
Los Angeles Times
12 Dec 1990
Section F, p. 1
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1990
Calendar, p. 37
Los Angeles Times
18 Aug 1991
Section C, p. 6
New York Times
12 Dec 1990
p. 15
Time Out (London)
23-30 Jan 1991
p. 20, 21
Vanity Fair
Dec 1990
p. 114
Variety
12 Mar 1975
p. 5
Variety
10 Dec 1990
p. 83
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Universal Pictures Presents
A Mirage Production
A Sidney Pollack Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
3rd asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
2d unit dir of photog
Chief lighting tech
Best boy
Rigging gaffer
Rigging best boy
Key grip
Best boy grip
Rigging key grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Cranes and dollys by
Rigging gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Draftsman
Draftsman
Illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Asst set dec
Standby painter
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const buyer
Asst const mgr
Supv carpenter
Supv rigger
Supv stagehand
Supv plasterer
Supv painter
Scenic artist
Lead person
Local contact
Drapery man
Store man
[Const] elec
[Const] elec
[Const] eng
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Wood machinist
Rigger
Rigger
Rigger
Rigger
Rigger
Rigger
Rigger
Stagehand
Plasterer
Plasterer
Plasterer
Plasterer
Plasterer
Plasterer
Plasterer
Plasterer
Painter
Painter
Painter
Painter
Sign painter
Scenic artist
Modeler
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men`s ward
Men`s ward
Men`s ward
Women's ward
Women's ward
Women's ward
Women's ward
Asst to cost des
Cost sketch artist
MUSIC
Mus ed consultant
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Mus clearance
Mus scoring mixer
Mus scoring mixer
Mus consultant
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd eng
Supv sd ed
Supv ADR ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Asst sd ed
Cableman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Asst spec eff
Title des by
Titles and Opticals
DANCE
MAKEUP
Supv makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Supv hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod accountant
Prod supv
Transportation coord
Continuity supv
Loc mgr
Craftserviceman
Asst prod accountant
Asst accountant
Prod office coord
Prod secy
Prod secy
Unit pub
Projectionist
Asst to Mr. Pollack
Asst to Mr. Pollack
Asst to Mr. Schwary
Asst to Mr. Redford
Shipping coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Voice casting
Accounting asst
Casting asst
Caterer
Caterer
Caterer
Caterer
Caterer
Picture cars
COLOR PERSONNEL
Negative timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Round And Round," written by Lou Stallman & Joe Shapiro, performed by Perry Como, courtesy of RCA Records
"One Night," written by Dave Bartholomew & Pearl King, performed by Fats Domino, courtesy of EMI, a division of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"I Think Of You," written by Jack Elliott & Don Marcotte, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
+
SONGS
"Round And Round," written by Lou Stallman & Joe Shapiro, performed by Perry Como, courtesy of RCA Records
"One Night," written by Dave Bartholomew & Pearl King, performed by Fats Domino, courtesy of EMI, a division of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"I Think Of You," written by Jack Elliott & Don Marcotte, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"The Christmas Song," written by Mel Torme & Robert Wells
"La Gloria Eres Tu," written by Jose Antonio Mendez
"Grusero Salsero," written by George Hernandez
"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," written by Ralph Blane & Hugh Martin, performed by Doris Day, courtesy of CBS Records, Music Licensing Department
"Why Do Fools Fall In Love," written by Frankie Lymon & Morris Levy, performed by Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, courtesy of Rhino Records, Inc.
"Memories Are Made Of This," written by Terry Gilkyson, Frank Miller & Richard Dehr, performed by Dean Martin, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"Cuban's Nightmare," written by Tito Puente, performed by Tito Puente, courtesy of RCA Records
"Me Voy Pal Pueblo," written by Mercedes Valdes
"London By Night, written by Carroll Coates, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"Moonglow," written by Will Hudson, Eddie DeLange & Irving Mills
"Olvido," written by Miguel Matamoros
"Too Late Now," written by Alan Jay Lerner & Burton Lane
"Mambo, No. 5," written by Perez Prado
"Los Tamalitos De Olga," written by Jose Fajardo
"Beyond The Sea," written by Charles Trenet & Jack Lawrence, performed by Bobby Darin, courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Rum And Coca Cola," written by Morey Amsterdam, Paul Baron & Jeri Sullavan, performed by The Andrew [sic] Sisters, courtesy of MCA Records
"Damsela Encantadora," Ernesto Lecuona
"Ochun," written by Johnny Richards
"Let's Get Away From It All," written by Tom Adair & Matt Dennis, performed by Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"Mi Habana," written by George Hernandez
"Rico Vacillon," written by Rosendo Ruiz, Jr.
"Defiendeme Santa Barbara," written by Dagoberto Acosta, performed by Linda Leida, Javier Vasquez y Su Conjunto, courtesy of Cajman Records
"A Los Rumberos De Belen," written by Roberto Munez, performed by Grupo Sierra Maestra, courtesy of Egrem Records
"C.C. Rider," written by Chuck Willis.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 December 1990
Premiere Information:
New York City world premiere: 10 December 1990
Los Angeles opening: 12 December 1990
New York opening: week of 12 December 1990
Production Date:
began 22 November 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 January 1991
Copyright Number:
PA496401
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® at Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Camera & Lenses
Duration(in mins):
145
Length(in feet):
13,035
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30840
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1958, agents from Cuban President Fulgencio Batista’s Servicio de Inteligencia Militar (SIM) board an American ship moored in Havana. When they threaten to create problems because of an unregistered gun, professional gambler Jack Weil claims ownership and pays a bribe. Returning to the party, Jack extracts a payment from the gun’s Cuban owner, who would have been arrested if Jack had not intervened. Roberta “Bobby” Durand, a Swedish-born American citizen, offers Jack $600 to drive her automobile off the ship. Inside the car, Jack finds U.S. Army portable radios behind door panels, but nonetheless drives through customs to Havana’s Lido casino. He talks briefly with Cuban reporter Julio Ramos, who warns that the Communist revolution in the hinterlands is nearing Havana. Lido manager Joe Volpi welcomes the American back to Havana, and Jack suggests organizing a big poker game. While Joe is convinced that fear of revolution has dampened business, Jack disagrees, claiming that uncertainty excites gamblers. Jack meets Bobby to complete their transaction, and calls her a dilettante playing at being a revolutionary. Bobby responds that Jack is arrogant and knows nothing about Cuba beyond Havana. Jack goes to another casino and starts a poker game that draws several “high-rollers” and a large crowd, prompting Joe Volpi to agree to let Jack host a similar game at the Lido, financed by Joe’s boss, mobster Meyer Lansky. All his life Jack has wanted to play “the big game,” and now he has found the perfect time and city. Later, Jack discusses the revolution with Julio Ramos and a man named Marion Chigwell, a Gourmet ... +


In 1958, agents from Cuban President Fulgencio Batista’s Servicio de Inteligencia Militar (SIM) board an American ship moored in Havana. When they threaten to create problems because of an unregistered gun, professional gambler Jack Weil claims ownership and pays a bribe. Returning to the party, Jack extracts a payment from the gun’s Cuban owner, who would have been arrested if Jack had not intervened. Roberta “Bobby” Durand, a Swedish-born American citizen, offers Jack $600 to drive her automobile off the ship. Inside the car, Jack finds U.S. Army portable radios behind door panels, but nonetheless drives through customs to Havana’s Lido casino. He talks briefly with Cuban reporter Julio Ramos, who warns that the Communist revolution in the hinterlands is nearing Havana. Lido manager Joe Volpi welcomes the American back to Havana, and Jack suggests organizing a big poker game. While Joe is convinced that fear of revolution has dampened business, Jack disagrees, claiming that uncertainty excites gamblers. Jack meets Bobby to complete their transaction, and calls her a dilettante playing at being a revolutionary. Bobby responds that Jack is arrogant and knows nothing about Cuba beyond Havana. Jack goes to another casino and starts a poker game that draws several “high-rollers” and a large crowd, prompting Joe Volpi to agree to let Jack host a similar game at the Lido, financed by Joe’s boss, mobster Meyer Lansky. All his life Jack has wanted to play “the big game,” and now he has found the perfect time and city. Later, Jack discusses the revolution with Julio Ramos and a man named Marion Chigwell, a Gourmet magazine food writer. Jack and Julio join two female American tourists and take them to dinner at a restaurant. Julio is shocked to see that Arturo Durand, a wealthy Cuban revolutionary wanted by SIM, is there. Jack is surprised to see Arturo accompanied by Bobby Durand. The couple approach Jack, and Arturo thanks him for helping his wife, then furtively returns the money she paid him by slipping it into her purse. Arturo recognizes that Jack is unaware of Cuba’s inequity under the corrupt Batista regime, but hopes someday he will become an ally. Arturo and Bobby are called away to meet with members of the resistance, and after Julio passes out from drinking, Jack accompanies the two tourists to their hotel for a night of sex. In the early morning, SIM arrests local revolutionaries, including the Durands. Later, as Jack drinks coffee at a café, Julio shows him a newspaper announcing Arturo’s death. Meanwhile, Colonel Menocal, head of SIM, personally oversees an officer pushing Bobby’s head into a bucket of water to extract information. At one point, through a partly closed door, Bobby sees one of Arturo’s intimates, Bufano, speaking with the colonel and betraying his comrades. A corporal shows Bobby the battered body of a young female revolutionary, who Bobby praises, stating that she will confess nothing. Meanwhile, Joe Volpi sets up a card game with several players, including a Cuban lieutenant and Col. Menocal. As the game begins, Jack “innocently” asks the colonel if Mrs. Durand is still alive. The table goes quiet. Early the next morning, after Jack defeats Menocal in the final hand of the game, the colonel congratulates Jack and mentions that “Mrs. Durand is being questioned.” Although the lieutenant lost badly, Jack forgives the debt and gives the soldier airline tickets to Miami, Florida, along with $2,000, in exchange for Bobby’s release. Jack takes her to an apartment he keeps in Havana, and offers to fly her to America. Exhausted from their long night, Bobby and Jack go to sleep, but he later awakens to find her gone. Suddenly, Col. Menocal and a SIM agent burst through the door and search for Bobby. The colonel returns the airline tickets Jack gave the Cuban lieutenant and warns him against helping traitors. At a party at the Lido, Julio tells Jack he is flying to Miami because the SIM has shut down his newspaper. Chigwell becomes agitated after Jack tells him Bobby has been released. Afterward, Jack sees Chigwell berating Col. Menocal. In Joe Volpi’s office, as a radio announcer broadcasts fighting in the Cuban city of Santa Clara, Joe informs Jack that the rebels have “cut the island in half.” Meyer Lansky enters and tells Joe to order President Batista to destroy the rebels, or he will find someone else to do it. During a walk through the city with Jack, Joe laments that he is no longer an American citizen because of his involvement with organized crime, so he will stay in Cuba until the end, then perhaps start over with Lansky in another Caribbean country. The next day, Jack visits his aging gambling mentor, the “Professor,” talks about Bobby, and expresses his uncertainty about staying in Cuba. The Professor suggests he follow his heart and pursue a relationship with Bobby. Jack drives 200 miles south to Santa Clara and finds himself in a war zone. A village has been destroyed, and its inhabitants hanged and shot. Eventually, a boy leads Jack to Bobby. He pleads with her to leave Cuba, but she chides him for not believing in anything but his own comfort. After several rebels visit the house to privately confer with Bobby, Jack insists she cannot “live ideas,” but she claims she loves being part of something bigger than herself. Despite Jack’s cynicism, he confesses that Bobby has changed his world. They return to Havana and make love in Jack’s apartment. Afterward, Bobby notices a scar on his arm, and he explains that his mentor had a diamond sewed into his arm, so he would always have “a last chance,” and Jack did the same. When Jack returns to the Lido, Joe tells him the poker game is set for that evening. Jack meets with the captain of a small boat and pays him to have it ready to leave at midnight. Returning to his apartment, Jack is assaulted by two men, who tell him Arturo Durand wants Bobby out of Havana the next day. Jack informs Bobby that they will leave the island at midnight, but she cannot go home to pack. Returning to the Lido, Jack spots Chigwell at the busy casino and asks if Arturo is still alive. When Jack threatens to expose Chigwell as a member of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Chigwell reveals that Col. Menocal works for both SIM and the CIA. Jack drives to Col. Menocal’s estate, tells him Chigwell is offering him asylum in America, and demands to see Arturo Durand. Angry at Chigwell’s betrayal, the colonel explains that America pays him to keep Communists under control, and he resents the CIA wanting to spare one of them. His men take Jack to Arturo’s cell, and the revolutionary thanks Jack for seducing his wife, because his hatred for Jack kept him alive. Meanwhile, the card game begins at the Lido. After arranging for Menocal to take Arturo to the boat, Jack returns for Bobby. She is excited about her new life with Jack, but when he informs her that Arturo is alive and waiting for her, she slaps him, leaves his apartment, and returns home. Gunshots are heard outside the city, government officials are fleeing the country, and revelers celebrate the end of the Batista regime. Jack hurries to the Lido and tells Joe Volpi that Bobby has rejoined her husband. A crowd smashes through the doors and wrecks the casino, while others rush to the harbor, hoping to escape. The next morning, at a seaside restaurant, Chigwell tells Jack that the colonel left Cuba the previous night, and Chigwell himself is off to Indochina. Now that Bobby and Arturo no longer have to flee Cuba, she asks Jack where he plans to go. He says California, and she notices a bandage over the place on his arm where the diamond was embedded. Jack declares his love for her, but accepts his fate. They embrace and say goodbye. Five years later, in 1963, Jack drives to Key West, Florida. The ferry between Key West and Communist Cuba no longer operates, but he anticipates Bobby’s arrival, because sometimes boats are blown off-course, and “this is hurricane country.” +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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