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The Tailor of Panama


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What a hoot! Guess what I admire most about it is that at every twist of the plot where one's suspension of disbelief has been strained to the breaking point, one is reminded that it doesn't matter how untenable may be the bogus "reports" from "Harry" (Geoffrey Rush), nor that such nonsense would be so much as listened to by the seasoned (but totally corrupt) agent, "Osnard"--because just anything of the nature would of course be accepted (and always has been) since he and the boys in London at MI.6 are so greedy for a new intrigue to keep them hopping, and grasping for the dollars they can skim off from the funding, that, well then, from this leaps all the perfect credibility for such farcical action as one might, with delight, desire!


But the true story of what happened in Panama is out there, too. I never understood it at the time, just what the dickens we were doing down there, what Dick Cheney's aim could have been. Not till I got a load of this--complete at YouTube . . .



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I looked up the storyline of the movie, and it sounds very much like

*Our Man in Havana* (1959), where a local British small-store-owning guy in Havana in the revolutinary days is asked by British Intelligence to spy on the Cubans and others, and he winds up making up a lot of phony stories, which his British handlers like very much, so he keeps feeding them the most outrageous false stories, which, gradually, other foreign spy agencies begin to learn about.

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*Our Man in Havana* another great film from the duo of Carol Reed and Graham Greene--and it sure sounds like you nailed it, Fred. Yeah. Been ages since I saw it, first run at a Minneapolis 'art house'. but who would have thought that a writer the caliber of John le Carr? (Spy Who Came in from the Cold) would wind up having to crib from the plot and characters of another writer--but then he has, as I recall, come right out to say most forthrightly that he is given to "stealing" (in his own words) from other writers. What did he say--I'll try a paraphrase--"a writer is only so great as the material he steals"?


From another viewpoint though, it could be said that this is his way of doing honor to the grand career of Graham Greene. For he certainly knew that the jig would be up the minute a film aficionado like Fred comes down the aisle pocketing that torn half of a ticket.


Just a giddy kid barely out of junior high when I saw it--you can imagine my glee watching the scene where Alec Guinness is out on the terrace with that saucer, "Here Birdie! Here Birdie!".

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