Pollacks big romantic production set against the backdrop of the last days of the
Cuban Batista dictatorship is lush, beautiful to look at, but in the end its no more
than Las Vegas showgirl. The flaccid screenplay tries all too hard to create a magic
romance surrounded by graceful palm trees and revolutionary fervor. All the players in the
game are consummate professionals, but the cards are stacked against them this time.
Jack Weil is a professional gambler looking for a big score in a Havana casino. On the ferry from Key West to Cuba, Weil meets Bobby Duran, a classy lady who needs some help. Somewhere in between the casino tables of The Lido, run by Meyer Lansky manager Jack Volpe and the sordid streets of Havana, Jack must find direction. With the walls of Batista crumbling down around him, Jack falls for Bobby, plays cards, entertains ladies, and even finds time for an improbable jaunt into the country.
Elements of Havana
try hard to capture a hint of romantic vapor from a film like Casablanca. The
classy, mysterious lady Weil falls for is married to a freedom fighter, just like Ilsa in Casablanca.
And of course Weil gives her up to her husband in the end, even though he loves her. But
Jack Weil lacks the appeal of Rick Blaine in Casablanca. Rick is a character who
lost his way somewhere on his path to the Casbah, while Weil is nothing but a flashy man
with the cards and the ladies. The Casinos fail to adequately conjure up images of
Ricks Café Americaine.