“There is a splinter of ice in the heart of a writer.”*

Above: (Wikipedia): “The Malecón (officially Avenida de Maceo) is a broad esplanade, roadway, and seawallthat stretches for 8 km (5 miles) along the coast in Havana, Cuba, from the mouth of Havana Harbor in Old Havana, along the north side of the Centro Habana neighborhood and the Vedado neighborhood, ending at the mouth of the Almendares River. New businesses are appearing on the esplanade due to economic reforms in Cuba that now allow Cubans to own private businesses.”

From: Noel Coward – a Biography (1995), by Philip Hoare:

“In mid-January (1949) Coward met Graham Greene. Greene had in the past been caustic about the playwright, attacking him in two scathing articles in the Spectator in 1941. Coward’s riposte was to write ‘The Ballad of Graham Greene’: ‘Was ever a mind so mean/That could have vented – so shrilly vented/Such qualities of spleen…’ However, when Alexander Frere, director of William Heinemann and publisher to both, introduced them at his Albany flat, the two writers discovered they liked each other; the friendship led to Coward’s elegantly comic appearance in Carol Reed’s film of Our Man in Havana.”

Late in 1952, Beaumont had suggested that Coward ought to mark the coronation of Elizabeth II by appearing in Shaw’s political parody, The Apple Cart. Noel read it, and agreed that King Magnus was a good part for him. It would be his first appearance in another playwright’s work since his stint in Journey’s End in 1930…

Picture Post sent a journalist (Robert Mullins) and photographer (Dan Farson) to Brighton to mark Coward’s appearance there… ‘Revealing no star temperament whatever,’ wrote Farson, ‘he posed uncomplainingly on the Sussex Downs, playing a pinball machine on the Pier, lying on top of Margaret Leighton on stage at a dress rehearsal, receiving his guests, Graham Greene and Laurence Harvey, in his dressing-room after the first night…’.”

(1958) Coward had decided to accept a part in Carol Reed’s film of Our Man in Havana (novel by Graham Greene published that year)…

Coward and the Guinnesses flew to Havana, where they were accommodated ‘in a very gilded hotel and given vast over-decorated suites: Noel’s suitably furnished as a Mandarin’s palace’. This was shortly after Castro had taken over from the dictator Batista, ‘and the city was full of excitement and chaos. Rich American businessmen were withdrawing rapidly and there were no tourists…

Playing a British agent…Coward found Carol Reed a ‘charming, courteous and meticulous director’, whose instructions to Noel to play down his expressions and mannerisms would have been useful during The Astonished Heart. Shooting went well; they met Ernest Hemingway with Graham Greene, and were invited to dinner at his house…

Noel’s part in Our Man in Havana was completed on set at Pinewood, and the film was released early the following year.”

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