Pier 5, Havana
Cast & Crew
Edward L. Cahn
Shortly after the Cuban revolution, Steve Daggett of Miami travels to Havana to inquire about the disappearance of his Korean war buddy, Hank Miller, an affable wanderer who had been in Cuba several years. Upon his arrival, Steve is immediately escorted to police lieutenant Garcia, who acknowledges Hank's disappearance and also knows of Steve's struggling private air freight business in Florida. Garcia takes Steve to meet with nightclub singer Monica Gray, Hank's wife and now companion to the wealthy, influential Fernando Ricardo. Although Steve and Monica deny knowing each other, Garcia gives Monica a photo of Steve, Hank and herself, proving that he is aware of their past. Back at police headquarters, Steve admits he was involved with Monica prior to her relationship with Hank, but scoffs at the lieutenant's idea that he got rid of Hank to reunite with her. Garcia reveals that Monica and Hank had long been separated before she began dating Ricardo, and that Hank had gone through numerous jobs in Havana due to his chronic drinking. Returning to his hotel room, Steve finds Monica waiting to explain her involvement with Ricardo, but their conversation is interrupted by a telephone call from Gustave Schluss, the owner of a boat repair shop where Hank last worked. Surprised to receive the call, Steve nevertheless agrees to meet Schluss at his shop's pier location. At the pier, two men approach Steve and advise him to leave Cuba, then beat him up. After reviving, Steve staggers into Schluss's deserted shop, and notices that a heavy layer of dust has accumulated on the partially constructed boats. Spotting a glimmer on the floor, Steve finds a ring belonging to Hank in the crevice of a trap door. Breaking the lock, Steve opens the door and descends into a storeroom, hoping to find Hank. Meanwhile, Schluss enters the shop and, after locking the Steve in the storeroom, telephones for assistance. Steve wanders about the storeroom anxiously searching for an escape route and notices a table with chairs set before a large map of Cuba with circled locations. Nearby are numerous crates labeled "chocolate." Discovering a large air vent, Steve rips off the grate and crawls outside, just escaping Schluss and his cohorts. Alarmed, Steve goes to Garcia to describe his experience and the lieutenant accompanies him back to Schluss's shop. Upon arriving there, Steve is surprised to find several men busily at work. In the storeroom, the map, table and crates have vanished. Garcia advises Steve to leave Cuba immediately, but instead he goes to Monica's apartment to accuse her of ordering the men on the pier to attack him. Although Monica denies involvement, Steve remains unconvinced. While leaving Monica's apartment, Steve is startled to see Schluss get off the elevator and enter the apartment of Juan Lopez down the hall. After the men depart, Steve breaks into Lopez' apartment and finds a telegram addressed to Schluss announcing the arrival that night of a shipment of "chocolate." Steve returns to Monica's apartment to tell her about his encounter with Schluss, who had just left Lopez' apartment, and she identifies Lopez as the owner of the nightclub where she sings. Steve then forces Monica to accompany him to Schluss's shop where they hide and wait for the delivery of crates. At dusk, the shipment arrives and Steve and Monica watch as Schluss and his assistants open the crates, revealing bomb fuses. Becoming suspicious when he spots a light, Schluss investigates and finds Steve and Monica hiding. Garcia and his men, who have been watching the shop, then enter and arrest Schluss. The next morning Garcia summons Steve and Monica to the police station to report the discovery of a decayed body several miles away and ask them to identify the personal effects as belonging to Hank. Dismayed to realize that Hank is dead, Steve and Monica leave the police in shock. Monica reveals that although she never loved Hank she cared deeply for him and, hoping to help him stop drinking, bought him a house on the beach. Surprised, Steve asks to see it. At the house, Monica and Steve discuss Hank and Steve apologizes to Monica for his earlier suspicions. She admits her ambition drove her from Steve and then acknowledges still having feelings for him. The couple is abruptly startled by a noise and shocked when Hank stumbles into the house, bleeding from a gunshot wound. After Steve explains his presence, Hank relates that Schluss asked him to convert transport planes into bombers, threatening his life until he agreeed. The work took place some hundred miles away on a tobacco farm from which Hank escaped that morning in a jeep, chased by Schluss's men. Hank reveals the planes are to be used the next day to bomb Havana in an attempt to overthrow the new regime. Discovering that the beach house phone line is disconnected, Steve orders Monica to get Hank a doctor, and she suggests asking the well-connected Ricardo for help. Steve concurs and leaves to report the plot to Garcia. Monica then hastens to Ricardo's lavish apartment and is shocked when he refuses her help, accusing her of betraying him for Steve. Monica is further stunned when Ricardo declares that he is the head of the bomb plot and sends two of his men to the beach house to seize Hank and another pair to pick up Steve. Just after Steve is brought to Ricardo, the wealthy man receives a call that Hank is not at the beach house. Ricardo then threatens to hurt Monica unless Steve tells him of Hank's whereabouts, but Steve fights back, only to be knocked out. Meanwhile, Hank finds a phone booth and contacts Garcia with details of the bomb plot just before Ricardo's men find and knife him to death. After the men return to inform Ricardo that the police have been tipped off, he cancels the plan and heads to his private boat at the pier. Monica takes a gun from one of the men Steve knocked out and kills the remaining guard, allowing her and Steve to escape. While Monica calls Garcia, Steve hurries to the pier to intercept Ricardo. The men engage in a brutal fistfight before Steve triumphs as Garcia and Monica arrive. Garcia arrests Ricardo, and Steve and Monica are happily reunited.
Edward L. Cahn
James B. Gordon
Herbert S. Greene
Robert E. Kent
Leonard J. Shapiro
Pier 5, Havana
Part espionage drama, part action-adventure, Pier 5, Havana opens with Steve Daggett (Mitchell) traveling to Havana to investigate the disappearance of his friend Hank (Logan Field), who mysteriously vanished during the Cuban revolt (stock footage of Castro and his rebel forces and Batista's defeated regime are integrated into the narrative for authenticity). While his every move in Havana is monitored by local police Lt. Garcia (Michael Granger), Daggett plays detective, following false leads and traps laid for him by an underground organization that may be responsible for Hank's disappearance. Complicating the case is Monica (Hayes), Hank's wife and Daggett's former girlfriend, who may or may not be hiding information. Hank's reappearance in the middle of the story like the missing Harry Lime in The Third Man leads to the discovery that he was forced to convert transport planes into lethal bombers to be used for attack by Batista forces on Fidel Castro's headquarters. This plot detail is particularly intriguing in light of the fact that Batista was a U.S. backed dictator and Castro was considered a threat to U.S. owned business interests in Cuba.
Pier 5, Havana is not a political thriller by any stretch of the imagination, however, and more closely resembles a second rate Mike Hammer imitation with Daggett given to pulp fiction observations like "It was too quiet. All I could see was a bunch of fish and boats. Something about the set up began to smell bad to me and it wasn't the fish." The film also lacks the energy and fast pacing of other better Cahn efforts such as Guns, Girls and Gangsters  or It! The Terror from Beyond Space , but for a 67 minute second feature it has its moments.
Cameron Mitchell, who had once been an A-list actor in Hollywood during the fifties appearing in such prestige pictures as Death of a Salesman , How to Marry a Millionaire , and Carousel , began his descent into a predominant B-movie career with Pier 5, Havana and Cahn's Inside the Mafia (made the same year). While his Hollywood films were probably more distinguished in terms of quality, noted directors and famous co-stars, Cameron's post-fifties films are more famous among film buffs for such international cult titles as Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace , the spaghetti Western Minnesota Clay  and Screamers [1979, aka Island of Mutations].
As for Edward L. Cahn, his next pit stop along the B-movie express lane was The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959). He would knock off another twenty four features before his death in 1963, amassing a filmography of 125 movies in all and that doesn't include Cahn's work as an editor and producer.
Producer: Robert E. Kent
Director: Edward L. Cahn
Screenplay: James B. Gordon; Joseph Hoffman (story)
Cinematography: Maury Gertsman
Art Direction: William Glasgow
Music: Paul Sawtell, Bert Shefter
Cast: Cameron Mitchell (Steve Daggett), Allison Hayes (Monica Gray), Eduardo Noriega (Fernando Ricardo), Michael Granger (Police Lt. Garcia), Logan Field (Hank Miller), Nestor Paiva (Juan Lopez), Otto Waldis (Gustave Schluss), Paul Fierro (Police sergeant)
by Jeff Stafford
Pier 5, Havana
The working title of the film was The Havana Story. The film opens with a voice-over narration by Cameron Mitchell as "Steve Daggett," briefly explaining the Cuban Revolution. His narration continues sporadically throughout the film. The Cuban Revolution began in 1953 and in January 1959 resulted in the overthrow of dictator Fulgencio Batista by rebel Fidel Castro. For more information on the revolution, please see the entry below for The Truth About Fidel Castro Revolution.
Released in United States 1959
Released in United States 1959