Monday, June 20, 2011

Missing Michael Caine



See there's a funny thing and not a lot of people that, but when you are an exile from your homeland you start to get nostalgic about all sorts of obscure things and people, even folks you may have thought were a bit annoying when you were back at home.

So today when the conversation turned to celebs in compromising positions, I happened to mention a time when I had seen Paul Young the worse for wear in a nightclub. It wasn't a glamorous worse for wear thing because it was 10 years after Young ceased to be big and he was on one of those dinosaur '80s tours - the type of thing you sometimes see Tears for Fears and Billy Idol doing at Virginia Beach.

"You mean Paul Young - everything must change, Paul Young," said a colleague.

"The very same," I replied and for the rest of the day Paul Young songs were circling around my head.

Now tonight I am feeling nostaglic for Michael Caine, even though there were times when I thought he was a Thatcherite w****r back in Blighty.

Now Michael Caine is older than my dad and he's been in some lemons.

But in saying that I'd defy anyone to watch Alfie with Caine in and then watch the more recent version starring Jude Law, to say Law was better. Because Caine does cocky and charming, ruthless and polished much more effectely than Law.

In fact, Caine cut a blonde and chiselled presence through my childhood, not quite good looking enough to be perfect he epitomised Anglo Saxon England with his estuary tones, that bordered on the pitch of a second hand car salesman, before skitting off to a slightly higher place.

He was great in The Man who Would be King, masterful in Educating Rita and rediscovered his talent more recently in Little Voice.



But for Caine aficionados his performance in the 1971 film Get Carter was his finest moment. Get Carter was more cult than mainstream. Like the Wicker Man, it's the kind of movie that needs to be appreciated with the passage of time.

It's also unremittingly bleak, set in a Newcastle with bad brown floral wallpaper, that's without pity and redemption. There's only one way this movie can go and it's downhill to a place where coal trundles by the muddy sea. Extremes bring out the best in characters and Caine is no exception. Forget the stuck up English officer in Zulu, or some of the less memorable roles. Caine is chillingly badass in Get Carter. You can't watch Carter and go away without feeling someone has given you a good kicking behind a warehouse in the drizzle.

Distance makes me miss Caine all the more. I can't say the same about Phil Collins.

17 comments:

  1. I can relate. It's interesting when you live away from your home land, which particular things end up connecting you back to home. Props to Michael Caine. If you were talking about cast members from The Hills then it would be an entirely different story.

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  2. Absolutely adore Michael Caine! And, 'Educating Rita' is, in my opinion, one of the greatest movies ever made... I was introduced to it by a college professor and it has remained one of my all-time favorite films :-)

    I'll agree that Caine has been in some clunkers...but, there's only so much a great actor can do with a poorly executed screenplay/story... :-)

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  3. I have seen some Caine films but missed out on Get Carter and a few others..will try check them out...as for nostalgia, even the weed in the garden back home has endearing qualities when you are far away and don't have to remove them. :D

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  4. I think Caine made a bad choice of agent around the mid seventies however I must admit I did enjoy 'Harry Brown' last year. As for Phil Collins, some people are best forgotten.

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  5. Caine? In clunkers? It doesn't matter what the story is, that man is genius. There's a new movie out--The Trip, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon--a film about two reporters who go out to spend a week in the English countryside, hopping from inn to inn, as food critics. I haven't seen it yet, but from the clip I heard on NPR, it worth the watch for one scene alone--that is, impressions of celebs including a spot-on Michael Caine impression that spans his entire career of movie characters.
    I love anything Caine. Even an impersonation. ;)

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  6. I can totally relate...there were times when I'd see the logo of an American plane parked at the overseas terminal and get misty-eyed about home. Since I am unabashedly in love with Michael Caine (he's a genius), if I were a Brit, I'd have to carry a bucket to catch the tears!

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  7. Do I love him? He's a contender. Honestly.

    The guys who run the gentlemen's clothing store across from my nut shop play Get Carter all the time.

    Hadn't seen that one, and mistook him for Steve McQueen

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  8. I think he's the best. Great post!

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  9. He is definitely an effortlessly charming British gentleman. :) The version of Alfie starring him is currently on my netflix queue somewhere...

    PS. So happy to be commenting here again. lol

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  10. Thanks, David, for stopping by! Wanted to share that Jeanne outside London has a lovely blog, Collage of Life, that has THE nicest posts about life in England you might enjoy.

    I'm clueless as to how my blog grew so. One day there it was, now here it is! I'm like bug-eyed wow and scrambling to keep up. Hope it works out as we leave Tuesday for Europe; British friends are joining us in Jesolo, Italy. Can't wait! Hope you and your family have a great summer as well.

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  11. I understand. Everything and everyone British seems so much classier and sexier than American people and things (except Hugh Grant. Sorry, I like Phil Collins). Heck, I'm nostalgic and I was born here. I admit I haven't seen Caine movies, though.
    xoRobyn

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  12. PS =) I really like Phil's Another Day in Paradise. Otherwise, I can deal with any amount of distance between Phil and I.
    xo

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  13. I love him as Alfie. Love love love. Such a perfect smarmy character. Hateful and lovable. Nice!

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  14. yes Empress. I don't think I could get sentimental about The Hills. I agree e.a.s - Educating Rita was great. You should certainly watch Carter, Rek. Dito Daft Scots Lass. Sadly no chance of Collins being forgotten over here Ryan. thanks Jayne - the Clip sounds good. I am a fan of Steve Coogan.

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  15. thanks for the cool comment Kittie. I'll check her out - thanx - you should see it Mollie as it was filmed up your way. Glad you liked the post Marnie. Thanx Jennifer, glad you can comment again. lol, no need to distance Robyn, there's one Phil song I like. you are so right Deborah - Alfie is wonderfully smarmy.

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