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The Michael Caine Bio

The Michael Caine Review –

by Nate Lee

Best Films:

Cider House Rules / Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

It is clear from the lists below that Caine's prodigious work cannot be reduced to a single best of the best. You could argue for any one of the classics. What sets these two apart is that their brilliance is his brilliance, even though in both he is teamed with equal partners (Tobey Maguire and Steve Martin). It is impossible to believe that the films would approach such brilliance with anyone else. As great as the other films are, and as he is in them, these are unique.

The Classics:
Alfie (Golden Globe and Academy Award-nominated performance in the title role, about a Cockney ladies man, which made him famous)
Sleuth (the original, in an Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated performance, matching wits with Laurence Olivier)
The Man Who Would Be King (adventuring friend of Sean Connery)
Deathtrap (playwright, opposite Christopher Reeve)
Educating Rita (Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning performance as a self-hating professor, teaching the upstart Julie Walters)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Golden Globe-nominated performance as an upper-crust con man, with Steve Martin)
Hannah and her Sisters (Academy Award-winning performance directed by Woody Allen)
Cider House Rules (Academy Award-winning performance as a Maine doctor and head of an orphanage, with Tobey Maguire)
Secondhand Lions (a very eccentric uncle of Haley Joel Osment and brother of Robert Duvall)
The Prestige (manager of the competing magicians)
Children of Men (old hippie and comic relief)
The Best of the '60s:
Zulu (British officer)
The Ipcress File (spy Harry Palmer)
Gambit (Golden Globe-nominated performance, opposite Shirley MacLaine)
Funeral in Berlin (spy Harry Palmer)
The Italian Job
The Best of the '70s:
Harry and Walter Go to New York (a safecracker)
The Eagle Has Landed
A Bridge Too Far
The Best of the '80s:
Dressed to Kill (a transvestite psychiatrist)
The Jigsaw Man
Mona Lisa (a Mob boss)
Half Moon Street
The Best of the '90s:
Noises Off
The Muppet Christmas Carol (Scrooge)
Blood & Wine (a safecracker)
Little Voice (Golden Globe-winning performance)
The Best of the 21st Century:
Miss Congeniality (the "Henry Higgins" who transforms Sandra Bullock)
The Quiet American (Golden Globe and Academy Award-nominated performance with Brendan Fraser)
Austin Powers in Goldmember (Austin's father)
Bewitched (Samantha's father)
Batman Begins (Alfred, the butler)
The Dark Knight (Alfred)
The Real Sir Maurice Micklewhite:
The Ipcress File

It wouldn't be tough to match Caine's life with a film. It's a real storybook tale of rags to riches, with the hero never sacrificing his roots for appearances, and thereby prospering even more. So, what movie is that? None of them? Most of them? His anti-spy, Harry Palmer, best sums up the common-man charm and accent – the antithesis to O'Toole, Richardson and Olivier, who still represent the upper class. (Reportedly, Caine uses his real name, above, when not on stage.)
Acting Style:
Matter of fact. Common man, as above. Often sly. When he does play upper class, it's tongue in cheek, as with the butler Alfred, or the father of a witch, or the extreme makeover expert to Sandra Bullock. It's interesting to note that Caine and Jack Nicholson are the only actors to have Academy nominations in each of the last five decades.
Bits and Quirks:
The famous eyelids are from a birth defect. The voice has smoothed out, but is often most dramatic when the words seem to be having trouble coming out. Bending over at the waist and/or shoulders, often world weary. Raising the eyebrows. Delivers exposition in a manner that one asks for more.
Great Scenes:
Cider House Rules

> Telling the children a bedtime story
> Spraying ether to fall asleep
> Dealing with the board of directors > Teaching Tobey Maguire


> Dressed up as a clown, going through all of Olivier's tests

Miss Congeniality

> The set-up dinner conversation
> The reveal of the new Sandra


> Kissing Christopher Reeve

The Prestige

> Breaking the water cage

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

> Pretending to be the doctor, torturing Steve Martin
> Eating dinner with Martin pretending to be his retarded brother

Secondhand Lions

> Shooting at salesmen
> Buying the skeet shooter
> Narrating the European/African story
> Buying the "secondhand" lion
> The fight at the barbeque place
> The lion attacking the man attacking Osment
If you like Michael Caine You probably didn't like:
The Swarm
Beyond the Poseidon Adventure
Jaws 4: The Revenge
On Deadly Ground
The Island
The Hand
Go to the... Michael Caine Bio