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Thread: Alfie (1966)

  1. #61
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    I picked up a DVD copy of this at my local supermarket a few months back. I had it at bargain price because the place was closing down, so I'm very happy to replace my old off air vhs video copy.




  2. #62
    Senior Member Country: England faginsgirl's Avatar
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    I thought I would give this film a bump after watching it again the other day. I love it! The way the themes in the film were tackled must have been really ground breaking. Calling the females `It` must have opened a few eyes in the cimema and rightly so. Did this film change attitudes towards the housewife? I don`t know I was only 2 years old at the time, although I remember the womans place was still in the home in the early 70s so obviously nothing changed over night, nothing does. But like I say, I`m sure this film opened a few eyes for people.



    I admire Caine for getting his head around a theme that must have been intentionally ignored by many back then (both male and female) and portraying it so well.



    xx

  3. #63
    Senior Member Country: Spain Rowdon's Avatar
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    I could do some research on the net, I suppose, but this is more fun and the response more reliable ...



    I was watching Alfie with a mate the other day, and he commented that Alfie begins referring to women as "it" as the film goes on ... or was it that he only refers to Jane Asher - who he is using basically as a slave - as "it". I contradicted him, of course (both because he was wrong and because I always contradict him anyway, because it's character building for him) so we went back to the beginning of the film ... Siddie, the housewife the film begins with (Millicent Martin) is referred to as both "she" and "it" (it seems the use of "it" is more when he's talking in general terms about how "birds" are) so it's there from the beginning ... I don't think he ever refers to either his regular girl (Julia Foster) or his 'mature' conquest (Shelley Winters) as "it" - or indeed Lily (Vivien Merchant - harrowing), victim of his charms - but I could be wrong. It can't be a question of (lack of) respect, or class, or age ...



    My question is, has anyone here given this any thought or read anything about it? Does the original play have the same variety of use? Does anyone have a theory?

  4. #64
    Senior Member Country: England faginsgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowdon

    I could do some research on the net, I suppose, but this is more fun and the response more reliable ...



    I was watching Alfie with a mate the other day, and he commented that Alfie begins referring to women as "it" as the film goes on ... or was it that he only refers to Jane Asher - who he is using basically as a slave - as "it". I contradicted him, of course (both because he was wrong and because I always contradict him anyway, because it's character building for him) so we went back to the beginning of the film ... Siddie, the housewife the film begins with (Millicent Martin) is referred to as both "she" and "it" (it seems the use of "it" is more when he's talking in general terms about how "birds" are) so it's there from the beginning ... I don't think he ever refers to either his regular girl (Julia Foster) or his 'mature' conquest (Shelley Winters) as "it" - or indeed Lily (Vivien Merchant - harrowing), victim of his charms - but I could be wrong. It can't be a question of (lack of) respect, or class, or age ...



    My question is, has anyone here given this any thought or read anything about it? Does the original play have the same variety of use? Does anyone have a theory?
    My theory is that Alfie refers to women in general as `it`. That also includes the women he lives with i.e Jane Asher when the character (Alfie) decides to create a detachment from them, as in when the relationship breaks down (if there ever was a relationship in Alfie`s eyes that is`).



    xx

  5. #65
    Senior Member Country: Ireland jimw1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faginsgirl

    My theory is that Alfie refers to women in general as `it`. That also includes the women he lives with i.e Jane Asher when the character (Alfie) decideds to create a detachment from them, as in when the relationship breaks down (if there ever was a relationship in Alfie`s eyes that is`).



    xx
    I would Agree FG' Definitely Women in general...........

  6. #66
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowdon



    My question is, has anyone here given this any thought or read anything about it?
    Doesn't he refer to children in a similar style?



    Despite it's breezy opening I took it as building Caine up as uncaring, nihilistic and selfish cad so it offers a sharp contrast when is firstly diagnosed with TB and finally reduced to tears. Build him up, knock him down.

  7. #67
    Senior Member Country: Spain Rowdon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by faginsgirl

    My theory is that Alfie refers to women in general as `it`. That also includes the women he lives with i.e Jane Asher when the character (Alfie) decides to create a detachment from them, as in when the relationship breaks down (if there ever was a relationship in Alfie`s eyes that is`).



    xx


    Yes - that could work. The women he's closer to are "she", and the 'birds' in general are "it". He uses both for Siddie; but that could be because the "Look at it. I've made it laugh" speech is just before he says he's going to dump her (creating detachment" as you said. I'm not sure about Lily, though - but does he ever talk about her after their first encounter? The next time they meet is too traumatic for any 'to camera' stuff.

  8. #68
    Senior Member Country: Australia Kitty Whiskers's Avatar
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    I always felt he did it much as Buffalo Bill did in Silence of the Lambs ("It puts the lotion in the basket"). By dehumanising, the character can divorce himself from the appauling way he treats them. As much as I like the film, Alfie really is a total ****, isn't he?



    I was listening to ABC radio this morning to a story about a paedophile who would refer to children as 'it' when the dealt with them everyday at school (I have no idea why no one ever questioned this) which is the same thing in real life, isn't it?

  9. #69
    Senior Member Country: Spain Rowdon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty Whiskers

    I was listening to ABC radio this morning to a story about a paedophile who would refer to children as 'it' when the dealt with them everyday at school (I have no idea why no one ever questioned this) which is the same thing in real life, isn't it?


    Yes, I think you're right about it being the same thing. But I don't really think anyone can be blamed for not questioning someone's use of the word "it" to refer to children. There are probably plenty of normal people who call kids "it", and there are paedophiles who call them "darlings".

  10. #70
    Senior Member Country: Australia Kitty Whiskers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowdon

    Yes, I think you're right about it being the same thing. But I don't really think anyone can be blamed for not questioning someone's use of the word "it" to refer to children. There are probably plenty of normal people who call kids "it", and there are paedophiles who call them "darlings".




    Sorry - I'm so knackered at the moment, I swear I'm not forming a complete thought.



    I didn't mean that anyone was to blame for not suspecting he was a paedophile, I meant it was odd that people accepted this man referring to their kids as 'it' in front of them and in a school at all without questioning him. The fact that he turned out to be a disgusting piece of excrement is incidental to the point I was trying to make.

  11. #71
    Senior Member Country: Spain Rowdon's Avatar
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    Understood - and I agree. Re-reading my post I probably came across as a bit holier than thou. Thing is, I am oversensitive about the fact that everybody is oversensitive about the possibility of paedophiles lurking around every corner.



    As much as I like the film, Alfie really is a total ****, isn't he?


    I'm not sure if his ****ness (or is it ****ity?) is total. I think it starts to crack as the film goes on. He is, like many people, unaware that his world-view and behaviour actually hurt other people; he's always stating that he means to hurt nobody, "But you do, Alfie" as Alfie Bass so sadly says. It's like people who proudly claim that "I speak as I find", and think that protects them from having to take responsibility for the hurt suffered by the people they speak-as-they-find to. If you follow. Chinks of light are starting to break through the force-field he has built around himself towards the end, I think.

  12. #72
    Senior Member Country: Australia Kitty Whiskers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowdon

    I'm not sure if his ****ness (or is it ****ity?) is total. I think it starts to crack as the film goes on. He is, like many people, unaware that his world-view and behaviour actually hurt other people; he's always stating that he means to hurt nobody, "But you do, Alfie" as Alfie Bass so sadly says. It's like people who proudly claim that "I speak as I find", and think that protects them from having to take responsibility for the hurt suffered by the people they speak-as-they-find to. If you follow. Chinks of light are starting to break through the force-field he has built around himself towards the end, I think.


    I'm not so sure about that.



    I always thought he wasn't that sorry for how his behaviour had hurt others, more for how it ended up hurting him. I think he believed he was a lovable guy and could justify everything because - as you say - he wasn't meaning to be hurtful. I mean: "what's it all about" sounds like a guy who'll go to his grave a ****, doesn't it? All that misery he caused and he's still clueless.

  13. #73
    Senior Member Country: Spain Rowdon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitty Whiskers

    I'm not so sure about that.



    I always thought he wasn't that sorry for how his behaviour had hurt others, more for how it ended up hurting him. I think he believed he was a lovable guy and could justify everything because - as you say - he wasn't meaning to be hurtful. I mean: "what's it all about" sounds like a guy who'll go to his grave a ****, doesn't it? All that misery he caused and he's still clueless.


    Possibly. If he means "What's it all about?" in a dismissive "Pffff - what can a bloke do" sort of way, then yes, it will be the funeral of a **** (would that be excremating, I wonder?). But if he means it in its widest sense, then I think it's a question we all ask all the time, isn't it? (Except those among us lucky enough to 'know' what the whole plan and the ultimate answer are). I really think that Alfie as played by Michael Caine (because these bits would very much depend on the actor) is shocked to his core by what he sees after Denholm Elliot's visit, when he is forced to confront what his harmless bit of fun has created. And although he deals with it with stylish grace, his 'dismissal' by Shelley Winters also visibly shakes him; his lifestyle simply cannot go on forever, he realises. Maybe the force-field isn't starting to crack, but I think he is gaining self-awareness - he can no longer truly believe that he's just a lovable jack-the-lad who does nobody any real harm, even though he may still say it out loud. That's why he picks up the dog at the end, instead of chasing it off - he knows they're kindred spirits.

  14. #74
    Senior Member Country: Australia Kitty Whiskers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowdon

    Possibly. If he means "What's it all about?" in a dismissive "Pffff - what can a bloke do" sort of way, then yes, it will be the funeral of a **** (would that be excremating, I wonder?). But if he means it in its widest sense, then I think it's a question we all ask all the time, isn't it? (Except those among us lucky enough to 'know' what the whole plan and the ultimate answer are). I really think that Alfie as played by Michael Caine (because these bits would very much depend on the actor) is shocked to his core by what he sees after Denholm Elliot's visit, when he is forced to confront what his harmless bit of fun has created. And although he deals with it with stylish grace, his 'dismissal' by Shelley Winters also visibly shakes him; his lifestyle simply cannot go on forever, he realises. Maybe the force-field isn't starting to crack, but I think he is gaining self-awareness - he can no longer truly believe that he's just a lovable jack-the-lad who does nobody any real harm, even though he may still say it out loud. That's why he picks up the dog at the end, instead of chasing it off - he knows they're kindred spirits.


    I took the 'what's it all about' to mean he genuinely didn't understand. I think Alfie was so self-absorbed and underdeveloped as a person that he really didn't 'get' why his actions had such awful repercussions when he meant it as a laugh. I agree with you about the dog, they are kindred spirits. I think Alfie found people too complicated.



    I'd be interested to know how the *cough* updated version compares. Unfortunately, my loathing of 're-imagined' films and my equal loathing of Jude Law haven't put it high on my 'must watch' list.

  15. #75
    Senior Member Country: Spain Rowdon's Avatar
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    I've heard nothing good about it, but keep thinking I should give it a watch. I have nothing against Jude Law except I don't think he's very good at acting ... but he is beautiful. People I know who've seen it have had nothing good to say about it.

  16. #76
    Senior Member Country: Australia Kitty Whiskers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowdon

    I've heard nothing good about it, but keep thinking I should give it a watch. I have nothing against Jude Law except I don't think he's very good at acting ... but he is beautiful. People I know who've seen it have had nothing good to say about it.


    I watched Wilde last week and couldn't believe that Orlando Bloom got the rent boy cameo and Jude Law got Bosie, a part that was quite beyond him. Sure, Bloom was probably an unknown at the time and Law was the up-and-coming star (*cough* crap *cough*) but...yikes...



    Having seen the trailer to Alfie and knowing that it contains the equally dismal Sienna Miller (who stunk up the screen in Factory Girl), I can't say I'm rushing off to see it any time soon.



    Sure, they are both very attractive, but I'd forgo a good-looking cast for people with a little more ability.

  17. #77
    Senior Member Country: Vatican Sgt Sunshine's Avatar
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    Lots of very interesting thoughts & posts on this classic film....
    For those who may not have seen it......here comes the trailer...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyShmXPoLJo

    Cheers
    Sgt S
    ps.....Come back KW you've been gone too long...

  18. #78
    Senior Member Country: England Elaine's Avatar
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    I have just bought Alfie off ebay, thought I would revive some memory of my teens by re-watching it. The above comments on what a complete pratt Alfie was, recalled just how 1960's shocking this film was. Well I have bought it now so I will watch it.
    Last edited by Elaine; 04-03-12 at 06:17 PM.

  19. #79
    Senior Member Country: Vatican Sgt Sunshine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine View Post
    I have just bought Alfie off ebay, thought I would revive some memory of my teens by re-watching it. The above comments on what a complete pratt Alfie was, recalled just how 1960's shocking this film was. Well I have bought it now so I will watch it.
    Yes its high up on my list, so in the near future I'll get to see it to....
    Cheers
    Sgt S

  20. #80
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornershop15 View Post
    Produced by Peter Saunders and The Mermaid Theatre Trust Ltd at the Duchess Theatre, London, on the 22nd July 1963 ...
    A belated follow up to that post (#40). I assume this fascinating picture is of the original cast:

    Alfie, played by John Neville, with his 'birds'.

    Back row, left to right: Wendy Varnals, who plays Carla, Gemma Jones (Gilda), Glenda Jackson (Siddie)
    and Marcia Ashton as Lily Clamacraft. Front: Mary Haneley as Annie and Margaret Courtenay as Ruby.


    In the film, their characters were (respectively) played by Shirley Anne Field,
    Julia Foster, Millicent Martin, Vivien Merchant, Jane Asher & Shelley Winters.

    Added bonus (hope these work):

    Alfie at Alamy and TipsImages.

    Please look at these lovely pictures, which include Paul McCartney and Jane Asher meeting up with Michael Caine and Millicent Martin at the premiere. For some unknown reason, the link to its page at MovieGoods doesn't work but if you type 'alfie 1966' in the search bar it should be okay. Also, make sure you select Editorial for other searches at the aforementioned photo sites (where you'll soon be addicted!).
    Last edited by cornershop15; 19-11-12 at 01:49 AM. Reason: Too many mistakes.

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