Skip to content
Advertisements

Cockney octogenarian: happy 80th birthday, Michael Caine

March 14, 2013

michael_caine

Specs appeal: the man who made wearing glasses cool, Michael Caine was a unique star from the start – and has maintained his stratospheric status thanks to natural talent and charisma for nearly 50 years

Cary Grant. Laurence Olivier. Sean Connery. Richard Burton. David Niven. There are some outstanding candidates for the greatest ever British movie star. My vote, though, goes to the one, the only Michael Caine. The one and the only man who can claim to have played the Hollywood game and come out on top for very nearly 50 years. Over that entire half-century, he’s made a constant stream of flicks both here and in the States (some good; some very good; some mediocre; and some godawful – Jaws The Revenge, anyone?). And, like all great movie stars, whatever he’s done, he’s seemed to come up smelling of roses. Because he’s a much-loved legend. An undisputed icon. A global phenomenon. And today, indeed, is the first of his ninth decade on this fair Earth

Yes, 80 years ago today, Maurice Micklewhite (to use the marvellous moniker with which he was originally bestowed) was born. He grew up in the Elephant & Castle district of South London (something of a school of hard knocks), had a spell in the British Army, decided to become an actor, lived with film composer extraordinaire John Barry and knocked about Swinging London with fellow Sixties heart-throb Terence Stamp (before they were both famous). Then, after a supersonic hat-trick of hits (1964’s Zulu, 1965’s The Ipcress File and 1966’s Alfie), he verily became the star Roger Moore told him he’d become (when he and Terence Stamp bumped into the latter before they were both famous, but he was).

Not long later, he was watching the gogglebox and declared he’d marry a gorgeous dancer on a show he was viewing, only actually to do so (he’s been blissfully wed to Shakira Caine for 40 years now). Along the way he’s also accumulated two Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (for 1986’s Hannah And Her Sisters and 1999’s The Cider House Rules), picked up a BAFTA for Best Actor (for 1983’s Educating Rita) and received three further Oscar noms and five further BAFTA noms. Moreover, he’s run several restaurants in his time, given rise to millions of impressions and had a hit single by ska-cum-pop giants Madness named after him (for which he also supplied his voice). More of that at the foot of this post, though.

It is then – and could only be – Sir Michael The Caine. And, in honour of the great man’s 80th, here’s George Journal‘s top 10 (in reverse order, naturally) of his greatest screen moments; or, at least, the 10 greatest that are available to see on youtube. Because for him, it’s a full-time job, all right…

.

.

10. Dr Emil Schaffhausen the Third! ~
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

.

.

.

9.Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands” ~
Hannah And Her Sisters (1986)

.

.

.

8. When did everything change?” ~ The Quiet American (2002)

.

.

.

7.You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” ~
The Italian Job (1969)

.

.

.

6. Hats on! Hats off!” ~ The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

.

.

.

5. Making breakfast The Ipcress File (1965)

.

.

.

4. P*ss-holes in the snow ~ Get Carter  (1971)

.

.

.

3. What’s it all about? Know what I mean? ~ Alfie (1966)

.

.

.

2. Hang on a minute, lads; I’ve got a great idea… ~
The Italian Job (1969)

.

.

.

1.I’ve done a fine job on you, haven’t I?” ~ Educating Rita (1983)

.

.

.

Oh, and as promised, here’s that moment of ’80s Michael-Caine-musical-mastery courtesy of Madness. The Cainester only agreed to appear on the song at the behest of his daughter – not a lot of people know that. Yes, that’ll do now, methinks…

.

.

.

Further reading:

michaelcaine.com

twitter.com/themichaelcaine

.

george's_journal_motif

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: