Recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock is trapped into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, who happens to be the wife of his father's business partner and then finds himself falling in love with her daughter, Elaine.
For Alfie, the only real life is sex life; only then can he kid himself he is living. Sex is not used as the working-class boy's way to 'the top'. Executive status has no appeal for Alfie. Nor has class mobility. He is quite content to stay where he is, as long as the 'birds' are in 'beautiful condition', as he assures us they are in one of the candid, over-the-shoulder asides to the camera which the film carries over from "Tom Jones". The film shows how much of the 'swinging 60's' quality of London life was a male creation, and through the dominance of the fashion photographers, a male prerogative. Written by
Alfie Elkins, that irresistible roguish Cockney character, takes us into his confidence right at the start of this film, as he invites us, his audience, to follow him in this fantasy filled with sex that reflected a Mod society of London in the sixties. Alfie, by talking directly to the camera, seems to be performing asides a character would do in a play to emphasize a point. Some comments in here indicate they are an annoyance, but in fact, they enhance the charm of Alfie. He is a happy go lucky man who scores with all kinds of women, who find him, not only attractive, but hard to forget. Alfie is not bashful in telling us his sexual encounters with the women we get to meet.
Lewis Gilbert's 1966 film made an impact when it was released. Watching it in the DVD format, one can clearly see the film has been preserved well. It still has a crisp look and frankly, it doesn't have that "dated" look of other films of that period. Aside from some of those 60s hair styles, seen in some of the actresses, the film looks as though it was recently shot.
This is a film to relish Michael Caine in one of his best creations. As Alfie, he is never mean. He is a man who is only interested in satisfying the women he meets. This was Mr. Caine's break through film, which indicated, even then, his potential as the versatile actor one has always cherished.
The women in Alfie's life show a lot of different types. Shelley Winters is at her best with her take of Ruby, the wealthy American "bird" that loves her encounters with Alfie. Millicent Martin, seen briefly, makes a fun Siddie. Vivian Merchant is Lily, the married woman who strays when she can't resist Alfie's charms. Jane Asher as Annie is excellent. Julia Foster plays Gilda, the only one to give Alfie an heir. Eleonor Bron is seen briefly. Alfie Bass is the only actor who has any extended role in the film.
This is a film that reflects that sexual liberating era.
15 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?