Alfie (1966)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Manners, Sex Comedy  |   Run Time - 114 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

Lewis Gilbert's Alfie made quite a splash upon release in 1966, garnering good reviews and six Academy Award nominations. While the film has a certain visual flair and a soundtrack by jazz great Sonny Rollins, many viewers will find the film out of date and sexist. This English film is still enlightening to watch because of Michael Caine's portrait of Alfie (his first starring roll), a self-centered, fun-loving English chap who, because of his harsh treatment of women, is mostly unsympathetic. He attempts to win the viewer's sympathy nonetheless, with the novel technique of addressing the camera directly. Of course, much of his folly is meant to be ironic; at some point, Gilbert seems to suggest, sexual conquests are unfulfilling. While Alfie does pay a price for his indulgences, he never changes and never develops a lasting relationship. Alfie represents the rare '60s film that attempts to examine the consequences of the sexual revolution, candidly covering the subjects of pregnancy and abortion. Gilbert also directed several James Bond films, and he renewed his association with Michael Caine for 1983's Educating Rita.