Badass Before Alfred: 4 Classic Michael Caine Roles Before Batman
"The Dark Knight Rises" is slated for release on July 20th 2012 and the incredible British actor Michael Caine will once again be serving steaks and fetching martinis for billionaire Bruce Wayne as his trustworthy butler Alfred Pennyworth. But ironically, in many of Michael Caine's non-Batman movies, he plays affluent playboys with much more in common with Bruce Wayne than with his manservant. These four films represent that suave "I could undress her with my eyes...blindfolded" demeanor that Michael Caine is much more famous for when he is not being hired to change Batman's linens.
Michael Caine fills the title role of Alfie, a promiscuous player, whose addiction to females includes not getting addicted to any one woman. Caine's carefree charisma captures the swinging free love, pre-AIDS era of London in the 1960s. The question becomes if Alfie will rethink his priorities and settle down instead of settling for just sex? This dramatic comedy gives the audience the same key to "heartbreak hotel" that Alfie gives to his ladies with lines like "I don't want no bird's respect—I wouldn't know what to do with it." Remember, even Batman's butler was not born a butler.
"The Italian Job"
Any fans of Mark Wahlberg in "The Italian Job" (2003) should also become familiar with the original Charlie Coker played by Michael Caine in the 1969 version. This role is the exact opposite of Caine's Alfred from "The Dark Knight"—the type of character that would put Michael Caine on Batman's most wanted list—instead of on his domestic payroll. This version of "The Italian Job" gives Charlie and his gold-heisting cronies a more happy-go-lucky tone on their risky trip to Italy to rob the Fiat auto company; and Michael Caine's comedic timing is unstoppable.
"Hannah and Her Sisters"
Woody Allen is the cinematic definition of "New York", translatable into any language. But he was willing to call in one of the United Kingdom's greatest stars to give Manhattan some British flavor when he cast Michael Caine as Elliot. A husband cheating with his wife's sister, this lustful rapscallion mirrors Michael Caine's clever playboy Alfie (if Alfie narrowed his sex-ploitation to one extra woman instead of many). Along with a trilogy of fine actresses: Dianne Wiest, Mia Farrow and Barbara Hershey—Michael Caine helped give Woody Alien his biggest hit ever, until "Midnight in Paris" 25 years later.
"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"
Michael Caine has proven time and again that he can still carve his unigornable presence into the big big screen, even when beside amazing dramatic costars like Christian Bale, Clive Owen and Ben Kingsley. Comedy is a different animal, but not for Caine; he was required to share a huge amount of his scenes in the hilarious 1988 film "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with "funny bone surgeon" Steve Martin and didn't miss a beat. Caine thrives in the role of Lawrence Jamieson, a con man competing with Steve Martin's Freddy Benson for French Riviera supremacy. Their victims are women and their weapon is seduction. If you do not notice a pattern developing here then we'll spell it out plain and simple. Michael Caine has played the greatest British playboys whose names were not James Bond.