Alfie (1966)

2007 #84
Lewis Gilbert | 109 mins | DVD | 15 / PG

AlfieMichael Caine stars as the eponymous London lothario in this ’60s sex-based comedy/drama, which helped bring about a change in British abortion law thanks to its chilling final act.

If you’re only familiar with the Jude Law-starring remake, most of the original might come as a shock to you — whereas the 2004 version was pretty light and amusing, this is actually a more serious affair. There is humour, but it’s tinged with a sad awareness of how deluded and misogynistic Alfie is; horribly so now, but bad even for his time.

This one may be more complex and worthy but, sacrilegious as it may be, I’d rather watch the remake.

4 out of 5

Educating Rita (1983)

2007 #77
Lewis Gilbert | 106 mins | TV | 15 / PG

Educating RitaJulie Walters makes her big screen debut opposite Michael Caine in this British comedy drama about a 26-year-old University student and her disenchanted drink-sodden tutor, adapted by Willy Russell from his own play and directed by the man behind Alfie and three Bond films.

For a comedy drama (which usually fail to do either successfully) it’s genuinely very funny, but maintains an appropriate weight in the dramatic moments. The script is full of great lines, beautifully delivered by the two leads; Walters is especially excellent.

If you haven’t seen it it might not be what you expect, but that’s no bad thing. Recommended.

5 out of 5