Words by: JPS for Duncan Quinn
The title of the bank heist flick couldnt be more appropriate as an encomium for Caines colorful life in pictures. The London-born legend, famous for his lethal elegance and cutting Cockney accent, has long been a huge influence here at DQ. From Harry Palmer to Charlie Croker, Jack Carter and Alfie Elkins, the panache, prepossession and quiet pistol-packing menace of Caines characters is something no other actor has managed to make seem such an intrinsic part of his genetic makeup. And indeed his characters unshakable thirst for life mirrors the actors own. Having very nearly been killed in the Korean War, Caine later said, The rest of my life I have lived every bloody moment from the moment I wake up until the time I go to sleep. Or in the words of Jack Carter, With me it's a full time job. The fact that he has done so in consummate style and with unflappable cool over a still-thriving six-decade career in Kingsman: The Secret Service, most recently, which is in itself something of a Caine homage is what sets him high above the usual Hollywood rabble.
What we've come to think of as the classic Caine look well-groomed, sharp fitted suit, impeccable linen, thick-framed glasses and a gun came about with his breakout role as the dapper, cynical and deadly British spy Harry Palmer in 1965's The Ipcress File. Alfie (1966) and The Italian Job (1969) upped the ante thanks to famed tailor Douglas Hayward, another suave working class boy made good he was even rumored to be the real-life inspiration for Alfie Elkins. 1971's And it was Get Carter that truly set the Caine style in cement. The fact that he has never made a movie he didnt look good in, even a few admittedly awful flops, contributes to his imperturbable air of nonchalance. Steadfast good looks and the fact that seemingly no woman – including Natalie Wood and Bianca Jagger could ever resist him hasnt hurt his reputation either. Of course, he has now been married to the same woman for 42 years. One of only two actors nominated for an Oscar in every decade from the 1960s to 2000s, his only wins have been for supporting roles inHannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules. So listen up, Academy: it's high time to give the man his due, we say a solid gold, shotgun-shaped Lifetime Achievement Award for Everything.
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