Free Essay

Cultural Studies Analysis of Alfie


Submitted By Aenniken14
Words 6180
Pages 25
1 Proseminar “Born to be wild”: The 1960s in British and American Cinema in their Socio-Cultural Contexts

A Cultural Studies Analysis of Alfie

Table of Contents

Introduction: Michael Caine - the phenomenon of stardom 1. 2. 3. 4. Great Britain in the Swinging Sixties British Cinema in the 60s Production background to Alfie Socio-gender situation of the Characters

2 3 5 6 7 7 9 11 13 14

4.1. Gilda 4.2. Lily 4.3. Ruby Conclusion: Alfie as an indicator for the cultural history of the 60s Secondary Sources: Filmography, Bibliography and Electronic Sources

2 Introduction

„What’s it all about?“ is not only the famous last question of the protagonist in Alfie but also the title of Michael Caine’s autobiography. Born 1933 in London’s poor East End as Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, he started acting in the late 1940s and soon became Michael Caine. Though he changed his name he never tried to hide his past and his Cockney accent gives away his working class origin. It was a hard and long journey to fame for Caine. His first steps into show business were acting with amateur groups, then playing some parts in provincial theatres and later some appearances on British television. It was only after more than 20 years that he got the audiences’ and critics’ attention for his role in Zulu. But it brought him rather critical notice than the hoped for éclat.

In 1967 Caine’s career got a considerable boost when he was representing the main character in Alfie - a role that seemed to be made especially for him. Although almost every actor in question shunned this role, Caine was to win his first Oscar nomination for his performance as the relentless Casanova hidden behind the Cockney chauffeur. The box-office results for Alfie were the biggest-ever for a British movie in the United States.

How was it possible for Michael Caine to turn into a star almost over night? Does an actor’s choice of movies influence his star image or is it the other way round? A survey in the postwar years showed that the main reason for cinema-goers’ choice of movie were the stars that acted in it. As producers and the heads of studios in Great Britain knew how important stars were for a high attendance, they tried to create British stars in the same way as in Hollywood: in order to get audience recognition actors were supposed to play similar roles in particular movies which should help to create a stable image. Furthermore active promotion and management including fan clubs, fan magazines and glamorous appearances at specific public occasions combined with the training of actors with star potential in ‘Charm Schools’ supported the star image (Murphy 93).

But neither charismatic personalities nor subtle marketing suffice to explain the popularity of stars. According to Richard Dyer, Professor of Film Studies at King’s College London, typicality is the most significant reason for stars’ popularity (Murphy 93). There are different types that stars are considered to embody. Just like John Wayne stands for individualism and Meg Ryan implies blithely romanticism, Michael Caine embodied amatory ‘Britishness’.

3 The different types are constructed socially, culturally and historically and represent significant believes about authority and power, nationality and class. Every star embodies his type in a way that is inimitably his own. According to Dyer, it is this uniqueness combined with the typicality that encourages audience identification, admiration and desire (Murphy 93).

The audiences’ identification with a star can be very strong. In Alfie for example, the cinematic device of the main character talking to the camera combined with the star image of Michael Caine even creates tensions. On the one side “the audience is (…) requested to disavow the character for his selfishness and shallowness” (Leach 131), but on the other side “Caine’s (…) ribaldy ironic voice” prevents the viewer from distancing himself from “Alfie’s blind egocentricity” (Leach 131). The audience is charmed by Michael Caine whereas it should clearly condemn the chauvinistic character of misogynist Alfie (Leach 131).

Richard Dyer argues that “(…) at the root of the star phenomenon (…) is a basic conflict between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Stars are not better people than the rest of us, which facilitates our identification with them. And yet they are a breed apart” (Timothy Corrigan, Patricia White 499). Perhaps that’s why Michael Caine turned out to be one of the world’s most beloved actors of our time: an average man whose skills and charm have helped him to become famous in the changing times of the Sixties. In the course of his life, he has worked with legends like Sir Laurence Olivier, Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot and Woody Allen, got knighted by Queen Elisabeth II and has been Oscar-nominated six times. But he still stayed a laid-back Londoner who is at once ordinary and simply extraordinary (Murphy 93), (Unterburger 187-189), (, (, (

1. Great Britain in the Swinging Sixties

Unlike as in the rest of the European states, the society of Great Britain was still divided into a strict class-system in the post-World-War years: The upper-class, middle-class and lowerclass. Whereas the upper- and the wealthier middle-class made up only a small percentage of the population, the lower-class represented the majority. In 1966 “The Economist” published a statistic that showed that in Great Britain more than 80 % of the capital wealth was owned by only 7 % of the population (Kamm Juergen, Lenz Bernd 202). The huge gap and inequality

4 in the society’s basic economic structure is one of the main reasons for the social problems that dominated the working class in the Sixties. These issues, like unemployment, lack of education and poverty, were often depicted in the ‘New Wave’ cinema, an era which will be discussed more detailed afterwards (Kamm Juergen, Lenz Bernd 202 – 206).

In 1964 thirteen years of Conservative rule were ended with the victory of the Labour party in the General Election. The British society broke with the conservative norms of the Victorian era and a socio-cultural revolution was induced: a new permissiveness started to replace prudery and convention. This influenced not only music, theatre, film and fashion, but British politics as well. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and the psychedelic music of groups like Pink Floyd reined the Swinging Sixties from the radios, the short skirt and hot-pants revolutionized the women’s wardrobes and the launch of a female birth control contraceptive, the pill, was an important part of the sexual revolution. (Kamm and Lenz 339 – 346)

During the socio-cultural revolution women evolved a new, more independent and self assure identity. According to two well-known feminists Maggie Humm and Rebecca Walker, the 1960s and 1970s were the second era of feminism. Women were fighting against discrimination and for gender equality in all life sectors. With the growing opportunities of the Sixties and better access to higher education, women were finally able to have better paid jobs. With more individual liberty becoming available to women, they were no longer as dependent on men as they were before. Their career became more important to them. Having a family was no longer a woman’s only goal in life ( ).

In the year 1967 the climax of the Swinging Sixties was reached: the House of Commons passed three bills in the favour of social liberalism: First the Abortion Act which legalized abortion if two doctors agreed that it was necessary for medical or psychological reasons, second the Sexual Offences Act, legalizing homosexuality which has been banned since 1885, and third the Divorce Act which reformed the strict divorce regulations. Furthermore freedom of thought and expression lost its limitations when censorship was finally abolished in 1968. Britain’s Capital had turned into the music and fashion centre of the world and for the youth ‘Britishness’ was in (Kamm and Lenz 339 – 346) (Lloyd and Robinson 85-87).

2. British Cinema in the 1960s

5 The mood of the moment was also caught in the British motion pictures: In the early Sixties the ‘New Wave’ cinema movement broke over Great Britain as a renaissance in film-making. The theme was London’s working-class youth and its frustrations, limits and hopes which were brought to the screen by a new generation of talented film directors which were tired of the safety of mainstream cinema. New production techniques, like shooting in natural light with handheld cameras, helped to give everyday life a more vibrant edge. Black and white shot movies like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) or A Taste of Honey (1961) are very representative for the melancholic ‘kitchen sink dramas’, whose ordinary subjects and settings were eponymous. The contemporary lives of working-class characters set in the industrial north of England were the main content of motion pictures produced during that period (Nelmes 320).

When United Artists, an American company, decided to support the production of Tom Jones and of Dr No and its sequels with the secret agent 007, the international success of these new cult heroes let British film-making reach new heights. Not only the lower production costs in Britain but also the yet undiscovered sources of new acting and directing talents attracted American investors. By 1964 the ‘New Wave’ ended and the Swinging Sixties became the new guiding theme, financed by companies of the United States. Paramount, Universal, Warner Brothers and other major film studios had realized the hidden gold mine that lay within British film-making. The independent companies in Britain were no longer able to compete and within two years nearly 80 per cent of the latest released movies were financed with the dollar from overseas. With the colourful motion picture Tom Jones, director Tony Richardson had started the transition.

The films produced now were set in the magnetic metropolis and all cool, stylish and knowing, the characteristics of the Sixties. “Sober realism and earnest social comment gave way to fantasy, extravaganza and escapism” (Lloyd and Robinson 85-87). Both elements of pop and youth culture combined with the permissiveness of the ‘new’ society set in the Metropolis’ affluence represented the Swinging London films. Central features were especially sexual freedom and changing gender roles. In the context of the socio-cultural revolution in Great Britain the movie Alfie was released – and it turned out to be a real blockbuster. With its intrigues and confusion in the life of the charming Cockney with the lifestyle of Casanova, it kept up with the times of the sexual revolution which was amongst others characteristically for the 1960s.


3. Production Background to Alfie

According to Jim Leach, the author of the book “British film”, Darling and Alfie are the key films of the mid-1960s that illustrated ambivalent attitudes towards the supposed exciting life in London in that period (128). “Caine and Christie embody the vitality of the new discourse of sexual liberation, but these films suggest that the moral issues were more complex than either the supporters or the opponents of change admitted” (Leach 131). The story of Alfie is narrated by its title character himself, who directly speaks to the audience. At that time a cinematic innovation, this device also prevents the audience from distancing itself from the ruthlessly egocentric protagonists as the distinction between character and actor is blurred (Leach 131). The movie can be divided into two distinct halves, in the first Alfie’s hedonistic and misogynist lifestyle is depicted for which he has to live with the consequences and comeuppance that catch up with him in the second half. Not only his chauvinistic behaviour towards the ‘birds’ he meets but especially the abortion scene, which was also a landmark of frankness in British cinema, were the main reason for the critics attention. According to Jeffrey Richard “Michael Caine’s integrating charm as he addresses the audience directly, taking them into is confidence and engaging their complicity, made him a role model rather than an object of condemnation” (Leach 131).

Nevertheless the adaptation of Bill Naughton’s play turned out to be producer Lewis Gilbert’s first big hit. Gilbert has had a diversified career in British cinema which varies from being a child actor to assistant director, producer, film writer and every now and then again performing in front of the camera. The native-born Londoner started with short documentaries and had his feature film debut in 1947 with The Little Ballerina, a modest film for children. During the 1950s, Lewis Gilbert specialised in crime films and Second World War dramas, two popular genres that helped him stabilise a commercial reputation as a producer in the British film business. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Gilbert was aiming at an international market but produced rather unsuccessful blockbusters like The Seventh Dawn. His only success in this period is his adaptation of The Admirable Crichton which was effective due to the commentary on class retaining from the play (Snail 76-78). Following the commercial success with Alfie were his Bond movies that were released between 1967 and 1979, You only live twice, The Spy who loved me and Moonraker. Gilbert’s solid professionalism is characteristically for his career and it also led critics especially in the 1970s to think of him

7 rather as a capable craftsman who’s producing mainstream films than an artistic individualist. His lifework which was often marked with the characteristically British kind of bravery got recognized by the numerous prizes including a BAFTA in 1990. In the United Kingdom Alfie was released in March 1966 with a running time of 114 minutes. With a production budget of estimated $800,000 Alfie turned out to be a box office success for Paramount Pictures and generated in the United States alone a gross revenue of about $8,500,000. ( The main protagonists starring in the movie are Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins, Julia Foster as Gilda, Graham Stark as Humphrey, Vivien Merchant as Lily and Shelley Winters as Ruby. The film got nominated for several Academy Awards which included Best Actor in a Leading role for Michael Caine, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Vivien Merchant, Best Picture and Best Writing. Furthermore the title song “Alfie” which was originally by Burt Bacharach and Hal David but performed by Cher in the movie also got a nomination for Best Song. Among others Alfie won the Special Jury Price at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966 and a Golden Globe for the Best English-Language Foreign Film. In 1975 director Ken Hughes tried to tie in the line of success with the sequel Alfie Darling starring Alan Price in the role of Alfie but it never gained as much recognition as the original did. Still, in 2004 another remake of Alfie updated with Jude Law in the role of the cockney Casanova was released without gaining the hoped for success. ( ) 4. Socio-gender Situation of the Characters The following paragraph is focused on the socio-gender situation of the protagonist Alfie and of Gilda, Lily and Ruby, three of the main characters. By depicting the relationship of Alfie with the latter, his reckless lifestyle will be discussed in order to show how he doesn’t only influence the life of the women he is entangled with but most of all his own. Besides his attitude towards women in general, I also want to disclose his approach to being a father, to abortion and towards marrying. 4.1. Gilda “Now I’m off to visit a little bird called Gilda. Although she ain’t exactly stupid; she’s a bit on the simple side. She’d never make a number one (…) (Alfie start 6’). That is how Alfie introduces the spectator to his rather long time affair Gilda, a waitress in the mid-twenties who loves him with devotion. Alfie always refers to women as ‘birds’, a diminishing

8 expression that indicates his chauvinistic attitude towards women. “She or it, they are all birds” (Alfie start 50’). Alfie believes that men are superior to women. During the whole movie his behaviour implies that he is not respecting his female companions. When Gilda tells him that she respects her friend Humphrey, he states into the camera: “I don't want no bird's respect - I wouldn't know what to do with it” (Alfie start 35’10’’). Although Gilda is faithful and loyal to Alfie, he has other affairs. His freedom is very important to Alfie. “(…) I told Gilda from the start that I ain’t a marrying soul, and you know what? She do[es]n’t mind. She’s a stand by and she knows it. And any bird that knows its place in this world can be quite content” (Alfie start 6’30’’). Whenever she says she loves him and asks him about his feelings, a subject he tries to avoid in general, he tells her not to ask him. He would tell her when he wants to, but if not, she should know that he won’t reply the way she would want him to (Alfie start 14’40’’). Alfie does not like Gilda’s expectations from him. Their relationship seems to work out only as long as she is not a “liberty taker” (Alfie start 6’20’’) as to Alfie women are in general. As soon as the situation gets more serious between them, he is looking for a way out. When Gilda is expecting a baby from Alfie, he is not at all content with the situation and gets furious. To her question as to why they can’t go through with the pregnancy he only states: “(…) what a horrible thought!”, as he has never gone through with anything in his whole life (Alfie start 15’). He warns her that if he would have to marry her, she might get a husband but she would lose a friend. Gilda is only able to calm him down when she assures him that he doesn’t have to marry her and suggests getting the baby adopted. Then he states that she could do what ever she wants to as it is her baby anyway and nobody could tell her what to do. He is distancing himself and taking no responsibility for her pregnancy or the baby (Alfie start 15’). He doesn’t support or comfort her when she is upset, but tells her to steady herself and mind his shirt. He behaves as if this situation would simply not affect him (Alfie start 16’30’’). Furthermore he states on the way to the hospital where the baby is born, that he doesn’t understand why she was that happy during her pregnancy as she was not married. To him a baby of an unmarried woman still is a bastard child. Its birth is a disgrace to the mother even if he is the father and he himself refused to marry her. (Alfie start 15’) Love to Alfie is a mystery. “I don’t know what love is the way you birds talk about it (…)“ (Alfie start 30’). But when he is holding his son Malcolm in his arms for the first time, Alfie’s face finally brightens up. He seems to be proud, especially when he decides that his

9 son looks more like him than like his mother. For a short period in his life Alfie starts caring about somebody else than just himself. (Alfie start 17’40’’) And that was from his point of view the only mistake he made: getting involved with Gilda and the baby boy. When Gilda decides to keep little Malcolm, Alfie at first wants to change her mind about it as he is afraid she could not give him a good life. In the end he finds that he is enjoying spending time with his little son. Like any proud father he is getting attached to Malcolm, something he always guarded himself against as he is afraid of the pain that “sooner or later” is going to come from a relationship (Alfie start 25’). In addition his personal liberty was always very important to him, but now that he is responsible for somebody else, he has to accept that his life is no longer without any restrictions: “Once you got a kid in your life, it’s not your own” (Alfie start 25’40’’). Gilda keeps dreaming about having her own little family - A dream that could come true if she would only accept the proposal of the bus conductor Humphrey who has been falling for her for a long time. At first Alfie reacts very jealously hearing that Gilda is seeing Humphrey, but then advises her rudely to accept his proposal in order to give her “bastard son a proper family” (Alfie start 31’30’’). He appears to be hurt that she prefers marrying Humphrey instead of being in an open relationship with him and also afraid to lose his son. But he would not admit it or show any of his emotions openly. He suppresses his feelings because for him it is a waste of time to still think about “a bird he’s finished with” (Alfie start 33’40’’). Alfie seems to regret that he did not find another way to stay with little Malcolm. To him a child is more important and special than the relationship to a woman: “If you lose your bird you can always replace her. But with a child it's different. (…) each one’s got its different nature” (Alfie start 40’30’’). He failed in his paternal responsibilities with his son Malcolm, even in his dreams (Alfie start 48’). Alfie finally seems to realize what he has missed out on when he sees the family he could have been a part of at the baptism of their newborn baby girl (Alfie start 95’40’’). 4.2. Lily

During Alfie’s stay at a rehabilitation centre, he meets Lily Clamacraft, a fellow patient’s wife and mother of three children. Although he is not interested in her at first, he offers her a ride home one day. They stop for a cup of coffee and go on a private boat trip where he seduces her. Alfie doesn’t feel guilty at all even though she is the wife of Harry who became a friend in the clinic. To him she is just another conquest: “Well, what harm can it do? Old Harry will

10 never know. And even if he did, he shouldn't begrudge me - or her, come to that. And it'll round off the tea nicely“(Alfie start 60’). He has no bad consciousness although he is interfering in and endangering a marriage. Earlier, in rehabilitation centre, Alfie warned Harry that he could not trust his wife:”(…)with a bird you can never tell where it’s been nor what it’s done” (Alfie start 51’). With seducing Lily he demonstrated that he was right. To Alfie having an affair is “human (…) nature” (Alfie start 51’20’’) and getting attached to somebody is a mistake. “You’ve got to live for yourself in this world (…)” (Alfie start 51’) This sequence shows that Alfie became an egocentric who only cares about himself. Even if he says he does not want to hurt people, he is too insensitive to avoid it. (Alfie start 53’40’’) To him it is life itself that is to blame. It is unfair and makes people unhappy: “All I want is that you see life, see what it is and what it does to you” (Alfie start 53’30’’). The sex with Lily seems to be a proof for him how life is unfair and that the bond of marriage is not ensuring a happy life as nature is stronger than human will.

About three months later Lily is getting in touch with him again to let him know that she fell pregnant. She does not want to have the baby as her husband then would find out about her being unfaithful to him (Alfie start 90’). Alfie decides to call a dubious doctor whom he asks to give Lily an abortion at his apartment. In front of the doctor, Alfie pretends that he had nothing to do with the pregnancy and presents himself as only a friend of hers that decided to help Lily when she had nowhere else to go (Alfie start 88’40’’). He wants to distance himself from the whole incident while pretending that he had done or caused no harm and is not to blame for what will happen in his apartment. With not paying for the operation or helping with the preparations like cleaning the kitchen or boiling water for the sterilisation of the instruments, he indicates that he does not feel involved (Alfie start 86’30’’ and start 90’).

When the surgeon explains that terminating a pregnancy after 28 days is against the law and a crime against the unborn child, Alfie starts feeling more and more uncomfortably (Alfie start 89’). He can not cope with any further implications that could disturb his single lifestyle. He is paying no attention to Lily’s feelings and does not seem to care about the fact that it is not only illegal but also very painful and hard for a mother to loose her child, no matter whether it is wanted or not. During the gruesome abortion which takes place in the kitchen next to his room and without any anaesthesia or proper disinfection he says: “My understanding of women only goes as far as the pleasure. When it comes to the pain I'm like any other bloke - I don't want to know” (Alfie start 91’10’’). His concession perfectly shows how irresponsible

11 and reckless Alfie is in his behaviour towards women. He is too insensitive to know or care about how to deal with difficult personal situations.

When the doctor tells him how to care of Lily after the operation, which was only inducing the painful and dangerous abortion itself, he is getting nervous and anxiously asks him to stay and get it through with her (Alfie start 91’30’’). Being responsible for somebody else is a hard and impossible lesson for the egocentric. When Lily’s pain makes her cry out loud he is afraid that she could be heard and slaps her in the face (Alfie start 93’). As soon as possible he leaves his apartment and with it suffering Lily alone to distract himself from what he has supported: the death of an unborn child, his unborn child. The dead foetus in the kitchen made him realise the whole impact of their decision and he feels like a murderer (Alfie start 101’). Touched and upset he starts crying, but not for the unborn as one would expect, but out of self-pity (Alfie start 98’ and 101’). He tries to process his shock by talking to a friend whom he tells all about this incident. When Alfie returns to the apartment he secretly puts some borrowed money into Lily’s purse in order to support her at least in a financial way. In the end he seems to have a guilty conscience which he tries to overcome and compensate for by giving Lily money and affirming himself that he did nothing wrong. (Alfie start 102’)

4.3. Ruby

The character of Ruby, an older woman from the United States, differs a lot from the other two protagonists presented before. She is independent and wealthy and not as young and naive as his usual affairs. They get to know each other when Alfie is working as a street photographer near the Tower Bridge in London (Alfie start 55’20’’). Her dress style, the way she talks, walks and smokes indicate that she is a self secure and very modern thinking woman. In the movie the character of Ruby is indicating the shifting of the gender roles which started in the context of the sexual revolution of the Sixties as stated earlier in this paper. The new female independence combined with the recovered self-assureness of their body and sexuality made women become more permissive. Ruby for example is wearing a relatively short skirt, she is flirting with Alfie and lets him touch her at her decollete although they are strangers that just met and she is in company (Alfie start 56’).

12 Ruby is representing the modern female identity that was evolving in the Sixties: she is a strong and independent woman, dressing seductive, sexually more active and living her life without paying attention to the moral etiquette of the British conservativeness (Alfie start 73’). Ruby has been married twice already, has more life time experience than Alfie and seems to travel a lot due to her job. She is a mature and more cultured woman than his usual dates. This makes it a whole new experience for Alfie, going out with a woman who knows what she wants “and (…) is gonna get it” (Alfie start 75’), as usually, he is the one in the relationship to have the upper hand. To the audience Alfie boasts about Ruby being able to afford staying in an expensive apartment. He is very proud that he is dating a richer woman, which makes him feel like he has climbed up the social ladder (Alfie start 72’45’’). Money has always been very important to Alfie. He enjoys the esteem he has when driving a Rolls Royce even if he is just the chauffeur (Alfie start 58’45’’). Alfie is not satisfied with being a member of the lower middle class. Therefore he enjoys being with Ruby whose ecomomic and social standard boast his self esteem. Furthermore Alfie likes that Ruby never asks him about his other affairs. She is more selfassure than “these young birds” (Alfie start 104’), who he is not interested in anymore since seeing her. Towards the end of the movie Alfie tells his audience that he doesn’t like ‘being on the move’ any longer (Alfie start 104’). Whereas he always resigned to marry Gilda even when she was pregnant from him (Alfie start 15’) and mocked his fellow patient in rehabilitation centre for his marriage (Alfie start 50’45’’), he decides to settle down with Ruby shortly after they started seeing each other. “With a wife like Ruby you wouldn’t want nothing on the side, you know what I mean?”(Alfie start 75’45’’). When he visits her unexpectedly one day, he is astonished to find a younger man in her bed. Ruby is the first woman who has played him at his own game. For Alfie it is hard to believe that he has been simply replaced by somebody younger than him, even if he was usually doing the same to his affairs. He is hurt, especially as he respected Ruby as an companion he even considered spending the rest of his live with. Really upset and jealous Alfie demands an explanation: “Why him? What’s he got that I haven’t (…)?”(Alfie start 117’) When Ruby answers that the reason for her liaison was her lover’s younger age, Alfie resigns disappointed. Ruby does not seem to feel ashamed and is not apologizing to Alfie. She does not need to make excuses as their relationship to her was not as serious as Alfie just decided it is to him. The irony of the whole incident is clear: Ruby did the same to Alfie as he was doing all the time to his other affairs and now he lost the only woman he really cared about to a younger man. After the

13 break up with Ruby he finds himself wandering lonely and brokenheartedly in the dark streets of London.

At the end of the film, the self-absorbed and self-righteous Cockney is wondering “What is it all about?”(Alfie start 110). Alfie’s adventures have brought him full circle but he has learned nothing in the process. So he is trying to get an answer from the audience who has attended some of his experiences. Alfie has come a long way from the beginning but still did not find out what his goals and ambitions are in life. Although he had many ‘birds’, he is all alone again in the end and realizes that he made a mistake. He should have done something differently in his life. The final words of the film release some of the true feelings of the egocentric protagonist who may in the end have found out that life is not only about sex. “(…)When I look back on my little life and the birds I've known, and think of all the things they've done for me and the little I've done for them, you'd think I've had the best of it along the line. But what have I got out of it?” (Alfie start 110’). The comeuppances of his reckless lifestyle finally catch up with him. He seems to feel guilty and compunctious when admitting that “(…) I ain't got me peace of mind - and if you ain't got that, you ain't got nothing” (Alfie start 110’). Conclusion: The movie Alfie is giving the viewer of today a good insight into the cultural history of Great Britain in the Sixties. According to Ashby and Higson, “Swinging London films pivot around single (…) men, defying convention as they try to fulfil their ambitions and find romance in a modern and uniquely unconventional London” (233). This citation perfectly applies to Alfie, a movie about a male representative of the rather affluent working class who is enjoying his single lifestyle to the fullest until he is faced with the consequences of his reckless behaviour and left alone in the pulsing city.

Both sexual freedom and changing gender roles, central features of Swinging London in the Sixties, are main topics of the movie. Alfie is a modern British Casanova conquering any women that comes along his way until he falls in love with the one that plays him at his own game and breaks his heart. Ruby is an independent and open-minded modern woman that is not reserved in expressing her sexual longings. She is portraying the modern female identity, working abroad, financing her life independently and not subordinating her wishes to the traditional conservative role of women in society. Sexual expression used to be a male

14 prerogative, but in the 60s the new permissiveness started replacing the British conservativeness and both men and women began to forbear from the moral etiquette of prudery and convention just as Alfie and Ruby do.

But not everything was simple and exciting life in Great Britain’s metropolis during the Swinging Sixties. Alfie embodies a vital new approach to sexual liberation, but the moral issues of the movie are more complex. In Alfie ambivalent attitudes towards living in the capital are illustrated. Topics like the difficulty of bringing up a child as a lower middle class single woman, infidelity in marriage and abortion are outlined. Not only are the depicted harshness of life for an unmarried mother and especially the abortion scene with Lily even in the 21st century still very moving, but these scenes are also representing some present issues of the Sixties. In the context of the passing of the three bills favouring social liberalism in 1967, abortion and homosexuality became legalized, divorce regulations were reformed and freedom of speech and expression was given with the abolishing of censorship in 1968.

Therefore Alfie is not only an entertaining movie of the 60s but also an instructive indicator for the cultural history of London in the late 1960s.

Secondary Sources: Filmography: Alfie. Dir. Lewis Gilbert, Perf. Michael Caine, Shelley Winters, Millicent Martin, Vivien Merchant. Paramount Pictures, 1966 Bibliography: Ashby, Justine and Higson, Andrew. British Cinema Past and Present London: Routledge, 2000. 233-243 Corrigan, Timothy and White, Patricia. The Film Experience: An Introduction Boston/NY: Bedford/St. Martins 2009. 72-75, 498-500 Kamm, Juergen and Lenz, Bernd. Grossbritannien verstehen

15 Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2004. 202-206, 339-346 Leach, Jim. British Film Cambridge: Cambridge Brock University, 1st published 2004. 128-131 Nelmes, Jill. Introduction to Film Studies London: Routledge, 1996. 4th Edition. 320-321 Richards, Jeffrey. Movies of the Sixties Lloyd Ann and Robinson David. London: Orbis Publishing London, 1983 Sargeant, Amy. British Cinema – A Critical History London: British Film Institute, 2005. 238, 247-248 Snail, Robert. British Film Directors – A Critical Guide Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. 77-79 Spicer, Andrew. “Masculinity and British Cinema” Murphy Robert. The British Cinema Book London: BFI, 2nd edition. 93, 98 Unterburger, Amy L. International Dictionnary of Films and Filmmakers “Actors and Actresses”, Gale: St. James Press, 1997. 187-189 Electronic Sources: Leading the Charge: Woodfall Film Productions and the Revolution in '60s British Cinema July 13 – 26, 2007 26 October 2009

Michael Caine books, Michael Caine’s “What’s it all about?” An Autobiography 12 October 2009


Wikipedia, Richard Dyer 14 November 2009

Wikipedia, Michael Caine 14 November 2009

Wikipedia, Feminism 29 December 2009

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Case Styudy

...for Chinese small business: the case of ‘‘Bags of Luck’’ Lee Zhuang Lee Zhuang is a Principal Lecturer in Strategic Management at Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK. General background Company history ) in Chinese Pinyin, is located Founded in 1992, Bags of Luck (BoL), or Xingyun Bao ( in a small coastal town, Xiao Min Nan (XMN), in South Eastern Fujian province, People’s Republic of China, halfway between the coastal cities of Xiamen and Quanzhou. As an industrial park, XMN was created out of Yang’s oyster farming village with a population of just under 1,000. The name of the village derived from the fact that most of the indigenous villagers were descendents of a local Yang family. With its geographic proximity to and cultural similarity with Taiwan, XMN was developed at the beginning of the 1990s with the most advanced infrastructure with the aim of attracting Taiwanese investors to set up manufacturing facilities there to take advantage of cheap labour and tax incentives. After 20 years’ of explosive development, XMN has grown to become a bustling modern town hosting over 2,000 manufacturing firms, 80 per cent of which are foreign invested, with a working population of 500,000. Almost 100 per cent of the goods manufactured in XMN are labour intensive products designed abroad and exported to North America and the EU. The products made here include shoes, bags, clothing and small plastic kitchen utensils. In the early phase of development, people of the local...

Words: 7884 - Pages: 32

Premium Essay

Stereotyping of Women

...out of place in the real world: In addition to the traditionally found housewife stereotype, there exists a strong and quite distinctive stereotype of woman as bunny. Bunny is described as glamorous, good-looking, pleasure-loving, romantic, excitable, passionate, frivolous and sensual... a third stereotype is reserved for women who choose activities which carry them beyond the traditional roles which serve men. These women lose their femininity... (Clifton, McGrath, Wick, l976: 144) In this study, we will compare the treatment of these demeaning stereotypes in several of the media that are not usually considered in sex role studies: contemporary works of art, contemporary popular music, and situation-based television commercials. We will show that each of these media project a false and demeaning image of women's role in society, each in accordance with its sex-based need for stereotyping. Although sex roles in contemporary art are less rigidly defined by social and cultural forces than are other, more commercial media, there is abundant evidence that modern art follows the...

Words: 2061 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Realism Is a Set of Conventions That We as Viewers Understand, in a Given Historical Moment, to Be a Representation That Corresponds to Reality. Through the Close Analysis of Soap Opera – and with Reference to at Least

...Realism is a set of conventions that we as viewers understand, in a given historical moment, to be a representation that corresponds to reality. Through the close analysis of soap opera – and with reference to at least three academic sources, outline the conventions of realism and explain how they are used effectively in British soaps. Realism has been universally recorded as the quality of representing a person or situation in an accurate way. Ever since the conversion from radio to television, British soap operas have used realism effectively to attract and sustain audiences. Coronation Street (1960- ), the British soap opera set in a fictional town in Manchester and Eastenders (1985- ), the British soap opera set in a fictional London Borough are currently the two main soap operas in Britain where realism is used effectively to draw audiences. The original producer of Eastenders once commented, “We don’t make life, we reflect it” (Geraghty, 1991:32). This shows that representing reality has always been the main aim in this genre. This also shows that they are not trying to create their own town, with their own conventions, but rather reflect what they see in everyday life into the soap opera. One main way in which realism is conveyed is by the sense of place and/or community. A sense of place can easily be established by the title sequence alone. For example, Eastenders’ title sequence consists of a map of London’s east end (Allen 1995: 67). This sets up the sense of...

Words: 1684 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Maanaging Across Borders - Company Report

...cross border offshoring management, cultural dimensions and gamification Table of Contents Table of Contents Executive Summary | p.5 | Chapter I – Introduction1.1 Purpose of the Report1.2 Effects of Globalization on Businesses’ 1.3 Company Background1.4 Outline of the Report | pp.6-7 | Chapter II – Cross Border and Offshoring Management 2.1 Introduction2.2 Defining culture2.3 Defining management and cross cultural management 2.4 Offshoring2.5 Key problems in cross cultural teams2.6 Conclusions | pp.8-11 | Chapter III – Analyzing and Explaining Cultural Dimensions3.1 Introduction3.2 Analysis of cultural dimensions and Country Comparisons 3.2.1 Power Distance 3.2.2 Uncertainty Avoidance 3.2.3 Long term orientation 3.2.4 Indulgence 3.2.5 Individualism 3.2.6 Masculinity 3.3 Limitations of Hofstede’s Dimensions | pp.12-17 | Chapter IV – Gamification4.1 Introduction4.2 Defining and Explaining gamification4.3 Gamification’s effects on business4.4 Examples of gamification4.5 Criticism – The dark side of gamification | pp.18-20 | Chapter V – Corporate Social Responsibility5.1 Introduction5.2 Defining and explaining CSR 5.3 The Foxconn and Apple scandal5.4 Recommendations and Actions | pp.21-22 | Chapter VI – Recommendations to Management | pp.23-24 | Chapter VII – Conclusions | pp.25 | References | pp.26-27 | Executive Summary Executive Summary This report provides an analysis and evaluation of the issues an EU...

Words: 6986 - Pages: 28

Premium Essay

Reward Programs of Starbucks Coffee

...programs they can have and what will be the advantages and disadvantages of it. However, these rewards have some misfires that you will know. This study will only occur from August to October 2014. We will only gather first information from the questionnaires and interviews that we will conduct to provide the most accurate information and to prevent false information. Background of the Study Starbucks Reward Program encourages their customers to buy their products because of rewards. Reward programs of Starbucks were created to test the loyalty of their customers. There have been changes about their rewards to test the loyalty of the few. Starbucks Rewards Program also has the capability of giving their customers satisfaction by giving them back the gratitude for buying their products. The purpose of the study is to identify the credibility of the reward program of Starbucks Coffee. Rewards Program of Starbucks also allows customers to access or to track their purchases online and get more rewards by buying a Starbucks Card and earn points Starbucks is very well positioned to take advantage of sustained income due to a variety of strategic large-scale variables affecting its performance. Starbucks stage is the entire world, therefore must take into consideration the local countries current technological, economic, cultural, and political/legal...

Words: 10698 - Pages: 43

Premium Essay


...content ------------------------------------------------- Top of Form | | Bottom of Form * Business   * History   * Languages   * Math   * Psychology   * Sciences * Home * Business * Management * Organizational Behavior ------------------------------------------------- Behavioral Performance Management By Luthans, F. Edited by Paul Ducham Share on facebookShare on twitterShare on google_plusone_share Contents * BEHAVIORISTIC THEORIES * COGNITIVE THEORIES * SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY * LAWS OF BEHAVIOR * REINFORCEMENT THEORY * BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT * POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE REINFORCERS * ANALYSIS OF MONEY AS A REINFORCER * SOCIAL RECOGNITION * PERFORMANCE BEHAVIORS * MEASUREMENT OF BEHAVIOR * FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS OF BEHAVIOR * INTERVENTION STRATEGY * PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT * BEHAVIORAL MANAGEMENT * SERVICE APPLICATIONS BEHAVIORISTIC THEORIES The most traditional and researched theory of learning comes out of the behaviorist school of thought in psychology. Most of the principles of learning and organizationalReward Systems and the behavioral performance management approach discussed in this chapter are based on behavioristic theories, or behaviorism.           The classical behaviorists, such as the Russian pioneer Ivan Pavlov and the American John B. Watson, attributed learning to the association or connection between stimulus and response (S-R). The operant...

Words: 10313 - Pages: 42

Premium Essay

Mob Griffin

...Licensed to: iChapters User Licensed to: iChapters User Organizational Behavior: Managing People and Organizations, Tenth Edition Ricky W. Griffin and Gregory Moorhead Vice President of Editorial, Business: Jack W. Calhoun Executive Editor: Scott Person Senior Developmental Editor: Julia Chase Editorial Assistant: Ruth Belanger Marketing Manager: Jonathan Monahan Senior Content Project Manager: Holly Henjum Media Editor: Rob Ellington Buyer: Arethea L. Thomas Marketing Communications Manager: Jim Overly Production Service: S4Carlisle Publishing Services Sr. Art Director: Tippy McIntosh Cover and Internal Design: Joe Devine, Red Hanger Design LLC Cover Image: © Eric Isselée, Shutterstock Rights Acquisitions Specialist/Images: John Hill © 2012, 2010 South-Western, Cengage Learning ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this work covered by the copyright herein may be reproduced, transmitted, stored, or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, scanning, digitizing, taping, web distribution, information networks, or information storage and retrieval systems, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the publisher. For product information and technology assistance, contact us at Cengage Learning Customer & Sales Support, 1-800-354-9706 For permission to use material from this text or product, submit all requests online...

Words: 34296 - Pages: 138

Premium Essay

Environmental Analysis

...VIEW Strategic Human Resource Management Taken from: Strategic Human Resource Management, Second Edition by Charles R. Greer Copyright © 2001, 1995 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. A Pearson Education Company Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 Compilation Copyright © 2003 by Pearson Custom Publishing All rights reserved. This copyright covers material written expressly for this volume by the editor/s as well as the compilation itself. It does not cover the individual selections herein that first appeared elsewhere. ii Permission to reprint these has been obtained by Pearson Custom Publishing for this edition only. Further reproduction by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, must be arranged with the individual copyright holders noted. This special edition published in cooperation with Pearson Custom Publishing. Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Please visit our web site at ISBN 0–536–72690–6 BA 996748 PEARSON CUSTOM PUBLISHING 75 Arlington Street, Suite 300 Boston, MA 02116 A Pearson Education Company iii iv Table of Contents SECTION ONE ................................................................. 1 An Investment Perspective and Human Resources .... 2 HUMAN RESOURCE INVESTMENT CONSIDERATIONS ...6 INVESTMENTS IN TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT ..... 14 INVESTMENT PRACTICES FOR IMPROVED RETENTION ..................

Words: 132738 - Pages: 531

Premium Essay


...employment. This important anthology brings together the thinking of leading philosophers, economists and lawyers on this complex subject. Selected recent articles from the multidisciplinary International Labour Review are assembled for the first time to illuminate questions such as how we should define equality, what equal opportunity means and what statistics tell us about differences between men and women at work, how the family confronts globalization and what is the role of law in achieving equality. There is an examination of policy – to deal with sexual harassment and wage inequality, for example, as well as part-time work, the glass ceiling, social security, and much more. A major reference on the best of current research and analysis on gender roles and work. Martha Fetherolf Loutfi has been Editor-in-Chief of the International Labour Review, a Senior Economist for the Brandt Commission and in the ILO’s Employment and Development Department and an associate professor of economics. She has written books and articles on employment, women, energy, environment, capital flows and foreign aid. Price: 40 Swiss francs WOMEN, GENDER AND WORK 30.11.2002 ILO c.i+iv_WomGend&Work WHAT IS EQUALITY AND HOW DO WE GET THERE ? WOMEN, GENDER WORK  Edited by Mar tha Fetherolf Lout f i I N T E R N AT I O N...

Words: 243134 - Pages: 973

Free Essay

Tcs Hr

...of the degree of MASTER OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Submitted by G.VARALAKSHMI [pic] K.G.R.L.PG COLLEGE, BHIMAVARAM. ANDHRA UNVERISTY VISKAPATANAM (2009-2011) DECLARATION I here by declare that this project report titled a study on “COMPENSATION MANAGEMENT” in HETERO DRUGS LIMITED has been carried out by me Submitted in partial fulfillment of the award of the degree of “ MASTER OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT”, in K.G.R.L .PG COLLEGE BHIMAVARAM. PLACE: DATE: (G.VARALAKSHMI) PREFACE In today’s changing world on should aware of latest trends market demand then only survival can be possible and can compete with others. The concept of “compensation management” plays a significant role in HUMAN RESOURECE MANAGEMENT. COMPENSATION MANAGEMENT is defined as “ systematic approach to provide monetary value to employee in exchange of work performed” A study has been conducted on “COMPANSATION MANAGEMENT” and a Questionnaire is prepared to conduct survey to know how it is working in “HETERO DRUGS LIMITED”. A through analysis is presented in this report on the study conducted with the help of graphical representation. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I take the opportunity to express my deep sense of obligation to Sri. CHINNA BABU (DY.G.M) for the HR Dept, My external guide Mr. CH.Janardhan reddy. HETERO DRUGS Limited, Sanathnagar having...

Words: 20038 - Pages: 81

Free Essay

Research Paper

...Graduate School of Development Studies POP POLITICS: Popular culture as a democratic space for active citizenship among Filipino youth A Research Paper presented by: Marie Angelie Resurreccion Philippines in partial fulfillment of the requirements for obtaining the degree of MASTERS OF ARTS IN DEVELOPMENT STUDIES Specialization: Children and Youth Studies (CYS) Members of the examining committee: Dr. Linda Herrera [Supervisor] Prof. Dr. Ben White [Reader] The Hague, The Netherlands November, 2009 Disclaimer: This document represents part of the author’s study programme while at the Institute of Social Studies. The views stated therein are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Institute. Research papers are not made available for circulation outside of the Institute. Inquiries: Postal address: Institute of Social Studies P.O. Box 29776 2502 LT The Hague The Netherlands Kortenaerkade 12 2518 AX The Hague The Netherlands +31 70 426 0460 +31 70 426 0799 Location: Telephone: Fax: ii Contents Acknowledgments List of Figures List of Acronyms Abstract Key Words Chapter 1 Introduction 1.1 The Filipino Youth and Media in Recent Philippine History The Marcos Regime: Youth in the Streets The 1986 People Power: The Culmination of Protests The Post-1986 Youth: Disengaged or Disillusioned? People Power II: The Rise of GenTxt Postscript 2001: ‘People Power Fatigue?’ Media and Technology: Expanding Youth Spaces 1.2 Research Objectives and...

Words: 25337 - Pages: 102

Premium Essay

Mba Eu

...Chapter 1 Case1: "Lessons for 'Under Cover' Bosses" This exercise contributes to Learning Objectives: Define organizational behavior and identify the variables associated with its study, Explain the relationship between personality traits and individual behavior, Describe the factors that influence the formation of individual attitudes and values, Discuss the importance of individual moods and emotions in the workplace, Apply the study of perception and attribution to the workplace; Learning Outcomes: Define organizational behavior and identify the variables associated with its study, Describe the factors that influence the formation of individual attitudes and values, Apply the study of perception and attribution to the workplace, Define diversity and describe the effects of diversity in the workforce, Describe the nature of conflict and the negotiation process, Describe best practices for creating and sustaining organizational cultures, and Describe the components of human resource practices; AACSB Learning goals: Communication abilities, Analytic skills, and Reflective thinking skills Executive offices in major corporations are often far removed from the day-to-day work that most employees perform. While top executives might enjoy the perquisites found in the executive suite, and separation from workday concerns can foster a broader perspective on the business, the distance between management and workers can come at a real cost: Top managers often fail to understand the...

Words: 19619 - Pages: 79

Premium Essay

Business Ethics by Shaw Test Bank

...BUSINESS ETHICS BY SHAW TEST BANK A+ Graded Tutorial Available At: Visit Our website: Product Description PRODUCT DESCRIPTION Business Ethics by Shaw Test Bank, Business Ethics by Shaw – Test Bank A+ Graded Chapter 1—The Nature of Morality MULTIPLE CHOICE 1. Which of the following characteristics distinguishes moral standards from other sorts of standards? a. moral standards are purely optional b. moral standards take priority over other standards, including self-interest c. moral standards cannot be justified by reasons d. moral standards must be set or validated by some authoritative body 2. Choose the statement that gives the most accurate description of etiquette: a. the rules of etiquette are a fundamental branch of morality b. conformity with the rules of etiquette is sufficient for moral conduct c. etiquette refers to a special code of social behavior or courtesy d. the rules of etiquette are backed by statutory law 3. Our relationship with the law is best described by which of the following? a. To a significant extent, law codifies a society’s customs, norms, and moral values. b. The law is a completely adequate guide to the moral standards that we should follow. c. The law makes all immoral conduct illegal. d. Violating the law is always immoral. 4. Which of the following is not one of the four basic kinds of law? a. statutes b. constitutional...

Words: 21479 - Pages: 86

Free Essay


...Chapter 1 The Evolution of the Modern Firm Chapter Contents 1) Introduction 2) The World in 1840 • Doing Business in 1840 • Conditions of Business in 1840: Life Without a Modern Infrastructure Example 1.1: The Emergence of Chicago 3) The World in 1910 • Doing Business in 1910 Example 1.2: Responding to the Business Environment: The Case of American Whaling • Business Conditions in 1910: A "Modern" Infrastructure Example 1.3: Evolution of the Steel Industry 4) The World Today • Doing Business Today • The Infrastructure Today Example 1.4: Economic Gyrations and Traffic Gridlock in Thailand 5) Three Different Worlds: Consistent Principles, Changing Conditions, and Adaptive Strategies Example 1.5: Infrastructure and Emerging Markets: The Russian Privatization Program Example 1.6: Building National Infrastructure: The Transcontinental Railroad 6) Chapter Summary 7) Questions Chapter Summary This chapter analyses the business environment in three different time periods: 1840, 1910 and the present. It looks at the business infrastructure, market conditions, the size and scope of a firm’s activities and a firm’s response to changes. This historical perspective shows that all successful businesses have used similar principles to adapt to widely varying business conditions in order to succeed. Businesses in the period before 1840 were small and operated in localized markets...

Words: 81132 - Pages: 325

Premium Essay


...THE POWER OF HABIT Duhi_9781400069286_2p_all_r1.j.indd i 10/17/11 12:01 PM Duhi_9781400069286_2p_all_r1.j.indd ii 10/17/11 12:01 PM HABIT W h y We D o W h a t We D o and How to Change It THE POWER OF CHARLES DUHIGG Random House e N e w Yo r k Duhi_9781400069286_2p_all_r1.j.indd iii 10/17/11 12:01 PM This is a work of nonfiction. Nonetheless, some names and personal characteristics of individuals or events have been changed in order to disguise identities. Any resulting resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental and unintentional. Copyright © 2012 by Charles Duhigg All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Random House, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. RANDOM HOUSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc. ISBN 978-1-4000-6928-6 eBook ISBN 978-0-679-60385-6 Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper Illustrations by Anton Ioukhnovets 2 4 6 8 9 7 5 3 1 First Edition Book design by Liz Cosgrove Duhi_9781400069286_2p_all_r1.j.indd iv 10/17/11 12:01 PM To Oliver, John Harry, John and Doris, and, everlastingly, to Liz Duhi_9781400069286_2p_all_r1.j.indd v 10/17/11 12:01 PM Duhi_9781400069286_2p_all_r1.j.indd vi 10/17/11 12:01 PM CONTENTS PROLOGUE The Habit Cure GGG xi PA R T O N E The Habits of Individuals 1. THE HABIT LOOP How Habits Work 3 31 60 2. THE...

Words: 124310 - Pages: 498