On Saturday afternoons for non-sport lovers BBC2 broadcasts an interview with a famous film star – normally with Michael Parkinson – followed by a film showcasing the star.
Saturday it was the turn of Michael Caine and The Ipcress File. The first interview with Parkinson was in 1973 and Michael Caine wore those bold framed glasses which are his trademark. It was worth watching to see how much male fashion in clothes has changed so much in 45 years.
Michael Caine had a highly successful run in films from mid to the early seventies; Zulu, Alfie, The Italian Job andGet Carter were all popular and critical successes.
In an era of northern stars like Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay, Terence Stamp and Michael Caine flew the flag for the south. He was a reliable actor but not a great one.
The plot was hard to follow but I always enjoy Nigel Green, one of the most underrated actors of that time and best remembered as Colour Sergeant Bourne in Zulu. It’s main interest for me was to see a London now scsrcely recognisable of parking meters with yellow expiry on them and a world of no mobiles, internet or indeeed any form of computer.
In his first interview with Parkinson Caine assured us he would never emigrate , in a subsequent one he had gone to Los Angeles and in a third was back. This might explain why he was never as popular as say David Niven who also spent much of his life abroad. When Niven returned he was greeted by a bevy of porters at Heathrow who later provided the biggest floral Rribute at his funeral to “ the greatest gentleman they ever knew”. It’s that sort of connection that Michael Caine never quite achieved.