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Sunday, April 2

(1966, Lewis Gilbert) “I don’t know what love is, the way you birds talk about it.” Cockney Don Juan Michael Caine narrates his lurid London exploits, including a memorable tumble with randy, ample widow Shelley Winters. Music by jazz great Sonny Rollins. 35mm print courtesy Harvard Film Archive. Approx. 114 mins.


“HUGELY ENTERTAINING. Broke new ground by interspersing its amorous anti-hero’s sexual conquests with frank and witty confessionals delivered straight to camera. Such is Caine’s ease in front of the lens that this inherently theatrical device works beautifully on-screen, especially when Alfie begins to query the value of his rootless, carefree existence… A valuable record of the hedonistic Swinging 60s.”
– Neil Smith, BBC

“A precise, bittersweet portrait of a misogynistic cockney lady-killer in a sordidly downscale London. The special kind of music [writer Bill Naughton and Michael Caine] make together, under Lewis Gilbert’s efficient direction, matches the brashness of Sonny Rollins’s score and tenor sax solos.”
– Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Chicago Reader

“The best comedy and the best serious film seen in New York so far this year… Proves that the systematic but loving examination of a contemporary individual — or type — never ceases to be of artistic interest.”
– John Simon

“Captures the age as neatly as a stack of Zombies 45s.”
– Keith Phipps, A.V. Club

“The whole thing is played expertly by everyone in the large cast, and a lively jazz score and bright color make it seem much more casual than it is.”
– Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

Alfie pulls few punches. With Michael Caine giving a powerfully strong performance as the woman-mad anti-hero, and with dialogue and situations that are humorous, tangy, raw and, ultimately, often moving, the film may well shock. But behind its alley-cat philosophy, there’s some shrewd sense, some pointed barbs and a sharp moral… Caine brings persuasiveness, and a sardonic, thoroughly shabby and humorous charm to the role.”
– Variety

Film Forum