Michael Caine Movies: From Gay Murderer to Best British Film

MICHAEL CAINE (1933 – )                      

[On his many years desperately trying to make it as an actor]: ‘In my worst moments I went on the dole (the last time, Sean Connery was two guys in front of me in the queue)…The other people hanging around with me waiting for work included Richard Harris, Terence Stamp, Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and many others who found it too tough and turned their backs on their dreams.’

[He received the following accurate advice from a repertory director in Lowestoft in his early days, about how to play a convincing drunk]: ‘You’re giving me an actor playing a drunk. I’m paying you to be a drunk. You’re trying to talk slurred and walk crooked. A real drunk is trying to speak clearly and walk straight.’

Zulu (1964)

Michael as Lt. Gonville Bromhead in Zulu (1964)

[Michael was almost replaced on Zulu, his breakthrough movie, because he had based part of his portrayal of the aristocratic Lt. Bromhead on his observations of the Duke of Edinburgh]: ‘I hadn’t had a privileged background, so I decided to study the Duke of Edinburgh, who was the most privileged person I could think of. What I noticed was that he walked with his hands behind his back. I figured that he was so powerful, well-guarded and well attended to that he didn’t need his hands to defend himself or indeed to do anything at all. I played the part with my hands behind my back. I have to warn you, though, that my brilliant characterization was somewhat misunderstood. ‘Actor playing Bromhead so bad, doesn’t even know what to do with his hands. Suggest you replace him’, said the telegram from the producers when they saw the first rushes. They came around in the end but those were tense days.’

50 Years of Inspiration | Kenneth Ferguson - Blog

Caine & Stanley Baker in a scene from Zulu

[It was in those early days of shooting Zulu that his producer and co-star, Stanley Baker, explained to Caine (with a grin) how movie-making worked]: ‘You’ve only done two scenes and at this point we could easily replace you – probably more cheaply than we could replace the horse. The more shots you’re in, the more careful we’ll be about you. Towards the end you will become extremely precious to us and we will overwhelm you with fuss, care and attention. Until the final scene when, once again, we won’t give a shit.’

‘Frank [Sinatra] had a ‘Twenty Minute Rule’. He would not travel for dinner more than twenty minutes’ drive from his house in Beverly Hills. If he had been invited to dinner and had been in the car for twenty minutes he would command his driver to turn around. ‘I’m twenty minutes,’ he would call out. ‘It’s too far. We’re going home.’ Mind you, he was also known to fly to Paris for dinner when he was staying in London.’

NPG x127295; Sir John Mills - Portrait - National Portrait Gallery

John Mills

‘When I was a bit-part actor, John Mills had me fired from a movie set for being too tall. I turned up to do my first scene with him, and he said he was sorry but he couldn’t act while looking up. He did at least insist I got my full fee, and we later became friends and even acted together in The Wrong Box a few years later; apparently, John was prepared to look up once my star had risen a little higher.’

NPG x34612; Norman Wisdom as Norman Puckle in 'The Bulldog Breed' - Portrait - National Portrait Gallery

Norman Wisdom – promo for The Bulldog Breed

‘Around the same time, Oliver Reed and I got small two-day parts in a Norman Wisdom film called The Bulldog Breed. I was an uncredited sailor and Oliver was an uncredited ‘Teddy Boy’. Apart from our dialogue with him, Norman never spoke to either of us and, in fact, he ordered the assistants to keep the pair of us away from him. What a conceited, nasty man; not funny at all.’

The Romantic Englishwoman (1975) - IMDb

‘Glenda Jackson, who was my co-star in the 1975 British film The Romantic Englishwoman and an extraordinary actress, not only always seemed in complete command of the situation, she actually seemed to enjoy it. She walked around the set naked all the time, even when we weren’t shooting the nude scenes. Didn’t give a toss.’

Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on 'Gilligan's Island', dies from COVID-19-related causes

DAWN WELLS (1938-2020)                                  

[The actress who portrayed Mary Ann in the TV series Gilligan’s Island spoke about her start]: ‘I hate to admit that because it brings false hopes to the poor kids thinking of going into the business, but I came here [Los Angeles] and got an agent within six weeks and got my first job within six weeks.’

‘It bothers me at times when people say, ‘Oh, her career went nowhere after Gilligan’s Island (1964).’ In actual fact, doing more film and TV was not my interest. My theatre career has flourished and I cherish that…I have played in nearly 100 productions in my career, with roles ranging from Maggie in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ to doing ‘Menopause: The Musical’. In film or TV, I would not have been given the opportunity to play such a range of characters.’

‘Much of the money that I make has been from being a spokeswoman. I have made millions of dollars by doing commercials, endorsing products and producing. If you want to be wealthy in this business, you have to do more than Shakespeare!’

Here's What Happened to 'Gilligan's Island' Star Alan Hale, Jr.

Alan Hale Jr as ‘The Skipper’.

[About her relationship with Alan Hale Jr in Gilligan’s Island]: ‘He embodied the teddy-bearish Skipper, was a wonderful man. I never saw him angry.’

One of today's b'day celebrants actress Jean Hagen in her hysterical role as Lina Lamont in the 1952 film … | Singin' in the rain, Singing in the rain, Rain costume

JEAN HAGEN (1923 – 77)                         

‘No-one knew I was in pictures! When I was asked, ‘Do you work?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I’m an actress,’ people replied, ‘Oh, really? Have we seen any of your pictures?’ If I answered, Singin’ in the Rain’, they said, ‘Oh, we don’t remember you in that.’ And if I said The Asphalt Jungle, they said, ‘Well, now…we don’t remember you in that, either – what part did you say you played?’ My answer to that was: ‘I wasn’t Marilyn Monroe!’

[Explaining how she proved she dubbed her own voice in Singin’ in the Rain (1952)]: ‘They didn’t believe me when I told them I did, until I gave them samples. But I finally convinced them that I was the blonde, not-so-bright movie queen whose squeaky voice was not okay for sound.’

D. W. Griffith - Wikipedia

DAVID WARK GRIFFITH: (1875-1948)            

[The director of The Birth of a Nation (1915)]: ‘There will never be talking pictures. We do not want now and we never shall want the human voice with our films. Music – fine music – will always be the voice of the silent drama.’


  1. I wonder if Michael, could have been famous as Maurice?. Norman Wisdom had a very hard up bringing, but recently some Actresses, say it was not a nice time working with him. He’s not here to defend himself, but if true, it’s a shame.

      • I am not defending any of these men, Weinstein is alive and can face a court. Saville, In Briton was so numerous it was hard to deny. I grew up watching Wisdom, and find it disappointing.

        • Fair enough, Morris. I try not to be accusatory or to defend, but merely draw my conclusions from the evidence available. The fact that many of these people are no longer living is inconsequential. Hitler is no longer alive and unable to defend himself. So what? Historians formulate opinions based on whatever evidence or reports are at their disposal. And we are not always 100% right because data is nearly always incomplete. It’s the nature of the beast.

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