Michael Caine: My Generation is Not Yours

DATELINE: Swinging 60s?

Michael Caine Only Blowing Off the Doors?

Michael Caine, one of the great film stars, and under-rated actors since the 1960s, produces and presents a documentary that gives intriguing insight into the London influence of the 1960s.

That was the time of swinging London, Carnaby Street, and the Beatles. It was also when Caine first struck pay-dirt in his movie career.

Caine knows enough to start the documentary with his famous line from the Italian Job about blowing the bloody doors off the car, famously parodied in The Trip and The Trip to Spain by Coogan and Brydon.

You will see a few TV clips of his early performances, and he tells how he chose the name Caine for his career (based on an old Humphrey Bogart movie playing nearby when he was selecting). All this early detail is marvelous.

He even notes that he was a few years older than the group of Cockney stars that rose up in music, film, photography, and fashion. But he was there.

With ingenious clips of young Caine riding up in an elevator, and the old man stepping out, you have his memories coming out: he recalls going to a trendy dance club where every Beatle and every Rolling Stone was dancing; he figured this was the place to be.

Michael Caine converses with Roger Daltrey, Donovan, Joan Collins, Twiggy, Paul McCartney, and Marianne Faithfull, about the days when they were young. He is right there for most of this, but in the final segments, when drugs and LSD take hold, he is not really a participant.

As he points out, he kept his head. It is why he is still making movies fifty years later. He was far beyond London by the late 1960s and the drug scene there. It is alien to him.

The insights are fun and enlightening in his chats with those who transcended their Cockney roots. There is also a soundtrack of great 60s music from Kinks, Beatles, Stones, and Animals.

 

 

Good Ol’ Freda Strikes a Musical Chord

 DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP!

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Imagine being the secretary of the Beatles before they were famous—until after they disbanded. Freda Kelly was with them for eleven years—and never wrote a book, sold their memorabilia, or otherwise made a ton of money off them.

Even at retirement age, she must work as a secretary. Yet, she has the riches of musical history in her heart. And, now, someone finally put her story on film. She only goes so far—and won’t tell her personal relationships to all four of them. Yet, what she knows and tells is heart-warming.

This film wouldn’t have worked if Freda were not a sweet person. But, she is lovely and charming and genuine, and you can see why each Beatle (Ringo—Ritchie to her, Paul, George, and John) all responded to the girl Brian Epstein hired to be his secretary. The Beatles in unison once called her “Good Old Freda.”

Ringo’s mother took to her as a daughter, and she was their wise, level-headed little sister. Only she could force John Lennon to his knee to beg her to stay on as their assistant.

Before that, she was the unofficial keeper of the fan club—and they appreciated her admiration. She was levelheaded, sensible, and supported them with integrity and privacy.

You will watch as Freda rummages around her attic and finds four boxes of materials she hasn’t seen in 40 years. She kept only a few things, having given most away for nothing to Beatles fans.

Even if you don’t recall the Beatles era, or know their music well, you will certainly respond to the notion of becoming the most important peripheral figure in the lives of the super-famous. Freda Kelly is that person.

Good Ol’ Freda turns out to be a happy, delightful experience in documentary film.  Even though the Beatles broke up and ended unhappily as team artists, Freda was there and was a rock of dependability for rock stars.

We loved this little unassuming movie, and we know you will too.

Ossurworld has written several books on movie criticism, including ALFRED HITCHCOCK FRESHLY SHOWERED, MOVIE MASHUP, and MOVIES TO SEE–OR NOT TO SEE.  All his film histories are available at Amazon.com .