Plot: What’s it about?
When it comes to the ladies, no man has the magical touch like Alfie (Michael Caine), who can do no wrong when it comes to the opposite sex. He has been with a lot of women over the years and while he has had fun with them, he never gets emotional with them. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings for him, as they usually do, but he usually gets what he wants, then cruises back out once again. Alfie is not a bad man by any means, but he just wants to remain a free man, so he can pursue new experiences and of course, new women. He has been able to avoid attachment to this point, but what would happen if he did fall in love? Would he even admit to himself what had happened, or would he file his emotions off somewhere and continue with his lifestyle? He has never had to face those issues before, but now he finds himself in all sorts of unusual situations. Whether he is laid up in the hospital, discovers unknown things about himself, or yes, decides it is time to settle down, Alfie now has to choose what is really important to him.
This is a terrific movie that features a good storyline, solid direction, and some very nice performances. At the helm here is Lewis Gilbert (Damn The Defiant, Moonraker), who fills Alfie with a lot of humorous moments, but never allows the emotion to leave, which is vital for the characters here. If we just laugh and don’t realize how real the characters are, then much of the film’s impact is lost, I think. I do think you can view Alfie as a simple comedy, but to do so would overlook the best traits here, which would be a mistake, I feel. The writing is also great and it conjures up some wonderful characters, which the cast handle with no problems. At the head of the cast is Michael Caine (The Cider House Rules, Mona Lisa), who is excellent in this film and really shows off his talents, impressive work indeed. Caine is able to show Alfie’s charms well, but never makes him seem like a bad guy, which is an important aspect of the character. Other solid turns come from Shelley Winters, Julia Foster, and Millicent Martin. I recommend this release as a rental to most, but fans of the film will want to pick up this disc, as it is a bare bones, but nice presentation.
Video: How does it look?
Alfie is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This presentation has some flaws, but I think the image is very good and should please fans of the flick. Some scenes look dated and others have a layer of grain present, but aside from those issues, this is a good looking effort. The colors look bright, but never too much so and flesh tones are natural, with no errors to speak of. I was pleased with the contrast also, as black levels look terrific and detail is quite strong. This is not a pristine transfer, but I think it more than does the material justice.
Audio: How does it sound?
A brand new Dolby Digital 5.1 track has been tacked on and while it isn’t that rich, it does enhance the experience in the end. The surround use is never overdone and with this material, that’s good, as mass surround use would seem forced and unpleasant. The music score is solid also, quite immersive and easy on the ears, to be sure. No issues with dialogue either, vocals sound clean and crisp from start to finish, no complaints here. This disc also includes a restored mono track, as well as English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.