Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Under the Stars: Michael Caine

As the summer movie season winds down in theaters, it is time to turn our attention from the now to the then as Turner Classic Movies launches their "Summer Under the Stars" month tomorrow. For the sixth year, each day in August on TCM is dedicated to a different legendary star -- from Astaire to Widmark -- and their classic films. (Watch a promotional preview here.)

In the tradition of our coverage of TCM's "31 Days of Oscar" back in February, Movie Dearest will spotlight each day's star the day before. And, in addition to a "Star Profile" (courtesy of TCM's Now Playing guide), I will pick out one movie a day to recommend or that is of other interest. Fresh off the biggest movie of his career (that would be The Dark Knight), Michael Caine is up first:

Now Playing Star Profile for Michael Caine - Stardates: Born March 14, 1933, Rotherhithe, London, England. Star Sign: Pisces. Star Qualities: Elegant professionalism, colorful British twang, empathy with the common man. Star definition: "Wonderfully good company, ceaselessly funny and a brilliant actor" -- Laurence Olivier. Galaxy of Characters: Alfie Elkins in Alfie, Jack Carter in Get Carter, Milo Tindle in Sleuth, Lt. Col. "Joe" Vanderleur in A Bridge Too Far.

And speaking of Olivier, he co-starred with Caine in Sleuth, the taught two-character mystery thriller that was director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's last film. Both actors were nominated for Academy Awards, one of the few times a film's entire credited cast was so recognized. The original 1972 movie (written by Anthony Shaffer, adapting his own stage hit) had some homoerotic subtext between the dueling duo; this was amplified in the little seen remake from last year, wherein Caine shifted to the Olivier role and Jude Law took over Caine's.

Sleuth airs tomorrow on TCM at 10:00 AM EST.

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