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Chilling Demon "Evertonian" (Liverpool, UK)

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The Elephant to Hollywood
The Elephant to Hollywood
Price: £6.49

44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing - particularly if you've read "What's It All About?", 2 Oct 2010
Let's get things straight - I'm a huge fan of Michael Caine, and I eagerly snapped this book up. I've always found him to be a great actor (although admittedly he occasionally makes some very ill-advised choices as regards which movies to appear in), and think he's a very funny raconteur, with lots of great anecdotes to share.

However, I was pretty disappointed with this book, for two main reasons. As a long-time fan of Caine, I'd already read his previous autobiography, "What's It All About?", which I absolutely loved. This new autobiography, however, essentially recycles that book for the first 14 chapters of this one. Caine does state in the foreword that he's "not going to apologise for telling some of the old tales", which is honest of him, but - boy! - he really does retell a lot of them, and pretty much word-for-word as they previously appeared in "What's It All About?"

The new stuff in this book (i.e. post-1992, the point at which "What's It All About?" ended), is pretty thin on the ground, and whilst interesting, is lacking in detail. We get a little bit about later films such as Batman Begins, and even a mention of Inception, but it's all pretty sketchy. The great amounts of detail about his earlier work (which is great, but appeared in the first book) is simply not there for most of the later films he mentions.

Secondly - and I really do think this is a bit naughty - there's a definite sense of filler material being thrown in towards the end of the book. One chapter suddenly turns into a list of some of Caine's favourite recipes, which - whilst appearing to be very tasty - is hardly what I bought the book for. After a short epilogue, we then get a list of Caine's top-ten favourite movies, and another list of his favourite films in which he's appeared. With each we get some explanatory text from the man himself, like this gem of insight - "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: the funniest film I ever made - and the happiest." And that's that! On to the next film in the list! Hardly ground-breaking insight, and it lets the book down badly.

On balance, this is a real shame - "What's It All About?" was a conventional and very, very funny autobiography, which revealed a lot of new information about its author, but this offering seems very weak and cobbled together in comparison.

In spite of all this, I would recommend the book, but only to those who haven't already read "What's It All About?". The reader who is new to Caine's autobiographies shouldn't be disappointed, but I suspect everyone else might be. Add a star to the rating if you haven't read the previous book, then, or buy it with your eyes open and the aforementioned caveats in your mind if you have.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2010 8:39 PM GMT


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