2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Not A Lot Of People Know That,
This review is from: What's It All About? An Autobiography (Hardcover)
This is the quite interesting autobiography of Michael Caine, ne Micklewhite, son of a Billingsgate fish porter; he became one of Britain's best known film stars, though in many ways and paradoxically, not exactly popular with at least part of the public. It turns out that he was a not very willing National Serviceman who even saw frontline action in Korea, as a machinegunner.After that, he became an actor, while having to reassure his father that he was definitely NOT what his father called a "nancy-boy"!
Speaking personally, I have never much liked Caine's acting or roles, although he was good as the Cockney intelligence operative Harry Palmer (some would say sort-of playing himself in a way). His career took him from "Cockney"-oriented roles like Palmer and 'Alfie' through to playing military officers of more than one nationality but including English ('Zulu') and German ('The Eagle Has Landed').
Caine does go into the details of how he met his beautiful Indian wife, Shakira (he saw her on TV in a coffee commercial and pursued her until he got a name, a date and, eventually, a consent to marriage!). I think that story shows more than Fate or romanticism...it shows grit and determination. Also, the struggle for life of his daughter as a baby. And, while I could never agree with Caine's kneejerk 'anti-racism', I did come out of this book with a bit more respect for him than when I opened the covers. Caine is very pro-Jewish and pro-Israel, so much so that many people have mistaken him for a Jew. This obviously did not hurt his film career...however, his views seem to be sincere, though one wonders whether they are (like his dislike of anything restricting Indians etc coming into the UK) mainly emotionally-founded, rather than intellectually-based. Certainly his knowledge of music seems quite restricted: he describes 2001, A Space Odyssey and its music, which he says was written by Wagner...(in fact, it is from Richard Strauss' tone poem Also Sprach Zarathustra). And there are a few other errors of fact in the book which do weaken the weight of his views on world affairs, politics etc.
Overall, a good read and worth reading.