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The Elephant to Hollywood: The Autobiography Hardcover – 30 Sep 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; 1st edition (30 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444700014
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444700015
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.7 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


uproarious and unflinching (Mail on Sunday)

Mr Caine is a charming raconteur....he writes with a quality that has grown rare among memoirists: good cheer (New York Times)

Michael Caine's second work of memoir brims with his gift for genial anecdote, but this time there's a hint of sadness as he looks back (Sunday Times)

To read Caine is to be in the company of an amiable, sentimental man who has achieved great success - and happiness - without appearing to be in the least smug. (Daily Mail, John Preston)

A truly incredible life story. (The Sun)

Not much mileage in discussing warm receptions then, unless it's to wonder if a literary festival crowd has ever sounded more fulfilled than when Michael Caine finally said "you're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off" and "not a lot of people know that" halfway through his appearance in Cheltenham last weekend. (The Times)

you can hear his distinctive voice throughout, his fans will enjoy the ride. (Choice)

a gold standard celebrity who makes the modern sort look cheap (The Times)

most memorable... This follow-up might have seemed over-indulgent were it not for his self-deprecating vignettes, told in a voice as distinctive as his spoken one, that led to critical comparisons with David Niven's classic, The Moon's a Balloon. (Independent)

Michael Caine fans will love his 'blow the bloody doors off' autobiography. (Fabulous)

A jolly amble from the Elephant & Castle to international stardom...there's plenty of satisfying name-dropping from a gold-standard celebrity who makes the modern sort look cheap. (Saturdays Times, Christmas Round-Up)

the peeks behind the silver screen make the book light up (New Statesman)

Most compelling autobiography since David Niven's The Moon's A Balloon... he has brought this fascinating story up to date. (RTE Guide, Ireland)

warm-hearted and well written autobiography. Despite his fame this celebrity has always kept his feet firmly on the ground and this enjoyable book shows how he did it. (Sunday Express)

Caine makes acting look easy. He has a similarly light touch as a raconteur. (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

Film legend and British icon Sir Michael Caine's major new autobiography.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
To some extent, the weaknesses of this book are somewhat inevitable. In 1992 Caine wrote What's It All About?, an autobiography that was interesting and a great read from an extremely prolific movie actor who has rubbed shoulders with some of the greats. Caine is a natural raconteur and, one suspects, is terrific company. At the time, he thought that his place as a Hollywood leading man was over - and indeed in that sense it largely was. But in subsequent years he has taken on some terrific supporting actor roles and produced, in my view, some of his most interesting work. There is still then a story to tell, despite the fact that in my view no one should really be allowed to publish more than one autobiography. That could have been fine though if he had just concentrated on those 20 years, but instead, perhaps understandably, he has chosen to repeat the "full life" approach and that's the book's weakness.

Since What's It All About?, there are another 20 years and countless movies to add, and perhaps in recognition that many readers will have read the first book, this time the book is about half the length of the first book. It's harsh to note that some of the stories are the same - of course they are - but with the huge number of movies, there is little scope for any detail as he attempts to precis this period that he's already covered. The result is too much like a list with little interesting detail. There's also some repetition within the book of bits from the first period and the more interesting newer work.
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By Post Scriptum TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Oct. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Michael Caine wrote a substantial autobiography a few years ago, so customers who already own that one should be aware: that part of his life hasn't changed, so expect to read about it again! What we get that's new here is his more recent career, covering the gradual revival of his appetite for acting in decent movies after a long period of disillusionment and barely-concealed boredom. There are some new stories, and some interesting anecdotes about what sounds like a very contented personal life. If you haven't read Caine's previous book, and you like him, you'll probably find all of this hugely enjoyable. If you have read the previous book, just don't expect too much that's entirely new - what you'll have is basically a light and entertaining coda to the other volume on your shelf. Caveat emptor.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not a huge fan of autobiographies, however, I do like Michael Caine. I'm not old enough to remember much of his early work but with his distinctive voice you can tell that he wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, with this in mind I was intrigued to find how he became a Hollywood legend.

I haven't read Michael Caine's previous autobiography and I think this may have gone in his favour. He does say at the start of the book that he'd wrote What's it all About? thinking that his film career was over but that he's had emense success since which has persuaded him to write this follow up. The first half of the book does focus on his early career and the stories of not only his struggle but the struggle of those around him, many of whom are also established names in "the business".

The initial chapters took a bit of getting through, I think mainly this was because my initial thought was - he's name dropping, I then came to the realisation that he's actually not, this is his life and the big names are just regular appearances in it. The book is also written exactly as Michael talks, there's no flowery embelishments of literary terms, it's plain speaking and gets to the point, this makes it very easy reading and quite quick to get through.

Once I'd got into the book I did really enjoy it, family and friends (plus house and garden) are obviously very important to him and it's nice to find someone so famous who is also very grounded, I got the distinct impression that he had his mum and wife to thank for that!

The only thing I really didn't like about this was the ending, I didn't want a recipe book and although I was interested in the films he's made, his favourite films and why was also something I wasn't particularly interested in.

If you've not read Michael's earlier autobiography then my advice would be to not bother, skip that and just go straight through to this one, it's an enjoyable read and highly entertaining.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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