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on 27 September 2011
To me an autobiography should follow a simple formula. Cover the subject's childhood fairly quickly highlighting any experiences that help explain their future personality. Then run through the writers career covering the key events, key films/TV shows etc. areas outside of their career that they have an interest in (in this case its houses, food & restaurants). Finish off with a few personal political statements or beliefs such as the environment etc.

Michael Caines book follows the formula very well, and it's a good book because of it. His childhood and the story of his breaking into movies are well written and interesting. His first few films such as Zulu, Alfie, and the Italian job are covered in pleasing detail and then it's a decently paced run through the next 30+ years of his movie career. Occasional sidetracks into buying houses, his family life and other interests are included but they serve to round out Michael's personality and character and do not distract the reader too much.

I did lose count of the number of 'best friends', "very special friends' & 'dear friends' that get a slightly gushing mention. My view is that if you happen to be Sean Connery or Jack Nicholson and Michael Caine doesn't mention in his book that you are best mates, then you are going to get in trouble.

My only complaint would be that we seemed to skim over a lot of his career that would have been interesting to explore further. The man has made so many films with a wide range of people that another couple of hundred pages covering them would have gathered the book an extra star.
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on 14 November 2015
This Michael Caine autobiog from 2010 is the follow-up to his hugely successful What's It All About? from 1992. Back then, he'd prematurely sensed his movie career was quietening - & hadn't envisaged the renaissance he'd enjoy in the next stage that began in the mid-90s, & continues to this day.
Rather than augment & re-issue the original book with new chapters to cover this next 20 year period, he chose to write a completely new book - including edited-down extracts from the original, followed by new material - which is what we have here with 'The Elephant to Hollywood' (including lots of new photos from his archives too).

The resulting book inevitably means that something of the rather elegant original is lost - there's far less detail, & that's sad, as that was definitely one of its strengths. For anyone wishing to read Michael's fascinating (& beautifully written) life story in full, I'd strongly recommend doing what I did, which is...
1. read the first book, and then
2. read the prologue/chapter 1 of this book, before jumping to chapter 14 to resume the story.
Hope that makes sense!

I have to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed my journey through Michael's life & career through both books, & he really does have an excellent talent as a writer too. Both are packed with anecdotes, behind-the-scenes stories, and Michael's wonderful (& often self-deprecating) honesty & humour. To his credit too, he never 'dishes the dirt' on anyone from his past, & 'tells it like it is' while respecting others' privacy. I've read many autobiogs in my time, but this has to be one of the most enjoyable - Michael really is a lovely & fun person, & a true gentleman, and that really comes over to me here.

In conclusion then, if you'd prefer a slightly abridged version of his life, then this book should do you fine - but if you want the full picture (which I'd thoroughly recommend), start with the first book & pick up the last 20 years here.
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on 23 May 2011
One of the best autobiographies I have ever read. Honest, chatty, hilarious, thoroughly interesting in describing the movie set in America, insightfuly history of Hollywood, a host of famous friends and a heartfelt description of his personal life. Just when you cant stop laughing, and you think the book is petering out, there are a few final surprises, least of which, personal Caine recipes. What more could you want from a book. Plenty of colour pictures. Left me wanting more.
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on 11 January 2012
Was read by MC so bought this. He has such a dinstictive voice and hearing him tell the tales you are whisked straight back to the films, to Newcastle, Milan, South London, Norfolk (The Eagle Has Landed), Cote d'Azur and his homelife in London, Hollywood, South Beach Miami.....the Langan's escapades..Marvellous memories and antedotes all delivered with an acute human touch that he seems naturally to purvey. He laughed several times at his own writing as the memory flashed back to him. Another wonderful touch which a book couldn't have delivered. These are the reminicenses of a 77 year old star and so are heavy-laden with nostalgia, fairy dust and warmth that comes of age and a million of names and stories to draw upon. Maybe not so angelic as he portrays methinks....Met MC (with Shakira and family about 1999?) on a business class flight from Nice and when disembarking told him I was a great fan and loved everything he had done, even the Madness song. Even he didn't love everything he did (and did much more than I knew about so it was a bit of a sweeping statement), but we both know what we were talking about. He said "thanks - yea,doing the Madness song was fun". English ICON. Knight of the realm.
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This is an entertaining book written in an easy, almost conversational style. Whilst not a page-turner in the conventional meaning of the phrase, it as an easy read that allows your to canter through the pages.

Rather than a remote and rather precious movie star, Michael Caine comes across as a genuine human being who happens to inhabit and be relaxed in the rarefied world of the Hollywood set. He freely admits to making what turned out to be a number of turkeys, often undertaken to pay for a new house or something similar. Even though this might be a property well out of the reach of less affluent mortals, his honesty is endearing. The only slightly jarring note in the book comes from the number of occasions that other stars are listed rather unnecessarily as "my very good friend". However, he is obviously someone who enjoys the company of others and who commits himself emotionally to people he regards as friends.

This is a very comfortable read. The book leaves you feeling that even if Michael Caine had not been a movie star, he would still be the type of person you'd be very, very happy to have as a neighbour. A good bloke.
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on 19 September 2011
I've never been that big a fan of Michael Caine, and in fact did not buy this book, I did borrow it from the Library. A lot of other reviewers have commented on its being a revisit of his first book, which I didn't bother with because I loathe & detest the film "Alfie", so I can't comment on that.
I was surprised, though, to find in this book a number of interesting things about people he'd met - Noel Coward sponsoring an orphanage, for example - who knew? And yes, there's a fair amount of name dropping - and if I'd had his career, I probably would too. (On the other hand, Ian Holm doesn't really drop names at all, and his autobiography is simply dreadful).
The thing that did impress me, though, was the constant repetition of his awareness of something incredibly important to his career - luck. Much to my surprise, I got so involved in his story that I read it straight through in a single afternoon; and I came out thinking Sir Michael is probably someone I'd really enjoy going out for lunch with. You never know, we might bump into one of his friends as well.
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on 7 July 2011
A fairly thorough autobiography (which captures his voice perfectly), this takes Maurice Micklewhite from his birth in the slums of the Elephant & Castle in 1993 right up to starting work on The Dark Knight Rises. He draws in his early life especially well - it's funny at times, but there's always a pall of sadness hanging over it - chronicles the sixties well and then seems to slide through the late 70s and 80s. This isn't really about his films and even when he mentions them, it's often in passing, but his life, his family and his friends (which, for the most part is fine, but every friend is a good one and that does start to grate a little after a while). Having said that, in the end this is the story of a real working class hero, a boy-done-good, who stuck to his guns and looked after his family and friends and is still working today. A terrific read, funny and poignant but full of the joys of life, I'd very much recommend it.
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on 3 April 2015
Warm, candid,down to earth. Not pretentious, great great love. Best of all, not one mean remark about all of the actors he met along the way, whether great or small. Thank you Sir Michael. I have bought a copy of this autobiography for a christmas present.
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on 5 February 2011
Very disappointed - a very good read for those who didn't read Michael Caine's previous autobiography - for those who did, I reckon only the last quarter was new writing.
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on 3 April 2011
I have always liked the way Michael Caine comes across the non big headed actor like some actors do. He is a man doing a job just like for say a lorry driver dose. I am a lorry driver so this audio book is a great way to pass the time traveling up and down the motorways and most of all stuck in the traffic jams. Michel Caine tells you his struggle through his life in acting, the stars who he meets along the way, that he is always felt so lucky an privileged to meet. In short this audio book is funny, sad, and very much intresting... brilliant. Michel Caine reads it in a most relaxing way that make you want to listen to it right to the end.
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