Alfie is a real character, with his cockney accent and personal insight about the world he resides in and the people he crosses paths with. Before Ferris Bueller, there was originally Alfie constantly breaking the fourth wall. Although that’s where any comparison ends because Ferris may be a schemer but he is good at heart. Safe to say Alfie is no Ferris Bueller. Not by a long shot. He is a self-indulgent, hedonistic, womanizer, constantly playing the field without looking for anything real.
True he has a kid, a few affairs and casual trysts, but he never sees “Birds” as anything more than objects. Every girl is an “It” not a “Her.” They fulfill his desires and their main purpose is to be used for his pleasure and his needs. He is a man who lives for himself and no one else. He is a real cynic and a deplorable sort of person at that.
Initially I had nothing complimentary to say about the character because the reality is there really was nothing good to say about him. But in a single moment Alfie proved that he might be selfish but not heartless. He finally attempts to “settle down” only for it to backfire on him. That’s the way it works and so Alfie is about right back where he started. I would like to think his heart is a little softer though.
Michael Caine is likable enough to make me not completely hate Alfie and that is to his credit because it was difficult not to. His various conquests and companions were played by, among others, Julia Foster, Jane Asher and Shelley Winters. The film’s jazzy score may not be rock and roll but it seems to personify Swinging London as much as Double-Deckers and Tower Bridge.