Ever since I saw Michael Caine in "THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING" and "THE EAGLE HAS LANDED" back in the 1970s, he has been one of my favorite actors. Now that I have finished this delightful and wonderful memoir (one of the best that I've ever read), I like him even more as a human being.
Born into poverty in London in 1933, Caine had a childhood ambition to be an actor. Up until he was almost 30, he struggled, largely unrecognized, to develop his talent. With the success of "ZULU", Caine became a star and further solidified his career in movies such as "THE IPCRESS FILE", "THE ITALIAN JOB", "GET CARTER", and "SLEUTH" (starring with Sir Lawrence Olivier).
Caine is a very engaging storyteller and this book is replete with his varied experiences of working on various movie sets around the world, making friendships with some of the most remarkable people in his profession (as well as the arts, royalty, and politics), and his love and devotion to his family and friends great and small.
I'll sum up my review of "What's It All About" with 2 observations made by Mr. Caine himself in it -
"I was once asked the difference for me between theatre, film and television. They were like three women, I said. The theatre was a woman whom I loved but who didn't love me back and treated me like shit. The cinema was a woman whom I loved who loved me back so deeply she didn't care when I treated her like shit. And television was a one-night stand."
"So what was it all about? In my case it was about ambition and anger and despair and determination, the everyday driving force of the poor who wish to find a ladder out of the well of hopelessness. It was also about my companions on my journey through show business. We are not, of course, without our faults. For the most part we are spoiled if we are successful, and bitter if we are not. We can be conceited and arrogant, and we are all, without exception, insecure. Finally, we are all slightly mad, or we would not be in this business in the first place, and only cling on to some sanity by a thin thread of incurable optimism."