Film Review – ALFIE DARLING (1975)

ALFIE DARLING (1975, UK, 102m, 15) *½
Comedy, Drama
dist. EMI Distribution (UK), Cinema National (USA); pr co. Signal; d. Ken Hughes; w. Ken Hughes (based on the novel by Bill Naughton); pr. Dugald Rankin; ph. Ousama Rawi (Technicolor | 1.66:1); m. Alan Price; ed. John Trumper; pd. Harry Pottle.
cast: Alan Price (Alfie Elkins), Jill Townsend (Abby Summers), Paul Copley (Bakey), Joan Collins (Fay), Sheila White (Norma), Annie Ross (Claire), Hannah Gordon (Dora), Roger Lumont (Pierre), Rula Lenska (Louise), Minah Bird (Gloria), Derek Smith (Harold), Vicki Michelle (Bird), Brian Wilde (Doctor), Robin Parkinson (Parker), Rosalind Elliot (Secretary), Jenny Hanley (Receptionist), Ben Aris (Advertising Man), Timothy Peters (Advertising Man), Hugh Walters (Hugh, Advertising Man), Sally Bulloch (Clerk).
Belated sequel to ALFIE (1966) with Price taking over the lead role of Alfie Elkins from Michael Caine. Alfie is up to his old womanizing ways–until he meets his match in a sophisticated magazine editor (Townsend). His pursuit is complicated by his ongoing sexual encounters including with neighbour White and upmarket Collins, whose jealous husband won’t let him forget about his time with his wife. There really isn’t much substance on the bones here and the film lacks the moral and social commentary of Lewis Gilbert’s original film. Price lacks acting chops and charisma, whilst the first half of the movie serves little more than to tackily exploit Alfie’s libido with a succession of women. Price’s ‘real’ romance with Townsend fails to convince as the actors lack chemistry (despite a reported off-screen affair) and the scenario feels weak. The tragic ending looks to add a level of pathos, but we have not invested enough in the characters for it to hit home. Price contributed the music score and songs with the theme song (inserted into scenes with Price and Townsend in France) sung by Cilla Black.