14 July 2008


Via Ray Ghanbari of Things So Impossible, screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr. makes an interesting observation about my favourite actor in the recent Batman Begins, whom I'm looking forward to seeing again in The Dark Knight.

Back to my disturbance with Michael Caine as Alfred the Butler. It had nothing to do with his competence, of course. Michael Caine is magnificent in everything he does. My concern was with the psychological havoc this casting might wreak. How would Caine adapt to butling in the quiet confines of Wayne Manor? Was the Joker not a feeble adversary for this man who had faced down a zillion freaked-out Zulus shrieking for his blood in South Africa, not to mention an assortment of armed villains in the U.K.? Would not this change of circumstance send any man — especially a member of the thespian tribe, who are uncertainly balanced at best! — reeling to the loony bin? I held my breath.

And soon enough exhaled, as I realized how foolish I'd been. Alfred the Butler had hardly taken up his duties as Wayne Manor factotum and keeper of his employer's stupendous secret before he was dashing into a burning mansion and heroically rescuing Bruce Wayne from a hideous death.

That's Alfred, the real secret of Batman's success.

Mr Semple has more interesting stuff to say about Batman, and it's worth clicking through to see it. He's worth listening to as he was the screenwriter for a bunch of things well worth your time, including The Parallax View, Three Days of the Condor, Papillon ... and the pilot for the ’60s TV series Batman.

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