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  Alfie Darling Not What's It All About
Year: 1975
Director: Ken Hughes
Stars: Alan Price, Jill Townsend, Paul Copley, Joan Collins, Sheila White, Annie Ross, Hannah Gordon, Roger Lumont, Rula Lenska, Minah Bird, Derek Smith, Vicki Michelle, Brian Wilde, Robin Parkinson, Rosalind Elliot, Jenny Hanley, Ben Aris, Patsy Kensit
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Alfie Elkins (Alan Price) is a long distance lorry driver who is proud to be a womaniser, and his job allows him plenty of opportunities to cash in on his reputation. Today, he passes through customs in France with his best buddy Bakey (Paul Copley) and an English hitchhiker (Vicki Michelle) they have picked up whose company Alfie has been enjoying in the back of the cab. Once they drop her off, he is already looking out for his next conquest and thinks he finds it in a sports car-driving young lady (Jill Townsend) who they attempt to keep up with, or would if the police don't stop them. Alfie must try harder...

In the mid-sixties, the original Alfie had cemented Michael Caine's reputation as one of the most talented new stars of his generation. So in the seventies who better to take over the celebrated role as that famous Cockney lothario than musician and singer Alan Price? Who, it's obvious from the outset, is making no moves to try out the London accent and sticking with what he knows, i.e. his County Durham tones. It's never explained why Alfie has acquired this new background and indeed it's a bit of a mystery why the leaden Price was cast at all, although he does provide the music.

Cilla Black trills the title song, as opposed to her more well known version of the original, but doesn't appear. Who does appear are a host of recognisable actresses for the hero to bed, meaning this sequel looks more like Confessions of a Window Cleaner than its predecessor, even if it does have a go at treading similar ground. A story doesn't really raise its head until about halfway through, so until then it's mostly Price chatting up seventies dolly birds, and the male viewers will be dismayed to see he takes his clothes off more often than his female co-stars.

While in France, Alife does catch up with the object of his desire, but wouldn't you know it? There's a class difference, the sports car driver, called Abigail, is a middle class magazine editor who likes to slum it in roadside cafes. Alfie is willing to overlook this if she becomes his latest conquest, but she is playing hard to get, completely disinterested in fact, leading the trucker to embark on a campaign of what in more enlightened times would be called stalking. This culminates in a car chase, and Abigail has such a good time that she agrees to go out with Alfie.

But what's this? When it comes to performing in the bedroom with Abigail, Alife is a failure - he can't understand it, it's never happened before. Could it be this out of his league high-flying executive has made him feel small? Some soul searching ensues, but not too much, as Alfie runs back to the arms of the names in his little black book, including Joan Collins whose husband finds out about their fling when he discovers Alfie's wallet under his bed. All this examination of the 1970s male is only taken so far, implying that what he really wants to do is settle down with the right person exactly as the women do, but writer and director Ken Hughes, adapting Bill McNaughton's novel, is too set on replaying the tragic ending of the original on a grander scale, to absurd effect. So Alfie is sent into introspection once more and we wonder why we bothered.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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