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Michael Caine - Acting in Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making (The Applause Acting Series) Revised Expanded Edition Paperback – February 1, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sir Michael Caine has won two Academy Awards during his distinguished five-decade career on screen. Knighted in 2000, Caine was born in working-class Sussex, England, and served in the British Army before landing his first film role in "Zulu" (1964). His films include "The Ipcress File", "Alfie", "Hannah and Her Sisters", "The Cider House Rules", and "Harry Brown". He is the author of the bestselling "What's It All About? "and "The Elephant to Hollywood". He lives in Surrey with his wife of thirty-seven years.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books; Revised edition (February 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557832773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557832771
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you like movies, this book is a great read. If you're interested in acting in movies, it's an essential read. If you're interested in moviemaking (behind the camera), it's still an essential read: buy extra copies to pass around on the set, especially if you're a struggling filmmaker and you have a cast of friends who've never acted before.
As a teacher, Caine is as straightforward as he is as an actor. You watch his performances and you're seeing an actor who understands that less is more. You read this book and you're listening to an instructor who understands the same thing. Every anecdote he tells about films he's been in and stars he's worked with is not just namedropping, it's ALWAYS relevant to whatever helpful point he's making about the craft of film acting. And to him it is very much a craft, not an art. The art takes care of itself; it happens mysteriously, but it can only happen if you nail the craft first. No arty-flighty book about acting theory or the Method, this is a working-class, meat-and-potatoes manual that anyone can relate to, much like its author.
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Format: Paperback
Michael Caine delivers a direct and useful how-to book for aspiring film actors. He doesn't delve into the psychological underpinnings of acting-there are hundreds of books that already do that. He assumes that you've taken classes, appeared in plays, and understand the artistic aspects of creating a character. He also understands the psychological leap required for the actor to learn how to deal with the camera, and the complex interrelationship between actor, director, and crew. For the performer about to step onto a soundstage for the first time, this volume is a must. The book could have been subtitled, "Film Acting: the First Hundred Mistakes and How To Avoid Them."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In one night I read this book wanting to put myself in the shoes of Michael Caine and seeing his perspective on movie making. Many times I have sat with other actors and filmmakers to gain an insight and to know their passion as a thespian. Michael Caine is a talented individual and what an experience it must have been for the people who had a chance to be part of this two-day class which was transcribed in this book. Thank you Michael Caine and Maria Aitken for releasing this book.
If you are a passionate, disciplined actor who would like to learn several pointers from this professional, buy this book.
Look at this as an inexpensive tool to improve yourself as a thespian. Wonderful reading! Highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
Caine writes a lot like he acts: he just gets going, with no fuss. Some of his acting notions are simplistic -- he notes how the early actors were orating like theater actors (which is true), but he doesn't note that they were acting in silent film, where grand gestures and flamboyance was necessary (unless possibly dealing with extreme close-ups). The nice thing about his book, however, is that it is specifically related to film acting; he knows the difference between stage and screen, and this very practical book could be very useful for those young actors who don't realize the extreme difference between the two mediums (he at one point criticizes the theater actors who can't come to accept the rules of the movies). The book details Caine's own thoughts, which are mostly sensible approaches to the art -- you get a sense of him, how his view is that the camera already loves you, so don't bother trying to woo it with shameful mugging.

He touches on a lot of rather simplistic notions, but they're nevertheless important, and he makes you understand the importance of nuance: it's necessary to understand the logic of a line rather than the line itself; how to indicate through your face when another actor reads a line and they're only half-way through a sentence that you know what you're going to say next, but have to wait for them to finish; the millions of possibilities on how to react in terms of inflection when offered something as simple as tea. He talks about some of his own quirks, not wanting to put his character shoes on until just before shooting, but it's never about him more than it's about acting. He does manage to be charming in an underhanded way -- he slips in a tribute to the beauty of Julie Christie, for instance.
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Format: Paperback
Often when studying acting, you get tied up with all the aesthetics. And when you take your grasp at acting, you're lost. You focus on the aesthetics, but when you TRY TO ACT it's a different story. Thank God for this book! Filled with practical suggestions that help A LOT. It tells you what to do and how to do it without confusing you. For instance, Caine writes about how powerful the expressionless face is. I remember when I rehearsed for a monologue written by David Mamet, I video taped myself doing it with an expressional face and without it. Surely enough, the latter was better. Thanks Michael Caine, you're a great help!
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Format: Paperback
Caine's book is by far the most practical book on acting I've read, and I've read a few. Some are very beautifuly written, poetic and psychological, but for someone who really wants to learn something about acting for film, I would recommend this book first. It is at times bleakly honest but highly readable. If you've done any acting, you'll find yourself nodding frequently.
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