Alfie (1965) is the movie that gave British actor Michael Caine one of his first starring roles. As the title character, Caine plays Alfie, a free-wheeling, promiscuous bachelor in 1960's London. He carelessly roams from one of his many "birds" (girls) to another without any care for emotional or physical consequences.
Alfie's breezy existence crashes to a halt, however, after he procures an illegal abortion at his apartment for a married woman he's impregnated.
After the sordid deed is completed by a seedy abortionist, Caine enters his kitchen and confronts the sight of the dead fetus that the abortion has produced. Although the viewer does not see what Alfie sees, we see the man become incredibly distressed and troubled at what he's faced. The scene is the critical moment of the film, as Alfie is now forced to confront what he's done and what he's made of his life. Alfie rushes from his apartment to visit his friend Nat, to whom he makes a startling confession.
ALFIE: I could've dropped on the spot with the shock. All I was expecting to see was — Well, come to think of it, I don't hardly know what I was expecting to see. Certainly not this perfectly formed being. I- I half expected it to cry out … And as it lay there, so quiet, so still, it quite touched me. And I started praying or something, saying things like, uh, 'God help me,' and, uh, things like that. And then I started to cry. The tears were running down my face. Oh, slowly, like I was a kid myself … Y'know, it don't half bring it home to you what you are when you see a helpless little thing like that lying in your own hands. He'd been quite perfect. And I thought to myself, 'Y'know what, Alfie? Y'know what you've done? You murdered him.'
The pro-life message of the movie is undeniable. It's also the reason that this film, considered a "classic" by many movie historians, is rarely, if ever, seen on network or cable television anymore.
This past weekend (11/5/04), Paramount Pictures released a stylish remake of Alfie starring Jude Law. Despite adhering to many aspects of the original, the abortion component has been emasculated in the new version. Instead of facing the gruesome realities of abortion, the title character confronts loneliness, alienation, and rejection. (Yawn.)
Major media outlets continue to refuse that pro-life themes be aired. It's too bad. Had it stuck to the riveting nature of the original, Paramount Pictures could have made a film that people would have really talked about!