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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 13:46 GMT
Able Caine still going strong

by William Gallagher
BBC News Online

Sir Michael Caine and Jonathan Ross
Caine has recieved his sixth Oscar nomination this year

The BBC's film series Hollywood Greats kicks off with a profile of Sir Michael Caine, who celebrates his 70th birthday on Friday.

It was unlikely to turn up any great shocks, so the Hollywood Greats profile of Caine settled for being thorough and also being the first to celebrate the star's 70th birthday.

That he will soon turn 70 may have been the biggest jolt of the hour; Sir Maurice Mickelwhite looks and acts 10 years younger.

It is a recurring theme in the programme - his wife Shakira Caine, herself a very youthful-looking 56, insists he does not look his age.

Billy Connolly throws in a surprised "He's 70?" before reflecting: "That gives me hope."

Fronted by Jonathan Ross, this first in a new run of Hollywood Greats is like Film 2003 on a bigger budget - predominantly a long interview with Caine, but also interspersed with myriad interviews with friends and colleagues.

Most of them comment on Caine's habit of saying yes to any film offer: "It's important to be selective," says Angie Dickinson.

"I asked him about it," comments Christopher Reeve. "He said 'I have a high standard of living, and it takes a low standard of film to maintain it'."

Ross expects Caine to win an Oscar this year for his role in The Quiet American but that was the only forward-looking element of the show: it felt like a cheery obituary, an end-of-career recap.

If that is what it was, Caine contributes willingly when he sums up: "I wouldn't change a thing."

Hollywood Greats is on Tuesday on BBC One, 22.35 - 23.25.

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