Michael Caine: John Huston’s direction

Excerpt from Michael Caine’s awesome book Michael Caine – Acting in Film: An Actor’s Take on Movie Making. Great observation here from John Huston – from when he directed Caine in “The Man Who Would Be King”

John Huston managed to consolidate my character for me in just one sentece. I’d been shooting for about two days and Huston said, “Cut! Michael,” he said, “speak faster; he’s an honest man.” Because I was speaking slowly, it seemed as though I was trying to figure out what effect I was making. Huston’s observation was spot on. Honest men speak fast because they don’t need time to calculate.

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10 Responses to Michael Caine: John Huston’s direction

  1. peteb says:

    ‘Peachy’ was honest?!? I need to watch that movie again.

  2. red says:

    hahaha! Peachy – I had forgotten the character’s name.

  3. skinnydan says:

    See my comment below in your first excerpt, Red. The previous two excerpts (Cagney & Fonda) made me think of Mr. Roberts.

    “You see that hat? Ain’t nothin’ gonna get between me and that hat.”

    I think that’d be one of my desert island movies.

  4. mike says:

    The Man Who Would be King is my favorite movie ever. It’s a tragedy that Michael Caine and Sean Connery didn’t make dozens of movies together. I still get a little choked up whenever I hear “The Son of God Goes Forth to War.”

  5. mike says:

    peteb, Peachy was one of the most honorable men ever portrayed in film. Sure, Daniel got caught up (and caught out) playing god, but Peachy made it known that he didn’t like the shortcut they were taking. And he stuck to the terms of their contract to the end. And as a bonus, I’d like to include this snippet from the end when the two of them are surrounded, fighting to the last:

    Daniel Dravot: Peachy, I’m heartily ashamed for gettin’ you killed instead of going home rich like you deserved to, on account of me bein’ so bleedin’ high and bloody mighty. Can you forgive me?
    Peachy Carnehan: That I can and that I do, Danny, free and full and without let or hindrance.
    Daniel Dravot: Everything’s all right then.

    And then they both put down their guns to face their doom together. Beautiful.

  6. mike says:

    Oh waitaminnit, I may have to take it back. Wasn’t it Peachy who pickpocketed Brother Kipling’s Masonic charm at the beginning? Dang.

  7. peteb says:


    I think Peachy could be considered an ‘honest thief’.

  8. mike says:

    peteb, true enough. He did return the charm to Brother Kipling once he realized what it was that he had pinched, and from whom.

  9. Haris says:

    mine too, Mike, mine too -favorite movie ever. Do you know that Huston -along with Gladys Hill and Maurice Jarre, I presume- put the tune of The Minstrel Boy -with equally touching lyrics- to the lyrics of A Son of God…? Of course you do.
    I like that Sean Connery and Michael Caine -James Bond and Harry Palmer, the original and it’s spoof, have you noticed it?- didn’t make ‘dozens of movies together’ because they would not make such a great movie again.

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