Lewis Gilbert, 97, director of ‘alfie,’ James bond films
Lewis Gilbert, a British director, producer and screenwriter whose films included the acclaimed 1966 comedy-drama “Alfie,” which made Michael Caine a star, as well as three James Bond adventures, has died at 97.
Eon Productions, which produces the James Bond movie series, confirmed the death.
Gilbert directed, and often wrote or co-wrote, war stories, romances and family dramas in his half-century career. He made small but well-liked films like “Educating Rita” (1983), which reunited him with Caine, and “Shirley Valentine” (1989).
He also made action spectaculars like “Sink the Bismarck!” (1960), the most successful of his many World War II films, which told the true story of the British navy’s quest to destroy Germany’s largest and most powerful warship.
His most admired film was “Alfie,” a dark comedy-drama that gave Caine his breakthrough role, as an amoral cockney womanizer. The film received five Oscar nominations, including one for best picture and one for Caine as lead actor. Gilbert was nominated as the film’s producer but not its director. It was the only Oscar nomination of his career.
“Alfie” was a hit, but its gritty realism and its unflinching look at the consequences of casual sex did not typecast Gilbert: James Bond followed hard on Alfie’s heels.