Actors: The Young Man Shows His Medals

In a snow-clogged clump of obscurity along a single-track Finnish rail line, a group of performers, extras and technicians gathered round a rheumatic old passenger train. "Will that door be closed?" the voice rasped at the director. "With a suitcase in one hand and snowshoes in the other, how the hell do I get the door open to get on the train?"

The door is left open, of course, because the voice belongs to Michael Caine, and every word he speaks these days is received as attentively as a ransom note. In the...

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