Tuesday, August 2, 2011

U is also for Unsung Hero: Alfred Pennyworth

Alfred Pennyworth is the butler to Thomas and Martha Wayne, and later to their son Bruce, the first Batman. Before entering the Wayne family's service, he was an agent of the British Secret Service.

The head sculpt kind of reminded me of John Cleese in Fawlty Towers :) The film producers didn't cast John Cleese for the role of Alfred although he did play his part as R in "The World Is Not Enough (1999)" before replacing Desmond Llewelyn as Q in "Die Another Day (2002)". The live action role of Alfred Pennyworth went to Michael Gough in director Tim Burton's live-action films "Batman" and "Batman Returns", as well as Joel Schumacher's "Batman Forever" and "Batman & Robin". Sir Michael Caine portrayed Alfred in Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy.

Alfred serves as Batman’s (and Bruce Wayne's) tireless butler, assistant, confidant, and surrogate father figure. In modern interpretations, this has gone to the point where Alfred was Bruce's legal guardian following the death of his parents. When the Waynes were killed by a mugger, Alfred helped shelter the orphaned Bruce, and assisted him in his training to become a crime fighter. He would continue to do that as well for Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon and Tim Drake.

During his many trials, Bruce came to rely on Alfred as a source of advice and moral support, one of the few men with whom he shared confidences. He has also provided first aid up to and including suturing wounds and removing bullets, as well as occasional tactical support.

Alfred was also an invaluable source of aid in all aspects of Batman's life, from keeping his home in perfect order (He primarily keeps up day-to-day operations of Bruce Wayne's home of Wayne Manor and maintains much of the equipment of the Batcave beneath it), to helping him maintain his public facade as Bruce Wayne, and occasionally carrying out espionage and investigation on his behalf.

Alfred had no superhuman powers or abilities, nor did he claim to be extraordinary in any way. However, he was extraordinarily competent in all the fields necessary to help maintain Batman's life, from ordinary housekeeping and cooking, to mechanical maintenance and computer operation. He also proved to be a competent medic, and lab assistant. His background in intelligence also made him a skilled analyst, investigator, and spy.

The animated Alfred Pennyworth (action) figure comes with his serving tray and removable dome lid (Cloche). I would think that Bruce Wayne needs more nourishment than that.

No comments: