Classic Cads (Played by Patrick Malahide)

Since Fearless Admin and I had such a good time discussing Mr. Malahide’s Modern-Day Cads, we thought it would be interesting (and only fair) to give equal time to those untrustworthy, slightly less than savoury, yet devilishly charming individuals he’s played from different periods of history:  the Classic Cads.  I don’t want to say it’s a trend or anything, but there are enough of them for two blog posts.  So here, without further ado, is Part Two of our two-part examination of… Cads.

Alfred Jingle  |  Robert Dangerfield  |  Sir John Conroy  |  Mark Binney  |  One Cad to Rule Them All

Alfred Jingle
(The Pickwick Papers, 1985)

Type of Cad:

<i>Caddus opportunis</i>, doing a bit of posing   Classic Cads Played by Patrick Malahide

Caddus opportunis, doing a bit of posing

RF:  Strolling *AHC*-tor, confidence man, charlatan, incredibly effective charmer of ladies.  Extremely good at reading the personalities of his quarry, understanding their weaknesses, and exploiting them.

Admin: A lighthearted, spontaneous and frothy cad who just happens to be more dangerous than he looks. He might look like butter can’t melt, but he’s always living on the edge.

Why Is He a Cad?

RF:  You can’t expect him to live on what he makes as a strolling actor, can you?  Also, he’s found something he’s really good at – namely, charming a gradually upgraded selection of ladies into helping him live the lifestyle he’s surely entitled to.

Admin: Plus, he just can’t help it. It is obvious he is naturally inquisitive as well as highly observant, not to mention devilishly attractive,  so he may as well use it all to his advantage.

What Has He Got in His Pockets?

He simply couldn't express himself properly without the enormously large hanky.

He simply couldn’t express himself properly without
the enormously large hanky.

RF:  A selection of tear-stained love letters passed to him after his performances, numerous calling cards of various ladies inviting him to lunch, tea, dinner, or breakfast, and perhaps, for the more risqué, certain… usually unseen ladies’ undergarments, stealthily tossed on stage.  Also, an enormously large hanky.

Admin: And sometimes a carefully wrapped courting shirt. He probably keeps the odd filched cigar too.

RF:  Yes, he doesn’t deploy the shirt (which is just a wee bit the worse for wear) until he’s really going into battle.  😉

Favourite Cad Techniques and Targets:

Targets of opportunity

Targets of opportunity

RF:  Mr. Jingle is pretty equal opportunity.  It doesn’t matter who you are, within a few minutes of chatting with you, he’ll figure out your main interests and how best to approach you.  That said, he does seem to prefer the ladies to other targets, gradually working his way up from somewhat desperate widows or spinsters of limited means to rich young ladies with inheritances in the offing.  But it doesn’t really matter who they are, all are equally susceptible to his charms.

Admin: Anyone can be a target at any time. He’ll play one unwitting target against the other, with neither knowing what has happened until it is too late and the damage has been done.

RF:  …And someone’s £10 poorer with no girlfriend.

How Good Is He at Being a Cad?

The only way Dickens could stop him

The only way Dickens could stop him

RF:  Extremely.  So good that the only way Dickens could stop him was to throw him in the Fleet and not explain how or why he got there.  Realistically, there was no way Jingle should’ve ever been caught.

Admin: Redemption through dues ex machina? He is a great cad. He has all the Pickwickians, Wardles, and Nupkinses eating out of his hand without even breaking a sweat.

Could He Be a Historical Romance Hero?

RF:  Oh yes, definitely!  He’s probably played one several times and has the dialogue all memorized.  As to whether he could actually be a historical romance hero, I think he already is, although Dickens would disagree with me.  He could be heroic as long as he didn’t have to save any urchins, marry any spinsters, or follow through on any promises he might’ve made…  Hmmm… wait a minute…  Well, he’s nice to Job, so surely that counts?

Admin: Anyone who looks as good in a uniform as he does is tailor made for romance novels. I’d read about the adventures of Gallant Capt. Charles Fitz-Marshall any day. 😉 And the tragic tale of Donna Christina simply has to be re-written with a happy ending.

Could He Ever Reform?

The Reformed Jingle:  Completely subdued and nowhere near as much fun.

The Reformed Jingle: Completely subdued and
nowhere near as much fun.

RF:  I say no, but Dickens said yes.  Mind you, he had to throw Jingle in the Fleet (through unexplained means, see above), starve, and half-kill him through illness in order to bring about his change of heart.  I think Dickens only had Jingle reform because he was entirely too attractive a non-heroic character otherwise, so he had to atone for his previous sins (such as they were – we never saw him do anything that bad) to make good.  Left to his druthers, no, of course Jingle wouldn’t reform!  He’s having too much fun otherwise.

Admin: He’s a cad. He just let Pickwick (and Dickens) *think* he’d been reformed because that is what cads do.

RF:  I still say he got off the West Indies ship long before it sailed and hid himself and Job in London somewhere.  He probably arranged to send the occasional letter to Pickwick to allay his suspicions, all the while living it up under a new name.

Robert Dangerfield
(The Blackheath Poisonings, 1992)

Type of Cad:

<i>Caddus scruffius</i>, awaiting his prey

Caddus scruffius, awaiting his prey

RF:  Charming opportunist, although he waits until he’s at his last extreme before he resorts to going after rich ladies.  Seems to like going after ladies he’s succeeded with before, since he knows he’s more likely to be successful with them.

Admin: He’s a very open cad too, very flagrant. Either he doesn’t care very much that everyone knows he’s a cad, a flatterer, and an adventurer or he just isn’t slick enough to conceal those qualities.  I’m glad he doesn’t.  Raffish suits him immensely.

Why Is He a Cad?

A cad out of necessity?

A cad out of necessity?

RF:  Well, he got run out of England once already, tried the tea business in India and couldn’t make a go of it, plus he owes money to some people – okay, a lot of people – who aren’t above snatching him off the street and roughing him up to get it, sooooo…  he has no choice, really.  Just take a look at his clothes!  Threadbare, too small, and beginning to look scruffy.  He really needs the cash!

Admin:  And he thinks it is all very easy.  He had already succeeded in seducing Charlotte once, so why shouldn’t he go back to that well again.

RF:  He was certainly expecting her to fall for him just as easily as she did before.

Admin:  And, to his credit, she did.  He just didn’t expect her to snap the leash on this time.

What Has He Got in His Pockets?

RF:  Probably some torn-up betting stubs, a cigarillo or two, and a very crumpled-up letter from Charlotte Collard, the last he ever received from her in India.  He needed it to remember what her address was.  He has absolutely no money, though.

Admin:  A few ill-mannered reminders concerning debts unpaid, a disheveled nosegay for courting purposes, and some adverts for “gentlemen’s” establishments.

RF:  He’s just holding those adverts for a friend!  😉

Favourite Cad Techniques and Targets:

Working his charms on Charlotte

Working his charms on Charlotte

RF:  He already knows Charlotte is susceptible to his charms and how best to work on her, so that’s what he does.  He tries to bamboozle her with some hastily gabbled romantic lines, then hustle her into marriage as quickly as possible.  He also assumes Charlotte is the same woman he left behind once before, which could be his undoing…

Admin:  He is impetuous and uses flattery to his advantage.  He’s also one for the intense stare.

RF:  Oh yes, he uses the Stare on Beatrice and Isabel, too.  Neither of them seem to fall for it, though.

How Good is He at Being a Cad?

RF:  He lays it on just a wee bit too thick and is just a wee bit too desperate to really be as effective as he could be.  I suspect he was far more effective before he left for India, when the stakes were lower.  If he were really good, his quarry wouldn’t realize she was being stalked.  However, Charlotte’s also had lots of time while he’s been away to acquaint herself with his usual techniques and be one step ahead of him, so Dangerfield’s one of those cads who gets outwitted by his prey.  Tsk tsk!

Admin:  No, he’s rubbish.  He made it work once on a young, inexperienced woman, but when he tried again she was the one who caught him.  Charlotte would make a better cad than he.

Could He Ever be a Historical Romance Hero?

Helping Isabel out of a jam, out of the goodness of his heart.

Helping Isabel out of a jam, out of the goodness of his heart.

RF:  Surprisingly, yes.  Dangerfield does something quite altruistic and distinctly heroic at the end when he helps Isabel Vandervent.  He makes no profit from it and does it solely because he likes Isabel – also, one suspects, because he might be romantically interested in her as well, although he makes no moves on her (also surprising).  Well, he made his moves earlier, but that was before he got to like her.

Admin:  As both a flatterer and adventurer he most certainly would rock a romance novel.  He’s a forward thinking Victorian, so I’d like to see him some sort of steam-punk or swashbuckling gothic adventure styled romance.  He does show a refreshingly chivalrous side when he assists Isabel in the end.  In a way, we kind of wish he had got in the train with her.

RF:  Definitely wish Dangerfield had gotten on the train with her.  He needs his own dirigible so he can go get Isabel in India and have ’round the world adventures.

Admin:  Oh, I would totally read that.

Could He Ever Reform?

Kept on a <i>very</i> short leash by Charlotte.

Kept on a very short leash by Charlotte.

RF:  Dangerfield is more or less forced to reform because Charlotte, knowing very well who and what she married, keeps him on an extremely short leash.  So on the one hand, he has all the wealth, shares in the family company, and free booze and food he could possibly want; on the other, if he strays even slightly, Charlotte has matured enough to lower the boom on him and bring all of that to an end.  Despite that, I suspect he’ll eventually end up running away to India to meet up with Isabel.

Admin:  I think he gets a big kick out of expanding the toy business, so that is going to keep him occupied for a long time.  And he did seem to learn something of compassion after the whole ordeal.  But, if Isabel ever asked him to join her in India, I imagine he would try and find a way.  By that time, control freak Charlotte might actually be glad to be shot of him.

Sir John Conroy
(Victoria and Albert, 2001)

Type of Cad:

<i>Caddus whiskerius</i> in a good mood

Caddus whiskerius in a good mood

RF:  An opportunist and strict authoritarian who hates to see his meal ticket departing.  He’s more than happy to use the Duchess of Kent, Victoria’s mother, in order to work his will upon Victoria, if he has to.  But it’s all in the interest of keeping him in the lifestyle to which he’s become accustomed.

Admin:  He takes caddishness to a sort of military style level.

RF:  You’re right, he does seem to be very systematic about it.

Why Is He a Cad?

The lifestyle to which he has become accustomed. ;-)

The lifestyle to which he has become accustomed. 😉

RF:  See above, re: lifestyle to which he has become accustomed; a man has to keep himself in frockcoats, waistcoats, and cravats, after all.  Besides, he has to run the Duchess of Kent’s household and see that it’s properly maintained.  Also, a gentleman is to be expected to have a few gambling debts here and there and he can’t very well go around welching on them, can he?  But mostly I think it’s because he’s lived this way for a very long time and he could never get used to anything less.

Admin:  And it is his job.  As comptroller for the Duchess of Kent he finds himself in a position of power that strongly enables such behavior.  Especially since she is extremely fond of him.

What Has He Got in His Pockets?

RF:  Some money, although not as much as he’d like.  Definitely some cigars in his breast pocket.  A letter from the Duchess of Kent asking why he stood her up for lunch, and begging him to meet her in the usual clandestine spot for dinner.  Probably a few more letters from other assorted ladies, none of whom are his wife.  Bills (unpaid) for some extremely good brandy.  And a copy of Victoria’s day schedule under the Kensington System.

Admin:  A well-read copy of the Racing News, some misplaced correspondence intended for young Victoria, clippings from the society columns, and the latest installment of The Pickwick Papers, that Mr. Jingle is so amusing.

RF:  Bwaahhh!!  😀

Favourite Cad Techniques and Targets:

Working his wiles on the Duchess of Kent

Working his wiles on the Duchess of Kent

RF:  He seems to know he can’t play the Cad card with Victoria, so he acts as her rather authoritarian guardian instead.  He’s far more effective at playing the cad to Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent, who seems extremely susceptible to his charms.  His favourite technique appears to be “c’mere c’mere, go ‘way go ‘way”, and it works a treat on her.  He has only to hint that he might leave her, and she’s putty in his hands.

Admin:  He treats it all like a battle.  Everything is based on strategy and power.  He also resorts to good, old-fashioned schmoozing, but that doesn’t seem to work as well.

How Good Is He at Being a Cad?

Trying a bit of looming mixed with smarm.

Trying a bit of looming mixed with smarm.

RF:  Extremely good when it comes to the Duchess.  Also when it comes to Lady Conroy, since she doesn’t seem to mind living under the same roof as Conroy’s purported lover.  Not good at all when it comes to Victoria, whom he has to resort to strongarming – and even that doesn’t last very long, because she knows exactly what he’s up to.  So, it seems to depend entirely on his target.

Admin:  He’d be a better cad if he weren’t a bit of a bully.  He is far too quick to use intimidation and that just makes enemies.  Overall, I’d say he isn’t very good, he just lucked out with one tremendous success.

RF:  That’s true, everyone else besides the Duchess of Kent (and possibly Lady Conroy?) seems very immune to his charms.

Could He Ever Be a Historical Romance Hero?

Guardian of the Princess and her Mah-ma

Guardian of the Princess and her Mah-ma

RF:  Only if he got to write the book, then he’d probably cast himself as the brave knight rescuing the innocent, naïve young princess and her mature, yet extremely youthful-looking mother from those who would seek to do them harm, providing them with a haven in his own home.  He only has everyone’s best welfare at heart!

Admin:  Looks-wise, of course.  However he is just too overbearing and occasionally falls into buffoonishness.  He would make a brilliant enemy for a romantic hero, so he could still feature.

Could He Ever Reform?

RF:  Mmmmm… No.  He ran up enough gambling debts that he probably should have, but he didn’t.  It probably never even occurred to him.

Admin:  Good point.  Even if he could reform, he doesn’t really have the self-awareness to do so.  I kind of like him as-is, though.  He’s a cad, but he’s not such a terribly bad fellow.

Mark Binney
(The Singing Detective, 1986)

Type of Cad:

<i>Caddus smoothus</i> in one of his natural environments

Caddus smoothus in one of his natural environments

RF:  An extremely smooth one.  Not so much a cad out to separate women from their money, but to use them for sex instead.  A smooth-talking, completely unprincipled liar.  Of course, it only helps him that he’s in the espionage profession.

Admin:  The worst sort.  He doesn’t have any particular liking for the women he uses.   If anything, he seems to dislike them.

Why is He a Cad?

RF:  It’s not because he needs the money, so I think it goes along with his way of life.  Binney can’t seem to be honest with anyone even when matters of espionage aren’t at stake, so why should he start now?  He puts himself first, a very limited number of people second, and the rest don’t even get a ranking.

Admin:  Because Marlow says he is. 😉

RF:  That, too.

What Has He Got in His Pockets?

RF:  Cigarettes, probably in an extremely nice cigarette case (just in case he needs to murder anyone with it).  Money, a lot of it.  It takes a lot of cash to look this good.  Membership cards for sleazy nightclubs like SkinSkapes.  Probably also French letters.  Coded notes for his next information drop.

Admin:  Several passports, a gun, an Argentinian travel guide, and a list of “missing” German officers.

Favourite Cad Techniques and Targets:

Chatting up Amanda

Chatting up Amanda

RF:  We mostly see Binney go after clip-joint girls and prostitutes.  He does fine with Amanda as long as he keeps paying for drinks; his patter doesn’t work on her at all because she doesn’t seem to understand most of his jokes.  He does far worse when he tries to talk to Sonja, who he’s actually paying to sleep with him; he assumes she doesn’t understand English, then he tries strongarm her.  But it works out okay because she ends up getting the better of him.

Admin:  Is sweating worse than Richard Nixon a technique?  He tries to be suave and charming, but it just comes across as fake and disingenuous.  He is much more natural when he is being nasty, but that isn’t really a technique.

How Good Is He at Being a Cad?

Turning on the anti-charm with Sonja

Turning on the anti-charm with Sonja

RF:  Not as good as he thinks he is, although he thinks he’s very good.  His chat-up lines with Amanda aren’t that great, and she’s mostly paying attention to him to separate him from his money.  He also behaves like a total creep with Sonja – and ends up paying for it.  Of course, this is mostly due to the fact he’s been completely constructed inside author Philip Marlow’s head to embody everything Marlow hates, but be really bad at it.

Admin:  He is rather a failure at it.  He gets in over his head quickly, is incapable of hiding his nervousness, and has no real discernible plan.   To be honest, he sometimes shows more signs of being a villain than a cad, but you can’t help but believe deep down he really, truly *wants* to be a cad, so he very clumsily tries.

RF:  He’s a much better cad in his head (which is, of course, Marlow’s head) than he turns out to be in practice.

Could He Ever Be a Historical Romance Hero?

RF:  Nnneeeeuuuwww.  Nor would he ever want to be.  A film noir anti-hero, maybe.  But even then, it would be a bit of a stretch and he’d probably be doing it with ulterior motives.  The really sad bit is that he could totally look the part if he wanted to.

Admin:  Agreed, villain is the only role he could ever hope for.   And it is a shame.  Visually he makes James Bond look like Johnny English, but he is really a sad and seedy opportunist.

Could He Ever Reform?

Just not reform material.

Just not reform material.

RF:  It would be really interesting if he did, but I think it’s highly unlikely so I’ll go with “no”.  He’d first have to stop lying all the time, and I don’t think he could do that.  You could throw this guy in jail and it would have no effect whatsoever.

Admin:  It is strongly suggested he has committed acts of treason, and I don’t think reform was really an option for post-war traitors.  And since he basically exists as a way for Marlow to express all his inner demons, Binney doesn’t have much usefulness as a reformable character.  At least he can say it isn’t his fault. 🙂

RF:  He was just written that way!  😉

Who’s the One Cad to Rule Them All?

Our pick:  The deliciously naughty Alfred Jingle

Our pick: The deliciously naughty Alfred Jingle

RF:  For sheer style, ability, and tangible success at being a true cad, I have to go with… Alfred Jingle.  He’s effortlessly charming, engaging, and so amusing that you’re already thoroughly captivated before you have any inkling what he might be up to… and sometimes not even then.  Unlike his other cad brethren, he never has to resort to strongarming or any of the cruder tactics.  Why, his targets are usually so thoroughly enchanted they’re only too glad to help him out!  He’s got great potential and, as Admin says, is far more dangerous than he looks (in the book, Job even describes him as one of the most dangerous men in London), but we get the impression he’d never actually do serious harm to anyone.  To their wallets, yes.  So, for remaining true to the spirit of Cad-dom, Jingle’s my choice.

Admin:  I have to agree.   Jingle is the perfect cad.  As you say, he never resorts to strongarming, which means he has to get by entirely on his charm and his wits.  And although his victims are left with egg on their faces, and are usually slightly poorer for having known him, they can at least say they learned something of humility after their experiences with him.   He’s a cad that you can love without ever feeling guilty for doing so.  He is easily the best cad of them all.

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