1971                           Crime thriller

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    • Michael Caine Jack Carter
    • John Osborne Cyril Kinnear
    • Ian Hendry Eric Paice
    • Britt Ekland Anna Fletcher
    • Bryan Mosley Cliff Brumby
    • Geraldine Moffat Glenda
    • Dorothy White Margaret
    • Alun Armstrong Keith
    • Glynn Edwards Albert Swift
    • Tony Beckley Peter
    • George Sewell Con


  • Dir:
      Mike Hodges
  • Prod:
      Michael Klinger
  • Scr:
      Mike Hodges, from the novel Jack's Return Home by Ted Lewis
  • Ph:
      Wolfgang Suschitzky
  • Ed:
      John Trumper
  • Mus:
      Roy Budd
  • Art Dir:
      Assheton Garton




    [ g e t   c a r t e r : m o v i e  r e v i e w ]

    vhs dvd

    Rated: pg

      'You're a big man, but you're out of shape.
      With me, it's a full-time job. Now behave yourself.'

                                    - Jack Carter in Get Carter

    How many times have you heard those lines repeated in everyday conversation? In the pub, office, on the street...maybe not word for word but the gist of it is repeated so often because it seems so cool and it puts a fat man, any fat man, in his place!

    Bryan Mosley was the first of countless fat men to hear those lines! And no-one has delivered those lines better than Michael Caine.

    And the theme tune from Roy Budd is repeated so often on tv soundtracks that they have had to remix it so it doesn't sound boring!

    And if you think about it, it is those words and that sound that are testament to the iconic status of Get Carter in the pantheons of British cinema. For when a movie delivers lines that enter into everyday conversation and a tune everyone knows is the sound of hippness then you don't need a Hampstead based airy fairy media type movie buff to tell you that you have a fucking classic on your hands! No offense, Jonathan Ross!

    So it should come as no surprise to anyone that in 2004 it was voted the best British movie ever.

    Hard to believe but on its release in 1971 it made no money. But like so many of Caine's (aka Britain's No. 1 Icon) movies, following generations have claimed it as their own and it has since become the biggest cult in the history of British cinema. Perhaps, this terrific, tough British thriller which hides its story of raw revenge behind some fascinating Newcastle upon Tyne locations, courtesy of cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky, was too brutal, too close to home, for an audience in 1971 to handle. Perhaps because the violence is quintessentially British they couldn't stomach it whereas the US violence was unreal in comparison and far, far away. Well, perhaps.

    Whatever it was that kept British cinema audiences of the time from saluting it as a classic, the fact is that its greatness is down to director Mike Hodges keeping a firm hand on the surly proceedings and Michael Caine at his most impassively impressive as the London gangster who goes north after his brother is murdered and finds his teenage niece involved in a blue-film racket. Playwright John Osborne, appearing here as a North East crime boss, has a razor-slash presence. You wouldn't want to fuck with him, that's for sure!

    This is sex and death with a British accent, and it makes a welcome change from the more familiar American-set thrillers of today. Watch the abysmal Sly 'No Talent' Stallone remake of 2000 (which, sadly, His Royal Caineness makes an appearance in) and then this and you'll know what I mean.


      Caine, together with producer Michael Klinger and director Mike Hodges, had formed the 3M Company: Mike, Mike and Mike. Get Carter was their first project.

      The film was financed by M-G-M, costing 750,000. Caine took the role for various reasons, most notably because he felt that up until that point he had always played nice people.

      Caine's co-star Ian Hendry, had been quite a big star in the '60s but by 1970 and the making of the movie his star had fallen somewhat whereas Caine's star was in the ascendancy. Caine sensed that Hendry was jealous of him and used this to draw out the hate Hendry displayed towards Caine's Carter character throughout the film.

      Many of the Newcastle locations used in the film have long since been demolished making any remake there during that era impossible to replicate. Indeed, Newcastle has changed so much that for the BBC production Our Friends in the North made in the '90s with Newcastle terraced housing as a backdrop, they had to film in Watford, just outside of London!

      In the 2000 remake, Caine himself has an ineffectual cameo and is on the receiving end of Jack Carter's most celebrated line mentioned above, delivered by the twit Stallone as if he's reading a shopping list. Is there no beginning to his talents?

    British Film Academy Awards:

    • 1971: Nominations: Best Supp Actor (Ian Hendry)

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