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Thread: Get Carter

  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Criminal Past.

    New Statesman, by Jonathan Romney.



    The National Film Theatre once ran a programme proclaiming the British director Mike Hodges as the Quentin Tarantino of his day, on the tenuous grounds that he, too, started his cinema career with two crime movies, one with the word "pulp" in the title (just plain Pulp in his case). Hodges' time in the Zeitgeist pantheon now seems to have come. His 1971 film Get Carter routinely is hailed as one of the precursors of the catchpenny comedy thriller Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, along with another Michael Caine vehicle, The Italian Job, and The Long Good Friday. Of these, Get Carter enjoys special hip status: it has been serialised as a comic strip in Loaded, and its re-release is accompanied by a club remix of Roy Budd's bare-bones jazz soundtrack.



    You can see how Get Carter lends itself to geezer-mag fetishisation, with Caine's sardonic nemesis persona and a tawdry panoply of mini-skirted birds in fast cars. The closeness of all that to Lock, Stock's bullet-headed self-regard may superficially make the film seem contemporary. But what really makes it fascinating now is the very opposite of modernity - its status as a period piece. This is very much a film about the early 1970s - that is, about another country.



    Its story of a London gangster going home to Newcastle to avenge his murdered brother may echo the Californian scenario of John Boorman's Point Blank, with Lee Marvin's monolithic righteousness replaced by Caine's icy bonhomie. But Get Carter is unusual among British gangland thrillers in that - apart from a shot of Carter reading Raymond Chandler - it renounces any yearnings for America. It's much more a tale of two nations - the smoothies down south with their musical whisky decanters and flash foreign crumpet (Britt Ekland in a token bra-shedding role) versus the sweaty northerners with their shoddy restaurant deals, council-flat molls and seedy chauffeurs (Ian Hendry with mutton-chop sideburns, Godard dark glasses and slurred cod-Connery diction - now there was a 1970s icon). Get Carter depicts a world of scumbags called Cliff, Cyril and Eric, a world in which the mob kingpin, and supposed arbiter of vicious glamour, is a whiskery, drawling John Osborne. The film seems almost exotic now, with its uncanny echoes of small-screen domesticity- one of the villains, a T Dan Smith developer figure, is none other than Alf Roberts from Coronation Street, and one of Carter's victims was the bluff Welsh teacher on Please, Sir!.



    But this world seems aeons away. The modernity of Get Carter has to do with its recognition of an ending - that of the disappearing industrial north. Carter walks out of penthouse (or Penthouse) London and into a coal-fire past - the world of 1950s and 1960s northern realism, of The Wednesday Play. Newcastle is a two-up, two-down universe of bedsits with racy landladies, of pubs with decrepit flat-cap clientele and matronly cabaret singers. The film may be set in 1971 but it could belong to the faded-wallpaper world of Graham Greene's 1930s; it's comparable less to Robert Altman's adaptation of Chandler's The Long Goodbye than to Brighton Rock.



    One of British cinema's outstanding evocations of place, Get Carter is a great vindication of the "regionalism" that has long been a battle-cry of the British Film Institute (which is distributing this re-release). The film now looks like regional archaeology: at one point, several men in overalls step off a ferry, and we could almost be watching the Lumiere brothers' workers leaving the factory. The final location looks prehistoric - the filthy sea, with mud flats and scraps of dead cars, prefacing a grim showdown on a slag heap. Hodges never uses shorthand for Newcastle but really works the locations with a documentarist's eye, as if determined to cover every inch of the city before it subsides into the ground, or into history. It's the ugliness of the setting that makes the narrative at once gritty-realist and surreal: there's a startling disjunction in setting a flamboyant revenge tale amid such kitchen-sink mundanity. Even the film's attempts at glamour and raciness suggest a seedy, sweaty Britain dressing up fancy on a Saturday night.



    To reclaim Get Carter as a forebear of 1990s style culture is to miss the point. In one sense, however, the film is a direct ancestor of Loaded culture, with its Neanderthal, vindictive sexual attitudes - bad girls ending up in car boots, Caine getting his landlady hot under the collar by ringing Ekland for phone sex. The film never spawned any notable cinematic descendants, but its polo-neck machismo fed directly into TV cop dramas such as The Professionals and The Sweeney - punch-drunk, rot-gut series that you could imagine Hodges' villains staying in of an evening to watch.



    So what did happen to Mike Hodges? If you had asked that question a couple of years ago, you'd have had to cough politely over titles such as Flash Gordon and Morons from Outer Space. Now, however, Hodges seems to have caught up with himself. He has recently made Croupier - a small, taut existential thriller featuring Clive Owen as a writer who becomes caught up in the gambling underworld. Written by the former Nicholas Roeg collaborator Paul Mayersberg, it's wry, pared down and claustrophobic, as a gaming-table movie should be. A self-reflexive fiction complete with poker-face voice-over, it's shot to suggest a meeting of Chandler, Bresson and Mamet. It's a prime example of a director hazarding the high stakes of low-budget stylistic austerity, and winning.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Bid to save 'Get Carter' car park



    Matt Weaver

    Wednesday April 14, 2004





    The 'Get Carter' carpark in Gateshead



    An official conservation group is trying to prevent the demolition of Britain's most "culturally significant" multi-storey car park.

    The 1960s "brutalist" structure in Gateshead has developed a cult following after featuring in the 1971 gangster film Get Carter, which starred Michael Caine.



    Gateshead council is currently considering a planning application for a regeneration scheme that would involve knocking down what has become known as the 'Get Carter car park'.



    Many Gateshead residents, as well as the local council, regard the building as a eyesore that is hampering efforts to renew the town's centre.



    But architectural campaign group the Twentieth Century Society says it would "regret the loss of yet another witness of the great era of British brutalism".



    Some panoramic views

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    Who on earth are the "Twentieth Century Society" ?

    and when was the "Great Era Of British Brutalism"?

    No forget it I don't want to Know.

  4. #4
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    I would hesitate to call it "great" but "Brutalism" was the term applied to a particular strand of the Modernist architectural movement during the 1960s and 1970s, and was associated with certain followers of Swiss architect, Le Corbusier.



    Think of things like the South Bank complex in London (or much of Birmingham, especially the old Bull Ring, as you're in the West Midlands). It was used a lot for public buildings and high rise housing and involves a lot of concrete.



    Also sometimes known as "Third Reich chic" because of the echoes to Albert Speer's work.



    Steve

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    Apparently the concrete is where Brutalist architacture gets its name from, as it is notable for its use of unplastered (or, in the French, Brut) concrete.



    Can't say that I'm a fan though, as the South Bank Centre is (from the outside) the ugliest, most impractical public space I've ever seen.

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    Indeed, Brutalist Architecture is brutal. It is harsh and rather Third Reichish as mentioned earlier. Perhaps they just wanted to do a cheaper job.



    Brutalism



    Here is a link about the movement. The two pictures show the Fine Arts building where I went to university, which does not fit with the other surrounding buildings and Trellick Tower in London, which is less an eye sore.



    They should probably remove the top floor of the car park and put it in a museum and build something beautiful in its place. thumbs_u



    Gibbie

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    Hi,

    DB7 said this "Its story of a London gangster going home to Newcastle to avenge his murdered brother ".



    I have to take a alternative view of this film, which I feel has been misinterpreted by many people.



    This is not a revenge film, it is a film about a persons violent endeavours to protect his family name and in doing so head off any people who might think that Jack Carter is for the taking.



    First of all Carter really has no love for his brother. He had a affair with his brothers wife and as said in the film, Carter's brother did not even know if the child was his own.

    Jack Carter is cold, make no mistake about that the killing of his brother is only a danger to himself, if he is not seen to do anything about this attack on his family, he surely will be next in line.

    Secondly when he watches the pornographic film in the apartment, he was quiet happy to watch this movie with a school girl or women dressed up as school girl, until the identity of the girl has become apparent to himself.

    It has become clear to me only after many viewings that I have become very cynical about this movie and can see no good in what Jack Carter is trying to do.

    If this was purely a moral revenge story based on a man going after the killer of this brother, then I might of had some sympathy for this gangster.

    There is one scene where he pushes Cliff Brumby off the multi story only to land on a car, which looks to be carrying a family, a small girl is seen to be carried out from the rear of the wreckage but the front part of the car is crushed and whoever was in the front of car is now dead.

    Innocents killed in Carter's frenzied attack on the area of Newcastle.

    Because, that is how I feel about this movie,Carter is a man who is determined to become powerful within the british mafia style movement and anyone who messes with his name,will come under his hammer.

    .

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    It seems to me the Gateshead car park is more famous for a fictional harden gangster than its concrete harden architecture. As for all the explanations and reasons of the vast amount of concrete used in building throughout the 60's I put it down to the same fact we are about to see a lot more in the future "A SHORTAGE OF BRICKLAYERS".

    I enjoyed your thoughts on "GET CARTER" Third Man. On the Mafia line I find the story like the first "GODFATHER". Well the end part mostly. As the Corleone family are leaving for Las Vegas Micheal completes "unfinished family business" even plotting at his fathers funeral. Jack Carter is running off to South America with his gang leader Gerald Fletcher's wife Anna. Carters vendetta starts to build from his brothers demise and ends with the destruction of Cyril Kinnears gang and the death of Eric Paice who's longtime feud with Carter is not fully explained. At the end of the film after all the trouble and carnage Carter has caused he walks down the hill onto the beach and along the seashore with a look of contentment of a job welldone. Is he content with the revenge of his brothers murder or just being top dog?. Micheal Corleone claims his bloodbath will make his family completely legitimate but ends showing him as top dog. If you become top dog in the worlds of the Corleone family or Jack Carter then you do it for yourself and no one else and deserve no sympathy.

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    I agree with you totally on the last bit of the film, Carter's laugh or cackle as I like to call it, brings a certain ambiguity to the ending.

    I feel if he had just completed a revenge mission on a brotherly love basis he would of been quite solemn in his walk down the hill, he would of been exhausted and tired but no he is full of energy and probably ready for the next person who gets in his way.

    The throwing away of the gun could signify a armistice within Carter but I read it as a smug attitude to the fact that he feels he has dismissed all his rivals for now.

    Unlucky him, his card has already been marked and he deserves his fatal finale.

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    Hello,

    I'm new to this site, and the first thing I read was your piece on Mike Hodges' "Get Carter" and found it, like "Get Carter" very enjoyable. A few years ago I had the distinct pleasure of watching "Get Carter" for the first time ever in the best theatre in Hollywood, The Egyptian. I was blown away. So, much so that I went back a few days later and, after watching it the second time, I purchased the Roy Budd soundtrack. Further, Mike Hodges attended and did a fascinating Q & A.

    Having just finished reading your article on "Performance", I am intrigued to rent and watch both of these titles again.

    Your future posts, as well past ones, I look forward to reading. I hope you don't mind, but I have added you to my buddy list. thumbs_u

    Respectfully,

    michael dangero

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Jackie Dent

    Monday October 4, 2004

    The Guardian



    It outraged many on its release in 1971 with scenes of extreme violence and telephone sex. But, more than three decades on, Get Carter has been voted by a film publication as the greatest British movie of all time.

    Set in Newcastle and filled with shocking murders and well-cut suits. The film charts the story of Jack Carter, played by Michael Caine, a London gangster who travels to the north-east for his brother's funeral.



    It caused a sensation when it was released not only because of its violence but its images of Britt Ekland, wearing black lingerie and indulging in telephone sex with Carter and of Caine appearing naked in a shoot-out.



    As Carter, Caine delivered some of the most memorable lines in film history, including the often quoted: "You're a big man, but you're out of shape. With me, it's a full-time job. So behave yourself."



    Matt Mueller, editor of Total Film magazine, which produced the list of the Top 50 British films, said Get Carter was slated when it first came out. Today, however, Get Carter is considered a film which was groundbreaking and before its time.



    "It was pretty shocking at the time for its scenes of violence, and Caine played a pretty ruthless character. But Caine's character is now seen as one of the greatest anti-heroes of all time."



    Get Carter was based on Ted Lewis's book Jack's Return Home, and was written and directed by Mike Hodges.



    However, he decided to move the setting of the story from Doncaster to Newcastle, and the film makes much of the city's decaying industrial landscape.



    The film also stars Ian Hendry and the playwright John Osborne.



    Total Film magazine polled 25 film critics for the survey, which is dominated by films from the 50s and the 60s - the most recent on the top 10 list being Trainspotting, which was released in 1996.



    A Matter of Life and Death, starring David Niven, came in second while Trainspotting came third.



    Top 10



    1 Get Carter (1971)



    2 A Matter of Life and Death (1946)



    3 Trainspotting (1996)



    4 The Third Man (1949)



    5 Life of Brian (1979)



    6 The Wicker Man (1973)



    7 Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)



    8 Lawrence of Arabia (1962)



    9 From Russia with Love (1963)



    10 Naked (1993)

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    "It caused a sensation when it was released not only because of its violence but its images of Britt Ekland, wearing black lingerie and indulging in telephone sex with Carter"



    When they interviewed Peter Seller's son a couple of years ago he said that when he saw the scene mentioned above, and although he had not seen his father for a while, he realised that the marriage with Britt Eckland was over because Sellers would never have allowed any wife of his to do that.



    regards

    Freddy

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    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Freddy:

    "It caused a sensation when it was released not only because of its violence but its images of Britt Ekland, wearing black lingerie and indulging in telephone sex with Carter"



    When they interviewed Peter Seller's son a couple of years ago he said that when he saw the scene mentioned above, and although he had not seen his father for a while, he realised that the marriage with Britt Eckland was over because Sellers would never have allowed any wife of his to do that.



    regards

    Freddy
    But they weren't even in the same room :)

    I heard that their parts were recorded at different times and they never even met each other on set.



    Steve

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    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,

    His son Michael said the Peter Sellers wouldn't allow Ekland to even have a screen kiss such was his jealousy, even if Caine wasn't on the set with her could you imagine him thinking of the thousands of cinema goers looking at his near naked wife. That's when he knew their marriage was over.

    regards

    Freddy

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    I watched the latest airing of "Get Carter" the other night on TV. I always liked the way they used a wind sound effect to create that dark and sombre atmosphere. I also noticed for the first time that the wind often kept howling when they were inside, and at the same volume ! Give me the South, (Middlesbrough), any day.

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    The ending was filmed near Blackhall,just north of Hartlepool.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

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    Originally posted by Tony Pendrey@May 17 2005, 12:48 PM

    I watched the latest airing of "Get Carter" the other night on TV. I always liked the way they used a wind sound effect to create that dark and sombre atmosphere. I also noticed for the first time that the wind often kept howling when they were inside, and at the same volume ! Give me the South, (Middlesbrough), any day.
    The whole film Get Carter captured "grimness" perfectly. From my own recollection as a child, the 1960s and 70s wasn't all swinging David Hemmings types and brand new Minis! It was often very depressing indeed, especially for youngsters from low income families!



    The scene with the middle aged woman singing cabaret style in the bar was about as good as it got in many places, and not just Up North either! Everyone's motto then seemed to be "Keep your expectations low and you'll never be disappointed!"

  18. #18
    Senior Member Country: England aaron's Avatar
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    Originally posted by samkydd@May 22 2005, 07:54 AM

    Everyone's motto then seemed to be "Keep your expectations low and you'll never be disappointed!"
    Mine still is..

  19. #19
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Originally posted by aaron@May 22 2005, 10:07 AM

    Mine still is..
    At least when you're a pessimist you know that things can only get better



    Steve

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    Originally posted by Steve Crook@May 22 2005, 04:51 PM

    At least when you're a pessimist you know that things can only get better



    Steve
    I wouldn't bank on it.

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