Get Carter: A British Film Guide

Get Carter: A British Film Guide

Steve Chibnall

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 1860649106

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Mike Hodges’ bleak gangster film was released in 1971 to controversy and mixed reviews. Three decades later in the British Film Institute’s millennial poll, the film was voted one of the 20 best British films of all time. Steve Chibnall’s enjoyable and fresh account relates the film to others in its genre like Point Blank and Dirty Harry, profiles the people involved in its making and presents a fascinating analysis of the film text itself. He completes the story-so-far, looking at the critical reception, and cultural context and the two remakes: the 1972 blaxploitation film Hit Man and the new Stephen T. Kay movie, set in the US.

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the first day of shooting, a diplomatic Michael Caine had told Newcastle ’s Evening Chronicle that, although he had not had much time to look around on his first visit to the city, he was already very impressed with its people, adding, ‘The women are wearing the same clothes as they are in London and it’s the least provincial of all the towns I’ve been to.’73 On returning to London, however, the account he gave to his Geordie friend Ian La Frenais was rather more typically metropolitan: ‘I’ve

had looked at it, inquired about the name, declared that he had never heard of it, and ripped up the paper.76 On another occasion when Caine was signing autographs, a girl had told him candidly, ‘Me mum said you were goodlooking. But I think y’er ugly.’77 Also aware of the controversial nature of the film’s subject matter, and the local hornets’ nest stirred up in similar circumstances by the filming of Brighton Rock, a spokesperson for the Carter film unit had assured the Chronicle that this most

political divisions and ensured that any close inspection of its undertakings was effectively discouraged. As Milne puts it, ‘There were plenty of officials and councillors around willing to be bought, and more important, many in high places who were willing CARTER IN CONTEXT 41 . Dryderdale Hall, the home of Vince Landa and Cyril Kinnear. and able to foster these activities whilst themselves remaining in the background, but being helpful in any cover-up operations that were required.’89 One

underworld that has nurtured him. His abandonment of its codes is further demonstrated by his decision to involve a heroin dealer in his plot to snare Kinnear. As the women in the post office gossip about the news of the car park death, Carter phones to arrange a connection with the dealer on Newcastle’s Swing Bridge. Hodges films most of Carter’s meeting with the dealer through the windows of the bridge’s control box, cutting only to a direct close-up to establish that he is buying drugs and

not the kind of text that the fledgling discipline of film studies wanted to discuss. Any notoriety it may have acquired as a cinematic bête noire was quickly obliterated by the wave of controversy that accompanied the release of The Devils, Straw Dogs and A Clockwork Orange, all within a year. If there was any examining of contemporary film-making in Britain to be done, these disturbingly violent films from acknowledged auteurs were first in line for consideration. Consequently, Get Carter spent

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