Sunday Matinee: Get Carter

Get_Carter_posterWarner Brothers is releasing one of my favourite crime films on Blu-ray this week. Writer / director Mike Hodges 1971 crime thriller classic Get Carter.

Not to be confused with the super crappy remake that starred Sylvester Stallone, the original Get Carter starred Michael Caine as Carter, a hitman for the London mob. Carter is seeing his boss’ girlfriend Britt Ekland behind his boss’ back. News reaches Carter that his brother has died back in the Carter’s hometown of Newcastle so instead of running away to South America with Ekland, Carter goes home for the funeral (the trip is just postponed until he gets back).

Once back home and after attending the funeral Carter starts looking into things. He doesn’t believe the report that his brother died in a drunk-driving accident and stars poking his nose into the “accident”. Sure enough, things aren’t what they seem. I feel that I’ve said too much but after watching the trailer, it says way way too much. Even in the ’70’s Hollywood was giving everything away.

The film was adapted from the 1969 novel Jack’s Return Home by Ted Lewis. Get Carter was Mike Hodges first feature film. He had previously only worked on documentaries and TV shows. The film was MGM’s last British produced film, at the time MGM was in trouble and they were scaling back to focus on only American productions. As a result the movie was barely promoted at the time of it’s release. It had faded into obscurity when it finally made it on home video in 1993. Get Carter then saw a resurgence both critically and with a growing cult following. By 1999 it was number 16 on BFI’s Top 100 British Films of the 20th Century.

The film is excellent. It’s has a gritty, realistic feel to it. Caine is also excellent as Carter. He plays him tough and unlikeable. He might be the protagonist of the story but it’s kind of hard to root for him. The fact the everyone else in the film are also unlikeable helps. It’s great to see Warner actually give this film the high definition treatment.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.

1 thought on “Sunday Matinee: Get Carter”

  1. This is a really good gangster film, especially for a British one. I seem to recall that Michael Caine said he wanted to do it because the script didn’t depict the characters, familiar to Caine from his growing up, as either funny or stupid.

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