45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
You're a big man, but you're out of shape ...,
This review is from: Get Carter  [DVD] (DVD)GET CARTER is probably Mike Hodges' masterpiece. It is certainly Britain's gangster-film masterpiece ... complete with unacceptable-in-America ending. THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY and LOCK, STOCK & TWO SMOKING BARRELS may arguably come close to emulating GET CARTER's success and cult status, but do not equal it. Cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky could have shot the film in black & white with no discernable change of mood or visual nuances: it is set amidst the bleak, industrial decay of early-70s Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The closing slag-heap scenes are in daylight, but the overcast, lowering sky drowns out all colour. Even the signature-tune is plaintively minimalist.
The plot features nasty villains, principal among whom is 'the hero,' surly London gangland racketeer and troubleshooter Jack Carter (Michael Caine at his most impassively impressive, in perhaps his best-ever rôle) who is only slightly more self-righteous than the Geordie 'rural Mafia' he out-villains whilst unravelling the complex web of cover-ups, bribes, double-crosses and sudden violence to determine which villain(s) in particular he will wreak 'orrific vengeance upon for A] them wot done 'is bruvver in, and also later on B] for involving his niece in a blue-film racket. On the train 'oop north' Carter reads Raymond Chandler's FAREWELL, MY LOVELY, but he lacks entirely any of Philip Marlowe's scruples and morals. Carter screws the bird but doesn't bat an eyelid when the car - with her in the boot - is pushed into the river, nor does he flinch a facial muscle when discovering that his sole ally (Alun Armstrong) has been brutally given the once-over.
Today's porn industry enjoys a semi-glossy veneer of stylishness with most of the porn 'stars' being in control of their careers, but back in the heady days of the early-1970s 'blue movies' were exploitationist, gritty, sleazy and dirty, complete with poor-quality film and the absence of sound. GET CARTER's ending is unexpected (the only similarly-unexpected ending I can think of is Sergio Corbucci's IL GRANDE SILENZIO ), and yet fitting for the film's ongoing theme of bleakness and pessimism. Including the final fade-out.
The film features neat cameos by Ian Hendry (as Eric Paice, the scheming chauffeur with the I-am-a-baddy shades) and noted playwright John Osborne (as the menacing Cyril Kinnear). Memorable is Carter's somewhat unpleasant 'seduction-to-telephone' of moll Britt Ekland back in London whilst observing his Newcastle landlady rocking in her chair barely containing her surging hormones ... until Ekland's oafish 'owner' enters the room and cannot imagine what she is doing unclad, "You got gut-ache or something ...?"
Steven Soderbergh's "requiem for the hard man" THE LIMEY (1999) may look like a 1990s version of GET CARTER: just released from Her Majesty's pleasure, well-'ard Terence Stamp goes out to Los Angeles to find out why and by who's hand his daughter was done-in. The Chandleresque dialogue includes a high London slang content and Stamp knocks the opposition about with machine-gun resonance, but there the similarities end ...
Hollywood made a 'GET CARTER 2000' ... HOW DARE THEY ...!!!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Jan 2010 13:51:53 GMT
Last edited by the author on 23 Jan 2010 13:53:21 GMT
D. Inglesfield says:
One of my favourite films, and this is a nice review; however, I must point out that it is the character Cliff Brumby (played by Bryan Mosley) who is said to be a big man - but out of shape - not John Osborne's character.
In reply to an earlier post on 22 Mar 2010 11:29:04 GMT
I stand corrected! [and have now edited to suit]
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