"Mike Hodges’ debut feature (has made others since, including A Prayer for
the Dying ), is what I call a ‘black British’ which is the equivalent of
the American noir, but with the social/cultural trappings of England. There’s a big
difference, and Get Carter (due out in a remake) with Sylvester Stallone in the Michael
Caine role as this is written [Feb. 2001]) is at its best when it relies on that cultural
specificity to involve us. Here’s a gangster, as the English call him and as Hodges
calls him, in a poverty stricken, unglamorous, hardworking, tough lower class English
Newcastle. But he’s got that universal cool thing. He’s going to outsmart the
gangsters who killed his brother. Even though he never liked his brother; that’s
As a movie observer, you may like to compare the two versions. Or not. If you are a
Michael Caine fan, you’ll want this on your shelf; he’s his essential Caine self
here, always measured and oozing screen presence.
If you are a thriller fan, this is hard bitten and gutsy in a 1970s sort of way, and
yet it looks quite timeless, as Hodges remarks with some surprise during a splendid (if
unsual) commentary track. Unusual because the three of them (Hodges, Caine and DoP
Suschitzky) seem to have recorded it separately but their tapes are combined. Even though
it’s a seamless edit, you can tell they are not together.
There is lots to grab our attention, including the man with six fingers, an extra in an
early bar scene. As Hodges remarks, despite a good close up, no-one has ever noticed this.
Here is DVD power for you!
Caine explains he wanted to do the film because of its veracity with English gangsters,
and there is talk of the joys and pains of using real locations.
The transfer in 16:9 is technically fine, the navigation is simple and there’s
plenty of detail in the commentary to satisfy the average movie fan; get Carter."
Andrew L. Urban
Published: February 8, 2001