After reading the book recently I was dying to see this again. I f**king love ‘Get Carter’. It’s one of those movies for my generation that you catch late one night on TV, not knowing anything much about it and it blows you away. It’s my one of my all time favorite movies coming just behind ‘Taxi Driver’ on the list.
Who is Carter for the uninitiated? He is basically Batman in the earliest comics in as much as he’d kill people by shooting them or throwing them off buildings. Whatever took his fancy at that time. Jack Carter is like that, he’ll kill a man with whatever comes to hand and if other people get killed off in the process of his violent actions then who cares. That’s the kind of man he is. Ye wouldn’t have Guy Ritchie’s ‘Lock Stock..’ or ‘Snatch’ if it wasn’t for ‘Get Carter’.
Michael Caine completely owns the character from his first moments onscreen. He is at his most deadliest as Carter, a man who comes back to his hometown for his brother’s funeral and to find out who murdered him. It’s a revenge film of the highest caliber and as in the book it’s all just gangster business to a man like Jack Carter. He might not have liked his brother but family is family and he has to do something about it whether he likes it or not. He’s an irredeemable character but Michael Caine’s performance is so devastatingly brilliant that you can’t but root for him and feel some sort of empathy.
Roy Budd’s soundtrack to the movie is almost as iconic as the film itself. Considering what he was able to do with the small budget he had to work with and using only three musicians to score the movie he produced something very grand.
This was Director’s Mike Hodges first film and it doesn’t show. His craft is masterful and unfortunately it’s a type of film making you can’t see in commercial film today. The word “commercial” is why. He is a film maker with a mentality of another era. He brings a gritty sense of realism that wasn’t common to films. Likely because he worked on current affairs programs such as ‘World in Action’. He frames Get Carter in the city of Newcastle and allows the life of the city to bleed into the picture giving us a real sense of the setting. Not only that but Carter’s violent actions bleeds into the society also as innocent bystanders are caught up in it.
If you like or have already see ‘Get Carter’ then you must check out ‘Point Blank’ starring Lee Marvin, the film that inspired Caine to take on the role of Carter.
Check out also ‘The Limey’ starring Terrance Stamp and Directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film was supposedly to have Caine in the leading role playing Carter again but it wouldn’t have been a sequel or a remake.
Harry Brown is another film with Caine going violent on people. This time he is more of a heroic vigilante that takes on street gangs but you could also see it as an aged Jack Carter coming out of retirement to bring hell to those who mess with him.
Staying on the theme of revenge you must watch 1970 Kung Fu flick ‘Vengeance’. A loose remake of ‘Point Blank’ about a man who returns to his hometown to exact revenge on those who killed his brother. Sound familiar?
For more by Mike Hodges like this then watch the similarly themed gangster movie ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’ starring Clive Owen (where is he?).
Hodges has made 5 films. I keep hoping for him to make more but his most recent project, a film adaptation of Thomas Mann’s ‘Mario and the Magician’ starring Malcolm McDowell and Jonathan Rhys Myers has not yet been able to secure the financing it needs. Hodges has also talked of an original script called ‘The Chinese Busker’ by Trevor Preston, writer of ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’ but so far their is little news on either. His most recent work is actually a 2010 novel called ‘Watching The Wheels Come Off‘. I haven’t read it but it certainly sounds like something worth reading.
Favorite Quote: “You’re a big man, but you’re in bad shape. With me it’s a full time job. Now behave yourself.” – Jack Carter
This blaxploitation film of ‘Get Carter’ was released in 1972 and starred Pam Grier and Bernie Casey as Carter’s alter ego Tyrone Tackett
It’s mostly a remake of the movie with a few titbits from the novel thrown in at the beginning involving the shotgun’s history. It’s not worth watching unless you are a completist that needs to see these things. It’s better than the Stallone remake. Casey is giving it some welly and at times seems to be trying to mirror Caine’s performance.
With that said I found it rather violent and overly sexual in a way that doesn’t serve the main story. The film was heavily criticized for it’s negative stereotypes and it’s easy to see why. The dialogue is unintentionally hilarious though. Take my favorite quote down below which was originally “You’re a big man but you’re in bad shape” which is now…
“You’re a big cat, but don’t be selling me no wolf ticket” – Tyrone Tackett
My favorite quote of the movie which I got a big laugh out of.
Get Carter 2000 (remake)
I like Sly Stallone. I really do. I think he is an actor with his heart in the right place. I believe he truly wants to make entertaining movies and give fans what they want. Taking on a role like this at least shows he has good taste. But unfortunately the movie is an absolutely dire piece of work and Stallone just doesn’t get Jack Carter, a man he plays as someone just “trying to do the right thing”. He’s fairly light on revenge. We only see him kill one person, the others are off screen or he lets them go. Not the unstoppable force of Caine’s Carter, no sir. Hearing Stallone repeat lines once said by Caine is almost embarrassing. The film is over stylized, trying to appeal to the MTV generation. A complete reinvention of the character might have been something worth watching rather than this half arsed attempt at a remake of one of the greatest films ever made.
The only reason to watch this is because it has Michael Caine who apparently filmed his role in 2 days as a favor to friend Stallone yet still eclipses Stallone during the few minutes he is onscreen (even when he is holding a box of brand name whiskey as product placement). Micky Rourke too aint half bad. But best to just avoid this film altogether.
Favorite Quote (minus Stallone’s delivery): “…..we make mistakes, we fall down…we get into trouble, it happens to everybody, it does. But it doesn’t mean, you know, everything that happened yesterday has to happen every day, it doesn’t. You don’t want to do it like me and spend your whole life looking backwards.” – Jack Carter