Quite possibly the ultimate British Neo Noir. Directed by Mike Hodges. The film stars Michael Caine, Ian Hendry, Britt Ekland, John Osborne, Geraldine Moffat, Rosemarie Dunham, Petra Markham, Tony Beckley, George Sewell, and Bryan Mosley. The film was lensed by cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky and edited by John Trumper. The screenplay was adapted by Mike Hodges from Ted Lewis' 1969 novel "Jack's Return Home."
The film is highly artistic and indulgently stylistic, devoting quite a few segments throughout to these impressive flourishes, which garnish the story elements and makes this film stand quite apart from other British Neo Noirs made up to that point. It's almost on par with what the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone did in the mid 1960s for the tired American Western genre and you can not deny this influence in Get Carter, you see it in the cinematography and in various picaresque sequences. Perhaps because its studio, MGM was closing down its European operations, (the film became the last project green-lighted before the American company shuttered its Borehamwood studios), that it has this refreshing freedom to tell it's hard boiled tale the way it's director envisioned, in that magical period of untethered freedom (at least as seen in the American Release) between the Codes, i.e., end of the old Hollywood Hayes Code and the beginning of the corporate media PC code.
|Jack at Fletcher's|
|"I'll think about it"|
Jack decides to go North.
Someone with a Noir lovers perspective will love the knowing references to the Film Noirs of the past. The title sequence evokes La bête humaine (1938), and it's American remake Human Desire (1954), also The Narrow Margin (1952), and Blast Of Silence (1961), Jack is even reading Raymond Chandler's "Farewell My Lovely" during his train journey. Another sequence later in the film again references The Narrow Margin (1952) with an escape through the clotheslines, and there's a nod to Point Blank (1967), there are probably others to discover.
|Homage title sequence|
|Pub as Wild West saloon|
|Extreme over the shoulder shots between Jack top and Kinnear bottom|
Jack soon questions the circumstances of his brother Frank's death. There are two rival gangs, running the town by an uneasy truce, one outfit is run by flesh-peddler, porno king, Cyril Kinnear (John Osbourne). Kinnear lives on a country estate in a posh house, reminiscent of Hugh Hefner's mansion. It seems to have a continuously running house party of birds in micro minis and turtlenecked playboys. The other gang is led by Arcade Emporium Czar, Cliff Brumby (Bryan Mosley). He respectfully resides in a pseudo Tudor with an opulent goldfish pond. Both residences are in stark contrast to the crumbling industrial cityscape of wharves, elevated railway trestles serving waterfront coal docks, gray cobblestone streets flanked by red-gray brick houses, that resemble storm sewers in cross section, which seem to flush the human working class down to the gray waters of a cloaca maxima called the Tyne. All this against an equally gray polluted sky, a dreary world of total decay and decadence.
In Get Carter Michael Cain's Jack joins the Pantheon of anti-heroes. I do believe it's his best performance, it's a must view for serious Noir/Neo Noir aficionados. Excellent low key complimentary soundtrack by Roy Budd. An easy 10/10 DVD caps are from the Warner Brothers DVD