Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Classic Get Carter at 45

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Classic Get Carter at 45

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Morton Nostalgia Editor

IT'S acknowledged as one of the greatest British films of all time - and it was released this week 45 years ago.

Get Carter tells the violent tale of London gangster, Jack Carter, who returns to his home city, Newcastle, to avenge the death of his brother.

Starring Michael Caine, and with a budget of PS750,000, the movie was shot in the North East and used the people and places of the region as a dramatic backdrop to the action.

If it received mixed reviews and made just moderate money at the box office in 1971, in more recent years it has been critically acclaimed in its own right, and as an influence on latter day classics like The Long Good Friday and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The media historian and broadcaster Chris Phipps is an authority on Get Carter.

He says: "Forty five years ago, Michael Caine steps off a train at Newcastle, orders a drink and walks into cinematic history.

"Get Carter coldly documents his portrayal of mobster Jack Carter who investigates the mysterious death of his older brother and uncovers a web of corruption and vice in Newcastle.

"The plot unfolds - a hybrid of The Count of Monte Cristo and The Terminator - as Carter plans and literally executes a violent campaign of revenge in the name of his family.

"Caine's portrayal of Jack Carter is iconic and revolutionary. Here is a real gangster exacting real revenge - not a flashy comical spiv that had generally populated British post-war films.

"It was perhaps a reflection of the psychopathic Kray twins who had been sentenced in the late-1960s as a dark conclusion to swinging '60s London.

"Caine shares the screen with the city of Newcastle. Ted Lewis's original novel was set in his native Humberside. Get Carter director Mike Hodges had instead chosen Newcastle as the gritty, corrupt and changing backdrop that had shaped Jack Carter. …

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