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I don't want to get rough, do I? - The Ex-Communicator

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March 4th, 2011

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10:34 am - I don't want to get rough, do I?
An article in the Guardian about the fortieth anniversary of my favourite film: Get Carter.

Carter is one of those films of which almost every line is famous - well, famous among those who love it, like some people are with Rocky Horror or Star Wars. It has the quality of Significance: that everything in it, and everything said, is freighted with meaning, like in Tarantino.

'Oi! In a thin glass!'

The actual story is simple: Michael Caine (as Carter) is a London gangster, extremely cold and inward, who comes to Tyneside to investigate his brother's death. For the first half of the film he is controlled and quiet, and then he sees a porn film featuring his daughter/niece and from then on he goes on a psychotic killing rampage, culminating in his own meaningless death. As well as the people, the city itself is a major character in the film. The bleak post-war wasteland. I lived in Darlington in the 1970s and it was something like.

It's a hugely influential film. I think most modern British gangster films (a huge genre) owe it a first or second hand debt. Life on Mars was heavily influenced by it, as was Our Friends in the North, and the Red Riding trilogy.

Opening credits
With me it's a full time job

(8 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
The bleak post-war wasteland.

All that Brutalist architecture was a real gift to film-makers. Really must steel myself to watch it, but I'm pretty violence phobic.
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2011 04:42 pm (UTC)
The infamous multi-storey car park, the terrace houses, the city centre pubs, just astonishingly harsh, and yet people live in that landscape, trying to make a life. I wouldn't force yourself if you hate violence, because it is built around that.
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2011 05:03 pm (UTC)
I lived in Darlington in the 1970s and it was something like

Didn't the lack of Tyneside accents bother you? I enjoyed the film, but found that slightly distracting.
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC)
I know: voice coaching was obviously only a wild imagining at this point in cinema history, but I am glad they didn't mess with Caine's voice anyway.

'Was it obligatory for British films of the early seventies to include a mildly hallucinatory sequence in which Britt Ekland pleasured herself? ' LOL
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
Love that film. I'd somehow never heard of it until about 1998 (despite various now-obvious references like Get Shorty) but tracked it after hearing the director mention it in an interview about Croupier (which I loved). I believe he actually used his money from the Get Carter re-make (which I've avoided) to make Croupier, which seems like a good deal for everyone including us.

But yeah, the starkness and nastiness are amazing, in addition from the many cool-looking set-pieces. Oh when that car goes in the water...

Have you seen Stormy Monday? It's a completely different kind of film (much more warm & fuzzy about humanity, although with a couple brutal moments) but it's a pet film of mine and I think takes place in the same neck of the woods (based on the heavy-irony opening line: "You're listening to Tyneside 247, England's #1 radio station with the very best in American sounds").
[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
I've never even heard of Stormy Monday, but I see from imdb it was 1988, and that was the year I had a baby by accident so it's kind of a blur. Croupier was a very good film, I think Carter is a great film. Yes, when the car goes in the water - shit, it's horrible. Incidentally that's how the girl is killed in my current obsession the Danish thriller Forbrydelsen. Might be a coincidence.
[User Picture]
Date:March 5th, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC)
Have you seen Harry Brown? Watched it a couple of weeks back and thought it was rather brilliant.
[User Picture]
Date:March 5th, 2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
I have seen it. I think it's more or less crackers but great fun. Nice to see an old codger kick ass.

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