Mike Hodges

b. 29 July 1932 Bristol, England

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Beyond Get Carter: Landscapes of Alienation

Although Mike Hodges will always be associated with Get Carter (1971), this is as much a mixed blessing as limiting Orson Welles to Citizen Kane (1941). Both are “great” films. But defining any major artist by one film often fails to consider other neglected works which often exceed the “great masterpiece”. Get Carter is certainly an accomplished film both within its national cinema and its barely explored British gangster film genre. (1) However, its position as 16th in a list of 100 celebrated British movies conducted by Sight and Sound in 1999 tends to overshadow Hodges’ other achievements. Like Welles, Hodges has experienced the worst aspects of film production’s “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” But if Welles saw his Magnificent Ambersons butchered, a film he regarded as superior to Citizen Kane in its original form, Mike Hodges has been fortunate in realising his “Ambersons” not only once but twice – in Croupier (1998) and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (2004). These two films are major cinematic achievements. They combine atmospheric influences from European art cinema, internal explorations involving characters and their behaviour, the motivating role of external landscapes, generic deconstruction, and the creative employment of a distinct type of minimalist cinema challenging audiences to explore images and sounds displayed on the screen in order to decipher their inherent meanings.

Hodges’ other films such as Pulp (1972), The Terminal Man (1974) and Black Rainbow (1990) deserve more attention. “Unusual” ventures such as Flash Gordon (1980) and the flawed Morons from Outer Space (1985) necessitate reconsideration not only for their stylistic excesses contrasting with Hodges’ particular cinema of restrained tension (seen particularly in The Terminal Man, Croupier, and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead) but also in terms of their dark satirical visions never completely absent from his particular type of cinema. American television films such as Missing Pieces (1983) and Florida Straits (1986) are usually “works for hire” often lacking the director’s unique style. Hodges has described the last film as a “nightmare” and “excruciating” on several occasions. But his 1985 “WGOD” contribution to The Hitchhiker series reveals a satirical assault on fundamentalist religion that Black Rainbow continues. Like many in the film industry, Hodges has suffered from corporate interference. Despite interesting performances by Mickey Rourke, Bob Hoskins and Alan Bates, A Prayer for the Dying (1987) was re-edited against Hodges’ wishes, resulting in a stylistically uneven work the director attempted to remove his name from. Attempts to release a director’s cut on DVD have now “sadly failed”, in the director’s own words. Had Hodges’ version remained, A Prayer for the Dying‘s original structure would have ideally complemented one of Mickey Rourke’s most memorable roles as a repentant ex-I.R.A. killer from Belfast. Unfortunately, Hollywood wanted a more linear narrative emphasising action and violence rather than the type of work characteristic of Hodges’ type of innovative cinema.

Mike Hodges: The whole feeling was different. There were “flash backs” to the killing…and a flash-forward to the collapse of the cross after the bomb goes off (as premonition) when he first walks into the church. The crap about the priest being ex-SAS was minimal in my version. But, more seriously, the pacing of my film was destroyed, and the sound track decimated. (2)

Attracted to the theme of corporate marketing of genetically modified food Hodges agreed to direct Damien: Omen II from his screenplay after turning down the original film. But he was replaced after three weeks shooting in Chicago when the producers realised they would not have the type of Omen sequel they wanted. Hodges was attracted by the theme of the abusive nature of corporate power rather than supernatural elements. “It soon became obvious that I was shooting a film different from the one they wanted. I wanted to show wealth as size like Welles had done in Citizen Kane.” (3) He shot scenes in the food laboratory and military academy which stylistically differ from the rest of the completed film which recycles familiar Omen themes. Hodges would return to depicting other dark associations between religion, family relationships and politics in Black Rainbow. Such concerns were also deeply rooted in his own personal experience.

During World War Two, the seven year-old Hodges received his education at Bath’s Prior Park College, a boarding school run by the Irish Christian Brothers. Although he never experienced molestation, he observed a very grim environment combining hellfire and damnation with frequent physical punishment. These experiences not only turned him against religion but taught him the value of survival in an environment whose practices contradicted the revered image of Mother Church whose gentle Jesus was supposedly meek and mild. It also stimulated Hodges’ brand of dark humour that often appears whenever his films confront the contrast between the illusions people cling to in their daily lives and the grim reality of their existence.

MH: Mordant humour has always attracted me. Being indoctrinated a Roman Catholic at an early age has left me with the “grim reaper” as my constant companion. The only way I can cope is to laugh at him.

Get Carter

Like many future British film critics and directors, Hodges sought escape in the cinema and became attracted to the work of The Archers, Billy Wilder’s satirical view of Hollywood in Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Joseph Mankiewicz’s depiction of the theatrical world in All About Eve (1950). Although he knew what he really wanted to do, Hodges had to succumb to parental pressure concerning a “respectable career” so he trained to become a chartered accountant on the understanding that he could do what he wanted afterwards. (4) However, after passing his exams, Hodges had to perform his National Service and chose to enter the Royal Navy. He refused to become a commissioned officer deciding instead to work on minesweepers which docked in every British fishing port. During these two years, he experienced a formative education concerning class barriers in the British Navy and the contrast between the images Britain presented to itself and the real experiences of working people who lived in conditions of poverty resembling the world of Hogarth. These insights would later inform Get Carter. (5) Like many in his generation, Hodges was also influenced by the contemporary international art cinema of Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini, Jean Vigo and Max Ophuls. After entering television, Hodges worked on two important television programs during the 1960s: World in Action and Tempo. During his two years on World in Action, Hodges visited Vietnam, and interviewed right-wing presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in Dallas and injured union organisers in Detroit. It left him totally disillusioned with Hollywood’s version of the American Dream. Hodges received another education concerning the differences between reality and manufactured illusion. On Tempo, he adopted a critical and experimental journalistic approach in programs devoted to talents such as Harold Pinter, Orson Welles, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Jacques Tati, Jean-Luc Godard, Lee Strasberg and others. Hodges regards his work on these series as crucial for his future career as a film director.

MH: World in Action was based on researching a subject. This habit I took with me into fictional films. For example, with GetCarter I investigated an actual crime in Newcastle once I had decided to shoot the film there. This led to all kinds of details in the story telling, and to the location of Cyril Kinnear’s house which had remained empty since the perpetration of the crime. The crime also involved the use of a “hit man” like Jack Carter who, even as I write, is still rotting in jail. Tempo was important in a different way. Being an “art”’ programme, we could be very experimental in our film making techniques. I learned a lot from the directors (Dick Fontane, Dennis Postle and James Goddard) I was able to employ on the show.

After directing a six-part children’s television serial, The Tyrant King (1967), scripted by Trevor Preston, Hodges realised the value of shooting on 16mm rather than video for television drama. He then wrote and directed two television dramas for Thames Television. They contain remarkable anticipations of his future style and themes. Shot on location in the English countryside, Suspect (1969) represents Hodges’ appropriation of art cinema techniques to depict an ambiguous, yet revealingly symbiotic relationship between the search for a murdered child and the breakdown of a middle-class marriage. The treatment is enigmatic, involving links between interior states of mind and the exterior landscape which somehow conditions perverse human behaviour. Rumour (1970) deals with a cynical tabloid journalist who becomes involved in a political conspiracy concerning the death of a young hooker. Like many of Hodges’ later heroes such as Jack Carter, Jack Manfred and Will Graham, he becomes trapped in a world over which he has no control. Hodges shot this film by using the type of long distance lens he would employ in Get Carter as well asdisplayinghis characteristic sense of dark humour. His journalist passes a poster advertising Goodbye Columbus with the “Columbus” excluded from the shot. This anticipates the later ironic use of the “Journey’s End” hotel in Croupier as well as those sardonically framed shots of images from everyday life in many of his films such as “The Game is Final” logo in the bingo hall sequence in Get Carter. It intimates that the game will be final not only for Margaret but also Jack Carter. Hodges often works in established genres such as the thriller, science-fiction and the gangster film only to deconstruct them stylistically and thematically. Like any talented director, Hodges knows his sources but uses them like paint on a canvas to create his own unique type of cinema. His short ironic 30 minute episode “The Manipulators” (1972) manipulates both the leading character and the viewers in a very Godardian, ironic manner making them both victims of a deterministic universe anticipating techniques contained in his later films. (6)

Tony Williams: In Steven Paul Davies’ Get Carter and Beyond: The Cinema of Mike Hodges, you mention your love of Godard’s films. Do you think his style has influenced your work in any particular way?

MH: Not in any specific way, except perhaps in Rumour. It was the sense of freedom that Godard (and Truffaut) brought to the screen. It was like the arrival of the “impressionists” in painting. You felt you could do anything… I’m sure I was influenced by the enigmatic in European cinema. I like to have my curiosity aroused. It’s the only way we know we are still alive.

Get Carter

Despite its recent status as Britain’s definitive gangster film and championship by a British lad culture nostalgically lamenting that lost era when men were men and women were “birds”, Get Carter may have more in common with European art cinema’s ironic tendencies than its supposed Hollywood associations with the gangster and western genres. Jack Carter (Michael Caine) thinks he is control. But actually he is not. Deterministic forces and a contingent chain of events dominate his supposedly free independent agency. During the opening scene, the Fletcher brothers warn him about rocking the boat in Newcastle. While Jack reads Raymond Chandler’s Farewell My Lovely on the train compartment, his future assassin “J” sits quietly opposite him. Although Jack may think himself a manipulator by using personal charisma, money, and violence to get his way, he will become manipulated both by his own psychotic personality and the involvement of outside forces. Collaborating with Wolfgang Suschitsky, who photographed The Small World of Sammy Lee (Ken Hughes, 1963), a film that influenced the future director in terms of its depiction of a seedy environment and a character dominated by forces beyond his control, Hodges uses the declining industrial landscape of Newcastle to suggest both internal and external decay involving Carter and the world around him contradicting the myth of a supposedly liberated “swinging ’60s”.

TW: Did contemporary novels such as James Barlow’s The Burden of Proof (1968, later filmed in 1971 as Villain) and Ted Lewis’ Jack’s Return Home (1970) influence you or did you see the reality of what was going on at the time?

MH: Not really. I didn’t need others to show me the reality of life here for millions of people. The gap between the “swinging” and the “swinged” is actually growing wider all the time. Jack’s Return Home provided me with the opportunity to explore that hidden underbelly.

At the end of the film, Jack Carter becomes a piece of industrial waste lying near a Newcastle slag heap which, minutes before, witnessed his supposed victory over Eric Paice (Ian Hendry). Like I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, the final act of this revenger’s tragedy is futile. (7) Violence solves nothing.

Originally titled Memoirs of a Ghostwriter, Pulp represented a change for both director and star. While its dark humour appears worlds apart from Get Carter, both films contain absurdist associations involving a character who believes he can control events which finally dominate him. Former undertaker turned hack writer Mickey King (Michael Caine) inhabits the same ironic landscape like a character from Samuel Beckett. Hodges describes Pulp as a black comedy about the re-emergence of Fascism in 1970s Italy. (8) Pulp is also an ironic, absurdist Lewis Carroll treatment of a world in which its leading character finds everything becoming “curiouser and curiouser” by the minute. Dennis Price’s chorus role as a Lewis Carroll reader emphasises these “Alice in Wonderland” associations. But dark, political machinations and deadly games (rather than a child’s harmless fantasy) dominate Pulp making it much more than a harmless comedy. The film ends with King trapped in the world of C.I.A. supported Fascism. Pulp‘s closing montage compares him to the boar hunted by a future Mussolini. As the sequence develops, it becomes clear that the animal has no means of escaping its killers. Its avenues of escape become increasingly blocked in each successive scene. Hodges’ collaboration with costume designer Git Magrinni of Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970) parallels his later ones with Fellini’s Italian designer Danilo Donati in Flash Gordon and Voytek in Black Rainbow and Hodges’ Fellini-influenced television version of Tom Stoppard’s Squaring the Circle (1984). Hodges is a creative collaborator, often sharing co-credit as he does with scenarists Paul Mayersberg and Trevor Preston in Croupier and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. Pulp‘s absurdist comedy elements attracted critical attention but most audiences did not share the joke. However, jokes became more explicit and obvious in two other Hodges’ comedies – Flash Gordon and Morons from Outer Space.

Flash Gordon

Although removed from Hodges’ other “serious” films, these two works explicitly reveal the dark humour lying beneath the surface of most of his work. Produced by Dino De Laurentiis, Flash Gordon does not take itself seriously. But its camp humour and garish costumes display a satiric vision still relevant to today’s international landscape. Sam J. Jones’ Flash represents a naïve, unthinking American blundering on to a universal situation he has no understanding of. He survives to the end by sheer chance. Topol’s “mad scientist” Dr Zarkoff believes “the end justifies the means”, as seen in his kidnapping of Flash and Dale (Melody Anderson) and his disregard for the death of his assistant Munson (William Hootkins). Max von Sydow’s Ming embodies America’s constant reinvention of the evil enemy throughout its history while Ornella Muti’s Princess Aura and Mariangela Melato’s Kala embody puritanical fears of the sexually active European female. Hodges directs the film in a spirit of fun very reminiscent of the British pantomime tradition seen especially at the climax where surviving members of the cast appear to take their final bow before the audience. (9) Initially titled Illegal Aliens, Morons from Outer Space united Hodges with two key members of the popular 1980s BBC television series, Not the Nine 0′ Clock News – Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones – in what could have been a devastating satirical assault on the Steven Spielberg version of infantile Hollywood science-fiction. But problems with screenwriters Smith and Jones combined with various production difficulties blunted the critical edge of Hodges’ unique conception which suggested that aliens may not only be less advanced than the human race but even more stupid! Visiting a human civilisation speedily accelerating towards a “dumbing-down” culture (represented by their planet Blob), the aliens are first regarded as threats. But they soon become celebrities in a world of political vacuity and debased values. Although flawed by conflicts involving acting and an executive producer misunderstanding Hodges’ own particular type of shooting style and subtle humour, the film is still enjoyable as a companion piece to Flash Gordon. It is a work not to be taken seriously but one containing moments of great satirical comment often temporarily transcending its flawed structure.

The Terminal Man is a better example of Hodges’ approach to science-fiction cinema. Although sparsely distributed in America and refused release in England (despite a screening at the 1974 National Film Theatre Festival), it is one of the director’s most accomplished works in terms of his employment of minimalist visual style and acting anticipating the later achievements of Croupier and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. (10) Adapted from Michael Crichton’s best selling novel, The Terminal Man depicted a world of clinical and personal alienation devoid of any emotional human association. Los Angeles’ exterior dehumanising landscape mirrored the soulless corridors and operating room of a medical establishment implanting a computer chip into the brain of Harry Benson (George Segal). Influenced by the paintings of Edward Hopper and Arthur Koestler’s The Ghost in the Machine, Hodges achieves deep stylistic resonances in this neglected work.

TW: The Terminal Man employs a deliberately cerebral and clinical style which contrasts severely with past and present styles used for science-fiction films?

MH: It seemed perfectly obvious to me that the film had to reflect the very premise of the story – cerebral and clinical! With each film I try to take the audience into a different world of my and my team’s creation.

Black Rainbow

George Segal’s minimalist acting contrasts with his usual Hollywood roles and anticipates Hodges’ future direction of Clive Owen. The Terminal Man presents a bleak view of a contemporary world dominated by an inhumane medical establishment and a mechanistic culture. Segmented by scenes revealing an eye looking through a peephole at Benson (and, by implication, the audience), the film ends with the victory of the machine culture and the further ominous involvement of the audience. Previously sharing the perspective of the doomed Benson in the empty grave, they now become future victims as the jailor announces through the peephole, “They want you next.”

Black Rainbow is another evocative and subtle masterpiece. It deals with a medium who gains the power to see into a future of murderous corporate exploitation in an America whose people cling to false illusions, refusing to see the destruction of their society. Initially attracted to the theme of corporate murder of workers exposing bad health and safety regulations, Hodges added the metaphysical element of fundamentalist religion to what he regards as an important political film. Black Rainbow contains Rosanna Arquette’s greatest performance as a disturbed medium manipulated by her alcoholic father (Jason Robards). Written and directed by Hodges, with superb set designs by Voytek, and photography by Gerry Fisher, Black Rainbow also contains enigmatic features involving the presence of forces in human life than cannot be explained by religious and scientific discourses but which nevertheless remain active in human life. Like The Terminal Man, Croupier, and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Black Rainbow bookends its narrative using the kudzu weeds to depict metaphorically the life force which we are part of.

TW: Black Rainbow is a very evocative and challenging film. Is Tom Hulce’s vision of Arquette at the beginning merely an illusion and how are we meant to interpret the ending? Hulce wears a corporate suit and raincoat at the beginning and end. He finally goes back to her house. Whether he finds her or not may be perhaps irrelevant to his decision to reject the corporate world?

MH: “You stole my life,” says Martha to her father. She did the same to the journalist. The film also deals with the man-made concept of “time.” It’s rather crudely suggested when she twice finds her watch is fast at the beginning. As a consequence she slips ahead of time and moves from being a stage medium (fake?) to being a prophet. When the journalist (with his apparel – and the news room – having moved on in ten years; from the “honest” to the “slick”) enters the kudzu strewn house at the end, time moves inexorably onwards. As to his decision to reject “corporate journalism” may I refer you to the media coverage in the US of the war in Iraq. Corruption, etc, etc, etc.

The film also continues the indictment of American religious fundamentalism Hodges began in WGOD in one of Hodges’ most relevant lines. “If we didn’t believe in all that crap about the hereafter, maybe we’d pay more attention to what’s going on down here. But we only get one shot, don’t we?”

Croupier and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead represent the most developed refinements of Mike Hodges’ talents to date. Shot in a very simplistic style accompanied by minimalist acting techniques, like the later work of Stanley Kubrick these restrained films contrast a deceptively controlled world with the destabilising forces of chance and contingency. (11) This is not to suggest that Hodges borrows from Kubrick but rather that both directors employ a common cinematic style examining issues affecting human personality and society in their own unique cinematic ways. Employing an excellently written screenplay by Paul Mayersberg, Hodges begins Croupier with his characteristic opening bookend shot illustrating the personal, psychological and social traps determining the fate of his characters. The film opens with the sound of the roulette wheel ball over the credits before revealing a slow-motion image of those desperate willing sacrificial victims at the roulette wheel. Jack’s voiceover occurs on the soundtrack synchronised with the image of Clive Owen as he gazes at the masochistic gamblers before him. As Jack speaks of reaching “his goal”, an abrupt cut accompanied by a whistling sound takes him back in time when “he was Jack Manfred”. Like Black Rainbow, the main narrative is a flashback but Hodge’s techniques are now more refined and sophisticated in terms of reaching his goal of a minimal and simple (not simplistic) form of cinema in which less can express more. In contrast to Pulp where Michael Caine’s voiceover was recorded later, Clive Owen recorded the voiceover before shooting so that when filming began the actor’s expression would synchronise with his thoughts. Croupier represents one of the most interesting experiments in sound cinema in terms of juxtaposing not only two voices but also two identities, one of which will take over the other by the end of the film. Critics may define Croupier as an example of postmodern British neo-noir but I would argue that its techniques are more modernist in terms of Hodges’ refinement of European art cinema influences. (12) It is a film grounded in duality on narrative, sound and visual levels. No occurrence is left without its ironic counterpoint in a world where people have very little choice. Croupier deals with a materialistic world of gambling, acting as an ironic metaphor for the dehumanising money-grabbing world of Thatcher and Blair’s Britain. Hodges does not trumpet the message. Instead he allows visual and sound components to suggestively articulate this theme. Croupier abounds in mirror imagery on all levels, the most important being the mirror world of the casino in which everyone exists under some form of surveillance. Unlike Jack Carter, Jack Manfred finally experiences a fate worse than death, namely spiritual dehumanisation. He may have become “Master of the Game” acquiring “the power…to make you lose” but as he sweeps away the chips into the black hole of the gambling table where gambling chips metaphorically embody human waste it is clear that everybody loses in this deadly game.

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead represents a completely different direction from Hodges’ other films in terms of a visual style, acting and editing even exceeding Croupier‘s minimalist techniques. Despite its similarities to the family revenge theme of Get Carter, it is not a Jacobean tragedy. As Hodges told Steve Chibnall, it has one thing in common with the rest of his work. “I’m very big on atmosphere, on allowing the territory in which the film takes place to percolate the audience’s psyche.” (13) This sense of location is very strong in his magnificent London Weekend Television mini-series Dandelion Dead (1993) where a life-denying environment conditions the behaviour of its inhabitants. While Hodges views I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead in terms of Kurosawa parallels involving a samurai who can never escape his destiny, scriptwriter Trevor Preston sees the film as a modern Greek tragedy involving the psychological devastation associated with the issue of male rape. Both perspectives are not mutually exclusive. As always, Hodges is never didactic but allows the viewer to explore a deceptively simple film plot whose disturbing undercurrents are deliberately hidden beneath the surface. Like Croupier, the film abounds in duality on all levels. Will Graham (Clive Owen) has looked beneath his former identity as a South London gangster to discover disturbing aspects of his own concealed “heart of darkness”. He has fled into the wilderness living like an animal to escape being an animal. But the death of his brother Davey (Jonathan Rhys Myers) results in his return to the city which has contaminated him in the past. Unlike most Hodges heroes, Will has a choice. He can leave the pathetic Boad (Malcolm McDowell) to live forever in psychological torment. As Hodges comments, “Will has to dress up to frighten Boad, to leave a deposit of fear with this man. He not only looks like a gangster, he looks like a businessman. I think business is the jungle now. It’s replaced the western.” (14) But he chooses not to do so. Will’s murder of Boad results in spiritual damnation illustrated by the judicious editing cut juxtaposing the sound of Will’s gun with the image of the deadly Belfast assassin waiting for him in another location. It is another expression of Hodge’s ironic sense of duality as well as a highly developed cinematic conjunction of space, time and meaning. As in all his films, the message of I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead is not individual but universal.

MH: Like most crimes, it was committed for trivial reasons. Boad wants to degrade Davey because he annoys him; he’s jealous of his success with women. What he doesn’t realise is that in the “real” macho world being raped like a woman is sufficient cause to do away with yourself. If Davey hadn’t committed suicide, Boad would not have died. Will Graham tried not to exact it – but, like most of us, failed. Sadly, revenge seems to make the world go around. Witness Palestine, Israel, Iraq, etc, etc, let alone Thatcher’s revenge for the 60s, the current Bush administration, and most corporations. It’s a subject I can’t leave alone.

Over the past few decades, Mike Hodges has developed a unique cinematic style that transcends the generic frameworks which he has utilised. Although British, he belongs to that unique group of directors whose sensitivities are universal, rather than national, and who use different stylistic components in their unique artistic canvas. He is also a novelist and painter as well as a director. As he stated to me, “Nobody can edit my painting!!!” He is currently developing three films and recently finished a novel, Watching the Wheels Come Off.

Endnotes

  1. The two major exceptions to this British tradition of critical neglect are Raymond Durgnat, “Some Lines of Inquiry into Post War British Crimes” in Robert Murphy (ed.), The British Cinema Book, British Film Institute, London, 1997, and Steve Chibnall and Robert Murphy (eds), British Crime Cinema, Routledge, London, 1999. Significantly, two of the 15 articles contained in the latter text are devoted to Get Carter.
  2. Unless mentioned otherwise, all quotes are from a 13 January 2006 email response from Mike Hodges. Due to MGM’s re-editing of the film (resulting in drastic changes in editing and alterations affecting the tone of particular scenes), Hodges initially demanded that his name be removed from the credits. MGM did not agree to this request. See Steven Paul Davies, Get Carter and Beyond: The Cinema of Mike Hodges, Batsford, London, 2002, pp. 125–133. This book contains extensive interview material with the director.
  3. Davies, p. 90.
  4. Davies, pp. 16–17.
  5. Hodges describes these experiences in an interview contained in the 2005 British DVD version of Flash Gordon. For his observations concerning the differences between the image and the reality of a Britain which would soon explicitly emerge in the Thatcher era and beyond, note Hodges’ audio-commentary to the DVD edition of Get Carter.
  6. For some interesting parallels between Hodges’ early television films and his later work as a director see Gary Indiana, “Of Fate”, Film Comment, vol. 40 no. 3, 2004, pp. 54–57.
  7. For this thesis see Steve Chibnall, “A Revenger’s Tragedy – Get Carter” in British Crime Cinema, pp. 123–133; Get Carter, I.B. Tauris, London, 2003.
  8. Flash Gordon DVD interview.
  9. Flash Gordon DVD audio-commentary.
  10. In his audio-commentary for the British 2004 DVD edition of Black Rainbow, Hodges refers to Black Rainbow as a “transitional film” that would lead to these last two works. On the other hand, a case can also be made for The Terminal Man in terms of its similar employment of an elegance and simplicity Hodges finds in the later works of directors such as John Huston.
  11. See here Thomas Allan Nelson, Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist’s Maze. New and Expanded Edition, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2000.
  12. For this categorisation see Andrew Spicer, Film Noir, Longman, England, 2002, pp. 201–202.
  13. Steve Chibnall, “Interview” Mike Hodges”, Sight and Sound, vol. 13 no. 9, 2003, p. 12. This is a really excellent interview concerning key themes in the film.
  14. Bruce Newman, “No Longer `Retired’, Director Explores Vengeance Again”, Mercury News, 7 April 2004.

Mike Hodges

Filmography

The Tyrant King (1967) (six episodes) ABC Television.

Suspect (1969) Thames Television

Rumour (1970) Thames Television

Get Carter (1971)

The Manipulators (1971) London Weekend Television

Pulp (1972)

The Terminal Man (1974)

Flash Gordon (1980)

Missing Pieces (1983) CBS Television

Squaring the Circle (1984) TVS/Metromedia Producers

Morons from Outer Space (1985)

WGOD. The Hitchhiker (1985) HBO Television

Florida Straits (1986) HBO Pictures

A Prayer for the Dying (1987)

Black Rainbow (1990)

The Healer (1992) BBC TV

Dandelion Dead (1993) London Weekend Television

Croupier (1998)

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (2004)

Select Bibliography

Steve Chibnall, “A Revenger’s Tragedy – Get Carter” in Steve Chibnall and Robert Murphy (eds), British Crime Cinema, Routledge, London, 1999, p. 123–133

Steve Chibnall, Get Carter, I.B. Tauris, London, 2003

Steve Chibnall, “Interview” Mike Hodges”, Sight and Sound, vol. 13 no. 9, 2003, p. 12

Steve Chibnall, “Revenger’s Tragedy”, Sight and Sound, vol. 13 no. 9, 2003, p. 13

Steven Paul Davies, Get Carter and Beyond: The Cinema of Mike Hodges, Batsford, London, 2002.

Mike Hodges, “Mike Hodges discusses Get Carter with the NFT Audience, 23 September 1997”, British Crime Cinema, pp. 117–122.

Gary Indiana, “Of Fate”, Film Comment, vol. 40 no. 3, 2004, pp. 54–57.

Articles in Senses of Cinema

Croupier by James B. McSwain

Web Resources

Film Directors – Articles on the Internet
Links to online articles can be found here

NFT Interviews: Mike Hodges
Interview by Geoff Andrew for the NFT in London.

So Macho: Xan Brooks Interviews Mike Hodges
From The Guardian, 15 August 2003.

Beating the Odds
Interview by Dan Lybarger that originally appeared in the 25–31 May 2000 issue of Pitch Weekly.

No Longer “Retired”, Director Explores Vengeance Again
By Bruce Newman for The Mercury News.

Interview de Mike Hodges
Interview with Bernard Payen and Frédéric Camus on 26 June 2005

Don’t Read This Great Interview Until You’ve Watched Croupier
Interview by Alan Waldman with writer Paul Mayersberg.

Click here to buy Mike Hodges DVDs and videos at Facets

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About The Author

Tony Williams is Professor and Area Head of Film Studies in the Department of English at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. A frequent contributor to CTEQ Annotations on Film, he has recently published the second edition of Larry Cohen: The Radical Allegories of an American Filmmaker. The second edition of Hearths of Darkness: The Family in the American Horror Filmis scheduled for December 2014. The second edition of The Cinema of George Romero and an edited collection of essays, Postcolonialism, Diaspora, and Alternative Histories: The Cinema of Evans Chan, will appear in 2015.