one faint deluded smile

Monday, August 08, 2005

Jack and The Firm

caine in newcastle

I saw "Get Carter" in the early 70s and loved it immediately. Michael Caine at his sarcastic best, the grimy streets, pubs and clubs of Newcastle, the sex, the tough guys and girls: it's easily one of the greatest crime film I've ever seen.

mp3: The original Roy Budd theme

This track just sets it up perfectly with a propulsive R&B riff and a slightly off-key tune winding around. It's as deft as the main theme for "The Taking Of Pelham 1-2-3" but not so arty. The shots behind the song are of a progessively bored Carter on the long, night train back home and. It chugs sluggishly downwards as the train reaches the end of the line - fairly obvious but it still works.

When I arrived in my current place of abode in the early 90s, I had a complete fetish for crime fiction and sought out the movie at the local video store. It still thrilled me, even if it's flaws were more obvious than ever. Over the next few years I borrowed it again and again until the shop owner told me that I was the only person that ever took it home. Ah, little me and my obsessions.

mp3: Stereolab's version

Around this same time, Alison and Busby were re-releasing a whole raft of terrific 60s and 70s crime fiction including minor masters like Macdonald, Hines, Stark and... Ted Lewis. I snaffled all of these up but "Jack's Return Home", "Jack Carter's Law" and the non-Carter book "GBH" stood out simply because of their toughness, location and lack of easy resolutions. Lewis killed off Carter in the first book so all the subsequent ones are flash backs of a kind, fleshing out the characters and making the life seem even more tawdry than I could imagine. By the time of the last novel "Jack Carter and the Mafia Pigeon" you could tell he'd had enough - the plot is weak and awkward and the people seem a bit stiff and ridiculous. But they all manage to resonate with me still. And they're one of the few places where I can read "c*nt" without cringing.

mp3: The Flaming Star's version

No idea who these lot are - some sort of garage rock outfit. But it's quite a storming version all the same.

All your Get Carter needs can be found here. Whilst a lot of pics can be found here.


  • Ah, a man with taste :-). Get Carter's always been one of my fave films too, of course (as you already know). But I hadn't seen the Get Carter Tour website -- a nicely obsessive way to spend an hour browsing. And it shows evidence that finally there's someone else besides me who ponders endlessly (and pointlessly) about how he got from the bridges to the coast in a few minute's walk ("ok now we've just travelled thirty miles south. The magic of the movies eh". Yeah, I knew Newcastle enough to have problems with the end of the film..). Thanks for the link...

    By Blogger Jimmy Little, at 2:11 pm  

  • i don't know the area at all except from this film (and maybe a couple of others) but you can tell anyway that the locations were all over the place. nonetheless, that last scene with the beach and the slag dumping - god, what an awfull spot.

    the OST i have is excellent with lots of dialogue interspersed with the songs (which are dreadful fro the most part).

    By Blogger Phil, at 11:45 am  

  • I love the locations -- and yes, that last scene on the beach was excellent -- but watching him wander away from the bridges and then suddenly wander on to the beach was about as jarring as watching someone walk up (say) George Street and then suddenly be in Cronulla a minute later... no big deal, but these sorts of things (like seeing Sydney's skyline in the background of the first Matrix film) always pull this nerd up short.

    By Blogger Jimmy Little, at 3:37 am  

  • If it's the same Flaming Stars, and it sounds like it is, they're an offshoot of the sadly short-lived Gallon Drunk, which was even more abrasive, like the Birthday Party covering Lalo Schifrin. They toured with PJ Harvey in the states in '93, fizzled out by '98, or maybe still together without the Flaming Stars guy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:26 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home