Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Get Carter


I must have movies on the brain, currently, although beyond channel five shoot 'em ups, I've not seen one in an age, which is a bit of a shame, and something else I should remedy. Anyhow, tonight's one I won't watch (or probably last night's, by the time I finish prevaricating) is the wonderful Get Carter from 1971, featuring Michael Caine at his best, and some of the most memorable scenes & dialogue in British cinema, for my money.

You're not gonna get a in depth analysis out of me, but I still can't help but squirm at the second scene - distasteful London gang bosses laughing at each other's weak jokes while they watch pornographic slides, little glimpses of unease on the face of the floozy, some sort of disgust on Jack's, the tacky musical decanter holder that Carter pours himself a drink from. Then that great train journey North - drugs, dinner, & Raymond Chandler, the blackness of railway tunnels intruded on by stark white credits. Bloody hell, just the first few minutes are memorable & a perfect set-up for what's to come - from a classy penthouse in London, first class travel, then straight into some 'orrible nostalgic boozer in Newcastle.

And where would you start with memorable quotes & scenes? too many to mention, but "piss-holes in the snow", "Good-bye Eric" and "I Know" as Jack does the stabbing, come straight to mind. Uncomfortable viewing in places, which seems only right given the content, but is something nonetheless missing from many 'violent' movies; you feel you understand why Carter does what he does, way beyond just a simple 'revenge' flick... if he said "this time it's personal...", that cliché might actually ring true, for once.

The music's great & super-jazzy-cool too, of course, being easily the most well known work from Roy Budd, and although the opening motif is what sticks in the memory, there are very fine original tunes, albeit just snippets unless you shell out for the soundtrack.

Let's start with that simple 'theme' then, and follow it with The Human League's version, which only really makes aural sense to me if followed immediately by 'I Am The Law', a very suitable segue in the context of Jack Carter's self-appointed role as detective/judge/executioner combined. I've also got two covers of the jazzy expanded one that accompanies the train journey mentioned above, as well as the original. It's all got me thinking about violence in music, how it's portrayed, and public reaction to anything even approaching the intensity shown in film; but if I ever get around to it, that's the subject of another post altogether.


Intro - Roy Budd
Get Carter original soundtrack (1971)
buy

Get Carter - The Human League

I Am The Law - The Human League
both from Dare! (1981)
buy

Get Carter - Laika And The Cosmonauts
The Amazing Colossal Band (1995)
myspace | buy

Get Carter - Stereolab
Aluminum Tunes: Switched On, Vol. 3
buy | myspace

Goodbye Carter! - Roy Budd
Get Carter original soundtrack (1971)
buy
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