Get Carter (1971)

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Jack Carter (Michael Caine) is in town to attend his brother’s funeral, but he might stick around to settle some affairs. You see, Carter thinks his brother’s death was no accident and he is bound & determined to uncover the truth. In order to find out information and such, he will have to speak with some rather unsavory characters and venture into some dangerous places, but Carter isn’t one to scare that easily. He is a tough guy to be sure and no stranger to roughing people up, so he is prepared for this trek. When he begins to nose around about the issue, he finds himself on the bad side of a lot of people real fast. But if they think they can scare him off, they’ve got another thing coming in a serious way. Soon Carter gets in deep and discovers some information, which leads him to a pornography ring headed up by Cyril Kennear (John Osborne). No matter what it takes, Carter is focused on finding out who was behind his brother’s death, but in a ruthless & violence hunt like this, will even he find peace when it is over?

This is the original version of Get Carter, so if you need the Sly Stallone edition, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is a very much a dark edged film and as such, those who seek lighter fare need to look somewhere else in this case. If I had to sum this film up in one word, it would be realistic. The locations are excellent and serve the purpose to perfection, which is vital for a serious movie like this one. The storyline asks for seedy, run down places and that’s exactly what we have here. The locations work to give credibility to the storyline and characters and without that, this one would have tanked right off the bat. But it has the visual locations it needs, as well as a stunning cast that seems to capture their roles well, right down to subtle quirks and such. This film uses sex and violence in a non flinching style, so make sure those elements don’t bother you if you pick this disc up. Michael Caine’s character is especially prone toward beating people up, but I think it works well and is vital to this movie in the end. This film might not be for us all, but fans of darker dramas will want to check this out for sure.

In a career filled with terrific performances, Michael Caine has more than proved his skills in front of the camera. He owns two Academy Awards and is more than deserving of them, perhaps even a couple more as well. Caine has played a wide range of roles during his career, from suave lovers to crooked conmen, but his work here as the no nonsense tough guy is my favorite of his resume. I wouldn’t have expected him to be this good here, but he pulls out all the stops and seems in peak form at all times. Caine is able to bring the inner burdens of his character to the surface, without sacrificing the rock solid exterior and that is impressive. Plus, in this film he gets to beat up a ton of people and there’s something to be said for that. Other excellent performances by Caine can be seen in such films as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hannah & Her Sisters, The Man Who Would Be King, The Cider House Rules, and Mr. Destiny. The rest of the cast includes Britt Ekland (Scandal, Satan’s Mistress), John Osborne (The York Mystery, Tomorrow Never Comes), Ian Hendry (Sink The Bismarck!, Damien: Omen II), and Geraldine Moffat (Quest For Love).

Video: How does it look?

Get Carter is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This film shows its age at times, but still ends up looking solid and better than ever. The main flaws reside within the source print, which shows grain and debris throughout the film. Some scenes look sharper than others, but they all have some level of those flaws to be seen. But since it doesn’t effect the visuals much, I won’t do much more than mention the flaws. The colors seem natural and reserved (as intended), with no discoloration and flesh tones look normal also. The contrast is stark and proper too, no detail seems lost and black levels are dead on at all times. A few minor compression errors surface, but this still turns out to be an above average transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

This disc includes the original mono track which is good, but I wish a surround remix were here also. If for nothing else, I would just love to hear the excellent musical score in full Dolby Digital 5.1 splendor. But as mono goes, this one is above average and I found no serious issues to contend with. The music isn’t as expansive as I would like, but still comes off well and shows no distortion or other age related problems. The same holds true for the sound effects as they come across in fine form, but lack the extra punch a surround track would afford. No complaints with the dialogue though, the vocals are clean and display no volume errors in the least.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes international and musical trailers, talent files, an isolated musical score, and an audio commentary track. I am very pleased with the inclusion of the isolated music option, as this movie has some excellent musical pieces. The audio commentary features Michael Caine, director Mike Hedges, and cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitkzy. This is an informative track to be sure, but sometimes gets a little quiet and dull. I’m glad Warner is tacking on such solid features on older film though, hope to see much more of this in the future.

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