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Commentaries on this disc:
Director Mike Hodges, actor Michael Caine, and director of photography Wolfgang Suschitzky
Rating:8.2/10 (4 votes) [
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Reviewed by Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr on November 9th, 2008
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Hodges proves a companionable guide to his first cinema film (you feel he could easily have carried this commentary on his own - and he is talking on his own as all 3 are recorded separately), enjoying the naivety displayed in his debut feature and recalling how he had to work on his instincts much of the time, something he feels he forwent in subsequent years, and not necessarily for the better.
One thing he didn't enjoy was shooting the sex scenes, especially that 16mm porno reel which he describes as "miserable" and "acutely embarrassing" (though he is able to laugh about it in retrospect). He also provides some fascinating detail about the celebrated phone-sex scene, including a more graphic conclusion to Britt Ekland's appearance that he decided was out of step with the rest of the film (sadly this isn't included as a deleted scene).
Hodges is full of praise for the cast, especially Caine, and especially for one particularly scene crucial to making the film work, concluding "He gave me the film, really".
Caine too enjoys reliving the experience of making CARTER (with so many turkeys on his CV it's no surprise he readily joins in celebrating one of his genuinely great films), telling of his affinity with the subject as he grew up around such people, as well as offering a few tips on screen acting ("It's not rocket science!"). Although perhaps his most memorable contribution is to point out the six-fingered man in the pub scene near the beginning, included to add a bit of local colour but which no-one ever noticed!
For his part Suschitzky modestly, if a little dryly, talks us through the various lenses and lighting used and the added difficulties of shooting on location. His matter-of-fact attitude being summed up by the comment "You're given a problem and you solve it".
All three are clearly proud of the film and the fact that it's now recognised as one of post-war British cinema's most important and influential films (one additional influence being that Caine subsequently had a dog he named "Carter"!) with Hodges suggesting the film has stood the test of time because it better fits Britain's view of itself now than then. Maybe so, but mainly it's just a bloody brilliant film.
[At the start of the commentary Hodges relates how, to his chagrin, the actors playing the brothers in the opening scene were redubbed for the USA market as the producer thought their accents wouldn't be understood there, and as an added bonus the film soundtrack on the commentary track features these redubbed voices - although the original is present and correct when you play the film sans commentary.]
Reviewed by musíl65 on August 29th, 2016
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This track is very good edited. Hodges dominates the track. He talks about the locations in Newcastle, the actors, the budget, the script, the violence, the wardrobe and the reception of the movie in UK and the US. Very funny was the reaction of Hodges’ mother after the premiere: “Well Michael, very interesting.”
Suschlitzky has a lot to say about the camera und the lights for the scenes. Caine talks about his carrier until this movie, acting, long takes, the other actors, gangster movies in general and the unique of this movie.
This is a solid track without gaps. 8 out of 10.
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