In the Observer review of Get Carter, written on the film's release in March 1971, you get the feeling the reviewer is in something of a quandary. He dubs it his 'commercial film of the week', but seems to feel a little ... dirty about it. He writes of the film's dubious morality and, whilst finding it impossible not to identify with Michael Caine's anti-hero, Jack Carter, 'a very unpleasant thug who goes up to Newcastle to find out who murdered his straight brother...' he is less easy with the way he 'kills or screws anything that moves'. In a week where the other main commercial release was Love Story, the reviewer finally admits his 'shameless enjoyment', concluding that Get Carter is like 'a bottle of neat gin swallowed before breakfast. It's intoxicating all right, but it'll do you no good'.
All of which is a roundabout way of announcing I'll be in conversation with Get Carter director, Mike Hodges for this year's Humber Mouth Festival at The One Gallery in Hull on 13 November. The event starts at 6.30pm with a screening of Get Carter, followed by an in-conversation session and concluding with an audience Q&A.
Inviting Mike Hodges to Hull for Humber Mouth 2013 is something of a coup for the festival organisers, Shane Rhodes and Wrecking Ball Press. I'm thrilled to have been asked to take part. Forty-two years after its cinema release, Get Carter - adapted by Mike Hodges from Ted Lewis's 1970 Scunthorpe-based novel Jack's Return Home - remains an era-defining crime thriller in which whatever was left of 1960s optimism gets a dose of cold, violent reality. It still packs a punch and, for me, it is the point at which the British crime thriller comes of age.
Keep up to date with this year's Humber Mouth Literature Festival via the facebook page and twitter @humbermouth