The nasty world of Get Carter was inspired by the terrible poverty I saw in Britain | Get Carter

I’m grateful to Peter Bradshaw for his review of Get Carter, which I wrote and directed (Michael Caine delivers in the ice-cold crime classic, May 25). It starts with a question, “Even after 50 years, are we getting Carter right?” Maybe I can answer that.

In the late 1950s, I spent two years in conscription. I was on the lower deck of a Royal Navy minesweeper in the British Fishery Protection squadron. This brought me into contact with the fishing communities around these islands, in ports like Grimsby, Hull, Lowestoft and North Shields, where I ended up shooting much of the film.

For two years my middle class eyes were forced to witness horrendous poverty and deprivation of which I was previously unaware. I entered the Navy as a newly qualified chartered accountant and complacent young Tory, and came out an angry, radical young man.

Twenty years later, when I was asked to edit the great book by Ted Lewis, I recognized that world and linked my own experiences to it. I wouldn’t take my punches under any circumstances. All the adjectives Mr. Bradshaw uses to describe the world portrayed in Get Carter — sleazy, slimy, filthy — could equally apply to William Hogarth’s taunting portrait of Britain. Unfortunately I share that opinion.
Mike Hodges
Durweston, Dorset

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