British Director Mike Hodges Dies At 90

British Director Mike Hodges Dies At 90

( – Mike Hodges, who directed Get Carter, Croupier, and Pulp, died in Dorset, England, on December 17 at age 90.

Mike Kaplan, producer, said Hodges died Saturday in Dorset, England, of heart failure.

Get Carter and Pulp were Hodges’ first crime dramas, while Croupier and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead were his last. He was also noted for his campy Flash Gordon.

“Director Mike Hodges has become one of the most under-appreciated and virtually unknown masters of the medium over the last 30 years” wrote Andrew Sarris in the Observer in 2000. Martin Scorsese and Pauline Kael have praised him as a stylist.

Hodges transformed Ted Lewis’ novel Get Carter into one of Britain’s best gangster films. After his brother is assassinated in Newcastle, Caine’s London mobster wants justice. In 2000, Sylvester Stallone played Caine in a remake that brought back many viewers.

Hodges’ second picture, Pulp, was a crime drama with a humorous touch starring Caine as memoir ghost-writer Mickey King. Caine’s client is Preston Gilbert (Mickey Rooney), accused of Mafia ties who is murdered at a party. The New York Times’ Vincent Canby and Time magazine’s Jay Cocks called it one of the year’s 10 best films despite little marketing and a modest release.

Years later, Hodges directed Croupier, a stylish renaissance starring Clive Owens as an aspiring author who accepts a position as a dealer at a classy gambling business and gets suckered into a burglary that isn’t what it seems.

In I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Owens played an exiled criminal who travels to London to seek revenge for the rape and killing of his brother by a mobster.

Bristol-born Michael Tommy Hodges completed his military service on a British minesweeper after becoming a certified accountant.

He began his career as a British television TelePrompTer operator. Hodges trained by watching and began creating scripts. An unproduced script for ABC’s Armchair Theatre resulted in writing contracts, allowing him to resign his technician job.

Hodges swiftly became a producer and director for ABC, Granada, and Thames Television.

Hodges is survived by his wife, sons and five grandchildren.

British director Mike Hodges, known for directing ‘Get Carter,’ ‘Croupier’ and ‘Pulp,’ died in Dorset, England on Dec. 17. He was 90.

Hodges died Saturday of heart failure at his home in Dorset, England, confirmed his friend Mike Kaplan, who produced Hodges’ 2003 film ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’.

Hodges’ crime dramas came at the beginning of his career, ‘Get Carter’ (1971) and ‘Pulp’ (1972), and the end, ‘Croupier’ (1999) and ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead’ (2003). In addition to his crime dramas, he was known for his campy, stylized take on ‘Flash Gordon’.

Andrew Sarris wrote in the Observer in 2000, “Director Mike Hodges has become one of the most under-appreciated and virtually unknown masters of the medium over the last 30 years” and also stated that Mr. Hodges has been hailed by everyone from Martin Scorsese to Pauline Kael as a stylist of the first order.

Hodges adapted ‘Get Carter’, one of the greatest British gangster movies of all time, himself from a novel by Ted Lewis. Caine plays the London gangster of the title who seeks to mete out a little justice after his brother in Newcastle is killed. It was remade with Sylvester Stallone in the Caine role in 2000, sending many people back to discover the original film.

Hodges’ second film “Pulp” consisted of another crime drama, but this one included a comedic twist element with Caine portraying a Mickey King, a memoir ghost-writer. Caine’s client is unveiled as Preston Gilbert (Mickey Rooney), a celebrity once known for playing gangsters and suspected of having real Mafia ties, who gets murdered at a party. Despite little marketing and a small release, it was named one of the year’s 10 best films by Vincent Canby in the New York Times and Jay Cocks in Time magazine.

Twenty-seven years later, Hodges directed the stylish neo-noir ‘Croupier’ (1999), starring Clive Owens as an aspiring writer who takes a job as a dealer at an elegant gambling den who gets roped into a robbery of the place that’s not what it seems.

The success of the film led to another, ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead,’ a complicated tale of vengeance involving an exiled criminal, played by Owens, who returns to London to avenge the rape and murder of his younger brother (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) at the hands of a gangster played by Malcolm McDowell at his snarling best.

Michael Tommy Hodges was born in Bristol. After satisfying the requirements to become what’s known in Britain as a chartered accountant, Hodges did his required military service by serving on a British minesweeper.

He began in show business as a TelePrompTer operator for British television. Hodges learned by observing and started writing scripts; an unproduced script for ABC’s ‘Armchair Theatre’ led to writing commissions, which enabled him to quit his technician job.

Hodges rose quickly to become a producer and director, working for ABC Television; Granada Television and Thames Television.

He is survived by his wife, Carol Laws, his sons Ben and Jake Hodges, and five grandchildren, Marlon, Honey, Orson, Michael and Gabriel.

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