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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Get Carter [Blu-ray]

 

(Mike Hodges, 1971)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:51:42.696

Disc Size: 21,724,742,714 bytes

Feature Size: 21,021,825,024 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.96 Mbps

Chapters: 32

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 22nd, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1089 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1089 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Michael Caine, Mike Hodges and Wolfgang Suschitzky

• Trailers ('Music', 'International' and 'Michael Caine')

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Get Carter stars Michael Caine as Jack Carter, a powerful British gangster out for blood. His brother has been murdered in Newcastle, prompting Carter to declare a one-man war on other racketeers. Carter must also get his niece out of the life she is leading as an actress in pornographic films. Now that he is a loose cannon, Carter must be eliminated. Get Carter is typical action fare of the 1970s in that there are virtually no "good guys" -- in fact, the assassin is probably the most likable character in the piece! Originally rated X for violence and female nudity, Get Carter was reclassified as an R after subsequent crime films became even more bloodthirsty.

 

 

The Film:

'What would Jesus say?' demands the tapestry mounted over the shabby rooming house bed which, as Jack Carter (Caine) surmises upon his return home from London, has 'seen some action in its time'. The question goes unanswered. Christ has forsaken the grimy muteness of Newcastle, 1971, just as surely as he was airlifted out of Rome in La Dolce Vita a decade earlier - and though they share initials, Carter certainly won't be filling his shoes. A dapper, domineering angel of vengeance, he stands a head above his fellow hoods, but not apart from them. This is movie modernism British-style. The occasional stylistic flourishes suggest the imported influence of the New Wave, the brief bursts of sex, violence and soundtrack funk offer a trendsetting '70s take on the gangster movie. But its prime virtue now, in 2004, looks like its depiction of a nation slowly made to face its own moral and physical dilapidation, hope and glory gone way down and out. Like the train journey opening the film, Mike Hodges' debut offers a tunnel vision of this landscape. He shoots it cold, sparse and ambivalent, the terse, gnomic plotting and dialogue doubtless contributing to the allure of what might otherwise be a relatively plain genre movie. Refusing ever to dwell, it cuts sharp rather than deep, but sharp enough.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Truly, to hear a British cinema-savvy bloke of certain age (between 18 and 48) talk about Get Carter is to hear the invocation of the blessed. It's easy to see what made an impression when the film was released: philosophically, it is a bracingly nihilistic film, where in true noir style one act of violence begins a cascade of bad fortune and falling bodies. What's more, its simple mobster-revenge scenario was executed realistically, and with a startling degree of mundane viciousness, unceremoniously revealed and therefore all the more disquieting. These were not the urbane, dryly humorous crooks of the older heist films, these were the sociopathic, semi-educated, perfectly mercenary gangsters of the headlines, the kind that screw up and leave corpses in the wrong places and kill rather than lose profit, the kind Martin Scorsese was just beginning to explore on these shores. Michael Caine, already the coolest man in England and the walking-talking template for untold thousands of expressionless Brit tough guys, plays Carter, a London hitman who trains it back to his hometown of Newcastle to bury, and avenge, his brother. Virtually everyone he meets takes him for a city mouse in over his head amid the northern town's criminal element, but Carter is cagey and mission-driven, and soon enough he begins playing one sleazeball off of another, assassinating some, setting up others with the police, all of it executed with the laconic cruelty of a slaughterhouse worker.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Get Carter was shot on a limited budget and frequently shows a grim, gritty, drab Newcastle (and surroundings) reflecting the darker side of the disreputable characters and the plot. The new Blu-ray from Warner exports the film's visual thickness about as well as you could hope. The 1080P image quality seems to reflect all of the Get Carter's seedy locales and uncompromising drive of the protagonist.  This is only single-layered and has a modest bitrate although it's obvious the film will never look pristine or glossy. Colors seem truer and tighter than SD could relate and the image never looks blocky but rather consistent in its 'voyeuristic' cinematographic style. This Blu-ray looks quite good in-motion and, I suspect, a very strong representation of the original.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

No boost going on here - Audio is transferred in an authentically flat DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel mono track at 1089 kbps. There is some depth and Roy Budd's (The Wild Geese) score holds up well as a mid-70's quintessential soundtrack with a nice edgy feel. There are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Aside from some trailers ('Music', 'International' and 'Michael Caine') the Blu-ray features the same audio commentary from director Hodges, with inserted comments from Caine and DP Wolfgang Suschitzky. It's not the most cohesive but Hodges is revealing and honest about details like the morality of the lead character and how he saw the overall narrative.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Get Carter has apt comparisons as a British Point Blank, with Michael Caine displaying a similar single-minded-vengeful intensity to Lee Marvin's 'Walker' of the earlier US film.  The modest budget works directly in the film's favor creating a vérité atmosphere that plants the viewer right in the mindset of the protagonist and his surroundings. This is infinitely superior to past DVDs (and the Stallone remake) and the Blu-ray looks about as good as I have ever seen the film. This is a classic. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

April 14th, 2014

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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