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Get Carter celebrates its 40th anniversary
Michael Caine in Get Carter
Get Carter is based on Ted Lewis' 1969 novel 'Jack's Return Home'

The classic British film which put the north-east of England on the map is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Set in the region, after its release Get Carter made locations from the film iconic with fans, locals and tourists.

Its anniversary is now being celebrated in Newcastle with a series of special events at the Tyneside Cinema.

The 1971 thriller starred Michael Caine as Jack Carter - a London gangster who came to the North East to seek revenge for the killing of his brother.

Forty years after its release, it has become something of an icon in the British film industry and the region.

It put many places in the region on the map including Trinity Square multi-storey car park in Gateshead which was recently demolished.

Celebrating a classic

The film was directed by Mike Hodges and written by the North East's Michael Chaplin.

Original footage on the set of Get Carter in 1971

They are both returning to Newcastle to hold a question and answer session before a special screening of the film at the Tyneside Cinema.

Mike Hodges said: "It was important that Jack Carter came from a hard, deprived background, a place he never wanted to go back to. The only place that had survived the developers was Newcastle.

"The visual drama [of Newcastle] took my breath away. Seeing the great bridges crossing The Tyne, the waterfront, the terraced houses stepped up each side of the deep valley. We'd got there in time. But only just."

Although the landscape of the region has changed a lot over the past few decades, many fans of the film still visit the sites.

Cliff Brumby's house in the film is still standing in Belmont, Durham, as well as Dryderdale Hall, also in Durham.

Michael Chaplin, said: "If you watch it again now, it is the most exciting film, you embrace this story.

Trinity Square multi-storey car park in Gateshead
The brutal architecture of the car park always split public opinion

"It did represent the city on a kind of cusp of change, just as we were beginning to lose our heavy industry. That all began to unfold over the following decade, but there are hints of it in the film."

Extras on set

One North East man who remembers the film well is Bill Reeve from East Rainton, Houghton le Spring.

Bill was the director of Beverley Artistes, a casting company which started in the early 1960s.

They were approached by the Get Carter team to supply people from the region to be extras and have small acting parts in the film.

Bill said: "Get Carter was the very first film we ever did and it came right out of the blue. We knew nothing about it, but as soon as we found out Michael Caine was the star, we knew it was going to be big.

"There was no script when we were asked so we just sent as many as we could, we sent almost everybody on our books for interview."

One of their clients, Deana Wilde, was given the role of the singer for the opening seen in the film, which was set in the Vick & Comet pub near Central Station (now O'Neill's).

The BBC's Michael Rodd reporting from the Get Carter set in 1971

Several of their actors were also in background shots in the film including the casino, streets, bars and the police raid scene.

He said: "It was massively important. They wanted an injection of local people and local ideas and we provided that for them.

"They're [the iconic places] there for prosperity forever in the film, the film won't be lost it will be there forever, these areas, scenes and places will always be there."

Bill is attending the special celebrations at the Tyneside Cinema. He said: "For me it's a personal pleasure. I never imagined that 40 years on it would still be thought of."




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Get Carter car park
18 Jun 10 |  People & Places
In Pictures: Car park demolition
27 Jul 10 |  Tyne


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