Mike Hodges


Interviewed by James Mottram

The film was originally released briefly two years ago by the BFI, after the production company FilmFour shelved it. Does it feel strange that "Croupier" has been given a reprieve with this re-release?

It feels weird. It's very rare. I didn't think it would happen. I had really chucked it in. We got very good reviews in England for "Croupier" when it was first released, but the BFI - who released it as a favour as they were re-releasing "Get Carter" - had no money to capitalise on that. There were two prints, a small poster and a trailer that FilmFour had provided which was unusable. So it just limped around the country. There couldn't possibly be any word of mouth. In fairness to FilmFour, who produced it, there was a change of management at the time - Paul Webster was taking over from David Aukin. And you can't expect the new person to be interested in his predecessor's work.

The film is being re-released because it made nearly $8 million in America. Any explanation?

Aside from the big money-makers, it was the most influential film of last year, without a doubt. The Americans get the humour of it. It's an elaborate joke made by conjurers, the whole film. It's not about gambling or writing - the ramifications are much larger - but it's about the way we live our lives and our dependence on money and how we hide our insecurities. I also think that they'd probably been starved of decent material. There was a good audience for intelligent material; the film cut across age groups.

How has the film's success helped your career?

It's staggering. For a start, they've had two big retrospectives of all my serious crime films in America: "Rumour", "Suspect", "Get Carter", "Pulp", "The Terminal Man", "Black Rainbow" and then "Croupier" - at the LA CinemaTech, and then the Museum of Modern Art did virtually the same. My career, which had been to a large degree seemingly disparate with great chunks where nothing was happening seemingly, was all strung together and people could see a kind of line.