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29 October 2014

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You are in: Tyne > Entertainment > Hollywood On Tyne > Features > Tinseltoon: Get Carter

Michael Caine shooting Get Carter on Tyneside

Shooting Get Carter on Tyneside

Tinseltoon: Get Carter

This ground-breaking crime thriller was set on Tyneside. Starring Michael Caine and Britt Ekland, it created a new gritty style of gangster movies.

In Mike Hodges' 1971 thriller, Jack Carter (Michael Caine) is a small-town London gangster seeking revenge for the killing of his brother Frank who lived "up North".

Jack returns home and spends the film in ruthless pursuit of his brother's killers, uncovering a nest of sleaze and corruption.

Caine portrayed Carter as a cold, ruthless killing machine and the uncompromising film caused controversy when it was released because of its violence and nudity.

Newcastle's High Level Bridge

Newcastle's High Level Bridge

Over the years, however, it has acquired something of a cult following.

Location Tyneside

Get Carter was shot on Tyneside, and although the area has changed hugely since the 1970s many of its locations are still familiar to people living in the region.

Director Mike Hodges said he wanted to find "a really hard place" to set the film.

"As soon as I saw Newcastle, I realised that was where I wanted to shoot the film. Visually, it was absolutely extraordinary," he said.

"You see the hardness of the environment he [Carter] was brought up in".

"[The car park] is to Gateshead what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, and it's the real focal point of Get Carter."

Chris Riley

Hodges was already familiar with Newcastle as he'd spent time around the docks in the 1950s when in the navy.

"The hinterland around by the jetty where we were docked was referred to as 'The Jungle'…

"So the whole place had an air about it, and the people, of course, were extraordinary," he recalled.

Gateshead's movie icon

One of the locations most closely associated with Get Carter is the Trinity Square multistorey car park in Gateshead.

In the film Michael Caine's character threw Cliff Brumby (played by Brian Moseley) off one of the top levels of the car park, which was built in the 1960s.

Gateshead multistorey car park

The car park opened in 1969

Like the film, the brutalist structure has attracted both critics and fans over the years.

Film fan Chris Riley calls it a "sixties icon".

"It is to Gateshead what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, and it's the real focal point of Get Carter, a bit like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey," he said.

It's a movie star among car parks but now it has been earmarked for demolition.

It is expected to close in June 2008 and in April 2008 members of the public were given a rare chance to visit the very top levels of the car park as they were opened for one last time.

Take a look at the car park for yourself:

last updated: 23/05/2008 at 17:35
created: 21/05/2008

You are in: Tyne > Entertainment > Hollywood On Tyne > Features > Tinseltoon: Get Carter

Get Carter facts

The film is based on cult author Ted Lewis' book Jack's Return Home written in 1969.

The book was originally set in Scunthorpe and Doncaster.

The final scene was shot on Dawdon Beach where Aliens was filmed.

In 2004 the film was voted the greatest British movie of all time in a magazine poll of 25 film critics.

In another similar poll Jack Carter was voted as the all-time nastiest screen character.

Britt Ekland’s phone sex scene was banned in some countries.

The movie was remade in 2000 with Sylvester Stallone as Jack Carter.

The original Get Carter film poster can now fetch hundreds of pounds at auction.

15-year-old Jimmy Nail watched Caine filming outside the old Oxford Galleries club.

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