Monday, September 08, 2014

Get Carter: Who needs an accent if you can act?

I've rolled my eyes here at Detectives Beyond Borders at movie stars whose hardest work seems to consist in showing us how hard they work. My targets have included Kevin Spacey's award mugging and Benicio Del Toro's lisping and mumbling in The Usual SuspectsEd Norton's meta-mugging in The Score, and the unspeakably awful accents in The Drowning Pool.

Then there's Michael Caine in Get Carter, playing a gangster who returns home to investigate his brother's death. Caine's character is from the north of England, but to my uneducated ears, he might never have ventured out of earshot of Bow Bells. And you know what? It doesn't matter, because Caine does not see it as his job to mumble, lurch, limp, or gain 60 pounds to play a role. All he does is act, and if you can do that, you don't need an accent or any other Method crap.  Watch Caine in Get Carter, and you'll see a great actor in a great movie based on a great crime novel.

Ted Lewis
And that brings me to the international crime fiction event of the year. This week I'll attend a launch for Syndicate Books, a new imprint that is releasing not only Get Carter (original title: Jack's Return Home) in the U.S. for the first time in decades, but a good chunk of rest of author Ted Lewis' oeuvre, including two more of the Jack Carter novels, some for the first time ever in the U.S.

This new edition of Get Carter includes an introduction by Mike Hodges, who directed the film adaptation that starred Caine.The novel earns a spot as one of Allan Guthrie's 200 Noirs (as does Lewis' Billy Rags, due as an e-book from Syndicate)  Eight more novels to look forward to from an author whose admirers include David Peace and Derek Raymond? I'm excited, and you should be, too.

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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Blogger Cary Watson said...

Given that Get Carter has such a large and cult-like fan base I've never understood why Lewis' works haven't been more available over the years. Looks like I'll finally get a chance to read it. On another topic, I just read and reviewed Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter and I swear I first heard about it on your blog. Am I misremembering?

September 08, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I know British editions are sometimes available in Canada; I've bought some at Sleuth of Baker Street. Get Carter was reissued in the UK a few years ago. Did Canadian shops stocks that edition>

I, too, have long wondered why the movie's cult status did not get the novel and Lewis' other work into stores. I wonder if there were legal problems with his estate. I shall try to remember to ask the head of Syndicate Books about this.

I recall vaguely a mention of Hard Rain Falling, perhaps here, but not in a review and not by me. I have not read it.

September 08, 2014  

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