Mike Hodges – A Film Makers Life – STREAMING


Perhaps the most common complaint about Stanley Kubrick was that this genius of cinema spent so long between projects that he only made 13 films. In a certain way it was the same for the late great director Mike Hodges who only made 9 feature films interspersed with a number of TV series and dramas all of which were personal to him. But by his own admission he says, ‘I did care about my films and it got me in a certain amount of trouble’ he tells David Cairns director of the documentary ‘Mike Hodges : A Film makers Life’. It’s an exhaustive and thorough account of his life and films from beginning to end having trained as an accountant before getting into TV as a teleprompter quickly rising to the ranks of a director.

Candid about his career the documentary lets him tell his life story and what went on behind the making of each of his films with ‘Get Carter’ being his ground breaking gangster thriller that 50 years later still stands as possibly the best British gangster film ever made and to which other films in the genre are still measured against. As he retells the stories behind each it becomes clear how turbulent his career was before finally retiring after his final film in 2003 film, ’I’ll Sleep when I’m Dead’ after which he moved out of London’s Notting Hill to the West Country where he saw out his days before passing away in December 2022. He was 89 years old when he made this and he’s as sprightly, lucid and open about his films and it gives an inkling of how determined he was to make his films his way.

The stories are legion and take in his time helming the sequel to The Omen which came to a head with a producer and a hand gun. But he also became a victim of circumstance with projects that were poorly distributed as well as clashes with producers and the money men. He goes through all of his films in linear fashion but perhaps the most notable omission was a 1994 two-parter TV drama ‘The Healer’ for the BBC. A tumultuous production for him where he clashed with the writer who was also the producer. Having spoken freely and openly about all of his films it’s interesting that there’s no mention of The Healer and perhaps it was just too awful an experience even for him to recount. That aside his films were eclectic and took in thrillers, comic book adaptations (Flash Gordon) and broad comedy ( Morons from Outer Space with Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones).

Simply and brilliantly executed Mike Hodges – A Film Makers Life is essential viewing not just for fans of his films but for those wanting to get into the industry as a director proving that its rarely red carpets and glamour.

Related feature : Mike Hodges obituary

related feature : Terry Stone chats about his gangster film, ‘The Last Heist

Here’s the trailer for the classic Get Carter……..



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