Mike Hodges, the British filmmaker behind Get Carter and Flash Gordon, has died.
Hodges died of heart failure at his home in Dorset at the age of 90, his friend Mike Kaplan told NBC News.
Hailed as one of the greatest crime films Britain has ever produced, Get Carter (1971) was Hodges’ first feature film, transformed from novel to cinema release in just eight months.
Starring Michael Caine, it follows a London gangster who returns home to Newcastle to attend his brother’s funeral.
In a 50th anniversary tribute last year, the British Film Institute said it had “a masterful, pacy blend of the sex, violence and style that simultaneously repels and attracts crime film connoisseurs, yet offers much more”.
He was also known for cult classic space opera Flash Gordon (1980), starring Sam J Jones as the comic strip hero.
Hodges was brought in to replace director Nicolas Roeg but had “no idea what I was going to do when I took over”, he told The Guardian in 2020.
“I think that’s part of the success of the film. It’s like a souffle. We managed to put all the right ingredients in, and it sort of rose in some mysterious way.”
Born in Bristol on 29 July 1932, Hodges qualified as a chartered accountant before completing two years’ national service in the Navy.
He later wrote that the experience fundamentally reshaped his world view.
“My middle-class eyes were forced to witness horrendous poverty and deprivation that I was previously unaware of,” Hodges wrote in a letter published in The Guardian in May.
“I went into the navy as a newly qualified chartered accountant and complacent young Tory, and came out an angry, radical young man,” he wrote.
Hodges started his career in television as a teleprompter operator and went on to write and direct Pulp (1972), The Terminal Man (1974) and Black Rainbow (1989).
Some of Hodges’ later films include A Prayer for the Dying (1987), Croupier (1998) and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead (2003).