Arrow Video’s Pulp

The B-Movie Isle: Arrow Video’s Pulp (Collector’s Edition)

The B-Movie Isle/Adam takes a look at Mike Hodges nearly forgotten crime comedy follow up to his now classic Get Carter; Pulp.  The Michael Caine star vehicle has been released in a brand new Blu-Ray edition by Arrow Video.  Does another Hodges Caine team bare another successful fruit?  Is it a crash and burn act in hubris?  Read on …

The Film

Pulp is the sort of discovery one makes and asks after; how did I live without this film in my life? A cool breeze of a crime/mystery film that is so unexpected and visually astute you’re going to have to watch it twice just too fully appreciate what Mike Hodges and Michael Caine are up to.  The follow-up to the now classic British Gangster film Get Carter. Pulp is feels like a direct conversation/counterpoint with that Carter.  Where that film is direct, dirty, lean, mean and designed to hurt, Pulp is evasive, funny, dirty (in a different way), and designed to delight and confound.

Caine plays pulpy fiction writer Mickey King who goes under the ripe nom du plurs like Kenneth S. Odomy.  Mickey jumped from funeral director to trashy author skipping out on a wife and kids to live the good life in the Meddeterrianan like some sort of posh stylish Euro-Bound Hemmingway.  Mickey is Caine at the height of his prowess as a performer.  The work done here by Caine is flawless as he plays both author and sleuth.  Mickey finds himself embroiled in a plot straight out of one of his novels dealing with a once famous Actor, Italian Fascist and a bevy of kooky, murderous operators.

The film plays with visual whimsy better than any film I’ve seen in recent memory.  Hodges is on fire here as both writer and director.  The witty dialog is only bested by his visual flair.  Much of the film plays with background setups and payoffs.  The delivery of all the information comes so fast that Pulp isn’t a film that is designed to be watched once but multiple times.

The cast is resoundingly great.  Mickey Rooney shows up in an unclassifiable kooky performance that will have even the most ardent of Rooney fans shaking their heads in disbelief at what they’re seeing.  This is the type of film that introduces us to Rooney in his tighty whities and goes crazier from there.  Lizabeth Scott and Lionel Stander are perfect foils to Caine as the bulk of the film is spent with Caine’s Mickey either trying to escape, question and reason the their respective characters.  Stander is brilliant as Ben Dinuccio, Preston Gilbert’s body guard.

Pulp is pure crime confection with one of the truly great Caine performances.  If you haven’t seen Pulp now is the perfect time.  It’s a slice of manic brilliance that has few, if any imitators.

The Transfer

Arrow has created a brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, supervised and approved by director of photography Ousama Rawi.  In a word beautiful, Rawi has kept a healthy amount of grain on the picture.  Some may find the grain structure to be too much.  I always fall on the side of healthier amount of grain especially something photographed in 35mm at the height of beautiful cinematography.  It’s a sharp lovely transfer that fans of Criterion Collection’s transfers (they always fall on the grainier side) will be delighted by this transfer.

The Extras

They include the following

  • Brand-new interview with writer-director Mike Hodges
  • Brand-new interview with director of photography Ousama Rawi
  • Brand-new interview with assistant director John Glen
  • Brand-new interview with Tony Klinger, son of producer Michael Klinger
  • Original theatrical trailer

The four new interviews in lieu of a making-of documentary do great to give you a picture of how Pulp came to be.

The best interview is Hodges himself as he discusses how Pulp came to be the follow up to Get Carter the uber successful collaboration between Cain, Hodges and producer Michael Klinger.  Hodges is energentic and happy to talk about a film that he is very proud of, with good reason. The interview with cinematographer Rawi, John Glen and Tony Klinger do a great job of rounding out the different aspects of making of the film.  Glen’s interview is particularly fascinating as many Bond-Geeks will know him from the five Bond films he directed (For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights, and License to Kill).  It’s a well-rounded set of interviews that amounts to over an hour of content.

The Bottom Line

Fan of Crime films?  Get yourself Pulp and revel in the brilliant Michael Caine at his most Michael Caine-ness.  It’s a film well worth the sticker price.  HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATIONS!

Pulp will be released by Arrow Video on December 12th.

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