Flash Gordon and Croupier director Mike Hodges, who was British, has passed away. He was 90. Producer and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead co-worker Mike Kaplan confirmed his death to NBC News. According to Kaplan, Hodges passed away on Saturday from heart failure at his home in Dorset, England.
In spite of repeated attempts to reach a Hodges representative, we have yet to hear back. Hodges has had a very successful career that began in the 1950s. It was his two years of mandatory national service aboard a royal navy minesweeper that served as the impetus for his first film, Get Carter.
He wrote this in a letter that was published in The Guardian that month of May: “For two years, I was made to look at a level of poverty and deprivation that I had never seen before from my privileged position in life. When I enlisted in the navy, I was a newly-minted CPA and a mellow young Tory, but when I got out, I was a fiery radical.”
In addition, he said, “Twenty years later, when I was asked to adapt Ted Lewis’s great book, I recognized that world and attached my own experiences to it.”
After the success of Get Carter in 1971, Hodges quickly followed it up with another successful film, Pulp, and then made a name for himself with Flash Gordon in 1980.
Even 40 years after its initial release, the space movie continues to be widely referenced in popular culture. Hodges told the BBC in 2020 that, despite the comic strip’s inspiration from the 1930s, he “honestly thought that it would never see the light of a projector.”
Hodges directed several crime dramas over the course of his career, including the Emmy Award–winning 1984 episode “Squaring the Circle” and the critically acclaimed 1994 episode “Dandelion Dead,” which won a BAFTA in 1995.
His Outlook On Life Had Been Irrevocably Altered, He Explained In A Later Essay
In a letter published in The Guardian in May, Hodges said, “My middle-class eyes were forced to witness horrifying poverty and deprivation that I was previously unaware of.”
“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.
As a first feature film, “Get Carter” appealed to Hodges in part because of the film’s setting: a “sleazy, slimy, nasty” underworld that he felt he could best bring to life.
The British film “Get Carter” is now considered a classic. In his next film, “Pulp,” he cast Caine as the title character, a cheesy paperback novelist who unwittingly becomes involved in a murder plot.
Carter’s 1980s run was not as creatively productive as his 1970s one. He took over “Flash Gordon,” a ridiculous film that has since gained a cult following, from the acclaimed British director Nicolas Roeg (“Walkabout”).
Hodges collaborated with Clive Owen on two existential character studies during the final years of his filmmaking career: the gambling portrait “Croupier” (1998) and the updated version of “Get Carter,” “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” (2000).
Most of Hodges’ best films dealt with heavy topics like murder and revenge, but he was the first to admit that he wasn’t a “macho” guy.
“I’m a guy who’s on the shorter side. There will be no fights between me and anyone else. Having no macho qualities whatsoever, “Hodges stated in 2003 to The Guardian.
On the other hand, “I am interested in these characters and where they come from,” he said. “I’m not sure if I ever secretly wished I could be one of those men. Maybe I did when I was younger.”
Flash Gordon Director Mike Hodges Dies Aged 90
Mike Hodges, the British director behind such films as Get Carter, Flash Gordon, Croupier, and more, passed away on December 17 at his home in Dorset. He was 90. A friend and fellow filmmaker Mike Kaplan told ET of Hodges’ passing, calling him “a great friend and a great filmmaker.”
“For a part of his career, he was under-appreciated, and he is not anymore,” the film producer said. “The worldwide reception to Get Carter was overwhelmingly positive. He was very funny and clever. The films he made all had a distinct sense of humor and charm.”
Hodges, a Briton who was born in Bristol in 1932, worked as an accountant before serving on a British minesweeper during his mandatory military service. A teleprompter operator for British television was where he got his start in show business.
After starting out as an actor on ABC’s Armchair Theatre, Hodges quickly rose through the ranks to become a producer and director, making his debut on the international film scene with Get Carter, a British gangster film starring Michael Caine, in 1971. A lot of people compare this movie to The Godfather because of how similar they think it is in terms of tone and style. After seeing Sylvester Stallone in the role originally played by Michael Caine in the 2000 remake, many viewers sought out the Caine version.
Flash Gordon, a 1980 space opera based on the King Features comic strip and told through Hodges’ campy, humorous lens, was just one of many films he went on to direct.
While making Flash Gordon, Hodges veered away from crime dramas, but he later returned to the genre with 1999’s Croupier starring Clive Owen, and 2003’s I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead with longtime friend and producer, Kaplan.
Despite the fact that the latter film would be Hodges’ last as a director, he continued to work in the industry for quite some time after. Later in his career, Hodges produced the documentaries Queen: Greatest Video Hits 2 (a DVD) and Murder by Numbers (2004), the latter of which examined the rise and fall of the serial killer film genre.
As a playwright, he’s responsible for such works as King Trash (a radio play) and the comedies Soft Shoe Shuffle and Shooting Stars and Other Heavenly Pursuits. Hodges also wrote fiction; his novel Watching the Wheels Come Off was published in 2010.
Carol Laws, sons Ben and Jake Hodges, and grandchildren Marlon, Honey, Orson, Michael, and Gabriel are among those who will miss him.