• Pulp

    Released by: Arrow Video
    Released on: December 12th, 2017.
    Director: Mike Hodges
    Cast: Michael Caine, Mickey Rooney, Lionel Stander, Lizabeth Scott, Al Lettieri
    Year: 1972
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    The Movie:

    England’s ‘Three Michaels’ – they being writer-director Mike Hodges, producer Michael Klinger and actor Michael Caine – followed up the success of Get Carter with a film so completely different from that earlier picture that you’d almost swear it were made by a different team.

    The film revolves around a man named Mickey King (Caine), a man who makes a very good career out of writing trashy, lurid pulp novels... all of which he churns out with lurid titles and under various pseudonyms. When he’s offered a handsome fee to ghostwrite an autobiography for a mysterious celebrity named Preston Gilbert (Mickey Rooney) who has left the Hollywood system for a quiet life in Malta, he accepts. There is, after all, a good amount of money on the line. He sets out getting to work but soon learns that the gangsters and hoodlums that Gilbert became known for playing on the silver screen aren’t quite as fictitious as some might expect – he’s got some very real underworld connections.

    When Preston turns up dead one day, the strange group of eccentrics that hung around him all turn into suspects, at least in King’s eyes, as he tries to solve the murder without getting knocked off himself.

    Where Get Carter was dark, serious and gritty Pulp is light, comedic and infused with a fun pop sensibility. There’s no shortage of plot holes and logic gaps here, so don’t think about things too much or you’ll ruin the fun, but if you’re in the right frame of mind for it the picture is definitely solid entertainment. Of course, much of this stems from Caine’s natural charisma. He’s wily, sneaky, but a lot of fun to watch and ever so good in this part. The supporting cast – made not up only of Rooney (who is absolutely perfect for this part) but other enjoyable bit part players like the lovely Lizbeth Scott as a literal princess, staunch Lionel Stander, seductive Nadia Cassini as Gilbert’s sexy agent, and shifty Dennis Price cast appropriately enough as ‘The Englishman’ – doesn’t hurt things either. They’re all in fine form, and it seems that all involved where having a lot of fun while working on this picture.

    That fun is infectious. As the murder mystery unravels, often times with help from appropriately mischievous voiceover from King himself, the audience gets taken on a ride never short of wholly entertaining. Production values are solid as well. The location photography is colorful, the camera setups providing a nice, glossier vibe that the whole thing benefits from. There are sight gags aplenty, wild tonal shifts, and very much a sort of freewheeling ‘anything can happen’ vibe to the whole thing that suits the humorous nature of the story to a T.


    Pulp makes its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Arrow Video on a 50GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed in its original aspect ratio of 1.85.1 widescreen and it looks quite nice. There’s a bit more grain than you might expect but that just adds to the transfer’s naturally film-like qualities. Some minor print damage shows up now and again but it’s small stuff, just little white specks rather than nasty scratches and what not. Colors look nice and natural, black levels are solid and the disc is well authored meaning that the image is free of any compression artifacts, noise reduction or edge enhancement issues.

    The English language LPCM 2.0 Mono track sounds solid enough. The levels are properly balanced and there are no audible problems with any hiss or distortion worth noting. The score sounds quite good and dialogue remains clean, clear and audible. Optional subtitles are provided in English only.

    The bulk of the extras come in the form of a collection of new interviews, the first of which is with writer-director Mike Hodges who speaks for just under eighteen-minutes about following up Get Carter, working with Caine and the rest of the cast, and his thoughts on the film as a whole. From there, director of photography Ousama Rawi gets in front of the camera for nine-minutes to discuss working with Hodges, the specific look of the film and what his work on the picture entailed. Assistant director John Glen then gets a quick five-minute piece in which he share some stories from the set before things close out with Tony Klinger, son of producer Michael Klinger, speaking for six-minutes about his father’s career and work on this particular film.

    Outside of that we get the film’s original theatrical trailer, four separate still galleries, menus and chapter selection. The packaging includes some nice reversible cover art and the first pressing also includes a collector’s booklet featuring credits for the feature and the Blu-ray alongside an essay on the picture written by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas.

    The Final Word:

    Pulp may be flawed – seriously flawed if you stop to think about it too much – but it is nevertheless a whole lot of fun. Caine and company are in fine form, the movie is nicely shot and Arrow’s Blu-ray release does a fine job of bringing it home in high definition.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Paul L's Avatar
      Paul L -
      I love this film and was very pleased with Arrow's release. Nice review, Ian