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Britain's Mike Hodges, director of Flash Gordon, is dead


The filmmaker, who died at the age of 90, leaves behind him an uneven filmography, between kitsch nanars and striking heist films.

Of this filmmaker who remained relatively unknown in France, Terrence Malick was full of praise.

“Your images made me understand what an image is.”

At 90, Mike Hodges died on Saturday at his home in Dorset, in the southwest of England.

The director, whose career came to an end in 2003, after a last film,

Only Death Can Stop Me

, leaves behind a heterogeneous filmography.

Some, including the emblematic

Flash Gordon

(1980) are considered as kitsch nanars;

others, like the very dark

La Loi du milieu

(1971), marked their era.

Originally from Bristol, Hodges is not destined for the cinema.

“A young conservative man”,

he began a career as a chartered accountant with the Royal Navy.

It is marked durably by the great poverty which strikes the inhabitants of England whose transformation leaves many people on the side of the way.

This first professional experience will make him an "angry and radical"

young man

- he will confess a few years later to the


-, and will leave a lasting mark on his cinematographic universe.

Later, he gets hired at the BBC, first as a handyman.

Noticed, he was entrusted with the production of documentaries, then television films.

We approach him to adapt a novel to the cinema.

He accepted and began working on what would become, in 1971,

La Loi du milieu

, his first feature.

The film, a gangster story - a hitman, Carter, returns to his hometown to avenge the death of his brother - marks British cinema.

It helps launch the career of comedian Michael Caine, who plays the title role.

From noir novel to space opera

Mike Hodges did it again in 1972 with

Mortal Retreat



in English) before going to Hollywood to direct

Terminal Man

, an adaptation of Michael Crichton's science fiction novel.

The film traces the transplant of an electronic brain on a man;

it's making a splash in the US and won't even screen in the UK.

But he is noticed by Terrence Malick and Stanley Kubrick.

The filmmaker continues his career in Hollywood, begins to work on a horror film

(Damien: The Curse 2),

before being landed for disagreement with the production studio.

Hodges found success again in 1980 with the thunderous

Flash Gordon


His superhero, ridiculous costume and peroxide wig, becomes a reference.

With a soundtrack performed by Queen, the film is quickly considered a cult film, which marks its time.

Hodges continues in the genre of space opera with

Les Débiles de l'espace


By the director's own admission, the result is downright bad.

Another disappointment two years later with


, a melodrama on the Irish question that critics murdered.

The main actor, Mickey Rourke, says he himself regrets having participated in the project.

The director concludes his career at the age of 65 with

Only death can stop me


While he had decided to stop the cinema one film earlier, to

"go back to the countryside and play the clarinet"

, he directed this last feature, whose plot resonates with his first.

Another story of revenge, that of a London underworld boss who takes it into his head to investigate his brother's assault.

Withdrawn, the filmmaker said he was happy, in his house in Dorset, growing vegetables and working on thrillers.

Like a homecoming for this filmmaker who will have started and ended his career with films with the air of noir novels.

Source: lefigaro

All life articles on 2022-12-21

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