As tough and unsympathetic a character as he's ever played is Michael Caine's role as London gangster Jack Carter. Based on Ted Lewis' novel "Jack's Return Home," the MGM British production is nasty, violent and sexy all at once. It should please in the action market, but won't win any laurels for Caine, although his portrayal of the vicious anti-hero impresses. Producer Michael Klinger made "Repulsion" and "The Penthouse," in similar veins. Debuting as a film director, Mike Hodges from British TV relies on symbolism too heavily but makes excellent use of locations in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with the new clashing with the traditional. Hodges also did the screenplay, lingering over the plot lines for more than half of the film before bursting into an orgy of violence. Playwright John Osborne follows up his fine celluloid acting debut in "First Love" with a good job here. Rosemarie Dunham handles her landlady role well, overshadowing nominal co-star Britt Ekland. Despite major billing, Ekland merely has a cameo part, but makes her phone conversation with Caine a highly erotic interlude. Roy Budd composed and played a mod score, while Jack Fishman's lyrics are drowned out. Tighter editing would help considerably.
Arrange tie-ins with Ted Lewis' novel, "Jack's Return Home." Play up the backgrounds.
Michael Caine is Carter, a Very Tough Character...He's a Private Eye, an Underworld Gangster and a Notorious Ladies Man in Newcastle, England.