“Getting here was like the end of Flash Gordon because the taxi didn’t turn up!” Mike Hodges joked as he opened a question and answer session yesterday evening (15 October) at Edge Hill’s Creative Edge.
It followed the screening of his 1980s film as part of the University’s Festival of Ideas; a fortnight of talks, exhibitions and performances.
Talking exclusively to Edge Hill’s Press Office, Mr Hodges recalls his delight of the film becoming a cult classic and the desire for a sequel almost 40-years on.
He said: “I honestly never thought it’d see the light of a projector! We started in such chaos and I was totally new to the genre, but it slowly began to fit together.
“I had a wonderful British crew and we sort of – and it’s not an exaggeration – we sort of made it up as we went along. And, I think why it’s successful now is it has a freedom about it, which is accidental, but it enhanced the film. It was a bit like throwing stuff in to make a soufflé, and it rose!”
The free event was hosted by Edge Hill’s Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE) and will be followed by a screening of another of Hodges’ classics Get Carter this evening (16 October) at the Everyman Cinema in Liverpool.
On whether Flash Gordon would be as successful had it been released today, he said: “The special effects in those days were very crude and we were pushing the limits in terms of what we could do.
“I’m glad that computerised imagery hadn’t come in at that time because I think one of the joys of the film is it’s like a strip cartoon. If we’d had computerised images, it would have been a totally different ball game and not as good, I don’t think, I like it because of the crudeness of the special effects.”
In collaboration with Hurricane Films, ICE and Edge Hill University, Hodges will give students at the University the opportunity to gain vital industry experience in his upcoming documentary All At Sea; a reflection of the director’s life and career.
After the screening, he was joined by ICE Director, Professor Martin McQuillan for a conversation on his films, the path his career took and his life in general. Martin added: “Having an international director and the very talented Hurricane Films working with our students will undoubtedly give them the experience they wouldn’t get anywhere else.
“Being able to attract major stars like Mike Hodges really epitomises what we’ve got to offer at Edge Hill and celebrates our talented students, giving them the opportunity to put their stamp on British Cinema.”
So, is a sequel on the horizon?
“A sequel?” asks the British film legend. “There’s always talk about it, but I think it’s a bit late now. The temptation would be to use computerised imaging, which would make it completely different and not like a strip cartoon. And what the joy of Flash Gordon is, is it is like the original strip cartoon.”
Last-minute tickets for the screening of Get Carter are available here: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/events/2019/10/16/festival-of-ideas-get-carter-film-screening-director-qa/
To read about other events and how you can get involved, visit the Festival of Ideas online programme.
The film partnership has been made possible thanks to Edge Hill’s Student Opportunity Fund. Visit the Student Opportunity Fund page to find out more.