Iconic gangster film location demolished

The 1971 film Get Carter was the classic British gangster picture, generating a whole genre as well as a steady trickle of film tourists to an unlikely location–an ugly concrete car park.

The Trinity Square Car Park in Gateshead, across the river Tyne from Newcastle, England, was the scene of a fight between Michael Caine, playing tough gangster Jack Carter, and bad guy businessman Cliff Brumby, played by Bryan Mosley. It’s also the scene of a very cool cat-and-mouse car chase between Caine’s character and some gangsters.

Get Carter’s unsympathetic protagonist killing his way through urban blight makes for riveting viewing and was unlike any film made in England at the time. Its impact can still be seen in more modern UK gangster films such as Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.

The car park was opened in 1969 and is an example of Brutalism, an architectural movement in the 60s and 70s that emphasized “truth to materials”, leaving piping exposed and concrete uncovered. Popular in Europe at the time, many people consider these buildings an eyesore now.

Yesterday it started going under the wrecking ball, despite many film buffs (including Sylvester Stallone) calling for it to be preserved. It will be replaced by a new development scheme intended to revamp the downtown. The building is so massive, however, that it’s going to take eight weeks to knock down, so if you hurry you’ll have a chance to see some Brutalism brutalized.

Photo courtesy Rodge500 via Wikimedia Commons.