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Brian Blessed pays tribute to Flash Gordon director Mike Hodges

Brian Blessed pays tribute to Flash Gordon director Mike Hodges

Brian Blessed has paid tribute to Mike Hodges, who directed him in the film Flash Gordon.

Hodges, who also directed Get Carter and The Long Good Friday, died, aged 90 on Saturday (17 December),

The news was announced by Mike Kaplan, Hodges’ longtime friend who produced his film I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead in 2003.

Blessed appeared on BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme, where he said Hodges had “a very powerful personality and a joyful, cheerful, brilliant imagination”.

He said that 1980’s Flash Gordon is “the only film, apart from Henry V with Kenneth Branagh, that I raced to the studio to start filming”.

Blessed, 86, described the filmmaker as having “a brilliant imagination”, adding: “His direction – mind-blowing. Great manner, great perception. The film was a breath of fresh air.”

A quintessential product of the era, Flash Gordon was a box-office success in the UK and subsequently developed a substantial cult following all around the world.

Hodges’ directorial debut, Get Carter, was released in 1971 and starred another of his close friends, Sir Michael Caine.

Shot on location in the north east of England, the hyper-violent film features Caine as wheeler-dealer Jack who travels to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to hunt down the men responsible for killing his brother.

The film received a limited theatrical re-release in May this year.

Hodges again found acclaim with his 2003 effort Croupier, which starred Clive Owen in his breakout role as an aspiring writer who takes a job as a dealer at a gambling den.

Brian Blessed in ‘Flash Gordon’ (Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock)
Brian Blessed in ‘Flash Gordon’ (Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock)

The British Film Institute (BFI) paid tribute to Hodges as “versatile, yet with a unique style”.

“Hodges was an actor’s director whose warmth and generosity were legendary,” the BFI Twitter account wrote.

Sharing a picture of him on set filming Flash Gordon online StudioCanal described him as a “one of a kind director, screenwriter, playwright and novelist”.

“We’re deeply saddened by the news of Mike Hodges’ passing,” the company wrote.

Additional reporting by Agencies