Newest Reviews
Ritual of Evil
Vigilante Diaries
Happy Death Day
You Can't Stop the Murders
Legend of the Mountain
Man: The Polluter
Wolf Warrior II
Journey to the Seventh Planet
Ghost Story, A
Lady in the Lake
Devil at Your Heels, The
Paddington 2
Two Jakes, The
Re: Born
Dracula Sucks
Perfect Weapon, The
Hollywood Babylon
True Legend
Die Laughing
Thor Ragnarok
Killing of a Sacred Deer, The
This Beautiful Fantastic
Monocle, The
Substitute, The
Hallucination Strip
Birth of the Dragon
Revenge of the Pink Panther
Newest Articles
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
  Pulp This Didn't Happen In The BookBuy this film here.
Year: 1972
Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Michael Caine, Mickey Rooney, Lionel Stander, Lizabeth Scott, Nadia Cassini, Dennis Price, Al Lettieri, Leopold Trieste, Amerigo Tot, Robert Sacchi, Giulio Donnini, Joe Zammit Cordina, Luciano Pigozzi, Maria Cumani Quasimodo, Janet Agren
Genre: Comedy, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Mickey King (Michael Caine) is a writer; he used to be a funeral director but felt he had more to offer the world of literature so left his wife and children behind to travel to the Continent and follow his muse. Of course, it wasn't exactly highbrow stuff he was penning, and for that matter he wasn't typing them out either, as he found it far easier to dictate his books to a dictaphone and have a secretary transcribe them. And don't go thinking you've never heard of this Mickey King, because all of his books are paperback fiction published under an array of pseudonyms, doing very well for him across the globe. But now a screen legend (Mickey Rooney) wants him to ghostwrite his memoirs...

And that's where the trouble begins for Mickey, as his life turns into the equivalent of one of his novels, a notion that has served spoofs both on the screen and on the page for many decades, but was rarely so straightfaced as it was here. There are those who don't realise this is a comedy at all, and sit through it in stony silence, and to be fair it's more often than not the type of film that prompts wry smiles rather than blasts of hilarity, but the gags are there, you simply have to seek them out. Naturally, the touchstone for all this is Raymond Chandler's detective fiction, so Caine narrates throughout, sometimes not entirely in line with what we are seeing in front of us, which adds to the confusion.

Confusion, bafflement, obfuscation, it's all here, and you could be forgiven for reaching the end of the story and still not be wholly sure why any of this happened to Mickey, although he does offer a couple of near-throwaway lines at the end that tie things together. Adding to the sense of film noir was a cast that featured three somewhat past it stars from that era, although Rooney was not known for his thrillers, but Lizabeth Scott was, even if she didn't essay the femme fatale role here she still alluded to that kind of fiction by her very presence. The other star from those golden years was Lionel Stander, by now having carved out his own niche of brash Americans in movies from around the world.

Somehow, the characters these three play know all about what is going on, but Mickey, who after a while realises his life is in danger, does not. He is told to meet with a contact on a trip to the sun which turns out to be a coach party full of less than glamorous tourists, but he does indeed encounter someone he thinks is there to explain all to him, a chap called Miller (Al Lettieri) who is clasping one of Mickey's books. Except that Miller is apparently oblivious to Mickey's hints and coaxing, and may not know anything about the plot at all: it's difficult for the author to tell as soon after their meeting, and a mix-up with their hotel rooms, Miller is found by the writer dead in the bath.

Pulp was the second collaboration Caine and director Mike Hodges made after the worldwide success of Get Carter, and although it had a similar structure, the results could not have been more different. This was no capable tough guy cutting a swathe through a gangster subculture, it was a stumbling jumble of bemusement clinging onto any scraps of reason thrown his way: he's trying to hold it together in his tinted glasses and white suit that he never seems to take off, but this was not Caine being ice cool as he had been in that previous effort. This could be why Pulp was not embraced by the kind of fans who liked to see their movie stars in control in their vehicles, as Caine is sending himself up here, though not in an over the top or camp manner that might signal it. Rooney almost steals the film as a ghastly parody of himself, but he's not in it for too long, leaving Caine's deadpan exasperation with the disparity between his exotic books and his actual experience the overriding mood and a film that asks you to go to it instead of having it bound up to you. Music by George Martin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1866 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Mike Hodges  (1932 - )

British director, from television, with an interesting take on crime movies. His first film was the gritty, gangster cult Get Carter, but the offbeat follow-up Pulp was not as successful. The Terminal Man was a Hollywood science fiction thriller, and Flash Gordon a gloriously over-the-top comic book epic which showed Hodges' good humour to its best effect.

However, the straight comedy Morons from Outer Space was a flop, though it found a few fans, and while IRA drama Prayer for the Dying and the supernatural Black Rainbow weren't successful either, gambling thriller Croupier was an unexpected sleeper hit in America. Tough gangster movie I'll Sleep When I'm Dead followed.

Review Comments (1)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Jason Cook
Paul Shrimpton
  Jony Clark
  The Elix


Last Updated: