Brian Blessed has praised Mike Hodges for his “powerful personality” and “brilliant imagination”, following the director’s death at the age of 90.
The British actor, who starred in Hodges’ cult classic 1980 film Flash Gordon, praised his “great perception” while directing.
Hodges died at his home in Dorset on December 17, his longtime friend and producer of Hodges’ 2003 release I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Mike Kaplan, told various media outlets.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme, Blessed said of Hodges: ‘(He had) a very powerful personality and a cheerful, joyful, bright imagination.
“(Flash Gordon) is the only movie, other than Henry V starring Kenneth Branagh, that I ran into the studio to start shooting,” he said.
“Hodges (had) a brilliant imagination, but his direction – breathtaking. Great manner, great perception.
“The film was a breath of fresh air.”
The quintessential product of the time, Flash Gordon was a box office hit in the UK and went on to develop a substantial cult following around the world.
Hodges’ first film, Get Carter, was released in 1971 and starred another close friend of his, Sir Michael Caine.
Shot on location in the North East of England, the hyper-violent film stars Caine as wheel-dealer Jack who travels to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to hunt down the men responsible for his brother’s murder.
The film received a limited theatrical re-release in May this year.
Hodges teamed up with Caine again for Pulp, a critically acclaimed crime comedy in 1972, before later branching out into the science fiction genre with his much-loved space opera Flash Gordon.
Hodges won acclaim again with his 2003 effort Croupier, which starred Clive Owen in his breakout role as an aspiring writer who takes a job as a croupier at a gambling den.
The British Film Institute (BFI) praised Hodges as “versatile, but with a unique style”.
“Hodges was an actor manager whose warmth and generosity were legendary,” wrote the BFI Twitter account.
Sharing a photo of him at the start of filming for Flash Gordon online, StudioCanal described him as a “one-of-a-kind director, screenwriter, playwright and novelist.”
“We are deeply saddened by the news of Mike Hodges’ passing,” the company wrote.