Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Mr. Blonde: I bet you're a big Lee Marvin fan aren't ya. Yeah me too. I love that guy.

Occasionally, I like to write about films I love that have just been released on dvd. It is my hope that this will encourage the five or six dear readers I have to do the same, and then we will have a cool dvd club that only we are members of, and if anyone else wants to join, well, that's just too bad... I don't recall any of those guys returning my phone calls when I wanted to join their cool dvd club... sigh.

"Point Blank" stars the mighty Lee Marvin in a film directed by John Boorman, a director known for being able to encapsulate the environment of where his films are set as another character in the film. One has only to watch his other films like "Deliverance", "The Emerald Forest", "Hope And Glory", or even "The Tailor Of Panama", to see how much the southern backwoods, the Brazilian rainforest, London during WWII, and Panama figure into the films. They literally couldn't have been set anywhere else, because the films wouldn't have worked.

And "Point Blank" is set in Lee Marvin's mind. This film, which is adapted from the same novel by Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake's pseudonym when he wanted to write really violent thrillers as opposed to the comedic caper stories he usually wrote) that the Mel Gibson film "Payback" was adapted from, is basically about a man left for dead by his double-crossing partners after a heist. One of the partners is his wife and the other is an old Army buddy. The man somehow survives being shot in the back several times, and after recovering is offered an opportunity to take revenge on his partners, and everyone else in the organization who put the heist together. How he follows through on this is what makes up the rest of the story.

Or does it happen at all? Through the use of clever editing, elliptical dialogue ("What's my last name?" Angie Dickinson asks Marvin's character "Walker" after they have had sex. "What's my first name?" is his reply. And we never find out in the film or cast list. He is simply "Walker".), and the drugged acting style Marvin uses (slow to respond to threats, then suddenly lashing out) Boorman manages to leave us guessing whether the entire film isn't some elaborate revenge fantasy hallucinated by Marvin as he lay dying from the gunshots at the beginning of the film.

Between this, the release of "Bullitt" a few weeks ago, and the upcoming release of Arthur Penn's "Night Moves" on dvd, the revitilization of noir in the late sixties to early eighties can be seen again. Please don't miss these opportunities to see how trippy film noir became, as it was informed by the politics of the sixties and seventies.

This has been a public service announcement from Mr. Jones. You may now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.

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Anonymous said...

Boorman + Marvin = 'Hell in the Pacific' Which, again, couldn't take place anywhere else.

your fiend, mr. jones said...

I was going to mention "Hell In The Pacific", as well as this great documentary Boorman made a few years ago about Marvin that TCM runs occasionally...

...but then I fell asleep. Sigh. I'm so old.

Mona Buonanotte said...

You had me at "Mr. Blonde"...!

Oh sweet dangerous Noir! I have a little book of famous quotes from famous noir films, I turn to it when I feel like a dame, a broad, a sassy cat. Yum!

Boorman rocks, for all the films you mentioned. (And now I can't get that insane banjo music outta my head....)

Anonymous said...

I dig that poster.
Looks like a giant, armed hand is growing outta his head.

I mean, a hand that is armed,
not an arm.

Pisser said...

Oop. Dat be me.

Storm Trooper said...

Who wrote the F-word on my blog?!?!?! STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Jones,
I am one of your mother's coworkers here in Gulfport, Mississippi, and yesterday she suggested I check out your and your brother's blogs. Well, I could hardly refuse, not only because I owe her eight bucks, but also because she lets me use her computer after she goes home for the day. She further suggested I post some sort of comment to show her sons that she has "interesting and intelligent friends, even here in Mississippi." I warned her that I was hardly the best person to prove that, but she said something about how "you go to war with the army you have, not the army you'd like to have," and I should get with the posting.
Let me say I was star-struck by your circle of fiends. I've been a fan of Maria Bamford for years. And who knew all the stars of Comedy Central had their own websites? Not me, I'll tell you. I got wrapped up in your friend RZ's blog. I hope everything turned out okay.
Anyway, just wanted to say hello and compliment you on an interesting site. I will check in regularly and probably rent a few of the movies you recommend. Maybe learn something about what makes a movie "good." Aside from the fact I like it, that is. Thanks.


your fiend, mr. jones said...

mb- Don't listen to the Man. Noir is good. Noir is verrryy good. A good dose of noir will help get "Dueling Banjos" out of your head in no time!

Anon2- I think that's called "forced perspective". My brother, the "artiste", would know this. When he isn't coming up with his "clever" put downs of me, that is.

P & Super- Please, take your drama somewhere else so we can get back to the real business of Lee Marvin films. Thank you.

Anon3 (or "Bob")- I didn't my mom hung out with clever people such as yourself. Usually, when she talks about her friends, they sound like nice, older women who she sings in the church choir with. Or who she moons over Orlando Bloom with. I'm not sure which creeps me out more.

Kidding. I keed, I keed.

Anyhoo, I hope you will keep reading as I intend to force my pop culture opinions down the throats of the 6 or 7 dear readers who regularly attend. And I think Rena's okay, as she is an associate producer on the Sundance Channel's daily edited television version of "The Al Franken Show" on radio. I'm not sure they would keep her name in the credits if she had had that nervous breakdown she's been threatening in her blog for so long.