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.