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Point Blank - The Ex-Communicator

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August 4th, 2010


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07:37 am - Point Blank
So last night I watched the whole of Point Blank, the 1967 John Boorman film with Lee Marvin. Long time since I saw it. The film is so good, really exceptional, and it won't shock anyone to hear that the Mel Gibson remake was a hollow travesty which missed most of the point of the original (cf 'Edge of Darkness'). I recommend the original to anyone, it's a masterpiece. Sticking my neck out, I can't imagine anyone watching this and then saying 'Why did communicator recommend that?' I mean, violent gangster films might not be your cup of tea, but you won't see a better one than this.

I also read a metafilter thread about Point Blank and this review in Slate. I now realise that when I previously watched this film, as a young woman, I completely missed much of what was going on. It's obvious now, seeing it, that 'Walker' is a dead man throughout. He is killed in the first few seconds, by his best friend, and in the remainder he seeks revenge. It could be that the film is a dying dream, like Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, or what I prefer, that Walker is a dead man come back, like Burt Lancaster in The Swimmer (swimmer, walker). I also realised he never kills anyone, he gets them to kill themselves.

I was struck by the great influence of this film on other classic gangster films like Get Carter and The Limey. High Plains Drifter. The Terminator films.

What prompted this rewatch was the similarity to Mad Men, which had struck me so when I watched the nightclub scene the other day. Consider whether this is deliberate. In Mad Men 4.1, Don pays a prostitute to slap him repeatedly and then have sex with him, as Angie Dickinson does to Lee Marvin in Point Blank. In Mad Men 4.2 this week, Peggy spent the whole episode trying to develop a TV ad for Pond's Cold Cream. I'd forgotten, but In Point Blank Walker turns on the telly when the slapping is done, and it's showing a TV ad for Pond's Cold Cream, which features the memorable slogan 'I creamed myself twice a night for a week'. I'll have what she's having.

BBC portrait of Lee Marvin by John Boorman (youtube).

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