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Point Blank

Point Blank

5.0 1
Director: John Boorman

Cast: Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn


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Based on Donald E. Westlake's novel The Hunter, John Boorman's gangster film hauntingly merges a generic revenge story with a European art cinema sensibility. In Alcatraz to divvy up the spoils from a robbery, thief Walker (Lee Marvin) is instead shot point blank by his double-crossing friend Mal Reese (John Vernon) and left to die while Reese takes off with


Based on Donald E. Westlake's novel The Hunter, John Boorman's gangster film hauntingly merges a generic revenge story with a European art cinema sensibility. In Alcatraz to divvy up the spoils from a robbery, thief Walker (Lee Marvin) is instead shot point blank by his double-crossing friend Mal Reese (John Vernon) and left to die while Reese takes off with Walker's wife Lynne (Sharon Acker) and his $93,000. Resurrected, the stone-faced Walker returns to Los Angeles a couple of years later to seek revenge on Mal with the help of the enigmatic Yost (Keenan Wynn) and Lynne's sister Chris (Angie Dickinson). Wanting little but his cash, Walker implacably penetrates Mal's lair and the hierarchy of the shady "Organization," registering no emotion about the string of murders left in his wake, as his thoughts repeatedly return to the past that brought him there. In his first American feature, Boorman transforms a stripped-down revenge plot into a surreal meditation on the gangster's spiritual demise, using flashbacks and startling shifts in setting to interweave Walker's fractured memories with his extraordinarily photographed odyssey through L.A. Marvin's chillingly stoic presence further hints at the ambiguities in Chris's observation that Walker "died at Alcatraz, all right." Brutal in the violence that it shows and suggests, Point Blank opened in the U.S. in the same period as Bonnie and Clyde, becoming one more testament to the genre-bending and ground-breaking possibilities of the nascent Hollywood New Wave. Although Point Blank was mostly overlooked in 1967, Boorman's visual adventurousness, and Marvin's amoral and apathetic antihero, have since made Point Blank seem one of the key films of the mid-late '60s, a precursor to revisionist experimentations from Martin Scorsese to Quentin Tarantino. It was remade as the 1999 Mel Gibson vehicle Payback.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Initially dismissed by critics as brutal and nihilistic, Point Blank (1967) has come to be recognized as an innovative, uncompromising thriller that presaged the rise of the antihero in American cinema. Veteran screen tough guy Lee Marvin is perfectly cast as the career criminal who, leaving jail two years after being betrayed by wife Angie Dickinson and shot by mobster John Vernon in a double cross, doggedly pursues them to regain stolen loot and get revenge in the process. Based on the novel The Hunter by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake's pseudonym), Point Blank was the first Hollywood film directed by John Boorman (Deliverance), who employed flashbacks, flash forwards, and repeated action scenes in an effort to keep viewers off guard throughout. He succeeded admirably: While unmistakably a product of its times -- some sequences border on the psychedelic -- Boorman's film employed narrative techniques and popularized character types that influenced filmmakers for years to come. It's immeasurably superior to Mel Gibson's 1999 remake, Payback, which is far more lavishly mounted but not nearly as effective.
All Movie Guide
John Boorman's Point Blank was one of the most interesting and quietly influential films of late 1960s American cinema. Unashamedly violent, void of morality, and full of "European" experimentation, the film ignored the conventions of typical Hollywood crime thrillers. Compared to the stark grimness of typical crime movies, Point Blank was downright phantasmagoric in its narrative structure, camera placement, color schemes, and sounds. Released just three weeks after the similarly revolutionary Bonnie and Clyde, the film was not an immediate hit with audiences; even though star Lee Marvin was coming off the successful The Dirty Dozen, the film got swept up in the "violence-in-movies" controversy. Where Warren Beatty's Clyde and Faye Dunaway's Bonnie were sympathetic and glamorous, Marvin seemed capable of "bashing somebody's brains out," to paraphrase his famous line from The Dirty Dozen. But the actor's icy menace and Boorman's artistic pretensions have gone on to influence filmmakers to come, most notably Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, and Quentin Tarantino.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by director John Boorman and filmmaker Steven Soderbergh; Vintage featurettes The Rock Part 1 and The Rock Part 2; Languages: English & Français; Subtitles: English, Français & Español (feature film only)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lee Marvin Walker
Angie Dickinson Chris
Keenan Wynn Fairfax
Carroll O'Connor Brewster
John Vernon Mal Reese
Sharon Acker Lynne
Michael Strong Stegman
Lloyd Bochner Frederick Carter
James B. Sikking Hired Gun
Sandra Warner Waitress
Roberta Haynes Mrs. Carter
Kathleen Freeman 1st Citizen
Victor Creatore Carter's Man
Lawrence Hauben Car Salesman
Susan Holloway Customer
Sid Haig Guard
Michael Patrick Bell Penthouse Lobby Guard
Priscilla Boyd Receptionist
Ron Walters Roommates
Rico Cattani Guard
Carey Foster Dancer
Lou Whitehill Policeman
Joseph Mell Man
Ted White Football Player
Karen Lee Waitress
Bill Hickman Guard
Chuck Hicks Guard
Felix Silla Bellhop

Technical Credits
John Boorman Director
Virgil Beck Special Effects
Henry Berman Editor
Judd Bernard Producer
Albert Brenner Art Director
Robert Chartoff Producer
George W. Davis Art Director
Stu Gardner Songwriter
Keogh Gleason Set Decoration/Design
Henry W. Grace Set Decoration/Design
Alexander Jacobs Screenwriter
Al Jennings Asst. Director
J. McMillan Johnson Special Effects
Philip H. Lathrop Cinematographer
Johnny Mandel Score Composer
Franklin E. Milton Sound/Sound Designer
Rafe Newhouse Screenwriter
David Newhouse Screenwriter
John Truwe Makeup
William J. Tuttle Makeup
Margo Weintz Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Double Cross. [4:49]
2. Credits. [2:04]
3. I Want the Organization. [3:02]
4. Crashing at Lynne's. [4:14]
5. From Two to Three. [4:46]
6. Runny Memories. [3:03]
7. Spin With Big John. [4:51]
8. Find and Finish Him. [1:39]
9. Nightspot Nastiness. [3:47]
10. Calling on Chris. [3:35]
11. Troublesome Reese. [1:20]
12. The Way In. [2:48]
13. Hung Up on Chris. [2:54]
14. Come On, Kill Me. [4:33]
15. Fall From Disgrace. [5:04]
16. Man for the Job. [3:38]
17. Targets. [3:12]
18. Brewster's House. [5:45]
19. Battling Bedfellows. [4:44]
20. Who Pays? [4:47]
21. Somebody's Gotta Pay. [3:08]
22. Return to Alcatraz. [5:20]
23. I Pay My Debts. [3:18]
24. Cast List. [3:59]


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Point Blank 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although director John Boorman was not altogether happy about the script, adapted from Richard Stark's novel "The Hunter", "Point Blank" is an expertly made, fast-moving film, based on the theme of the individual pitted against the large, impersonal organization. Here the central character is an old-fashioned loner of a gunman (Lee Marvin) embroiled with a large-scale, corporate criminal operation behind a respectable-looking 'front'. Without delving into psychology or motivation, the film places emphasis on action and surface appearances, superbly capturing the glossy, depersonalized feel of a 1967 Los Angeles--a nightmare landscape of concrete, glass and coiling freeways. The film is notable for its violence and moments of black humor but chiefly original for its complex, episodic and dynamic structure--flashing backward and forward in time with a dazzling display of editing techniques. Boorman made a stunning American film debut by turning an ordinary gangster drama into a film of pulsating tension, knowing how to take a routine subject matter and give it a unique feel, a look all it's own. Lee Marvin is superbly cast as small-time hood Walker, out for revenge against his wife and the syndicate that left him for dead. It's also a pleasure to see Angie Dickinson getting the rare chance to project some genuine sexuality into an American movie. Considered a minor genre release at the time, it now has deservedly earned a reputation as one of the best films of the Sixties, an example of nihilistic violence that looks better with each passing year. [filmfactsman]