Point Blank

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(1967, directed by John Boorman)

- inducted 2018 –

“Start watching Point Blank at any point in the movie and you'll immediately be able to tell that it was made in the latter half of the sixties. It's the hair, the clothes. It's the interior decor, full of bright ochres and gaudy mirrors. It's in what qualifies, apparently, as courtship.

“At the same time, a good fifty years on, the film feels startlingly modern. The past bleeds into the present, just as sound from one scene will bleed into another. Words are repeated, or sometimes omitted altogether; images are refracted. An escape from Alcatraz is told through elision, using stills that aren't ever quite entirely still.

“In this way, John Boorman tells a simple story - man gets robbed of money and wife and left for dead, man goes on a revenge spree - but fills it with so much style and so many digressions that nothing about it feels stale or predictable. And even in that story, he makes some modern choices: two supporting characters are clearly a gay couple, but they are not depicted as deviant or risible; they just are.

“You could almost imagine Point Blank being a period piece, made by a director with a tendency to have some artsy, experimental fun with genre fare - a Steven Soderbergh, say. If only they still made actors like Lee Marvin (or Angie Dickinson, for that matter). Its influence can certainly be felt to this day: not just in the work of Soderbergh, but also in the John Wick films, in Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, in so many other films with silent men in stylish, dreamy surroundings. Many of the films it inspired are great in their own right. But Point Blank still manages to feel fresh - no matter how many times you've watched it before.

~ Hedwig van Driel

Principal cast: Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn, Carroll O’Connor, Lloyd Bochner, Michael Strong, John Vernon, Sharon Acker, James Sikking, Sandra Warner, Roberta Haynes, Kathleen Freeman, Victor Creatore, Lawrence Hauben, Susan Holloway, Sid Haig, Michael Bell
Screenplay by: Alexander Jacobs, David Newhouse, Rafe Newhouse
Based on the novel The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake (as Richard Stark)
Produced by: Judd Bernard, Robert Chartoff, Irwin Winkler (uncredited)
Director of photography: Philip H. Lathrop
Art direction by: Albert Brenner, George W. Davis
Film editing by: Henry Berman
Original music by: Johnny Mandel
Hair stylist: Sydney Guilaroff
Sound by: Franklin Milton (recording supervisor)
Special effects by: J. McMillan Johnson
Costume design by: Margo Weintz (uncredited)
Makeup by: William Tuttle, John Truwe (uncredited)

USA
Duration: 92 minutes
Languages: English
Filmed in color (Metrocolor)
Sound mix: Mono
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Produced and released in USA by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Premiered in San Francisco on August 30, 1967

Awards and honors:
- National Film Registry selection, 2016