Sunday Matinee: Point Blank

1967 was an awesome year for Lee Marvin. He not only starred in his biggest hit The Dirty Dozen, he also made the brilliant adaptation of Richard Stark’s excellent novel The HunterPoint Blank.

Directed by John Boorman who would go on to make such excellent films as Hell in the Pacific, Deliverance, Excalibur and The Emerald Forest Point Blank is a very stylish very gritty noir crime thriller.

Marvin stars as Walker (aka Parker in the novels). Walker has just pulled off a heist with his wife Lynne (Sharon Acker) and Mal Reese (John Vernon). Mal and Lynne double cross Walker, shot him and leave him for dead taking the money. Walker survives the attempt and with the help of the mysterious Yost (Keenan Wynn) goes looking for Mal and Lynne and more importantly his money from the heist.

Walker finds Lynne but she’s guilt ridden and commits suicide. Walker then starts looking for Mal. Mal has spent all the money from the heist to buy his way back into favour with the “The Organization”. He finds that Mal has hooked up with Lynne’s sister Chris (Angie Dickinson). Chris agrees to help Walker get Mal.

I love this movie. It’s dark, stylish and nasty. Lee Marvin is excellent as Walker. They couldn’t use the name Parker because Richard Stark aka Donald E. Westlake always refused to let studios use the Parker name unless they planned on adapting all of his novels. Over the years several adaptations of the Parker novels have occurred and none of them except the most recent used the name Parker. Sadly a couple of years ago Jason Statham starred in adaptation of Flashfire which the studio some how managed to use the Parker name. The movie was remade or re-adapted in 1999 as Payback with Mel Gibson in the role as Porter. The director’s is a better version to see of that adaptation (the director was fired and the film reshot to make it “nicer”).

Point Blank is my favourite of all the attempts at bringing Parker to life on the big screen and the movie is brilliant. The only thing that might be better is the late Darwyn Cooke’s comic book adaptations of the Parker novels.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.

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