Where Lee Marvin Pushed Movie Limits
Firing Point Blank (1967) At a Dying PCA
|Much Too Mod a One-Sheet For LM To Be Part Of|
So back to Point Blank. First viewing for me was at Greensboro's brand-new Terrace Theatre, just opened site of new-fangled "Ultravision," the ABC circuit's widest of screens short of 70mm or Cinerama. Ultravision was impressive, though we'd not know at the time that this was last gasp for all-engulfing images before theatres began twinning and cracker-boxing became norm. I was confused and a little irritable with Point Blank's screwy exposition and camera flippery by director John Boorman, but did not the poster give notice of this? (there was, in fact, mild apprehension going in) I was thirteen and wanted my Marvin straight, as poured by Professional's Richard Brooks and Dozen's Robert Aldrich. Point Blank seemed muddy with show-off direction (1967 Metrocolor in part to blame), Boorman at odds with elemental yarn the movie spun. Watching again last week (just-out on Blu-Ray), I noticed frills leveling off after a first reel, Point Blank resolving to story and Marvin magnetism that was/still is basis for watching.
The Great Lee Marvin Triad led a vanguard insofar as adult content just before collapse of the Production Code and implementation of a ratings system. The Professionals, The Dirty Dozen, and Point Blank would reliably push limits imposed on actioners that came before, violence taking on serrated edge and profanities more profuse. Ralph Bellamy addresses Marvin as "you bastard" in The Professionals, to which laconic Lee replies that with him it was an accident of birth, "but you sir, are a self-made man," a line I'd hear quoted for several years following. The Dirty Dozen had Marvin face-kicking "little bastard" John Cassevetes as prelude to a mission where disarmed Germans are slaughtered wholesale. When Point Blank came along third with nude glimpse of Angie Dickinson plus blood taps opened wider, we knew movies were headed for grown-up places, Lee Marvin leading the way.
|Nice To Know That Little Caesar and The Thin Man Still |
Meant Something To Publicity, Even As Late As 1967