Format: TCM on DVR
Director: John Boorman
It's been some time since I'd revisited Point Blank (1967), and I'm glad I'd had a few years in between. I'd seen the movie years ago while I was reading the Parker cycle of novels by Richard Stark - maybe the only series I've ever read in its entirety - and this movie is based on the first in the series, The Hunter.
But it's been a while since I read The Hunter, a book that obviously left an impression on me as I did read the subsequent 20-odd books, and I was able to better separate Point Blank and Boorman's ideas versus constantly running a mental check of how the film and movie differed. And they absolutely do differ, saying different things. There's a reason Richard Stark (better known as Donald Westlake) wouldn't allow anyone to use the name "Parker" in a movie, even as he let them adapt the plot and use supporting character names. Lee Marvin's "Walker" isn't Parker. And that's fine... It's good, in fact.
Now, one day I *want* a straight HBO-style treatment of the Parker novels by someone who *gets* it. Each one is probably worth 3 episodes of something. But I dig what Boorman did here - that rather than operating from pure rage and cold revenge, Walker may not be exactly sure why he's doing this. Rather than coming to life and changing motivations after being shot and betrayed, he really did leave something at Alcatraz.
Maybe borrowing from the quasi-non-linear standard of both noir and the Parker novels, Boorman does some interesting stuff here with flash-forwards and flash-backs, maybe stepping it up a bit to do in shorthand what noir traditionally would do in extended scenes. There's a lot of exposition that has to be delivered, and it's a smooth way to do it - but in the case of the film versus the book, Walker seems to have had warmth at one point and feelings for Lynn. He attends things like "reunions" and seems to have had loyalties and friendships - all of which is not in him when he escapes death. He may have been fearsome before, but now he's something else, unrecognizable even to himself.
Anyway, I'm sure I've talked about Point Blank a few times. Several years ago I attended Noir City in San Francisco where they'd invited up Angie Dickinson who spoke about the movie and Lee Marvin (and looked like a million bucks). It's just a favorite at this point, and I definitely recommend it.