September 1, 1967 [Point Blank]

Lee Marvin's wife and best friend plug him and leave him for dead on Alcatraz--which is all the incentive he needs to swim to shore and plough through the entire Organization like a big cool dope. How does he do it? How does Marvin seamlessly combine mulish persistence with self-possession? Is there another actor so comfortable in his own skin--and here in Point Blank so naive? I mean, he loves his friend--they roll around on the floor together like kittens or honeymooners--and asks for the money he's owed with the same blank assumption: It is what it should be, so hand it over.

The fact that all he gets is a handful of dust doesn't even seem to register. At the end, when he fades away--the big shots appalled that he thinks they're going to give him cash without a receipt because he has principles--Marvin's face simply recedes, and he ends the movie--a shame, in some ways, because it was so beautiful to look at, everything color-coordinated, crisp and well-appointed--and empty, like a vault full of money, Marvin's footsteps hammering down the world's longest corridor as he walks tall to get nothing. It's The Professionals with penthouse offices and swanky cars--the hero standing there with rules and codes, no one else listening--so he shuts up and walks away.


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