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This is a comments thread about FSM CD: Point Blank/The Outfit
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2012 - 7:09 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

POINT BLANK: the 'Lost' 1967

"POINT BLANK is one of the best cinematic representations of that stark, sunbleached, urban mood which dominated the mid-to-late-1960s but rarely gets referred to--- people talk about "protest" and "tumult" but almost never about this (just as people rarely refer to the autumnal-wintry melancholy of the 1970s when that was the mood that virtually defined that era, which THE ICE STORM, flawed as it was, later attempted to capture).

But regarding POINT BLANK:

The atonal score; the "echo-y" resonance of the thing; the claw-your-neck, angsty atmoshpere; the diffused lighting; that window-screen camera trick; the jazz bar; the aloof neon lights at night; even that car lot.... it's all just sooooo very, very 1966 and beyond...

It's just like the name of the film: in-your-face ("POINT") yet oddly hollow ("BLANK").

Anyway, for any younger person looking to see what the cities tended to feel like at that time, POINT BLANK is one of the better movie examples of the period you can point to.

...Also, the DVD has two brief extras (both entitled "The Rock") which focus on Alcatraz Pison and also convey the same lost, disillusioned flavor of time which was so captivating yet confounding.

Walter Cronkite once observed that the '60s was "a slum of a decade". And one has to understand what that means. Yes, the sunstreaked-field/Woodstock image existed, but to miss the juxtaposition of that with the grimy, dank, hollow quality of the '60s is to miss the decade entirely.

The truth is always more complicated -- and infinitely more interesting -- than the pre-chewed view of history, even recent cultural history, that we tend to get.

When one mixes POINT BLANK with those urban montage scenes in MIDNIGHT COWBOY and, say, Antonio's BLOW UP, with a dash of the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, you're getting a more accurate sense of the mood of the late-'60s (albeit cinematically) and how they actually kinda felt and why they haunted that generation so much and so long then you will from the media's simplistic spin on the era today.

Or from those dreadful, revisionistic '80s films which tried to exploit it and reshape it to fit a Reagan era sensibility which bore no resemblance to it.

There is always tumult and cultural change, and there's always tragedy. But what made the 1960s seem so dramatic, so resonant, was how it felt. Which is always a tough thing to describe or to capture.

The 11 years between JFK's instantly-legendary, bottomlessly macabre assassination (such that we refuse to deal with it even today other than thru platitudes) in 1963, and Nixon's resignation in 1974 under the Watergate scandal -- and all the lies told in between about that eternal, turgid mire that was Vietnam -- created and reflected a startling shift in the culture which was unusual in its speed and severity and starkness. And, yes, that story is so much more compelling than flower-power images of bellbottomed jeans and Volkswagons and posters of Che Guevara.

If only we had a better way to capture the zeitgeist of a period, or a decade, so that it could be sniffed like a cologne and the air of the time breathed in. So people could appreciate what it actually felt like to be alive in that particular period.

All the modern hippie references just make it seem boring. And silly.

How could a decade which went from the doomed, sacred, frozen-in-time eeriness of The Twilight Zone and Mayberry and The Bates Motel of the early-'60s and then jarringly metamorphosed into the post-apocalyptic tension of POINT BLANK and and the psychedelic intravenous journeys of FANTASTIC VOYAGE and THE YELLOW SUBMARINE and the forlorn, arid wastelands of PLANET OF THE APES and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY from the late-'60s, and then subsided into the deeply melancholy, bittersweet disillusion caught vividly by that ice-skating/snow-angels scene in LOVE STORY (just that one scene, as the whole movie is pretty rank) of the early-'70s possibly be boring??

I use those free-association/stream-of-consciousness movie references because they're so much more memorable (and oddly precise) than "Entertainment Tonight" or recent years' pop culture efforts at '60s nostalgia can seem to communicate.
-----------------------


As someone who wasn't even born until 1971, I find this analysis fascinating. I knew that the 1960s had to be more than the pre-packaged countercultural time capsule that the media and pop historians tried to make it out to be. The 1960s that POINT BLANK chronicles is infinitely more interesting than the stale hippie stories our parents told us.

 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2012 - 6:05 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Well, I liked it anyway. big grin frown

 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2012 - 7:16 AM   
 By:   chriss   (Member)

I know it's highly unlikely but I would love to see a complete release of Fielding's The Outfit with all the underscore and source cues combined (there are still a few great ones missing even with the additional cues on the FSM Super Cops release) and that tons of alternate and early versions of some cues. That could be a marvelous album! smile

 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2012 - 7:53 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

I know it's highly unlikely but I would love to see a complete release of Fielding's The Outfit with all the underscore and source cues combined (there are still a few great ones missing even with the additional cues on the FSM Super Cops release) and that tons of alternate and early versions of some cues. That could be a marvelous album! smile

There wasn't that much music featured in the film itself, so you get that "long periods of silence and/or natural noise" that was prevalent in early '70s films.

 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2012 - 8:13 AM   
 By:   chriss   (Member)

There wasn't that much music featured in the film itself, so you get that "long periods of silence and/or natural noise" that was prevalent in early '70s films.

True, but it is nevertheless a really great Fielding score with all his beloved trademarks. And the score has some of his most beautiful melodic ideas!

 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2012 - 8:34 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

There wasn't that much music featured in the film itself, so you get that "long periods of silence and/or natural noise" that was prevalent in early '70s films.

True, but it is nevertheless a really great Fielding score with all his beloved trademarks. And the score has some of his most beautiful melodic ideas!


Agreed. Too bad the funeral music is omitted from the film; it's simple yet beautiful.

 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2012 - 9:36 AM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

I like The Outfit very much; it fits well with Fielding's other projects from the era.

I've been stalling, but I intend to make a Jerry Fielding Big Band playlist based on all of the source music contained on many of the LE releases. Wondering if you cats already did the leg-work on that...

 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2012 - 10:04 AM   
 By:   Lukas Kendall   (Member)

There wasn't that much music featured in the film itself, so you get that "long periods of silence and/or natural noise" that was prevalent in early '70s films.

True, but it is nevertheless a really great Fielding score with all his beloved trademarks. And the score has some of his most beautiful melodic ideas!


Agreed. Too bad the funeral music is omitted from the film; it's simple yet beautiful.


It's been a while but if you want to hear the funeral music that they tracked into the film, you can find it on our Carey Treatment CD!

Lukas

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2012 - 10:09 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

nice 60s piece Jim.
It was the most evasive decade - too much happened, so many strands, so you try and nail it down but it can just slip through your fingers.

 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2012 - 3:04 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

nice 60s piece Jim.
It was the most evasive decade - too much happened, so many strands, so you try and nail it down but it can just slip through your fingers.


Fascinating from start to finish...which I guess wasn't until 1974 or so.

 
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