Saturday, January 21, 2012

Richard C. Sarafian: Vanishing Point

Richard C. Sarafian's masterful road movie Vanishing Point (1971) brings many attributes to the screen, including primal excitement. It plays out like something from ancient mythology, with cerebral, mystical and existential touches featuring a souped up Dodge Challenger driven by Kowalski (Barry Newman), a Vietnam vet and ex-cop on a speed-fueled working joy ride pursued by highway patrolmen in three Western states. It's beautifully shot and an exuberent trip. 

The UK version includes Charlotte Rampling as a hitchhiker and harbinger of death.

The name Kowalski brings to mind Clint Eastwood's character, a Korean War vet also named Kowalski, in Gran Torino (2008), and Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire (1947).

Today's Rune: Fertility.


Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, now here is one that I have seen and enjoyed quite much. I should watch this again.

jodi said...

Erik, Both Kowalski and Kowalsky are common names up north. Haven't seen the movies, though.

Anonymous said...

And there was also Kowalski on "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea". I don't know why I remember that.