Cult Classics: VANISHING POINT (1971).

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Cars, Cult Classics, Movies (V)

Sooner or later I will write a full-on piece on Vanishing Point.  In the meantime, I dug up these notes from my primitive movie journal.  This is how I was writing back in 2007…

A weirdly cool, existential car chase movie from the 1970s, back in the days when an overtly Jewish guy could be the star in something other than a comedy. Although Cleavon Little (Black Bart from Blazing Saddles) is in it too, as what I figure is the precursor to Sam Jackson’s radio DJ/ narrator from Do The Right Thing.

The movie is about a dude named Kowalski (Barry Newman) who has to drive from Colorado to San Fran in under fifteen hours to meet a bet, cops be damned. And that’s about all there is to it, essentially.

Also, there’s hot gas station attendants and naked biker chicks, race riots, homophobic cops, gay hitch-hikers, rattlesnakes, ghosts, and other stuff that somehow makes sense in a nonsensical kind of way.

I don’t remember what this was doing on my Netflix queue, but it’s all well and good that it was. If only for the cinematography (by John Alonzo, who also shot Harold & Maude, Chinatown, and Scarface). Movie just looks fantastic. Beautifully captures the southwestern American highways, and completely reminds me of that epic cross-country drive I did once. Which one day soon, I will repeat — of course at slightly lesser speeds, one would hope. And definitely not in as cool a car…



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