Vanishing Point (1971) Film Review C-

DIRECTOR: Richard C. Sarafian.
BOTTOM LINE: Director Richard C. Sarafian’s film stars Barry Newman as a disaffected ex-policeman and race car driver delivering a muscle car cross-country to California at high speed while being chased by the police. Along the way, he meets various characters, some more interesting than others. In the movie’s most memorable yet nauseating scene, he is briefly held captive at gunpoint by two exceptionally sleazy-slimy Queers played by gay British actor Arthur Malet (“Mary Poppins”) and the exceptionally creepy Anthony “the skull” James, whose visage is pictured above. James, who comes across as pure evil, had just come off a memorable role as the diner counterman in “In the Heat of the Night,” which, strangely enough, also featured Malet as the undertaker. After a few minutes, Newman overpowers these pitiful excuses for human beings, resulting in a knee-jerk standing ovation by the spoon-fed audience. The cinematography by John Alonzo (“Chinatown”) is praiseworthy, and the movie has developed a cult following over the years. Original screenplay by Guillermo Cabrera Infante (credited as Guillermo Cain) from a story outline by Malcolm Hart. The film also stars Charlotte Rampling.


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