Friday Night Live – Point Blank – tape 450

First on this tape, Friday Night Live. There’s something odd going on with the sound at the start of this, phasing in and out.

According to Ben in his opening, this is the third episode in the series. There’s also a slight jab at Andrew Lloyd Webber (“The greatest living Englishman”). Ben would, of course, go on to write the book for one of Webber’s musicals, The Beautiful Game, a show about amateur football in Northern Ireland, and I’ll go to my grave wanting to believe the story that Ben got the gig because Lloyd Webber confused him with David Baddiel.

There’s a stirring musical number, with The Communards doing Dancing Queen.

Even the Reverend Richard Coles was dressed up. Watching this performance, it’s suddenly struck me that the reason all fashion was awful in the 70s was because we were spending all our creative energy on the greatest music ever made.

Stavros talks about radio stations.

More music from The Hooters. For some reason (their name, perhaps) I get these slightly confused with the J Geils Band, who did Centrefold. The Hooters’ hit is Satellite.

Josie Lawrence is back as Florence from Cradley (thanks to commenter billysmart who corrected my guess at the spelling on an earlier entry).

Nick Revell does a spot. I saw him live at the Old Town Hall comedy club, probably sometime around this recording. His support act was Jack Dee.

The Panic Brothers appear to be the posh, English Proclaimers.

Another novelty act, Les Bubb.

A sketch featuring Ben Elton and Hugh Laurie and some pubic barbering.

More music from The Hooters. I’m genuinely surprised they had more than one song. The keyboard player gets to sing this time. His hair isn’t a nice as the guitarist’s.

Josie Lawrence and Hugh Laurie do a sketch about the Olympics

Harry Enfield does Loadsamoney

Ben does his closing set in the shiny suit from the game show they tried in the first episode.

The show closes with another performance from The Communards. Can we stop to appreciate what a catastrophe was happening in TV Graphics at this time.

After this, recording switches, and we’re straight into Point Blank. It’s unfortunate because I’ve missed an introduction from Alex Cox. I could have done with it because the opening of this movie is incomprehensible. There’s something happening, some kind of heist, and I think it’s happening at Alcatraz. It’s got a helicopter.

Lee Marvin is Walker, stomping around, bursting into rooms and beating up whoever’s in there.

Sharon Acker plays Lynne, his wife (a fact I only learned from the Wikipedia entry, as I missed that fact from the film itself). She was part of the original heist, but she’s soon dead of an overdose.

John Vernon plays Reese, Walker’s partner in the heist, who double crossed him.

Angie Dickinson plays Chris, apparently Walker’s sister-in-law.

Walker dispatches Reese, throwing him off a roof, naked. It’s not quite Alan Rickman in Die Hard, but it’s a vivid image, nevertheless.

James B Sikking plays a hitman who kills off another couple of Walker’s enemies.

Carroll O’Connor (TV’s Archie Bunker) plays Brewster, the head of the syndicate that owes Walker his cut of the heist.

The end of the movie left me just as perplexed, as Brewster takes Walker to the location of the heist, to collect his cash, and Brewster is shot by Sikking, leaving only Fairfax (Keenan Wynn) who’s been following Walker around, who tells him Brewster was the last one, and their deal is done. He walks off, leaving Brewster lying dead, with the package of money lying next to him. But we don’t see Walker again, and that’s where the movie ends.

I can see why people appreciate this movie – it reminded me a lot of Christopher Nolan’s Inception – and I wonder if it’s true that the whole movie is supposed to be taking place in Walker’s head, as he’s dying after being shot during the heist in the opening scene. It would explain the fractured narrative. Either that, or the editor was drunk the whole time.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 5th March 1988 – 22:05

Although we missed Alex Cox’s introduction to this film, here’s his introduction to the following film, Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye.

There’s about half an hour of The Long Goodbye before the tape stops.

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6 comments

  1. Thanks for this! What a shame that you didn’t get the intro to Point Blank. I suppose one half of the holy grail is better than nothing. These intros pre-date Moviedrome by a couple of months.

    Friday Night Live – 04/03/1988.

  2. Lee Marvin is an absolute beast in Point Blank, Danny Peary called him “a major figure in the American cinema of violence” and the fact that Marvin punches someone in the bollocks (in the 1960s!) in this must surely justify that assessment. He just wants his money!

    The reason the editing was like that was because director John Boorman was much-enamoured of the French New Wave, so applied those styles to a basic Hollywood revenge plot. I think it’s enormously satisfying, really electrifies what could have been staid and conventional.

    What a shame you didn’t capture Alex Cox’s introduction, it wasn’t in the Moviedrome “books” (those booklets the BBC published with his intros in them).

  3. I saw Point Blank on DVD sometime last year. Apparently, Lee Marvin hated the original script and threw it in the bin. I think perhaps maybe it followed the novel The Hunter a bit too closely which he must have seen as being a standard revenge potboiler where the main anti-hero Parker just kills anything in his sight and eventually gets his money. Mel Gibson’s Payback followed that same route whereas I think Marvin and Boorman wanted to do something a bit more unpredictable. Best bits are Marvin trashing the car, the night club scrap, Walker breaking into the building, roughing up Lloyd Bochner and shooting the phone. It was a nice twist at the end involving Keenan Wynn.

    Point Blank is an 18 but to be honest, I don’t think it was that brutal. Far more violent is Prime Cut also starring Marvin and Gene Hackman. Some bloody shootouts and gritty subject matter in that one.

    I have Saturday Live and Friday Night Live on DVD but haven’t watched them yet.

  4. A rare outing for Ben Elton’s beard in that Friday Night Live. According to the ace book Didn’t You Kill My Mother-In-Law, the producers truncated his slot in I think this episode, so he shaved it off after the show to deliberately ruin the continuity of the series and make it harder to edit for compilations.

  5. In the Olympics sketch, that’s a 1936 Berlin Olympics poster in the background. Was the content political at all, or couldn’t the set dresser be bothered to see which of the posters they’d found?

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