NEAR MINT - UNSEALED - ONLY ONE AVAILABLE
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Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music
The character of Parker has endured in the crime novels of Richard Stark (a pen name for Donald E. Westlake) for 40 years: a relentless, unstoppable thief typically seeking money owed him by the Mob. The character was most recently portrayed on screen by Mel Gibson as "Porter" in Payback (1999), adapted from the first Parker novel, The Hunter (1962). However, The Hunter was first filmed in 1967 as Point Blank, starring Lee Marvin as "Walker" under the direction of John Boorman (Deliverance, Excalibur).
Point Blank is a landmark of 1960s American cinema, a neo-noir thriller set amidst the steely, impersonal architecture of Los Angeles. The film was influenced by the French new wave, turning the book's simple story into a kind of avant garde fable that is possibly a revenge fantasy: Walker, shot and left for dead by his friend Reese (John Vernon), awakens to wreak havoc through the criminal organization that has wronged him.
Scoring Point Blank was Johnny Mandel, a widely acclaimed composer and arranger whose film credits include The Sandpiper and MASH. Mandel's score is a singular achievement: he uses the twelve-tone system of atonal composition not for shocks but for emotion in the style of Alban Berg, creating a type of trance-like cage in which Walker mechanically but artfully tears through the underworld. Combined with chamber-style accompaniments particularly for woodwinds (a Mandel trademark) and gorgeous, tonal variations for Walker's romantic relationships, the score has virtually no peers. FSM's premiere presentation features Mandel's complete work (including unused cues) along with source cues and Stu Gardner's "Mighty Good Times" from the film's nightclub sequence.
In 1973 M-G-M brought another Parker novel to the screen: The Outfit, starring Robert Duvall as "Macklin." The Outfit is the blue-collar '70s counterpart to Point Blank's arty sophistication: spare, gritty and naturalistic, as co-stars Karen Black and Joe Don Baker help Macklin fleece the Midwest Mob and avenge his brother's death. The score was by a veteran of '70s crime thrillers: Jerry Fielding, best known for his work for Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs). With his pulsating rhythms, avant garde sensibilities and jazz arranger's skill, Fielding excelled at the hit-and-be-hit genre, and for The Outfit drew upon his earlier "shades of black" score to The Mechanic. Unusually, his score for The Outfit features three songs, none of which are heard in vocal version in the finished film: an unused main title and two source cues. With country-styled performance by Steve Gillette, the songs add a sense of folksy compassion to the "Parker" aesthetic, and show a rarely represented, easily accessible melodic side of the composer.
FSM's "Parker" doubleheader is entirely in stereo (save "Mighty Good Times") and comes with an illustrated 24-page booklet.