Review: ‘Vanishing Point’

If the viewer believes what Guillermo Cain's screenplay is trying to say in this lowercase action effort, the 'wasteland' between Denver and the California border is peopled only with uniformed monsters, aided and abetted by an antagonistic citizenry with the only 'good' people the few hippies, motorcycle gangs and dope pushers.

If the viewer believes what Guillermo Cain’s screenplay is trying to say in this lowercase action effort, the ‘wasteland’ between Denver and the California border is peopled only with uniformed monsters, aided and abetted by an antagonistic citizenry with the only ‘good’ people the few hippies, motorcycle gangs and dope pushers.

The action is almost entirely made up of one man driving a car at maximum speed from Denver to, hopefully, San Francisco, against various odds, from the police who try to intercept him, to the oddball individuals he meets along the way.

Barry Newman is the ex-marine who tackles the 15-hour drive sans rest or reason, kept awake by pep pills. A Negro disk jockey (Cleavon Little), tucked away on a tiny radio station in what is close to being a ghost town becomes his collaborator, warning him over the radio when he’s near a police trap. This leads, naturally, to the now screen cliche of his being attacked and beaten by racists.

Also seen briefly is Dean Jagger as a Death Valley prospector who tries to befriend Newman and, very briefly, Charlotte Rampling, as a hitchhiker with whom Newman beds down for the night.

Vanishing Point

Production

Cupid. Director Richard C. Sarafian; Producer Norman Spencer; Screenplay Guillermo Cain; Camera John A. Alonzo; Editor Stefan Arnsten; Music Jimmy Bowen; Art Director Glen Daniels

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 107 MIN.

With

Barry Newman Cleavon Little Charlotte Rampling Dean Jagger Victoria Medlin Paul Koslo
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