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Point Blank has Lee Marvin’s fingerprints all over it. Thanks to a string of successful films – Cat Ballou, The Professionals, and The Dirty Dozen – Marvin was given control over the project.
At one of the meetings, he asked if he had approval over casting, the script, and the crew, and when the studio executives confirmed that he did, he gladly told them that he deferred those decisions to director John Boorman. While the humorous incident may seem like he was passing off responsibility, Lee trusted the director with their collaboration.
“[Marvin] was endlessly inventive, constantly devising ways to externalize what we wanted to express. He taught me how actors must relate to other actors, objects, settings, compositions, movements,” said Boorman.
Incidents in Marvin’s personal life also trickled into the film. For example, a toxic relationship influenced his character’s relationship with his wife. Another time, Marvin loaned $9 thousand to someone in need, which echoes another incident in the film.
Angie Dickinson said, “They were constantly working on the script, he and Boorman… it was constantly challenging. So, between Boorman’s great ideas and of course the genius of Lee Marvin, I wasn’t privy to what they were struggling about.”
But it was Marvin’s personality and tough guy persona – no doubt thanks to his military background – which made Walker a powerful character.
Originally, the scene where Marvin’s character confronts his wife for information included an interrogation. However, Lee thought that his foreboding presence was enough to get her to spill details willingly and removed this dialogue. He was exactly right, and the scene captures her fear perfectly.
Boorman said, “Lee never made suggestions. He would just show you.”
Similarity, it was Marvin’s idea for the audience not to hear his character whisper before breaking into an antagonist’s office. Instead, the viewer sees the secretary’s scared reaction.
“He has a dynamic relationship with the camera, a knowledge of its capacity to penetrate scenes and find their truth,” Boorman said.