RARA-AVIS: Re: Point Blank vs. The Hunter vs. Payback

From: Mark Finn ( markfinn@texas.net)
Date: 23 Jul 2007

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Nathan Cain" <IndieCrime@...> wrote:
> Last night I watched Point Blank for the first time. I liked the
> movie, but it seems to me the character of Walker as played by Lee
> Marvin is a far cry from Westlake's Parker. Walker is very much a
> haunted figure, who, at times, seems uncertain of what he's doing, and
> why he's doing it. From the couple of Parker novels I've read (I've
> never run across a copy of The Hunter), it seems like Parker is never
> troubled by any sort of doubts. He is a totally amoral professional
> who steals because it's what he does. He never seems troubled by his
> career choice, or the use of violence. His stoicism and force of
> character (even if it's bad character) are part of his charm. I think
> Point Blank managed to lose that aspect of the character.
> In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Parker
> character as played by Mel Gibson in Payback came a lot closer to
> Westlake's Parker than Marvin's character did. (On a related note, in
> the DVD commentary director John Boorman said the original script for
> Point Blank, which both he and Marvin hated, was a lot like the script
> of Payback.)

I'm surprised you never ran across the Hunter (or Point Blank, or Payback)--it's all I ever come across when I'm trawling for dupes in my Parker run). I think that Lee Marvin was perfect casting for Park--er, Walker, but what was with that crying scene? Begging? From PARKER!? No way, not in a million years.

I liked Payback better, though I haven't seen the hard-boiled recut yet. It's a tough thing to pull off, those Parker stories. I think that's one of the reasons Westlake put Grofield in there, to kinda lighten up the color palette a bit. Of course, any time Grofield is around, it just throws Parker into a more (forgive me) stark contrast with the rest of the world. But that's the whole idea, right? Parker is a machine.

By the way, I think the scarcest book in the series is the last one
(well, prior to the relaunch), Butcher's Moon. I'm re-reading it now, and it's probably my favorite one of all. Anyone else cruised through it? I won't spoil it for the Parker hunters on the list, but Jesus H. Christ, what a book.

Is there any good reason why all of these haven't been reprinted in a single, uniform series? I had such high hopes for Mysterious Press and the matchbook design...

Mark Finn

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