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Vanishing Point (1971)


Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Richard Sarafian Rating:7.6/10 (11 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Brian Thibodeau on May 5th, 2004:Find all reviews by Brian Thibodeau
If, like me, youíve ever wondered about the dangers of riding a motorcycle naked in the noon-day sun, then Richard Serafian's track to his legendary existential car chase movie VANISHING POINT should satisfy: turns out the lovely freebird seen tooting around a desert shack on a little dirtbike was not only the real life girlfriend of co-star Paul Koslo (who plays a redneck trooper), but also contracted an unpleasant case of vaginal sunburn, requiring a doctor to puncture the blisters. Yeee. Ouch.

Serafian, at nearly 80 years old, is remarkably lucid, if understandably relaxed on the delivery, and recalls as many anecdotes about this comparitively low-budget ($1.3 million) cult classic as you'd expect for such a film, including the fact that six sound crews were allegedly hired to beef up the character of the car and that Richard Zanuck's firing from Fox during production probably cost him the job directing JAWS (1976). Maybe, maybe not, but its clear Serafian intended Deeper Meanings in the film, and generally attained them, although his admitted belief in ghosts, spirits and ESP speak to a decidedly uncritical thinker, but one can let this slide considering his need to craft a metaphysical ride (and, now, the man's advanced age); you might, however, be forgiven if you DIDN'T think Super Soul (Cleavon Little) is actually communicating to Kowalski (Barry Newman) via telepathy in the scenes where Kowalski is outside his car. I always figured he had the radio turned up.

He refers to Einstein's Elliptical Band as the structure of the story (which sees Kowalski race past his previous self near the outset), which would be even more believable if I could find evidence of Einstein's Elliptical Band theory, which may or may not even exist.

Best bit comes when he points out the fact that the command centre seen at the 1h 35m mark is entirely staffed with women. You can have all the men you want chasing the guy, he says, "but once you're in the hands of women, you're doomed!" Clever touch.

Commentary Confessions: Serafian used to direct documentaries for not only Caterpillar Tractor, but the National Safety Council, they of the "Blood Runs Red On The Highway"-type films like SIGNAL 30, which has me wondering if any of his footage made it into the excellent documentary HELL'S HIGHWAY documentary.

Overall, a nice track from a old fart with a pretty decent memory, and a good (but not great) complement to the film proper.
Reviewed by The Cubist on March 8th, 2005:Find all reviews by The Cubist
This is an engaging audio commentary. He mentions that the film was given a low budget of only $1.3 million and a crew of only 19 people! However, it was a tight and efficient unit. He also talks about how the production went through eight Dodge Challengers and tells a funny story about how the last car was stolen by a prostitute and the State Patrol tracked her down and brought the car back. So little has been written about Vanishing Point and it is great to hear Sarafian talk at length about his experiences making the movie.
Reviewed by Buldrebisk on January 28th, 2009:Find all reviews by Buldrebisk
I was looking forward to this, as it has a very high score, but I was let down again. The movie is pretty cool, but the director has not aged as well as the movie. Itís 30 years later, and he sound like he is pretty uninterested in talking. I didnít think his thought were good enough to listen to at all. When someone does a solo track I expect them to have something good to say, something that can carry for two hours, but I got pretty bored with this one. I almost felt sad for the man. 3/10
Reviewed by Kgprophet79 on June 21st, 2013:Find all reviews by Kgprophet79
It is hard for an old man to recall a film he made so long ago. Especially doing a solo commentary. Other reviewers give some detail he gives about the film, so it has it's rewards.