‘Vanishing Point Forever’ explores the cult classic starring a ’70 Dodge Challenger

By | March 3, 2024

vanishing point book dodge charger

‘Vanishing Point Forever’ examines the cult filmBook design: COMA Amsterdam | New York

“Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links.”

The 1971 movie Vanishing point is perhaps the ultimate car chase cult classic. It bombed when it was first released by a bewildered Fox studio in response to the compelling countercultural anti-heroes of the emerging ‘New Hollywood’ like Bonnie and Clyde And Easy rider. But the $1 million film made more than $30 million at the box office thanks to extensive runs at grindhouse theaters in the US, and surprising strength in Europe.

The film is a mess – thematically, stylistically, musically and narratively – but this, along with the starring role of a speeding, pistol-grip 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440, is at the heart of its appeal.

vanishing point book dodge chargervanishing point book dodge charger

Book design: COMA Amsterdam | New York

“I think what appeals to people is that the movie is very messy and unclear about what it is,” says Robert Rubin, a retired financier, former vintage racer and co-founder of “The Bridge” car show in the Hamptons. who has just written what may be the definitive book on the film: a compact, dizzyingly metatextual, hugely entertaining, photo-rich block of cinematic and cultural digs called Vanishing point forever. (You can order it here.) .

“Is it a movie about car chases? Is it a parable about the surveillance society? Is it a hippie, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll movie?” Rubin asks rhetorically. “It’s a film that one critic says is at odds with itself. And so it leaves open the possibility of multiple readings.” This confusion is reflected in the main character, Kowalski, played by Barry Newman, a pill-popping former soldier and cop turned existential warrior. He drives at top speed, to a country-fried-funk soundtrack, through a riotous America. “Newman himself is kind of a vanilla actor, and the way it’s done, Kowalski is kind of a cipher,” says Rubin. “And people can identify with him because there is more room to project meanings onto him.”

The Challenger certainly helps with this hypnotic confusion. According to Rubin, when the script was originally written — pseudonymously, by famed Cuban novelist and essayist Guillermo Cabrera Infante — the car was written as a Ford Galaxie 500. “But Chrysler was doing product placement in Hollywood and renting out its cars for a dollar per year. day. Therefore Bullitt And Dirty Harry, crazy Mary and all these movies have Chargers and Challengers in them,” Rubin says.

vanishing point book dodge chargervanishing point book dodge charger

Book design: COMA Amsterdam | New York

Rubin’s research process took him down many different paths. He met Cabrera Infante’s widow. He went to Princeton and spent time in the library with the author’s archives, where he discovered an article Cabrera-Infante had written for a Cuban magazine about hanging out with Marlon Brando in Havana, who was on the island illegally to play some bongos to buy. “In his writing,” says Rubin, “Cabrera Infante speaks of seeing a Challenger for the first time in a garage and seeing, ‘in its incredible whiteness, something definitive, fatally Melvillean.’” Evoking Moby Dick.

He found an unclear one New York Times article about the famous Polish-born Spielberg cinematographer Januz Kaminski (Schindler’s List, Minorities Report, West Side Story) which introduced him to the popularity of Vanishing point in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. “It was imported to Eastern Europe because it demonstrated the rot of American capitalism and the decline of Western civilization,” Rubin says. He trolled Kowalski fan pages on Facebook. On YouTube he found builders of Kowalski tribute Challengers.

“The cool thing about these projects is that you create your own algorithm,” says Rubin. “You don’t just let the Internet lead you by the nose. You actually try to stay one step ahead of the Internet and find your own stuff.”

Further signs of the alchemical long tail of Vanishing point are countless. Appropriated contemporary artist Richard Prince has turned the Challenger and its hood into a kind of seedy personal canvas-slash-sigil. Appropriating contemporary filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has changed the Challenger and Vanishing point in a literal vehicle for his own 2007 tribute, Deathproof. The film’s legacy is so enduring that it was just shown in a restored 4K print at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. And so compelling is the 1970 Challenger that it has sparked a shockingly popular and lasting resurgence—selling more than 775,000 units since its resurrection in 2008—that even ceasing production doesn’t seem to be able to change. An electrified version is planned for next year.



<p><a href=Shop now

Vanishing point [Blu-ray]

amazon.com

$20.50

” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/eCnctE.wXqMGnLWYrTtN5Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTExOTU-/https://media.zenfs.com/en/car_and_driver_581/334d470e36ae76ea0d b33e232c6dd289″/ >

</div>
</div>
</div>
<div class=

Shop now

Vanishing point [Blu-ray]

amazon.com

$20.50

“The Challenger is a beautiful, beautiful car,” says Rubin. ‘There’s a description in the book that I find particularly apt, where British film critic Charles Taylor says: ‘The glossy white 1970 Dodge Challenger is so aerodynamically sleek that it seems as if it has reversed the laws of physics. This car doesn’t look like it’s pushing out the air, but like the air itself is parting to make room for it.” “

He continues. “There’s something about Detroit Iron on the cusp of the energy crisis. It’s almost like an extinction event is happening. And that there are all these hard-core, hardcore fans who still want that,” he says. “We’re all good global citizens and everything else. But we still want too much power for the chassis, handling and brakes. It’s a very American thing. They like it all over the world. attack.”

You might also like it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *