Darin Gives An Amazing Performance
bix lang | Davenport, Iowa USA | 09/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Pressure Point" is a thinking person's film, dealing with the topic of a seditious, neo-Nazi (Darin) during World War II, and the prison psyciatrist (Portier)whose job it is to determine whether the young man is sane or insane. While Portier gives an excellent, understated performance, it is Bobby Darin's film from start to finish. The young Darin (only 25 when this film was made) portrays the unbalanced, hateful neo-Nazi with a realism that is frightening. He swings from moody, pensive philosophizing to acerbic, irascible mania in the drop of a hat, without skipping a beat. At the same time, he evokes sympathy from the viewer who comes to realize that the deranged prisoner was brought up in a psychopathic family. An incredible, thought-provoking performance by a legendary talent. No wonder that Darin won the Cannes Film Festival and Golden Globe Awards as Best Actor for this performance. It was a real injustice that he was not nominated for an Academy Award. It was known in Hollywood circles that many critics who praised Darin's performance refused to push for his nomination because they were turned-off by his allegedly arrogant demeanor. Sadly, Darin's awareness of his imminent mortality instilled in him a fierce desire to succeed before his time ran out. This competitiveness was erroneously interpreted by many as "arrogance". It would take Darin another great performance the following year (1963) in "Captain Newman, M.D." for him to garner an Academy Award nomination. In this film Darin gives an equally impressive performance as a shell-shocked WWII fighter pilot. Besides being a legendary vocalist and the highest-paid Cabaret performer in the history of Las Vegas at the time of his death (Sinatra was second), Darin was also a superb actor who could do drama and comedy with equal ease. Darin's career was limited and his life was cut short by heart disease. One can only guess how far he would have gone had he not required oxogen after every performance, as well as a series of open heart surgeries. In fact, he died on the operating table on December 20, 1973 at the age of 37. A truly great talent perished on that day."
A Powerful Film
email@example.com | 08/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Pressure Point" is a deeply disturbing and compelling study of hate and the forces that breed it. The setting is World War II America. The protagonists are Sidney Poitier, who gives a top-notch performance as a prison psychiatrist, and Bobby Darin, who gives an equally top-notch performance as a hatemongering American Nazi.Darin's Nazi is in jail for sedition; this is wartime, and he has been writing anti-Government, pro-Fascist tracts. Sidney Poitier's prison psychiatrist is assigned to work with Darin to determine if Darin is legally sane or insane. Therein sets the stage for a battle of wits and wills between the two. Director Stanley Kramer masterfully sets up the tension. Here we have an avowed Nazi, hater of blacks, Jews, and anyone else that doesn't fit the bill as a "white Christian American" (Darin's words in the film), being treated by an African-American psychiatrist who has to get to the root of Darin's hateful feelings towards everything and everybody.I won't be a spoiler by giving away what happens; suffice it to say that Kramer doesn't fall into the trap of making everything nice and neat and...no pun intended, black and white. One finds oneself identifying with Poitier's character as he feels a combination of revulsion towards, and sympathy for, Darin's Nazi. And Darin's Nazi is not a one-dimensional character...a great deal of mind-shattering trauma goes into making him what he is. But then, the film asks, does that excuse him? Should he be set free because his bigotry is "not really his fault," but rather the fault of the environment that shaped him? Poitier struggles with this question, as will the viewer.And the frequently overlooked gem of this film is Darin's performance. He gives a performance that is incredibly powerful. It gets under your skin. When he screams in terror with nightmares of his past, he really evokes your sympathy, despite his hateful views...and when he spews his racial and religious epithets, he really makes you hate him and want to lock him up and throw the key away. No wonder Darin received the Cannes Film Festival Award for this performance. Anyone who is familiar with Darin's talent as a singer will no doubt be interested in his incredible range as an actor.A must-see. And this should be released to DVD!"
Does not condescend to the audience
B. W. Fairbanks | Lakewood, OH United States | 05/27/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Typical of Stanley Kramer productions, "Pressure Point" is a fairly explosive "message" movie, and a rare one in that it does not condescend to its audience by sending the combative protagonists on their merry way at the conclusion to live in peace and harmony. Sidney Poitier is excellent as the prison psychiatrist challenged by a disturbed Nazi symphatizer played by singer Bobby Darin. It is Darin, however, who is most impressive, not only for his dynamic yet subtle performance, but for his williness to accept the role of such a bigoted, unappealing character at a time when he was still a "teen idol" married to Sandra Dee. The direction by Hubert Cornfield, the cinematography, and music are all first-rate."
Intense psycho-drama duel between two legends.
Andrew Stein | Los Angeles, CA USA | 12/23/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Two legends--Sidney Poitier and Bobby Darin--face off in a thrilling and disturbing psycho-drama. Poitier plays an Army psychiatrist locked in a mental duel with his charge, a manipulative Nazi sympathizer played by Darin. As the two characters appear to build a mutual trust, Darin exploits that trust to convince Poitier's supervisors of Darin's sanity in hopes of gaining release. Poitier, however, sees through Darin's showmanship, realizing the danger that the patient still poses. This film marks a great opportunity to observe Bobby Darin's acting talents. While Sidney Poiter performs excellently, as we would expect, those familiar only with Darin's music should see this film to appreciate more fully the man's broad range of abilities."