It’s the first image on screen after the roar of the MGM lion fades away. A blood red background with white block letters reading “Metro-G oldwyn-Mayer presents.” That odd letter-spacing between the G and the O, it’s there. Most people probably don’t notice it, or maybe they only register it on a subconscious level, but it’s there. Once you notice it, it has a way of burning into your brain. Punching you right in the cornea. Drawing your eyes like a flaming car crash.
Why though? Its very existence contradicts the film’s title. Point Blank – a gun fired very close to its target. Why have that subtly curious image (that we’ll call the “Space” from here on out) be the first on screen? Why place the gaping chasm between two letters in a major studio’s name at all?
John Boorman is still alive as of the 50th anniversary of his avant-garde masterpiece Point Blank, released in the summer of 1967, so someone with the means could go ahead and ask him. Like his film, there probably won’t be an easy answers or a sense of closure. But still, that small and powerful breach in the MGM name serves to subliminally defamiliarize the audience with not only the studio itself, but also with what they’re about to watch for next 91 minutes. It lets you know that something uncanny is coming your way.
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