vanishing point


Vanishing Point is a 1971 action-road movie directed by Richard C. Sarafian; starring Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, and Dean Jagger.

Vanishing Point is notable for its scenery from filming locations across the American Southwest and its social commentary on the post-Woodstock mood in the United States. The film is beloved by Mopar auto enthusiasts because it is one of the few movies ever to feature a classic Dodge muscle car. Though there was a 1997 remake, the original 1971 version of Vanishing Point is a considered an American classic.

Trivia:

  • Charlotte Rampling had a role as a hitchhiker whom Kowalski met while en route, but her scenes were deleted before the US release. The scenes were re-inserted for the UK release. The DVD release includes both the US and UK versions.
  • The car featured in the film is a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T, with a 440 cubic-inch V-8, and not a 426 Hemi V-8 (as is often believed). Eight white Challengers loaned from the Chrysler Corporation were used during the filming.
  • The Challenger had Colorado plates: OA-5599
  • There were actually four 440 Challenger R/Ts and one 383 Challenger R/T, which was an automatic with green interior. This one was used for some exterior shots and it pulled the 1967 Camaro up to speed so the Camaro could hit the bulldozers. As confirmed by property master Dennis J. Parrish, all of the cars were NOT originally white. They were just painted white for the film. During the scene where Kowalski has a flat tire, you can see green paint in the dents.
  • Cameo: [David Gates] The singer/songwriter (of Bread fame) played the piano during the rousing revival in the desert with the J. Hovah singers.
  • The city names on the California Highway Patrol tracking board (where Kowalski never made it) were Stockton, Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco.
  • Director Richard C. Sarafian’s original choice for the role of Kowalski was Gene Hackman, but the studio, 20th Century Fox, insisted on using Barry Newman if the movie was going to be made.
  • The color white was chosen for the car simply so the car would stand out against the background scenery in the movie. White was not symbolic in any way. The director says this in the DVD commentary.
  • A 1967 Camaro shell (no engine) loaded with explosives was used for the final crash. You can see the “Camaro” fender nameplate upside-down in the lower left corner of the screen after the crash.
  • Kris Kristofferson was considered for a part. His then wife, Rita Coolidge, has a small role in the film.
  • Dean Jagger (the snake charmer/prospector) and Barry Newman (Kowalski) shared the same birthday: November 7th.
  • Director Cameo: Richard C. Sarafian makes a cameo as the portly man in the red hat, holding the fire-hose at the end of the film.

Filed under: Mystery

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