By Pam Grady
The Stockholm Syndrome was not yet recognized in 1970, but Robert Hossein’s Falling Point (Point de chute) provides a thrilling depiction of the complex. Screening as part of Donald Malcolm’s MidCentury Productions’ “The French Had a Name For It,” his ongoing survey of French noir taking place at the Roxie, Nov. 12-14, this intimate drama stars pop star Johnny Hallyday at the height of his beauty as Vlad, a kidnapper holding teenage Catherine (Pascale Rivault) hostage at an isolated seaside cabin. While his confederates (Hossein and Albert Minski) are away dealing with the ransom, Catherine’s escape attempts perversely draw her closer to her abductor.
By Warren Haack
(A special virtual screening of THE SIGNAL TOWER is available for members of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival from March 26-April 4, 2021. To learn more and become a member visit SFIFF.)
At first glance this Classic of Silent Cinema would seem to appear as a nostalgic step back into the 1920s, when the Railroads of America dominated many people’s lives. However as the story unfolds, it is imbued with the classic icons of Silent Cinema including jealous lovers, family values and harrowing train wrecks, and is both entertaining and well written. Beautifully photographed on location along the Noyo River in the redwood forests of Northern California with excellent acting, this long lost treasure of Silent Cinema was carefully restored by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival’s Robert Byrne in collaboration with Kevin Brownlow and Patrick Stanbury of Photoplay Productions. It bears repeated viewing.