I don't know why this film is virtually unknown. For its time it must have been very controversial and even today it still packs a wallop of a punch. But I am as equally impressed by the style of this film as I am with the performances and the screenplay. Fans of THE TWILIGHT ZONE will feel right at home with the stark B&W stylization of the dream sequences and the childhood flashbacks. Yet like any great film, it doesn't let its style overwhelm the viewer. It simply acts as a springboard from which it can stun the viewer with the emotional impact of the story. It takes a lot to <more>
shock me, yet the flashbacks of the patient's childhood especially one terrifying scene in a meat hanger that reminded me of the father-son relationship in PEEPING TOM chilled me with its honest portrayal of childhood terror and helplessness. The other aspect of this film that intrigued me was the whole analytical forum of intellectual cat-and-mouse between patient and doctor. Realistically, an adult black man in the 1940s would have built up a shield to fend off the kinds of brutal statements made by his patient. But the patient's high intelligence throws Poitier off guard. He makes Poitier confront the injustices and indignities present in the country that he is so vigorously defending, thus he makes him confront his own anger and contempt. He makes Poitier an ally in anger, and that would throw anyone off balance. I also want to congratulate the film for its honest portrayals of terror and humiliation. An abusive game of tic-tac-toe in the hands of another director and actor would have come off as silly, but here it is startling and chilling. I don't know why Bobby Darin didn't continue his career with more dramatic performances like this but I'm grateful that this one is out there on video. It's one of the best performances that I've seen by an actor in anything!
Bobby Darin gives the performance of his career in this excellent if virtually unknown film. He is 100% believable as an American Nazi who tries to play psychiatrist Poitier like a violin with some success. Poitier is equally marvelous as the psychiatrist who must work extremely hard to take himself out of the process so he can concentrate on helping his patient. I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end by both actors' incredibly sexy performances. Peter Falk is excellent in the small role of Poitier's young protege.
Powerful Groundbreaking Film (by Alfriend)
This film in 1962 was quite controversial. Even having an African-American as a sole lead of a film was quite rare and often worrisome to film studios concerned about making money. Sadly this is still an issue amongst film studios today. If you can't get Denzel Washington many films that would star a black character are shelved. Case in point, a few years back Spike Lee was trying to do a film based on Jackie Robinson, because he couldn't get Denzel, the film was temporarily shelved. Sydney Poitier was the lone black film star of the time. Sadly in the late 60's people would brand <more>
him an "Uncle Tom" who played the game of white society, but films like this and In the Heat of the Night among others must have been overlooked by his accusers."Pressure Point" is a powerful exploration into the circumstances that bring about race prejudice. I don't want to give away any of the rich turns and curves of this deep and exciting story that is filled with twist and turns. Mr. Poitier plays as a prison psychiatrist who is assigned to treat Bobby Darin who plays a mentally disturbed racist. These two bring vivid and truthful life to their disparate characters.This film is compelling and sometimes hard to watch even today, but it is worth your time to check it out. Writer/Director Hubert Cornfield does a great job in telling this story and allowing these two actors and the rest of the cast to do work as a great ensemble.A word about Bobby Darin. He was an excellent actor, very underrated and quite capable of working in comedy and drama. He accomplishes the very, very difficult act of allowing the audience to feel sympathy for an awful human being, a true lost soul, full of pain to the point of almost extinguishing his own humanity. Quite an accomplishment for the teen idol and singer. He had a life-long dream of eclipsing his idol Frank Sinatra as both a singer and actor. It would be splitting hairs to debate that, but no doubt the kid from Brooklyn gave "Old Blue Eyes" a run for his money. Too bad we lost him so soon.
a psychiatrist sidney Poitier analyzes a neo-Nazi bobby Darin (by dougbrode)
One of the pioneering films of the early sixties, allowing for more freedom of the screen in terms of both subject matter and style, still waits to be rediscovered. It's Pressure Point, which almost - but not quite - made a fullblown movie star out of Bobby Darin. He had always hoped to be the next Sinatra not only in terms of singing but also acting, and he had the chops for each - though timing was against him as the Beatle invasion dimmed interest in American pop stars. Still, he did appear in about a dozen films, none more remarkable than this study of a psychiatrist Sidney Poitier <more>
analyzing a Neo-Nazi patient Darin . Originally, producer Stanley Kramer who wisely chose not to direct, something he wasn't all that good at had planned to use a nordic-Anglo type for the patient, someone like the young Robert Redford perhaps, until Darin read for the role and blew everyone away. Though Darin was definitely mostly Italian, and probably part Jewish, and therefore very ethnic looking himself, he left the producer stunned with the intensity of his performance. When the film failed at the box-office, that helped to spell an end to his hoped for movie star career; also, Darin was so convincingly unpleasant that it was hard to take him as a light leading man in comedies with Sandra Dee after seeing him so hard-edged - unforgettably so - here. Poitier is quietly effective, and there's a nice cameo by Peter Falk as a boyish ?! young psychiatrist who, years later, confers with the elderly Poitier and is told this strange story. Though much of the film is grimly realistic in the black and white style so popular at the time, Darin's dream sequences while under analysis are all surrealistically rendered and highly effective. And while there had been civil rights films made throughout the 1950s, none had ever been quite so daring as this. Here's a lost classic worth rediscovering.
Excellent social drama that doesn't opt for easy answers (by bwaynef)
Splendidly acted social drama produced by Stanley Kramer. As is usually the case with Kramer productions except perhaps "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" , "Pressure Point" looks at society and the human condition, finding much to admire, but also much to deplore. Sidney Poitier is on the side of righteousness, playing a black prison psychiatrist whose ideals are challenged by his patient, a bigoted Nazi played by singer Bobby Darin.The film is most impressive for its refusal to pander to an audience whose enjoyment might be enhanced if all the conflicts between the <more>
protagonists were resolved at the conclusion, but "Pressure Point" does not compromise its own integrity by pretending to provide easy answers to the questions it raises. Doctor and patient do not reach an understanding-- they do not embrace each other at the end, nor does the film suggest that society has benefitted from the encounter between two such disparate souls. Life simply goes on, and so do its troubles. "Pressure Point" makes its point subtly without a lot of sanctimonious preaching, and is more effective as a result.The two stars are well matched with Poitier bringing his usual humanity and quiet pride to a role that does not place as much emphasis on his skin color as one would expect in a 1962 production. Darin is simply superb as Poitier's patient, and one can't help but admire the popular crooner for having had the courage to inhabit such an unappealing character at a time when he was still one of pop music's most prominent "teen idols" and husband of America's sweetheart, Sandra Dee . The cinematography, music, and direction by Hubert Cornfield match the performances perfectly.
A lot of great films owe their existence to such brilliant antecedents. (by budmassey)
Pressure Point is a taught drama that pits a Nazi prisoner against an black psychiatrist. The story, its presentation and direction are remarkably ahead of their time, and present an object lesson in good cinema that might have saved us such unfortunate and forgettable pretension as Memento if only people bothered studying cinema before inflicting their version of it on the moviegoing public.Bobby Darin plays the charismatic young man who is imprisoned during WWII for Nazi activities in the U.S. Poitier is riveting as the doctor who treats him for insomnia, but discovers pathologies many <more>
times more horrifying. If you're looking to see this timeless conflict wrapped up neatly at the end or overinflated with empty gimickry, be warned. It doesn't happen. Thank goodness. Instead we see a very real ending that explains why events like the World Trade Center tragedy can still happen today.A lot of great films; Prince of Tides, Silence of the Lambs, The Cell and many others owe their existence to such brilliant antecedents.
Reflecting back on another case during the days of World War II, psychiatrist Sidney Poitier is telling colleague Peter Falk not to give up on a case he has with racial differences between him and the patient in Pressure Point. Science and the doctor's obligation to render assistance cancel all things out.Twenty years back from the Civil Rights era, at its height when Pressure Point was made, back to World War II Poitier is a prison psychiatrist who gets one bad patient. It's Bobby Darin who had never been seen like this on film, as a racist punk who belongs to the German American <more>
Bund. Although Darin and his band of thugs have done some really violent crimes, some of which we see in flashback, it's for sedition that he's been arrested.Still a recurring nightmare brings him to the couch in Poitier's office and the two of them develop a curious relationship. Darin pushes all of Poitier's buttons, in fact he's a pretty loathsome type. Curing his nightmares will not necessarily make him one that will socially adjust back in society.Film Historians have called Poitier things like Saint Sidney for the heroic good roles he played back in the day as the first black leading man in mainstream films. He might just have qualified for it here, even more than in his film debut No Way Out dealing with another racist criminal Richard Widmark, that time as a medical doctor.It was Darin who showed the acting chops here that were never displayed before. He was nominated for his performance as a Best Supporting Actor in Captain Newman, MD., personally I think this is his best screen work. Pressure Point is a two person work, the rest of the cast merely serves as background figures. I'm wondering though why someone like Peter Falk consented to a role that's confined to two scenes at the beginning and the end with no real opportunity for him to display his talents. Still for fans of Poitier or Darin or both this is a chance to see them both at their best.
At the beginning of the film Peter Falk's character storms into the office of the head psychiatrist Sidney Poitier , and complains about how he can't take it anymore dealing with a black patient he has been assigned to analyze. The head psychiatrist goes into a long story about a somewhat similar situation he had encountered back at the beginning of WWII.The character he studies, played by Bobby Darin, had a mother who was bedridden, and a father who was a sadistic, alcoholic, womanizing beast. He has now become a sociopath. The race issue becomes a huge part of the issue. The <more>
sociopath has embraced racism in compensation for his rough childhood.I really liked this movie, because it tested all boundaries. The situation was very tough. The psychiatrist had to face the fact that his own biases and beliefs were a major part of the dilemma. There was no easy answer and solution. This reminds me how brutal society can be. For someone who was not raised properly, the consequences are often devastating and lifelong. Some people never can overcome their childhood.
This film deals with a young man named Patient, Bobby Darin who is put in prison and has big problems with his inmates and is placed in the care of the chief psychiatrist, Sidney Poiter . As soon as the patient sees his psychiatrist he starts laughing because he is an Africian American and this immediately indicates he has a problem with this man's race. As the film has many flashbacks, you learn that the Patient hates the Jewish people and was an only child and had a father he hated and a mother who was constantly ill. This film talks about the Depression Period in American History <more>
and deals with the patient liking the Nazi Movement in American that hailed all the ideas of Adolph Hitler. Bobby Darin gave an outstanding performance along with Sidney Poiter and there is a very brief appearance by Peter Falk. I was very surprised at Bobby Darin's performance because he was mainly a song and dance man and very popular. Enjoy.