Category Archives: Writer Series: Donald E. Westlake

Point Blank (1967)

Parker is many different people at the same time. He’s a lover, a hater, a criminal, a vigilante. He’s driven by greed, but then he doesn’t care about money. He’s driven by revenge, but then he doesn’t seem to know when he’s gotten it. In John Boorman’s Point Blank, Parker’s not even Parker — he’s “Walker”, a change made for reasons unknown. Lee Marvin is the man in the role for this go-round, but again, Parker’s never the same guy twice. Marvin was only the first to walk in Parker’s shoes (park in Walker’s?), followed over the years by Jim Brown (Parker changed to “McClain”), Robert Duvall (“Macklin”), Peter Coyote (“Stone”), Mel Gibson (“Porter”) and Jason Statham (finally, just “Parker”). Technically, there are as many Parkers as there are James Bonds.

One of the few people who rival the bank-robbing Parker in terms of crisis of identity is Parker’s real-life creator Donald E. Westlake. Westlake has more than a hundred books — hardboiled crime novels, comic capers, science fiction yarns, nonfiction, biographies and, oh, let’s not forget: porn — to his credit, very few of which are actually published under his name. Westlake had no fewer than seventeen pseudonyms over the course of his lengthy writing career. Curt Clark, Tucker Coe, Barbara Wilson, Judson Jack Carmichael — they’re all Westlake, though none of them are.

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