February 16, 2020


THE POINT (1971)
Featuring the voices of Ringo Starr, Mike Lookinland, Paul Frees (yay!), June Foray, Lennie Weinrib, Joan Gerber. Directed by Fred Wolf (75 min)

Review by Fluffy the Fearless😸

Isn’t it weird how just one seemingly insignificant song, sound or image can unlock the file cabinet where most of your childhood is stored?

The Point is one of those dusty old files I forgot about, at-least until I hit play and the jazzy Macmillan Films intro preceded the title – complete with the pops & scratches I remembered from old educational films my elementary school teacher spooled through a rickety projector. Then there’s director Fred Wolf’s animation, cruder than the Schoolhouse Rock shorts of the same era, but just as uniquely recognizable (especially for those of us who recall Mr. Owl’s Tootsie Pop commercial).

However, it was Harry Nilsson’s insanely catchy little ditty, “Me and My Arrow,” that threw the memory file wide open. I suddenly recalled when and where I first heard the song and saw The Point, which premiered as an ABC Movie of the Week and therefore has a bit of historic significance. Christmas season notwithstanding, cartoons were a rarity during prime time in 1971, to say nothing of a weird, psychedelic, feature-length musical. Thank God LSD wasn’t part of a kid's nutritious breakfast back then.

"Hey, Arrow...I think the meds are kickin' in."
Five decades on, nostalgia is the primary appeal of this new Blu-ray, a fitting part of MVD’s Rewind Collection. Despite the charming story and timely themes, The Point is undoubtedly a product of its era and unlikely to wow your children (or their children). As such, the generous amount of supplementary material included is boomer-friendly and arguably more interesting than the film itself, definitely putting the its relevance in context, especially regarding singer-songwriter (and producer) Harry Nilsson, who created the concept album which inspired it. In fact, The Point is one of his few film projects that ever saw the light of day.

Videophiles should be aware that not all of the film could be completely restored to its original condition, meaning the ravages of time are occasionally noticeable. But for those of a certain age who don’t care about such trifles, The Point is a wonderfully weird trip down memory lane, an assessment which certainly applies to the bonus features as well.

"NILSSON ON SCREEN” - The best of the bonus features, this hour-long documentary is a series of interviews with biographer Alyn Shipton and people who worked with Nilsson. It focuses on Nilsson’s entire career in film and television, including a lot of unfinished projects (too bad no footage from them is included).
"THE KID’S GOT A POINT” - Interview with Mike Lookinland, who voiced Oblio, but best-known to boomers as Bobby Brady.
"THAT OLD GUY WROTE THE POINT” - Interview with co-writer Norm Lenzer, who hated the Rock Man character (and I don’t blame him).
"EVERYBODY’S GOT A POINT” - Kiefo Nilsson (Harry’s kid) and Bobby Halvorson discuss adapting and performing The Point for modern audiences.
"THE MAKING OF THE POINT” - A four-part featurette.
CLAYMATION SEQUENCE – This supposedly inspired the film, though I’m hard-pressed to see how.

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