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HUBERT CORNFIELD DIRECTS SIDNEY POITIER IN 'PRESSURE POINT'

Sidney Poitier in PRESSURE POINT Year: 1962 Rating: ***

Produced by Stanley Kramer and directed by Hubert Cornfield, the recently-departed acting legend Sidney Poitier starred in this psychological potboiler about a prison shrink batting heads with a full-blown Nazi sympathizer... 

An unapologetic self-proclaimed Anti-Semitic/White Supremacist who right off the bat considers President Roosevelt (neither Jewish or black) a no-good cripple during a flashback taking up most of the screen-time, so he's... well, opposite of a registered democrat... but made in 1961 what comes across as preachy-bias now was fairly new then, and part of Kramer's usual progressive teachable-moment forte...

Bobby Darin as Patient didn't vote democrat in PRESSURE POINT

While the best scenes have the intellectual black doctor and white racist prisoner at odds discussing why Bobby Darin as Patient has so much hatred, director Cornfield — influenced by the abstract French New Wave — spends too much time with creatively-shot yet overall-distracting surreal flashbacks involving Darin as a badly parented kid (they're actually flashbacks of a flashback since Poitier tells/narrates his story to troubled present-time shrink Peter Falk)...

And while real-life crooner Darin does a good-enough job, seeming natural in a role that might have been overacted by a more logically-suited method man, child actor Barry Gordon... who looks as if Adolf Hitler and Danny Thomas morphed into a single Mr. Potato Head... is horribly miscast, taking away from those heated office scenes where Poitier displays his usual levelheaded-despite-a-rigged-game aura, which PRESSURE POINT needed more of, since, after so many visual detours, it feels like the doctor's observing the movie instead of the patient. 

Sidney Poitier in PRESSURE POINT
Hideous-looking miscast Barry Gordon as Child Victim in PRESSURE POINT
Sidney Poitier in PRESSURE POINT with Peter Falk in the framing story

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