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Pressure Point Reviews

This was Bobby Darin's fourth film and perhaps the best in his brief career. (He did receive an Oscar nomination for his next picture, CAPTAIN NEWMAN, M.D., but that was due more to studio hype.) Psychiatrist Robert Lindner wrote a best-selling book of short case histories, The Fifty-Minute Hour, and a few of the pieces were used for films and TV dramas. This picture was based on "Destiny's Tot." Falk is an analyst who can't break through to his patient and asks for some help from psychiatrist Poitier. This sends Poitier back in time as he recounts some problems he'd had years before. Poitier had been working for the government during WW II and was assigned to work with Darin, an American with Nazi sympathies who had been sent to jail by the Feds because they feared he might be subversive. Darin can't sleep, faints, and when he does finally fall asleep, his dreams are horrible. Darin distrusts anyone who is not of the "Master Race" but holds that hatred in check to allow Poitier to work closely with him. Sessions reveal that Darin's father, Anderson, was a mean drunk who always felt it was Darin's conception that had forced him to marry the mother, Barton, who has since become bedridden and shrewish. To keep himself from going mad early, Darin's inventive mind created a pal, Patrick--a child he could push around and take advantage of. Later, Darin leaves home and gets involved with the Nazi party when he's not allowed to date a Jewish girl because her father doesn't feel Darin is a worthy marriage prospect. As Darin discovers why he is the way he is, he can finally get some rest, so he refuses any further sessions with Poitier and remains steadfast in his Nazi beliefs. Poitier won't sign a release for Darin as he feels the man needs more psychiatric help. The powers above Poitier disagree and release Darin, and Poitier, disappointed in himself, questions his own abilities, wondering if he recommended against Darin's parole out of medical expertise or as a reaction to Darin's racism. Poitier is vindicated in terrible fashion when Darin later murders an innocent old man and is himself executed. Upon hearing the tale, Falk decides that he will continue his attempts to pierce his patient's armor. Producer Kramer has always made movies with messages. Some have worked; some haven't. This one does. The newsreel clips of a Bund rally at Madison Square Garden are real, and thus all the more frightening than if it had been staged.