In the obits for the recently-deceased John Vernon, everyone mentioned his role as Dean Wormer in Animal House. Almost no one, of course, mentioned his two finest roles — Maynard Boyle, the Reno-based mob guy in Don Siegel’s Charley Varrick (’73), and Mal Reese, Lee Marvin’s cowardly betrayer in John Boorman’s Point Blank (’67). There’s a transcendent moment in Varrick when Vernon, playing pool in a desert saloon, is called to the phone and told by small-time thief Varrick (Walter Matthau) that he wants to return a large amount of stolen mob money. Getting this dough back has been Vernon/Boyle’s obsession throughout the film, and when he hears it will be returned he delivers a beautiful little gesture with his hand. The gesture says, “Amazing! My life isn’t over, I won’t be killed by my mob associates…life can be beautiful!”