About Dwayne Epstein

Dwayne Epstein is the author of a number of young adult biographies, covering such celebrity personalities as Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Hilary Swank, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Denzel Washington for Lucent Books’ “People in the News” series. Epstein also contributed to Bill Krohn’s bestselling books “Hitchcock at Work” and “Joe Dante and the Gremlins of Hollywood.”Prior to writing biographies, Epstein contributed to film chronicles on a regular basis. He wrote for Filmfax Magazine on subjects such as Bobby Darin, the Rat Pack, television pioneer Steve Allen, film director Sam Fuller, comic book artist Neal Adams, “Invasion of the Body Snatcher’s” Kevin McCarthy, John Belushi and comedy legend Sid Caesar. Epstein later contributed to Cahiers Du Cinema’s “Serious Pleasures” which had a high profile in Europe. He wrote on American films chosen for rediscovery by directors Oliver Stone, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood. Early in his career, Epstein earned his first professional writing credit reviewing films for Hearst Community Newspapers. Epstein was born in New York’s Coney Island in 1960, and moved West with his family at age 8, spending the rest of his childhood in Cerritos, Calif. He moved back east, attended Mercer Community College in New Jersey, and also served as an assistant editor for the five area newspapers of Cranbury Publications. Epstein made one more cross-country move and currently resides in Long Beach, Calif. When he is not writing, he enjoys watching and reading about movies and collecting soundtracks.

STEVE RUBIN PODCAST

Steve Rubin, a fellow retro film fan, recently contacted me about being on his podcast entitled “Steve Rubin’s Saturday Night at The Movies” as he would be discussing The Professionals, starring one Lee Marvin. 

Poster art for THE PROFESSIONALS.


  I met Steve through the auspices of my work for Filmfax when Publisher Mike Stein assigned me to interview Steve when his Encyclopedia of The Twilight Zone was published. It went well which you can read here.
Steve also helped immeasurably with several projects i worked on and consequently, a friendship was born. Okay, fast forward a few months ago to when Steve contacted me out of the blue about a podcast he had launched concerning films he wanted to explore and discuss. Since he had read Lee Marvin Point Blank he thought I was a good choice for a guest, along with fellow film historian, Steve Mitchell. 
  And now a confession: I wrote down the day and time to call in and like a complete schmuck, I got the time wrong and called in a half hour late! That’s why when you listen you hear me come in at the 28 minute mark. Oy! That aside, I also sound a little manic in talking about the subject, but I can put that down to enthusiasm for the subject… I guess. 
 Oh, and one more confession. I have been Facebook friends with Steve Mitchell for some time and though I do know him, I had no idea what n impressive resume’ he has, from working for DC Comics (my favorite!) to the cult horror film Chopping Mall (1986). I am definitely going to be in further contact with him!
 As to Steve Rubin, he e-mailed and phoned me last week that the podcast is up and available for listening, which I finally did. Here’s Steve’s e-mail to me…
“STEVE RUBIN’S SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES – Episode 2 of my podcast is now up and clickable. See link below. Writer Steve Mitchell joins us for a spirited discussion of his 1986 cult film, “Chopping Mall.” Author Dwayne Epstein then discusses the life and career of actor Lee Marvin, which he encapsulated in his marvelous biography “Lee Marvin: Point Blank.” Together, we all wade into a good conversation about one of our favorite Marvin films, 1966’s “The Professionals.” Enjoy.”

And so without further ado, I give you Steve Rubin’s podcast
 Dwayne Epstein

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WWII MOVIES: THE BEST?

WWII movies, one of the most popular sustained genres of film, is the subject of a recent online article I happen to come across. Naturally, everybody’s opinion is different, but if the subject is “20 of the Best,” there’s bound to be conflict. Actually, I agree with a lot of the choices in the article, but of course, there are exceptions. 
   As the author of Lee Marvin Point Blank, I was heartened to see two of the actors best WWII films on the list. However, I of course think they should be ranked a little higher.
   The fact that the British author of the piece included some British films is to be expected, as well some underrated WWII movies worthy of rediscovery. But if he’s going to do that, he should have included the criminally underrated Attack!

The tag lines aside, the powerful artwork spoke volumes for the film WWII ATTACK!, one of the most criminally underrated WWII movies ever made.



(1956), which, like The Dirty Dozen (1967), was harrowingly directed by Robert Aldrich. By the way, the mention of the film Overlord (1975) also has a Dirty Dozen connection in that it was directed by Stuart Cooper who played Roscoe Lever. 
   Back to the list, itself. One problem I see in the choices is if you going to make the point about the prolific writing of Alistair MacLean why choose Where Eagles Dare over the much better Guns of Navarone (1961)? Weird!  
   Also, since WWII had so many varied aspects to it, why not break up the list by sub-genres? After all, if you put the legendary Casablanca on the list in terms of the effect the war had on civilians, there should be a place for The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), The Best Years of Our Lives (1948), The Tin Drum (1979), Hope & Glory (1987), The Men (1950, Since You Went Away, (1944), So Proudly We Hail (1943) and several others. In doing so, it would include another Lee Marvin classic: Bad Day at Black Rock (1955). Just saying.

Henchmen Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin watch as Spencer Tracy gets off the train and prepare to confront him in John Sturges’ Bad Day at a Black Rock (1955).


   As far as sub-genres are concerned, there should be one for biopics and if so, it is absolutely appalling not to include the likes of Patton (1970). George C. Scott’s performance (turned down by Lee Marvin) is one of the greatest in movie history! 
  It can also be determined by branches of the service, which would include the likes of the navy in Mister Roberts (1955), They Were Expendable (1945), or the Marines via The Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)…well, you get the idea. 
   Basically stated, if you’re going to write a list of “The Best…” anything, be prepared to be corrected, debated and possibly duck some brickbats as the cinema of WWII is a pretty big subject to ever narrow down to just 20. In the mean time, watch a Lee Marvin movie and then find out how they were made in Lee Marvin Point Blank.

– Dwayne Epstein



 

 

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AMAZON’S KINDLE

Amazon’s Kindle of my book Lee Marvin Point Blank has been temporarily suspended. Click the link in blue and you’ll see what I mean. Rather disappointing considering how brisk the sales have been, lately.

Kindle sales rank from January 2nd.

 

 

Kindle sales rank from January 5th.

Due to the percentage of royalties it generates (more than the paperback or hardcover) the regular payments I get will surely suffer.
When I first noticed the absence of the Kindle I thought it was just some sort of technical glitch. When it went on for several days, I contacted my publisher, Tim Schaffner of Schaffner Press. He did not know about it being suspended but did explain the reason. Apparently, he negotiated a deal for a new distributor as he no longer is distributing his titles with the Independent Publishing Group (IPG) out of Chicago. According to Tim, the new distributor (the name of which escapes me at the moment) casts a much wider net, especially internationally, which is why he went them. He assured me that ultimately it will be a good thing but in the interim, Amazon’s Kindle won’t be available for a little while longer.
When it comes back I have no idea, hopefully soon. When it does, however, I’ll post about it here. But in the mean time, there’s still the paperback with its revisions intact. Just so you know, those revisions include a Q&A with yours truly, updated info in the text, a Reader’s Guide and more. So, with that in mind, feel free to get the paperback as a gift for friends or family members until the Kindle comes back. Besides, a physical book can be autographed where a Kindle can’t. Just saying….

– Dwayne Epstein

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