Lee Marvin Movie Quotes
Writing and researching Lee Marvin Point Blank allowed me good reason to watch ALL of his films and on occasion, he proved to be the best thing to watch. Take for example his official film debut, You’re in the Navy Now (1951) with legendary actor, Gary Cooper.  Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank know how he got the handful of lines he spoke in the movie and its a pretty amusing story, thanks to the chutzpah of his acquired agent, Meyer Mishkin. The very fact that he spoke on screen for the first time makes it worthy of some memorable Lee Marvin movie quotes.

Top image shows Marvin waiting to go on camera while bottom image shows hm with costars Gary Cooper and Jack Webb.

Director Henry Hathaway cast Marvin initially as an extra, allowing him to appear throughout the film as a crew member, in this case, the radio operator. Marvin later claimed him he did the voices of 5 other characters offscreen n which he actually talked to himself! Other actors also made their debut in the film, including future Marvin costar, Charles Bronson. Bronson had a bigger role in the flop later retitled USS Teakettle. Marvin’s first words on camera? “Sorry, captain. I can’t get a rise out of them.”

Another example of Marvin’s early, albeit small contribution to film was in the all-star comedy We’re Not Married (1952). Played out like an episode of Love, American Style, it told the tale of 5 different marriages discovering that the clergyman (Victor Moore) who married them was not ordained. The film boasted the likes of Ginger Rogers, Fred Allen, Eve Arden, Paul Douglas, Louis Calhern, Eva Gabor, and a young Marilyn Monroe married to David Wayne(!). The last segment starred Eddie Bracken married to Mitzi Gaynor, who is pregnant with his child but Bracken is going overseas with his Army unit. It being the 1950s, the dilemma of Bracken’s offspring not being legitimate is a major crisis. Since it is the 50s, Bracken’s buddy, Lee Marvin, informs the C.O. that, “He don’t want his kid to be no oddball.”

Marvin & Bracken in the final segment of WE’RE NOT MARRIED.

Don’t you just love that 1950s euphemism for bastard? It’s one of my personal favorite Lee Marvin movie quotes.

And then there’s The Wild One.

Marlon Brando as Johnny and Lee Marvin as Chino in the world’s 1st biker movie, THE WILD ONE (That’s cult legend Tim Carey smiling behind Marvin).

Marvin comes in the middle of the film and commits grand larceny in his scenes with then red hot 50s icon, Marlon Brando. Everything Marvin says and does in the classic is memorable, from his entrance (waving like the prom queen on his chopper as he and his gang ride into town) to his final scene sneaking out of jail when no one is looking. I was lucky to find a letter he wrote his brother before the film was cast and his take on the project is reprinted in its entirety in Lee Marvin Point Blank. Hard to pick a favorite line of his as they’re all delivered brilliantly (“Call my old lady and tell her I’m in the can! Oh, the shame of it all!”) But the one I like best is the one with cultural resonance. When Marvin tells Brando: “We miss ya, Johnny. All the Beetles miss ya.” Apparently another ‘Johnny’ liked that line, too. Any guesses?
– Dwayne Epstein




Marvin Movie Quotes
As many fans know by seeing his films and reading Lee Marvin: Point Blank, Marvin had a unique ability to make memorable lines of dialogue in a film eminently quotable. Even in the earliest stages of his career, his resonant voice and often sarcastic delivery made Marvin movie quotes stand out from the rest of the cast and even the basic premise of the film. Personal friends and associates noted the same thing when viewing his films.

Lee Marvin (“Meatball”) and Claude Akins (“Horrible”) in Edward Dymytrk’s The Caine Mutiny (1954).

Take for example his almost throw-away line in The Caine Mutiny uttered when he and fellow sailor Claude Akins are carrying some heavy equipment through a passageway on ship and want to clear the decks:

“Lady with a baby, coming through!”

Adolph Heckeroth, Marvin’s boss at Heckeroth’s Plumbing in Woodstock, had a son, Bill, who took over the company, and remembered the line (and his father’s former employee) so well, he said he repeated constantly at work whenever he needed to clear the area.

During a conversation with Marvin’s son, Christopher, another one of the great Marvin movie quotes came into play. I was helping him do some gardening when a weed seemed a little harder to remove than first thought. Automatically, we both uttered the same line his father said to one-armed Spencer Tracy when their two characters first met in Bad Day at a Black Rock:

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).

“You look like you could use a hand.”
The laughter and high-fives continued for some time after.

And then there’s his less than stellar film and performance in the all-star cast 3-D opus Gorilla at Large (1954). Marvin’s good friend from his Woodstock days, David Ballantine  told me with tongue planted firmly in cheek that he considered it Marvin’s greatest role. Ballantine told me that his friend’s role as Officer Shaunessey, charged with keeping an eye on the title character, remains his favorite because….well, you’ll have to read Lee Marvin Point Blank to find that out. In the mean time, there’s this memorable Marvin line of dialogue given the weighty dramatic delivery it deserves….

Lee Marvin utters his memorable line to Lee J. Cobb in Gorilla at Large (1954).

“They haven’t made a gorilla yet that can out smart, Shaunessey!”

Hey, any actor can do Shakespeare but let’s hear Olivier bellow out that beauty!
– Dwayne Epstein



The dog day of summer is undeniably upon us from coast to coast, with east of the Rockies taking the brunt of it all. We in California finally caught up with the rest of the country with some now record-breaking temperatures.
Yeah, I know, Dog Day should be plural, as in DOG DAYS, but that would disallow the subject of the blog: a segue to one of Lee Marvin’s last and strangest film: the weird French film named Dog Day (1984), or Canicule in France, its country of origin.

Lee Marvin as Jimmy Cobb in DOG DAY, looking classier than anything found in the movie.

It’s axiomatic that every good actor has some bad films in their canon and that no one ever sets out to make a bad film. Both axioms apply to this film. In researching Lee Marvin Point Blank, I was hard pressed to find any information on the film, let alone any one to interview about it. I did make a concerted effort to contact the only other American cast member, Tina Louise, but try as I might, she wouldn’t grant me an interview. Probably just as well as considering the film’s reception.

American co-stars Lee Marvin and Tina Louise in her only scene in France’s DOG DAY.

It was never released to U.S. theaters and went straight to the VHS shelf…in the $1.99 bargain bin, I might add.
What’s it about? Marvin is Jimmy Cobb, an aging American gangster on the run after a botched bank robbery in Paris. He holes up in a French farmhouse in which resides the weirdest group of people this side of the Addams family. Being a European production, the film’s sensibilities, compared to American films are, shall we say..slightly askew?

The European sensibilities of DOG DAY are on full display. When was the las time you saw a child (TIN DRUM’s David Bennent)  smoke a cigarette in an American film?

In all fairness, there are some noteworthy aspects to the film. A heart stopping car chase courtesy of legendary stunt driver Remy Julienne in the film’s opening is probably the best example. Marvin, of course looks the part as an aged American gangster nicknamed “Caponie” by annoying child actor David Bennent…And there’s also….no, that’s really about it. Other French film stars, such as Miou-Miou, Victor Lanoux, and Jean Carmet really don’t add much to this embarrassment. Of course, if you like your Eurotrash more on the trashy side than the Euro, then this might be right up your alley. I think this is best summed up in the anecdote Marvin recounted to the L.A. Times when the film was in production. Talk about an omen! Feel free to check it out below and in the mean time, stay cool. Curl up with the air conditioner and a good book…say, Oh, I don’t know….Lee Marvin Point Blank?
– Dwayne Epstein

Lee Marvin discusses DOG DAY, among other things.