Lee Marvin’s best? That’s a pretty subjective concept. After all, one man’s meat is another man’s poison but still and all, some things along such lines are pretty obvious. “The 5 Best Lee Marvin Movies” is the title of a recent blog entry I came across by chance on the web and the concept is the subject of this blog.
I’m not really big on chiding other writers but the author’s choices leave much to be desired. The title alone is somewhat irksome: “The 5 Best Lee Marvin Movies.” Why only five? Wouldn’t ten be more appropriate for such a lengthy career? And his choices! If you can’t see the link I included above, here’s what he chose:
5. The Wild One
4. The Big Heat
3. Cat Ballou
2. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
1. The Dirty Dozen
Can you see the problem I had with the choices that were made? Three of the five are not even Lee Marvin movies in the strictest sense. Marvin had supporting roles in The Wild One, Big Heat and Liberty Valance. Granted, they were great scene-stealing roles, but supporting roles, nonetheless. They are all better known as Marlon Brando, Glenn Ford & John Wayne movies and Lee Marvin would be the first one to say it. All the films (and more) are of course recounted and detailed in Lee Marvin Point Blank, by the way. It also includes Marvin’s input into these roles as well as what he thought of each of them.
While I applaud the effort made in the end to encourage others to seek out Marvin’s films, doing so by this list would make someone wonder what’s the fuss about Lee Marvin since he apparently was merely a villain in the 1950s & 1960s. The author barely recognized the fact that Marvin was a major star in the 1960s & 1970s.
I’m not and never have been a fan of “Best Lists,” which is why there isn’t any on this blog site. However, if one were to attempt a list of Lee Marvin’s best, here’s a good start, at least in terms of what might make someone a fan. Consider the following a sort of starter kit. If after viewing these films, you’re still not a fan, then you never will be.
– Dwayne Epstein
An Op-Ed writer on an online small town newspaper I recently came across had a novel idea. She thought it might work to regroup the original concept of Lee Marvin’s The Dirty Dozen, but instead of taking on the Nazi High Command, they go after the rogue nations in Central America. The mission? Straighten out the corrupt governments so immigrants would be less willing to seek asylum here.
I’m guessing he’s talking to Trini Lopez partially hidden (maybe on purpose) on the far right.
The Op-Ed author, Vera Hogan, writes for Fenton Michigan’s Tri-County Times and openly admits to not being a fan of the genre of war films. The full piece can be read here and if you do read it, allow me an obvious rebuttal.
Naturally, she avoids the controversy of President Trump’s cockamamie wall fantasy but does comes close by stating the ‘Dozen’ could help rebuild the country’s schools, corruption, etc. The Op-Ed piece fall short of explaining how you train a bunch of murderous convicts to do that but her heart is in the right place. That’s certainly more than can be said by the occupant of the White House, but I digress.
The whole idea of the Op-Ed, however, circumvents the core problem within the film itself. As Marvin’s Col. Reisman tells Ernest Borgnine’s General Worden: “These men by definition are incapable of training and following orders.” Can you imagine turning them loose in corrupt Central America? They wouldn’t straighten the countries out, they’d take over!
Personally, I avoided political commentary within the pages of my book Lee Marvin Point Blank (although some readers may disagree) but as far as I’m concerned, there’s an even more appropriate quote by Marvin in the opening moments of The Dirty Dozen that can certainly be applied to the current Commander-in-Chief: “I don’t think it’s a good idea to advertise the fact that someone in charge is a raving lunatic!”
Amazon.com, according to Wikipedia, is the world’s largest e-commerce marketplace. I realize I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. However, with such heady powers at their disposal, I was surprised to see this….
Screen grab from Amazon.com on the inventory status of the Lee Marvin Point Blank hardcover.
You would think such a massive online presence as a marketplace would be able to stay on top of such things and reload their inventory in a timely fashion. Geez, it makes you wonder who’s minding the store.
Of course, I kid. Truth is I can’t complain as Lee Marvin Point Blank has proven to be a perennial and has also sold well internationally. In the English speaking countries there’s only one hardcover left n the U.K., none in Canada, and five left in Australia. Sales have been brisk in non-English speaking countries, too. Amazing fact considering that it’s only available n English.
The thing is, authors rely on Amazon for weekly sales info as publishers (in this case Schaffner Press) give author’s regular sales breakdowns only on a semi-annual basis. The publishers gets the data from the distributor, IPG and is sometimes slow with that data. In the mean time, I mentioned the ‘temporarily out of stock’ info to my publisher and received an interesting response. According to publisher Tim Schaffner, “Amazon doesn’t inform us directly and generally the orders appear a couple of days after the fact. Ingram often supplies Amazon and the have ordered some, I’m thinking about 20 recently.”
Bottom line, Amazon will be restocking on the hardcover of Lee Marvin Point Blank soon and when they do, the ranks will be thinning to practically NONE as it will not be going back for another printing. In other words, grab it while you can ’cause when it’s gone! You can do what Lee himself would’ve done in such a situation….
– Dwayne Epstein