HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK!

As the title says, happy holidays from Lee Marvin Point Blank!
Lee Marvin: Point Blank by Dwayne Epstein (cover)
Although it’s already well into December, it’s still not too late to order your copy in its various formats listed below for yourself, for a family member, or good friend who is a Marvin fan, or just wants to know more about him and his fascinating life. I’ve always thought of a book as the perfect gift for someone, as it’s useful and relatively inexpensive compared to other items you can get. As Steve Allen said to me when I interviewed him back in 1997: “I will never understand why people complain about the cost of books. It’s still cheaper than a bottle of good liquor and lasts a hell of a lot longer.”
Even if you already have a copy — and thank you if you do — it’s not too late to consider it as a Christmas or Hannukah gift (Dec. 12th-20th) this year. Don’t let the fact that it’s been out for a while dissuade you, as it’s still selling pretty well. In fact, just a few months ago, the Kindle squeaked into Amazon’s Top 100….

Amazon’s List of Top 100 biographies, Sept. 2017.

Amazon ad for Lee Marvin Point Blank recently sent via e-mail.

Amazon has also taken to continue advertising the title among similar books, which is a good thing… and quite surprising for a four year old title!
As to the formats, they are below and links are included for purchase online via both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Amazons link are in boldface blue in the heading, while I placed the Barnes & Noble links at the end of each listing….
Hardcover: Still very much available and in stock as a new title. Includes 2 separate photo sections placed appropriately in the text, with most of them never having been published before. Cool & classic dust jacket, too, makes for a great holiday morning surprise, all designed by graphic design wizard Jake Kiehle! (Barnes & Noble)
Trade Paperback: Includes all of the text as the hardcover, as well as the photos, but is compiled in one section not two, as is common for trade paperbacks. There are extras, such as an interview with yours truly about the book and topics for discussion.  (Barnes & Noble)
E-book: Kindle or Nook: Amazon’s Kindle has proven to be quite popular so there must be something to it. I haven’t seen it myself but it sells more in that format than any other. Personally, I think it’s good thing as my agent, Mike Hamilburg, and publisher Tim Schaffner worked it out for me to get a larger percentage of the royalty in that format, so who am I to complain? (Barnes & Noble’s Nook)
By the way, the title is also available online as an Apple iBook, and at Powell’s BooksBooks-a-Million, and IndieBound, locating your favorite neighborhood bookstore by zip code.
And so, there you have it. An easy way to get the perfect gift for a loved one without the hassle of going to the mall. Of course, if you’d like to, the book is still available there, as well. If they don’t have it, demand it as your right as consumer!
As Christopher Marvin once told me, whenever he got anxious as a child for an upcoming event, his father advised him, “Relax, kid. We all get to Christmas at the same time.” Well, it is upon us and to one and all I wish you each happy holidays!
– Dwayne Epstein

Have a happy holiday season from Lee Marvin Point Blank…OR ELSE!

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LUMP-IN-THE-THROAT MOMENTS: TWILIGHT ZONE’s STEEL

As I wrote in Lee Marvin Point Blank, the actor proved to be more versatile on TV than he ever was on film so consequently, moments of genuine poignancy proved less elusive on the small screen with several ‘Lump-in-the-throats moments, with one in particular coming to mind; A Twilight Zone episode he appeared in back in 1963 that still resonates today.
Episode was “Steel, written by Richard Matheson and based on his short story. It’s one of Marvin’s best performance and given in less than a half hour’s time. It takes place in the near future with boxing outlawed due to its inherent brutality. Replaced by battling robots, former boxer ‘Steel’ Kelly (Marvin) and his partner Pole (Joe Mantell) have trundled their broken down robot, Battling Maxo, into town for his next bout. The problem is Maxo, like Kelly, has fought too many fights, so Kelly decides to go in the ring as a robot against the formidable robot opponent, The Maynard Flash.

Lee Marvin’s Steel Kelly disguised as ‘Battling Maxo” with Joe Mantell as his partner, Polo.

The viewer is obviously pulling for Kelly but the result is inevitable. Watching Marvin throughout the episode is an exercise in textbook poignancy. Whether witnessing his empty boasts of his prior career, or seeing him writhing in pain on the floor near the episode’s climax, his character elicits the same emotion as Death of Salesman’s Willie Loman. He is tragic, but he never gives in to the tragedy of his own situation, making him all the more torturous to watch.
Author Steven Jay Rubin’s new book, The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia garnered some major exclusives about the show and the Steel episode in particular.

Steven Jay Rubin’s excellent new book, THE TWILIGHT ZONE ENCYCLOPEDIA.

 

 

Most notably, an interview with the actor who portrayed Marvin’s robotic opponent, The Maynard Flash.  Former boxer and stuntman Chick Hicks stated to Rubin:
“I knew Lee Marvin for a long time, and he was a real man and a great guy. During the fight scenes, while filming I had two pieces of plastic over my eyes [to make me look like a robot] and I was pretty new to the business, so instead of putting little holes in them, so that I could have some air in there, I sweated and I was just looking at a blur most of the time, and I ended up hitting Lee a couple of times but the tough Marine that he was never complained.

‘Steel’ Kelly (Lee Marvin) taking some real punches as Battling Maxo from the more advanced Maynard Flash (Chuck Hicks) in The Twilight Zone.

He always would say, ‘Don’t worry abut it, Chuck. I know your problem.’ Yeah, he was a drinker, but a real great man underneath that plastic and skin.”
By the way, I’ll be interviewing Steve Rubin in an upcoming issue of Filmfax Magazine so be sure to be on the look out for it as he told me some things he left out of the book: *wink, wink*
-Dwayne Epstein

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LEE MARVIN’S LUMP-IN-THE-THROAT MOMENTS, PART 1

A recent thread on Facebook gave me the idea for this blog entry concerning ‘lump-in-the-throat’ moments. Due to the kind of films Lee Marvin made that kind of emotional impact on audiences were not always readily apparent. However, in researching Lee Marvin Point Blank, it did indeed become apparent when having to happily watch and/or rewatch all of his performances. He actually had several such lump-in-the-throat moments in his career and to my mind, there are a couple on both film and television, even within the realm of such genres as war film and westerns. Go figure. First up, on screen….

The look in Jeanne Moreau’s eyes as she gazes into Lee Marvin’s speaks volumes in this scene from Monte Walsh.

Although he was disappointed with the way the studio tampered with director William Fraker’s final cut, Marvin has said that the elegiac western Monte Walsh remains one of his favorite films. Probably because the film’s poignant message of an aging cowboy with nowhere to go still packs a punch. The message is quietly stated by costar Jack Palance, who tells Marvin, “Nobody gets to be a cowboy forever, Monte.”
A personal relationship with costar Jeanne Moreau may be another reason the film resonated for Marvin. In one scene in particular, without giving away the ending, he had never been more touching. He simply absorbs the moment and allows us to feel what he is feeling and it works every time. The film then quickly shifts moods into a thrilling climax involving Mitch Ryan but again, no spoilers here. See it for yourself and you be the judge.

The poignant climax to The Big Red One with Lee Marvin as the unnamed sergeant and a frail, young concentration camp survivor.

Sam Fuller’s The Big Red One, an epic and episodic WWII memoir remains one of Lee Marvin’s best performances and for my money, should really have been his cinematic swan song. He’s a wizened, old war horse throughout the film but a powerful and amazing climax involving a liberated concentration camp culminates with the most impressive, stoic performance that Marvin has ever given. Once again, no spoilers. Simply see it for yourself and make your own judgment. I dare you not to be moved by it.

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