“SOPRANOS'” MOVIE FEATURES LEE MARVIN MARQUEE

The Sopranos’ movie, entitled The Many Saints of Newark, is currently shooting in Newark and in order to make it period correct for 1967, it features a well placed movie marquee. If you can’t see the images in the link in the next paragraph, this might help….

Movie marquee in The Sopranos movie that’s set in 1967.

Same marquee from a different angle.

 

According to the Central Jersey News website, the film concerns how young Tony Soprano came to be during the tumultuous Newark Riots. In order to make it period correct, film makers had the local theater display the most popular film of the summer of 1967, The Dirty Dozen. Matter of fact, it was the single most financially successful film in MGM history at the time, in no small part due its popularity in urban areas, such as Newark.
By the way, this upcoming film is not the first time a Lee Marvin movie has been featured in a film. Martin Scorsese, a certified Lee Marvin fan, used a well-known Marvin film in his 1973 classic, Mean Streets. Further proof of Lee Marvin’s popularity in urban environs. Check out the screen capture below of Harvey Keitel and Robert DeNiro in the lobby after viewing a screening of The Searchers….

Check out the poster for an upcoming film on the left as shown in Scorsese’s MEAN STREETS.

It’s not the first time Scorsese has referenced Lee Marvin in a film, either. His debut film, Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967), has an even better reference in dialogue by again, Harvey Keitel. Pretty impressive dialogue, too. For the reason for the dialogue as well as its actual contents, look no further than Lee Marvin Point Blank, your one-stop Lee Marvin reference tool. Matter of fact, the last chapter is chock full of such pop culture Lee Marvin references. However, if after reading Lee Marvin Point Blank,  you know of any other such references I may have missed, feel free to comment here. Thanks!
-Dwayne Epstein

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SAM PECKINPAH’S THE WILD BUNCH: MARVIN VS. HOLDEN

Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch is the subject of a new book by W.K. Stratton, aptly titled The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, A Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film.  I have yet to read this intriguing tome but, from individuals who’s opinions I trust, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.
Having said that at the outset, I do take exception with something the author has said in promoting his work. What follows is a cut&paste of an interview author Stratton did for the online version of the Dallas Morning News with journalist David Martingale:
Q: Many movie lovers might be surprised to learn that before William Holden signed on, Lee Marvin was expected to star as gang leader Pike Bishop. What difference did this make?

Lee Marvin in The Professionals, as he might have looked as Pike Bishop in The Wild Bunch.


A: I like Lee Marvin as an actor. Some of his movies are amazing. But I don’t think he could have brought the depth of character to Pike Bishop that Holden did. Holden was a movie star with serious acting chops. And he brought a lot of his own karma with him to that role. He was 50 years old. He had squandered a lot of his career in the previous 10 years. He had let his alcoholism completely take over his life to the point that he had killed a man in Italy while driving drunk. He was carrying a lot of heavy stuff with him that I think came through beautifully in the picture.

William Holden as Pike Bishop in The Wild Bunch.

Why do I take exception to this? Well, readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank could probably guess. Through many interviews and the files at the Margaret Herrick Library at the Motion Picture Academy, I was able to meticulously piece together the events surrounding Lee Marvin’s involvement in The Wild Bunch (which was plentiful) as well as the events surrounding how he left the project.
Now, having said all that (and again, it’s in my book) I think Stratton’s answer is incorrect. Granted, such a point is entirely subjective but based on the info he provides to back up his point, in my opinion his argument is deeply flawed. Marvin had much more training as an actor (American Theater Wing, summer stock, Off-Broadway and Broadway) than Holden. Marvin saw more graphic, nightmarish violence in the war than a drunk driving fatality and was responsible for the killing of more enemy soldiers during the war, as well. In other words, Lee Marvin would have been much better suited to play Pike Bishop using the same logic that Stratton himself employs.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of William Holden’s work and thought he was great in The Wild Bunch and many other great films. Matter of fact, Holden and Marvin both died at the premature age of 63 and both looked much older due to their alcoholic lifestyles. I just think Stratton’s logic is flawed. Doesn’t change my mind about wanting to read the book. He seemed to have done his homework when it comes to using his sources…..

Bibliography for W.K. Stratton’s new book on The Wild Bunch includes yours truly.

Stratton’s book cover.

  • Dwayne Epstein
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BACK TO THE PRINTER FOR LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK!

Back to the printer…for Lee Marvin Point Blank? That’s the case, at least according to my publisher, Tim Schaffner. I hadn’t spoken to him in a while and a recent e-mailing enlightened me to this fact.
Allow me to explain. We were in brief communication over some tax form snare when I happened to ask him how things are going otherwise. He answered in the affirmative and then nonchalantly added that the paperback is going back to the printer for yet another print run. Shocked, “What prompted this?” says I. His answer: “That’s easy. The paperback has sold out! Congrats!”
I of course had no idea! I do know the book has been the bestseller in his stable for some time but it being more than 5 year since the book came out (4 years for the paperback) I didn’t know the paperback had still been selling so well. How cool is that?

Trade paperback cover of Lee Marvin Point Blank that’s identifiable by the Leonard Maltin quote and added star burst.



I can tell you, however, that there are some key differences to the paperback versus the hardcover. There is additional content, some great review quotes, and more….

Example of some review quotes used in for the Paperback of LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK.

Additional quotes found in the paperback.

Oh, yeah there’s one more tiny difference. The hardcover came out in 2013 and both of my parents had passed by then. Also, Lee’s son, Christopher, asked if I’d also be willing to add his sister, Claudia Marvin to the dedication. Sadly, I never did get to meet her as she died of liver disease before the book came out. How could I refuse Christopher, who had been so amazingly helpful to my work?
When the paperback was ready to come out I had to make an additional change to the dedication with the publisher’s permission…..

Revised dedication to the paperback. 


– Dwayne Epstein 

 

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