LEE MARVIN MOVIE QUOTES: THE EARLY YEARS, PART II

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 in 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

 

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4 thoughts on “LEE MARVIN MOVIE QUOTES: THE EARLY YEARS, PART II

  1. In “You’re In The Navy Now”, Lee is unbilled or referred to as “radio operator”. In the scene shown above, if you listen carefully, you can hear Jack Webb refer to Lee as “Lee” when saying a line to Gary Cooper.

    The final scene of Lee in “The Wild One” is after he escapes the jail and is partying in the street with a funny hat on, with Marlon Brando telling him they should split the scene, or something. When I first saw this movie, as a 12 year girl who didn’t understand men getting into fights, I was confused why Johnny and Chino would have such a vicious fight and then appear as friends immediately after, re: the “Frogface” scene. Even at 12 I thought Lee was the best thing in the movie and felt cheated that he only had about 4 scenes.

    • Interesting take on Le’s early work, Shawn. One thing, though. I think you may be mistaken about Lee’s last scene in The Wild One. Once he sneaks out of jail, he’s not seen again for the remainder of the movie. You may be thinking of another actor with a funny hat.

      • Hi Dwayne … I just watched Lee’s 4th scene. It’s after Cathy runs away from Johnny in the park. The funny hat is a top hat wrapped with those aviator goggles Lee wore in the 1st scene with the fight. Lee and some of the gang are drunkenly destroying a refreshment stand. Johnny says “Hey Chino, how did you get out of the can?” Lee’s last line in the movie is “Storm the Bastille !!!” Fun scene … Check it out.

        BTW, I enjoyed your book very much.

        • You know what, Shawn? You’re right! I completely forgot about Lee and company trashing the town near the end. Good job! Oh, and thanks for liking my book. Feel free to write a 5-star review on Amazon if you like.

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