RELEASED THIS DAY IN 1953: LEE MARVIN IN SEMINOLE

Lee Marvin’s earliest supporting roles are often overlooked, such as Seminole, released this day in 1953. The film itself is a typical Hollywood take on a fascinating aspect of U.S. history, as pointed out in Lee Marvin: Point Blank. In fact, when Marvin was in school Florida, he found the true story of the Seminole tribal chief Osecola so fascinating, he wrote a book report on the subject. He may have been equally thrilled to get the job in the film only to become equally disappointed once he read the script.

Original poster art for 1953's Seminole, in which 7th billed Lee Marvin is no where in sight.

Original poster art for 1953’s Seminole, in which 7th billed Lee Marvin is no where in sight.

TIME magazine aptly derided the film as “a swampy melodrama,” in which mean soldiers try to eliminate marauding Indians with a sympathetic White officer caught in the middle. Rock Hudson played the sympathetic officer Anthony Quinn played Osceola, and the the mean soldiers were headed up by RIchard Carlson. Marvin was listed SEVENTH down the cast list, but he did have a a substantial scene towards the end of the film.

Marvin (far left) is dutifully militaristic as Richard Carlson (left) and Rock Hudson (center) plot their next move.

Marvin (far left) is dutifully militaristic as Richard Carlson (left) and Rock Hudson (center) plot their next move.

 

Anthony Quinn as Osceola (left) and childhood friend Rock Hudson (right) ride off together in dubious battle.

Anthony Quinn as Osceola (left) and childhood friend Rock Hudson (right) ride off together in dubious battle.

The film’s director, the underrated Budd Boetticher, did point out how the run-of-the-film led to better things for Marvin shortly thereafter…..
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“…..[Marvin] played Sgt. Magruder and he was very, very good. [Seminole’s screenwriter] Burt Kennedy brought him in. He suggested Lee to play the second lead on my next picture with Randy [Scott]. Now Duke Wayne [as producer], and you can quote me on this, Duke was either a son-of-a-bitch or the best friend you ever had, depending on the mood he was in. Burt asked Duke, “Who should we use?” Duke said, “Let’s use Randy. He’s through.”
The result was one of Lee’s earliest lead roles and one of his all-time best performances: Big Masters in Seven Men From Now (1956).

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MOVIE TIE-IN PAPERBACKS TO LEE MARVIN’S EARLIEST FILMS

Paperback Tie-ins
Ahh, Hollywood. If it’s ever possible to make a few extra sheckels via promotional ideas connected to a project, rest assured the studios will do it. A good example is the now quicky fading movie tie-in paperback, a former staple in bookstores, revolving drugstore book racks, bus stations, you name it!
Below are several examples of movie tie-in paperbacks to Lee Marvin projects even before he was a known entity.

heatviolent

Reissue covers of The Big Heat & Violent Saturday paperbacks.

Lee Marvin had important, scene-stealing roles in both The Big Heat (1953) and Violent Saturday (1955,) but you’d never know it from the pulp noir covers shown above.

 

Raintree County (1957) and the excellent Seven Men From Now (1956) also featured excellent Marvin performances but since he was yet to be established, his name are image is nowhere to be found. Author Burt Kennedy, by the way, wrote the screenplay for Seven Men From Now and would go on to become a noted western film director.

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Movie Tie-in Paperback covers of Raintree County & Seven Men From Now

 

msquadconfidential

Paperback covers for M Squad & Hollywood Confidential, featuring profile of Lee Marvin

 

When film success proved elusive, Marvin went to television and starred and co-produced the successful crime drama, M Squad. (1957-1960). The recognition resulted in such media attention as the tabloid collection shown above in which Marvin gave one of his most revealing interviews.

 

valancecomanchero

Movie tie-in paperback covers for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance & The Comancheros

By the early 1960s, film stardom was still out of his grasp but he did make impressive appearances in the John Wayne films The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and The Comancheros (1961) as shown above. Even his name was mentioned on the covers! Liberty Valance was an original story by Dorothy M. Johnson (“A Man Called Horse”)  but the paperback was novelized by the film’s screenwriter and frequent John Ford cohort, James Warner Bellah. Go figure.

 

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