FASHION TRENDS & LEE

According to first wife Betty Marvin: “Lee’s screen appeal in a way was a lot like Humphrey Bogart, except that Lee was actually much better looking than Bogart.”

Fashion trends may seem an unlikely subject for a blog promoting Lee Marvin Point Blank. Choice of firearms may seem a more likely subject. However, based on what several folks have told me over the years about the man, fashion trends is a subject that does indeed deserve some undo recognition.
For example, Lee’s first wife, Betty Marvin, told me, “Lee, of course, had a great body and looked great in clothes. Lee really had great style. His social wardrobe was just a knockout. We both used to love to dress up. He was very handsome….”

Betty Marvin (left) with husband Lee (bottom right) dressed approriately for a St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Party.

 

A more recent example came from a friend via social media, Bill Consolo, who recently recounted this memory from his mother:

“My mom was out to dinner with friends at the now long gone Frascati, on the corner of Wilshire and Rodeo Drive. Of course there was a restaurant and a bar and the way mom told it to me was that she noticed Lee Marvin at the bar all alone. Mom knew who he was immediately because as she said when you saw him, he was just as you saw him on the screen. She said he was tall and lean and a very good looking man. What stuck out to her was that he was dressed in blue jeans, cowboy boots, and a pressed white linen dress shirt. Remember this was still the 1960s. My mom was well traveled at these places and knew plenty of celebrities but she said Lee stuck out in Beverly Hills like a sore thumb because she had never seen a man dress like that. Mind you, my mom thought there was nothing wrong with it either, because he looked so damn handsome.”

Backstage after winning his Oscar, Lee wore the requisite formal attire, but topped it off with the then fashionable chevron tie.

Having partied all night after his Oscar win, the next morning Lee held an impromptu press conference at LAX on the way back to the London set of THE DIRTY DOZEN, but still managed to look fashionable in boots, khakis, sport coat and bandana tie.

A 1980 People magazine article pictured Lee doing what contemporaries like John Wayne & Robert Mitchum would never do: Join the roller boogie craze, with fashion trend-y head band and Walkman.

Even in old age, Marvin set fashion trends with a crisp denim shirt and zippered suede vest topped off with a Stetson Open Road Fedora.

-Dwayne Epstein

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LIBERTY VALANCE REDUX? HERE WE GO, AGAIN!

Liberty Valance redux looks to be on its way into production with some slight changes. According do Deadline.com, John Ford’s classic western will now be about the NY Drug Wars of the 1990s.

The 3 principal cast members of THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (L-R): Jimmy Stewart (Ranse Stoddard), Lee Marvin (Liberty Valance) and John Wayne (Tom Doniphon).

Movie purists will angrily shake their fists at such blasphemy but before they do, there’s some things to keep in mind, so take a deep cleansing breath…..

Liberty Valance toying with his prey on the streets of Shinbone before the big finale.

– John Carpenter did the same with Howard Hawks’ classic western Rio Bravo (1959), by updating it to Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), which itself was later remade in 2005.

– Hawks also bastardized the tale himself over the years with both El Dorado (1967) and Rio Lobo (1970), all three of which starred John Wayne. So much for acting and directing legends maintaining the integrity of their careers.

– Oh, I know Rio Bravo Redux is not Liberty Valance Redux. For the record, it’s also not the first time The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has had a redux..of a kind. There was a stage play mounted in London a few years back that received surprisingly good reviews.

For Lee Marvin’s opening scene in the film, readers of LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK know the real reason he’s wearing the bandana over his face.

–  Also, an updated remake of Liberty Valance has been bandied about for a while now as I had blogged about it back in 2015. As you can see by the blog entry, I’m certainly not defending the idea of an updated remake. Quite the contrary. It’s just that I think in this day and age we should no longer be either shocked nor surprised by such things. Sadly, it is the way of the world we live in.
Besides, to paraphrase the famous line in the film, “When the truth becomes the legend, (re)print the legend.” Would you expect anything  less from Hollywood?
– Dwayne Epstein

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POLITICALLY INCORRECT LEE MARVIN

Politically incorrect is not something most celebrities would want on their resume’ but it was something Lee Marvin had no trouble with, at all. Granted, it wasn’t bandied about as much in his time as it is today, but it was certainly witnessed in his work, almost from the beginning.
Being politically incorrect, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as “Not avoiding language or behavior that could offend a particular group of people.” In researching Lee Marvin Point Blank, I quickly discovered a few examples of such behavior in the subject, and the subject was usually women. Wouldn’t always be a matter of the language used by his characters so much as his extreme behavior, most notably….
The Big Heat

The attitude of Vince Stone toward his annoying girlfriend is shown building to a painful climax in Fritz Lang’s THE BIG HEAT (1952).

As bad guy Vince Stone, a glimpse of his attitude towards women is shown early on when he stubs his cigarette out in Carolyn Jones’ hand. The worst is yet to come when he throws a pot of scalding hot coffee in girlfriend Gloria Grahame’s face. Fear not, as she gets her revenge before the film ends.

The Killers

Terrorizing Angie Dickinson in THE KILLERS.

Throughout director Don Siegel’s classic remake the violence comes fast and furious from the very beginning. Lee Marvin’s Charlie Strom terrorizes a school for the blind and later, wreaks havoc on femme fatale, Angie Dickinson. As the actress told this writer, “Oh but I had it coming.”

 

Ship of Fools

Vivienne Leigh drives home her point to Lee Marvin in their heated debate concerning women’s shoe styles in Stanley Kramer’s SHIP OF FOOLS.

Mistaking the aging Vivien Leigh for an onboard prostitute, drunken Marvin grabs and kisses the embittered ‘past-her-prime’ beauty until he shockingly realizes his mistake. She helps him realize the mistake by beating him to a pulp with the heel of her shoe.
The legend is that Marvin kept very few mementos from his career, but he kept that shoe out of his deep respect for Vivien Leigh.
There are of course several other examples of such behavior (on screen and off) and it was not always limited to the ladies. For better or for worse, when it came to being politically incorrect, Lee Marvin was the shining beacon on the hill.
– Dwayne Epstein

 

 

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