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 n 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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MARVIN’S FILM DEBUT: MORE RECENTLY FOUND IMAGES FROM ‘U.S.S. TEAKETTLE’

While still cataloguing my mound of research material utilized for Lee Marvin: Point Blank, I  recently stumbled across yet even more lost nuggets from the man’s film debut that to my mind have remained unseen for decades…

teakettle+In the top photo from Marvin’s film debut, USS Teakettle (1951), Marvin can be seen second from left running towards costar Millard Mitchell in this scene in which one of the steam driven boiler’s explodes. Also visible, wearing a low-brimmed sailor cap, is Jack Warden, who also began his lengthy film career with this film. In the center is veteran comedy actor, Harvey Lembeck who, along with Charles Bronson, also made his screen debut in U.S.S. Teakettle. Not pictured is the film’s above the title stars, Gary Cooper, Eddie Albert, Jack Webb and Jane Greer. By the way, the film flopped, in spite of 20th Century Fox rereleasing it under the less subtle comedy title, You’re In The Navy Now.

The bottom photo depicts cast and crew setting up on shot on the ship’s bow with Marvin pictured far right wearing radio gear. He had been hired merely as a background extra but fate loomed large for the actor early on in the production as agent Meyer Mishkin recounted to me in Lee Marvin: Point Blank (pp. 75-76).

 

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RARE PHOTOS IN HOMAGE TO LEE MARVIN

RARE PHOTOS
This Wednesday marks Lee Marvin’s 90th birthday and in honor of him I’ll be posting some EXTREMELY RARE PHOTOS never before seen in tribute to his legacy. His first onscreen acting was in director’ Henry Hathaway’s 1951 service comedy, U.S.S. Teakettle with Gary Cooper. The partly true adventures of an experimental steam battleship was ignored by audiences, even after the film was re-released as You’re In The Navy Now….
teakettleadHow he made his screen debut in the minute role and the effect it had on his career is explained in detailed in Lee Marvin Point Blank. But as small as the part was, playing the ship’s radio man, Lee still took it seriously, as did fellow New York actors making their debut Jack Warden and Charles Bronson
teakettle1

Filmed on location in Norfolk Virginia’s Naval installation, Lee relaxed on the set with another identified extra looking very much like an ad to join the U.S. Navy…..
teakettle3

In this rarely seen contact sheet below, Marvin confabs with costar Gary Cooper. While filming, Marvin accompanied Cooper to a gas station in which Cooper paid with a $10 check. “I’m going to frame this,” exclaimed the attendant. When Marvin later asked Cooper how many of his checks were ever cashed, the wily old star drawled, “About one in ten.”

teakettle2

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