BRIAN DENNEHY: GORKY PARK COSTAR REMEMBERED

Brian Dennehy, the burly leading character actor, died April 15th of natural causes at the age of 81. Obits of course made mention mostly his well known and popular projects, such as First Blood (1982), Cocoon (1985), Tommy Boy (1995), etc. All great performances, I grant you, but I thought he was best in other roles. His role as the wise and friendly bartender in 10 (1979) was an early indication of what he was capable of beyond his bulky exterior. That role, in fact, resulted in his being cast as the tough New York City cop on the trail of his brother’s murderer in Gorky Park (1983).

Brian Dennehy as NYC cop, Kirwill, confronted by William Hurt’s Russian police officer, Arkady Renko, in GORKY PARK.

According to the film’s production notes, director Michael Apted did not consider Dennehy right for the role, at first. However, Dennehy persisted as doggedly as his character in the film and finally convinced Apted to change his mind. The result, according to the likes of Facebook friend, Matt Lamaj, “I remember when I first saw Gorky Park. I walked out of the theater and said ‘that sonofabitch, Dennehy, just stole the film from Lee Marvin and all those ham actors just by being real.'”
I would not necessarily agree that Dennehy stole the film from Marvin and the other members of the veteran cast, but he was indeed very real in the role.
There’s good reason for that, of course. Like Lee Marvin, he was a former high school athlete — a football lineman, whereas Marvin was a champion track star and swimmer — and was also a veteran Marine. He trained as an actor via different acting schools but, like Marvin, had something that could never be taught: mesmerizing presence.
I didn’t pursue an interview with Dennehy as he had no scenes with Marvin in the film. I did, however, interview director Michael Apted at length for Lee Marvin Point Blank, who told me some unknown aspects concerning Marvin and the production of the film that proved to be a revelation.

The simple yet powerful logo used for the presskit.

One unused quote from Apted concerned Brian Dennehy’s opinion of Lee Marvin: “I think Brian was very much in awe of Lee as I was. Brian was into that same kind of genre, as it was. Wanting to do action stuff, and here is one of the great action movie stars of all time.”
Glad to finally be able to use that quote in its proper context but saddened for the context at the same time. In other words, Dennehy’s admiration of Marvin was well-placed. I just wished both men had worked together and maybe remembered more for their lesser known performances.
If you want to see the greatness Dennehy was capable of exhibiting, the more popular projects listed above are good examples but there are others. Witness his mentoring Vietnam-era sergeant in the mini-series A Rumor of War (1980); his troubled yet benevolent police chief in Skokie (1981); and best of all was his father of a troubled son caught up in a religious cult in the largely forgotten Canadian film, Split Image (1982). He’s heartbreakingly good in the role worthy of rediscovery.

Brian Dennehy
1938-2020

It’s cliche of course to say we shall not see his like again but cliche’s are borne of truth. It could not be more true than in the example of Brian Dennehy. Hell, see all his work and admire a truly great actor who’s like we shall never see again.
– Dwayne Epstein

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GORKY PARK: MARVIN’S LATTER DAY BRILLIANCE

Gorky Park (1983), director Michel Apted’s adaptation of the popular Martin Cruz Smith thriller, was not well-recieved when first released but it may be worthy of re-evaluation. There are several reasons I say this but the main reason, is of course, Lee Marvin’s performance.

Lee Marvin as Jack Osborne in Michael Apted’s GORKY PARK.

It was not only one of the actor’s last films, it would be the last time he would play a classic villain, as he had earlier in his career. I don’t want to give a spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the film (which I highly recommend) so simply the premise will suffice here. It’s a complicated ‘whodunit’ in which Soviet-era police detective Arkady Renko (William Hurt) is tasked with finding who is responsible for the three mutilated bodies found in Gorky Park. There are several suspects and among them is shady American businessman, Jack Osborne (Marvin). To Marvin’s credit, as good as he looks in uniform, he looks even more impressive in the dapper expensive suits his character wears.  Watch the way he carries himself, as well. The brilliance mentioned are the touches the actor adds that are clearly not in the script. Dressing after a day at the sauna, he uses the back of his index fingers to straighten his collar and expensive tie he admires in the mirror. Then there’s the way he dallies the cat-and-mouse dialog with adversarial Hurt.

(L-R) Lee Marvin as Jack Osborne, William Hurt as Russian police detective Arkady Renko and Ian Bannen as Renko’s superior.

I genuinely believe it’s one of Marvin’s best performances that creates a through line of sorts to his career. Think of Paul Newman as the idealistic lawyer Anthony Lawrence of The Young Philadelphians (1959), and then the tragic alcoholic Frank Galvin of The Verdict (1982). There are other such examples to be made but I like to think that in Jack Osborne’s wilder youth he was not unlike the dapper yet violent Vince Stone of The Big Heat (1953). See Gorky Park and judge for yourself, of course.
As for the film, I was fortunate enough to interview British director Michael Apted for Lee Marvin Point Blank and his insights as to the films success and/or failure is on the money, as well as the fascinating anecdotes about its production. So check it out again wherever possible and give Lee Marvin’s performance a second look. I think you’ll pleasantly surprised.
– Dwayne Epstein

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MASSIVE LEE MARVIN PHOTO SALE OF OVER 100 ORIG. IMAGES!

MASSIVE LEE MARVIN PHOTO SALE! Please be sure to scroll to the bottom to see ALL images and information required for purchase.
Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank are well aware of the great photos found within its pages, so now here’s a photo sale to own ALL of my own original 8×10 film-related images for yourself! I have made every attempt to upload as many images as possible, but several dozen are still not able to be shown due to length and size of the blog entry. If a specific image is requested let me know and I’ll do what I can to send it privately.
What this is: All the images listed below are being sold in bulk. It is being sold solely on this website and not via Ebay or other venues for a variety of reasons. All images are ORIGINAL 8x10s put out to promote a given project for film or TV promotion and are in condition from mint to very good. An amazing feat considering most of these photos are several decades old! Descriptions in blue are links to previous blog entries in which the image has been posted with greater clarity. To viewer larger versions of each image simply click on the  image.
How this works: Any and all interested parties need merely reply to this blog entry at the bottom of the page. PAYPAL is the preferred method of payment but may accept check, money order, or Western Union all with seller’s approval. The reply will NOT be seen publicly as I am the only one who can approve the reply and I will keep all messages private and will also respond in private. Any and all questions, offers or comments will be responded to privately. All serious offers will gladly be considered but keep in mind I have set a necessary reserve price that I won’t be making public.
So, feel free to peruse the images below and make me an offer if interested. I’ll respond in kind. Thanks for looking and greatly look forward to doing business with you. Enjoy!
FREE PRIORITY SHIPPING!
FILMS: U.S.S. TEAKETTLE (film debut): 3
HANGMAN’S KNOT (1952): 2
GUN FURY (1953): 1
THE BIG HEAT (1953): 1
SHACK OUT ON 101 (1955): 4
ATTACK! (1956): 1
SEVEN MEN FROM NOW (1956): 1
RAINTREE COUNTY (1957): 1
THE COMANCHEROS (1961) : 1
DONAVAN’S REEF P.R (1963): 1
SGT. RYKER (1963): 2
THE KILLERS (1964): 3
SHIP OF FOOLS(1965): 3
CAT BALLOU (1965): 1
THE PROFESSIONALS (1966): 5
POINT BLANK (1967): 4
MONTE WALSH (1970): 1
POCKET MONEY(1972): 4
PRIME CUT (1972): 1
EMPEROR OF THE NORTH (1973): 1
SPIKES/ICEMAN(1974-73): 1
SPIKES GANG: (1974) 1
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL(1976): 2
GREAT SCOUT & CATHOUSE THURSDAY (1976): 2
AVALANCHE EXPRESS (1979): 10
BIG RED ONE (1980): 2
DEATH HUNT (1981): 5
GORKY PARK (1983): 2
DIRTY DOZEN:THE NEXT MISSION (1985) 6
DELTA FORCE(1986): 1
MISC: PING PONG W/ PAUL FIX & JOHN DEHNER (1960, APPROX): 1
MARINE AWARD (1963): 2
W/ MEYER MISHKIN @ LONDON PREMIERE (1969): 1
PARAMOUNT PROMO (1969): 1
1971 PR PIC: 1
CONTACT SHEETS: U.S.S. TEAKETTLE: 1 (separated)
MICHELE TRIOLA (Approx. 1960): 2
MONTE WALSH: 1
NEWSPAPER PALIMONY PIX: The newspaper I used to work for had a morgue file on the palimony suit with a bunch of pix of Lee and his wife Pam during the trial that the paper let me have for good. They are of varying sizes and include captions. I’d say about 3 dozen in all mostly in sepia tone (but not all) on velox paper as camera-ready images.
FRAGMENTED IMAGES: From newspapers, mostly the 70s & 80s numbering about 2 dozen with captions.

Four studio 8×10 portraits of Lee Marvin from the 60s and 70s.

Extremely rare separated contact sheet of Lee Marvin with Gary Cooper on the set of Marvin’s first film, U.S.S. TEAKETTLE (aka YOU’RE IN THE NAVY NOW). Images can be blown up larger and framed, of course.

Two extremely rare onset photos from Lee Marvin’s first film, U.S.S. TEAKETTLE (aka YOU’RE IN THE NAVY NOW). Top photo, Marvin is on the far right with headphones around his neck. Bottom photo Marvin is running second from left. Also pictured is Millard Mitchell, Jack Warden and Harvey Lembeck.

Photo set from SHACK OUT ON 101 with Terry Moore, Kennan Wynn, Whit Bissel & Jess Barker.

Photo set from SHIP OF FOOLS with Vivien Leigh.

Photo set from THE PROFESSIONALS with Woody Strode, Robert Ryan & Burt Lancaster.

Photo set from POINT BLANK with Angie Dickinson, Carroll O’Connor & Sharon Acker.

Photo set from SHOUT AT THE DEVIL with Pam Marvin.

2 Photo set from THE GREAT SCOUT & CATHOUSE THURSDAY with Elizabeth Ashley & Kay Lenz.

Photo set from AVALANCHE EXPRESS with Robert Shaw, Linda Evans, Mike Connors, Joe Namath, Maximilian Schell & Horst Bucholtz.

Photo set from GORKY PARK with William Hurt and Ian Bannen.

Photo set from THE DIRTY DOZEN: THE NEXT MISSION with Ernest Borgnine, Richard Jaeckel, Larry Wilcox, Ken Wahl, Sonny Landham, Jeff Harding, Michael Paliotti, Jay Benedict, Sam Douglas, Gavan O’Herlihy, Rolf Saxon, Ricco Ross & Stephen Hattersley.

Some but not all of the Velox images used by newspapers during the 1979 “palimony” suit that made headlines for months.

Two separate contact sheets of Michele Triola’s semi-nude modeling days before she met Lee Marvin. Probably the late 50s or early 60s. Images can be blown up larger and framed, of course.

A contact sheet of photos taken on the set of MONTE WALSH of Lee Marvin and Jeanne Moreau, as well as separate images of Ina Balin from THE COMANCHEROS on the same sheet. Images can blown up larger and framed, of course.

Smaller newspaper images from his various films kept on file for the celebrity columns in the 60s-80s. Each measure approx, 3×5, very much like a wallet size photo. Some have captions as shown above.

 

 

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