AUGUST 2022 ON TCM

August 2022 on TCM is another month of “Summer Under the Stars” as they do every August. Although Lee Marvin is not featured, they did manage to schedule a couple of Lee Marvin films in tribute to other stars. Not that some of TCM’s choices are not personal favorites of yours truly that are new to the program, as well as new ones that are also favorites. I’ve always been a fan of the likes of Gene Kelly, Marlon Brando, Ruth Roman, Sidney Poitier, even some of Raquel Welch’s films.
   However, since this blog is dedicated to the life, work and legacy of Lee Marvin, here the films of his that are also airing. All times PST…

The Wild One (1953): Saturday, August 13th, 7:15 pm:

Marlon Brando (far left) as Johnny and Lee Marvin as Chino in the world’s 1st biker movie, THE WILD ONE, with the amazingly bizarre Tim Carey over Marvin’s shoulder.

It isn’t easy stealing a film from a young Marlon Brando, but if anybody can do it, Lee Marvin can. Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank are aware of how the two actors got along as I was fortunate enough to interview Marvin’s wife Betty Marvin, as well as producer Stanley Kramer about the film and the exclusive stories stories they told me are incredible! 


I Died a Thousand Times (1955): Thursday, August 18th, 10:15 am: 

Ad art for I DIED A THOUSAND TIMES featuring a cowering Lee Marvin.

Jack Palance took a shot at leading man status following his Oscar nomination for Shane (1953) with this remake of Humphrey Bogart’s High Sierra (1941). The CinemaScope color is great, and the cast is excellent, including Lee Marvin as one of Palance’s henchmen, and Shelley Winters is a standout as Palance’s moll. Over all, the film is rather lackluster but still worth watching. A previous blog entry describes Shelley Winters’ thoughts on the film and Lee Marvin. 

Ship of Fools (1965): Friday, August, 26th, 12:00 pm:  

Original ad for Ship of Fools with critics praising the individual performances.

Stanley Kramer’s expansive all-star production boasted some great performances, despite its occasional foray into soap opera territory. Most notable is Lee Marvin as a washed up big leaguer in a performance many though would garner him an Oscar nomination. Surprisingly, he was nominated  (and won!) for Cat Ballou, released the same year. Interesting factoid, look for a young Michele Triola in the dining room scenes as she was an extra and stand-in on the film in which she met Lee Marvin.

So, there you have the Lee Marvin entries for August 2022 on TCM. Nice cross-section of some of his career and hopefully, he’ll be the subject of next year’s all day star tribute. Better yet, isn’t he due to be “Star of the Month” again? We shall see….
– Dwayne Epstein

 

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JULY 2022 ON TCM

July 2022 is upon us and with it comes a slate of Lee Marvin films and a couple of Lee Marvin related entries airing on TCM. The timing caught me off guard so this is coming a little later than usual. So, without wasting any more time, here is what’s worth watching this July 2022. All times are Pacific standard time:

The Caine Mutiny (1954): Saturday, July 2nd !2:45pm. 

Lee Marvin (“Meatball”) and Claude Akins (“Horrible”) in Edward Dymytrk’s The Caine Mutiny (1954).


Humphrey Bogart gave one of his best and last performances in this well done drama on the high seas with able support from Van Johnson, Fred MacMurray, Jose Ferrer, Claude Akins and of course, Lee Marvin.

Under the Volcano (1984): Sunday, July 3rd, 7:15pm. Albert Finney & Jacqueline Bisset star in this adaption of Malcolm Lowry’s novel, directed by John Huston. I’ve always wanted to see this but never have, until now. Because of what I’ve read about it, I can easily see Lee Marvin in the role but that aside, Albert Finney is one of my favorite actors so it’s all good.

Billy Budd (1962) Tuesday: July 5th, 2:45pm.

Virtuous Billy Budd (Terence Stamp) is belittled by Master-at-Arms Claggart (Robert Ryan).

Herman Melville’s classic tale of good & evil was brought to the screen by writer/director Peter Ustinov who also enacts the role of the ship’s captain. Lee Marvin was in the original Broadway production as Hallam but desperately wanted to play the role of Claggart. He claimed to be mouthing the dialog of Claggart while on stage in the role of Hallam. Robert Ryan gives one of his best performances as Claggart but it’s not much of a stretch to envision Marvin in the role.

Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955): Wednesday, July 6th, 9am.

Jack Webb (left) and Lee Marvin (right) blow some hot jazz in Webb’s tribute to the Roaring 20s.

Jack Webb’s tribute to his beloved Jazz is given the full treatment in the mythic tale of the Roaring ’20s. Webb oversaw an all-star cast (Peggy Lee is amazing!) with able support given by clarinet playing Lee Marvin. The over ripe dialog is a hoot (“I didn’t come here to  listen to a sax player who had a big breakfast!”) and the photography is wonderful. In fact, Martin Scorsese recently named in one of the best crime films of all-time. 


Tiger Shark (1932): Thursday: July 14th, 5pm. The great Edward G. Robinson stars in this classic directed by Howard Hawks about the travails of Portuguese fisherman. Why is it mentioned here? In Lee Marvin Point Blank Marvin recounts a wonderful anecdote involving his run-in with Robinson and this particular film. It’s one of my favorite discoveries. 

    So there you have it, the goodies for July 2022 on TCM. Enjoy them all and happy Independence Day!
– Dwayne Epstein

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SONNY BARGER (1938-2022)

Sonny Barger, infamous founder of The Hell’s Angels has died of liver cancer at the age of 83. His life and exploits are recounted in this MSN obit. Pretty wild adventures, if you read the whole thing. 
So why is the passing of Sonny Barger the subject of this blog dedicated to Lee Marvin? 

Lee Marvin as Chino in The Wild One, inspiring a young Sonny Barger.


Well, quite simply, Marvin’s Chino in The Wild One (1954) proved to be the inspiration for Barger’s creation of The Hell’s Angels. Seriously. According to producer Stanley Kramer the film did not make much money when first released as it was banned more places than it played. However, it’s influence remains to this day. Never mind that it was the first of a plethora of biker films to come over the next several decades. It’s not worth remembering that most film critics at the time did not know what they were talking about when they said Marvin was too old to be a biker challenging young and moody Marlon Brando. The fact was the raid on Hollister, CA was the film’s inspiration and most of those bikers WERE closer to Marvin’s age. 
    Marvin’s opinion of his role, his relationship with Brando, and best of all, the way in which the real-life bikers reacted to Marvin’s performance on a personal level, are all recounted in Lee Marvin Point Blank for the first time in amazing detail. 
The film has had other influences, as well….

A young Jack Nicholson in HELLS ANGELS ON WHEELS (1967) a few years before his breakout role in EASY RIDER.

Future superstar Jack Nicholson also found inspiration from Lee Marvin’s Chino as seen in the photo here in which he took a cue from Marvin’s striped shirt by incorporating a pair of similiarly striped pants. 
Matter of fact, Nicholson was quite a fan of Lee Marvin as I’ve written about previously

By the way, another Marvin cohort entered the realm of biker flicks.The actor’s Dirty Dozen (1967) and The Killers (1964) costar John Cassavetes paid for his more personal independent film by appearing in The Devil’s Angels (1967)….

John Cassavates as a rebel biker in THE DEVIL’S ANGELS (1967). 

So Rest in Peace, Mr. Barger. I don’t know if it was a life well-lived but it certainly was a full life. You might take some comfort in knowing that being inspired by Lee Marvin was not the only time that took place. In fact, in the same film, a young British musician heard the name of Marvin’s rival group and was also inspired. Anybody care to guess who?
– Dwayne Epstein

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