PILLARS OF THE SKY W/ JEFF CHANDLER & LEE ‘WARD BOND’ MARVIN

Universal Pictures’ 1956 release, Pillars of the Sky, starred Jeff Chandler (Ira Grossel) and Dorothy Malone (Dorothy Maloney) but way down the cast list, fifth biilled, as a matter of fact, was Lee Marvin. Of course, it’s mentioned in Lee Marvin Point Blank as I was lucky enough to interview one of its stars, Martin Milner. As a side note, he told me a great anecdote that wasn’t in the book but did make a great blog entry.

One of two ad campaigns for PILLARS OF THE SKY.

As for Marvin in the film, I was able to include one of my favorite stories about him in the book that took place during the film’s production concerning veteran actor, Ward Bond. It’s a wonderfully telling tale that p.r. veteran Peter Levinson passed on to me. Gotta read the book to find that out as it’s a hoot!
As for Marvin’s contribution to the over produced film, it consisted of several early scenes playing what he did best, a swaggering, veteran calvary officer clearly based on Ward Bond himself, as he affected a poorly rendered Irish brogue, for reasons known only to Marvin. My guess is, he did it out of boredom and wanted to have some fun with the part. He was never very accomplished when it came to attempting accents, however: A Mexican bandit on an episode of “Wagon Train,”  an Armenian grape grower on the short-lived “Great Adventure” series, and a slight southern twang in Attack!, are the handful that come to mind.
The film itself is typical of its time. A forthright attempt to show good white folks trying to help native Americans, hampered by the bigotry of other white folks, all the while barely attempting to show the native Americans point of view, who go on a rampage that endanger good and bad white folks alike. Oh, and sexual innuendo is thrown in for good measure in the form of Dorothy Malone and Jeff Chandler’s ongoing love-hate relationship on the open plains. When or if it ever shows up n TCM or any other movie channel, check it out…but keep your expectations low to enjoy it more.
-Dwayne Epstein

Alternate ad for the film in typical ballyhoo style that hints at the film’s original title: THE TOMAHAWK AND THE CROSS.

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30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PASSING OF LEE MARVIN

This August 29th will mark the 30th anniversary of Lee Marvin’s passing and much has transpired in those three decades. Truth be told, much more should have transpired within that time period. The publication of Lee Marvin Point Blank in 2013 I felt was a worthy addition to the effort of keeping his memory alive but there really hasn’t been much else. If you look at the scan from my book’s back pages you’ll see there’s only been a handful of projects that are a result of Lee’s work & legacy.

From the paperback version of Lee Marvin: Point Blank.

Some of the highlights include the long overdue The Big Red One reconstruction in 2004; A tribute to his films in 2007 by the Film Society of Lincoln Center;  MTV voting Lee Marvin’s Walker in Point Blank the top 5 badass in movie history in 2009; Playwright Nick Zagone’s original stage play “Lee Marvin Be They Name” in 2011.
When my book was in production and my publisher wanted a little more back material, I came up with this idea to keep the actor’s legacy alive in the mind of the reader….

From Lee Marvin: Point Blank, my own idea of films Lee could have made had he lived.

After my book was published, the good people at the American Cinematheque, in conjunction with Larry Edmunds Bookstore in Hollywood contacted me about the possibility of running a short film festival of some of Lee’s films. The turn out surprised everyone as the event proved to be a sell out!

Aero Theater Schedule for Lee Marvin film fest.

Aero Theater write-up. Part 2

Flyer of the festival as put out by Larry Edmunds Bookstore.

As I say, the turn out was wonderful and surprising to all. Similarly, was the fact that Lee Marvin Point Blank made the NY Times Bestseller list in 2014 at number four! Everyone has been surprised. This being the 30th anniversary of Lee’s passing, whenever his name is mentioned since then, I keep hearing how surprised folks are that he’s remembered at all and then how great it is that he is remembered.
Hey, I’m not going to lie to you. I think it would be great to keep selling copies of my book but there’s another reason other than money. Want to keep his memory and legacy alive? Sure, buy the book but more than that: Watch a Lee Marvin movie and tell other folks about it. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.
– Dwayne Epstein

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LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK HARDCOVER GOING OUT OF PRINT

A recent conversation with my publisher, Tim Schaffner of Schaffner Press, resulted in the discovery that when the Lee Marvin Point Blank hardcover sells out of copies, it will NOT be going back for another print run. Matter of fact, he told me that he won’t be doing any future titles in hardcover. as all titles will be done in paperback.
By the way, if you didn’t know it (as I didn’t until my publisher told me), when you remove the dust jacket, there’s a pretty cool graphic added to it by graphic artist, Jake Kiehle, that is exclusive to the hardcover. Sort of the cherry on the sundae as my publisher called it…

Hard cover of LEE MARVIN: POINT BLANK minus the dust jacket.

To put it more succinctly, once the hardcover is gone, it is gone! That, by the way, is not an entirely bad thing.  It increases my royalties as the sales numbers pass a certain threshold amount. Also, when the hardcover sells out, it makes it a bona fide, one-of-a-kind collectible.
I’d like to be able to say that I was in a position to make some sort of promotional offer in order to help boost those sales but unfortunately, I’m not. I can, however, make another ‘kind’ of offer in an effort to boost sales. If you purchase the hardcover, I will personally send you the following: A sticker for the cover denoting the bronze “IPPY” award in the Biography category it earned in 2013, as seen pictured herein.

2-inch bronze foil sticker indicating LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK’S win of the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2013.

Since I can’t personally sign every Point Blank hardcover copy purchased, I can do the next best thing. Another give-away I can offer is a personally signed postcard. I was on the A&E biography of Lee (back in 2001) when I was still diligently researching his life and was given these promotional postcards after it aired. I will personally sign and send one to anyone free of charge!

Lee Marvin, shown on the set of THE DIRTY DOZEN, on the card used to advertise the Emmy-winning 2001 episode of A&E’s biography of the actor, featuring the author of LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK.

If you prefer, I have a bunch of other postcards I can sign from a book signing I did at a northern California bookstore called Loveable Rogue that unfortunately is no longer in existence. Of course, that would make it a collectible of a kind, as well. Just let me know which one you prefer and I’ll accommodate your request. Must act soon as I have a limited amount of stickers and postcards.

Front & back view of cards printed up for the “Loveable Rogue book signing in Novato, Calif.

 

 

The hardcover can be purchased on line on several sites, but make sure you’re ordering the Point Blank hardcover and not the Kindle or paperback. Links to such sites are highlighted here in blue and you can simply click on it and it’ll take you right to it.
The price Amazon is charging is $14.65, which is 48% less than the cover. Barnes & Noble is priced $18.95 which is 32% less than the cover price. The same with the Books-A-Million (BAM!) price.

  • One last reason to consider the hardcover. August 29th of this year will mark the 30th anniversary of Lee Marvin’s passing. Since he is no longer with us, I think there may be no better way to honor his passing than with the purchase of a book that will also soon no longer be with us. Just a thought.
    Anyone interested in taking me up on my offer can simply message me here as shown below. Thanks for looking and long live the memory of the great Lee Marvin!
  • -Dwayne Epstein
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