LIBERTY VALANCE REMAKE? SADLY, YES!

I just read that there’s a remake in the works of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and it’s going to be updated to 1980s urban America. The source is reliable so the news comes as no small surprise. Having covered the making of this classic pretty thoroughly in Lee Marvin Point Blanknaturally through the prism of Lee Marvin’s participation in it ( at least I think I did), there’s very little to add about that other than my opinion of this upcoming remake.

Why would Lee Marvin wear a bandana over his face in his opening scene in Liberty Valance? Readers of Lee Marvin: Point Blank know why.

Why would Lee Marvin wear a bandana over his face in his opening scene in Liberty Valance? Readers of Lee Marvin: Point Blank know why.

Then again, there may be a few tidbits left, such as this quote from Rolling Stone magazine in which Marvin talks about the film’s legendary director: “John Ford. Fucking Ford. You’ll never see skillets and steaks like that in anybody else’s picture. He’s like Dickens. It’s all larger than life. That’s what the old guys  understood about movies. If its not bigger than life, put it on television.”
Or, Marvin’s opinion of the film’s leading actor, John Wayne: “Now there is a legend. I liked him. But films were his whole life. I tried not to let that happen to me. I’ve never had any desire to die in the saddle.”

Lee Van Cleef (far left) watches as Lee 'Liberty Valance' Marvin holds his own up against film legends Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne.

Lee Van Cleef (far left) watches as Lee ‘Liberty Valance’ Marvin holds his own up against film legends Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne.

That all said, the obvious question becomes why in the Wide World of Sports would Paramount want to remake this classic western? Yeah, the easy answer is always money but if that’s the case why remove the element that made the film so enigmatic and get listed on the National Registry? Film critic Gene Siskel used to expound on how classic films shouldn’t be remade but bad ones should so they can improved. I partially agree with him but who want to make a bad film? There’s no money in it. It is possible that the remake could open the original up to a new audience of younger viewers but successful DVD sales have already done that.

Cover image for the extremely popular deluxe 2-disc DVD release of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Cover image for the extremely popular deluxe 2-disc DVD release of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

So the question still resonates: WHY???? Is contemporary Hollywood so bereft of originality they have to remake EVERYTHING?? Pretty disheartening thought, I know, but here’s an idea. If any Hollywood producer, director, actor, or screenwriter is genuinely interested in a terrific property worthy of screen adapation, contact ME here or my agent, Mike Hamilburg. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover what a worthy project Lee Marvin Point Blank would be on the big screen. After all, like the man said, if it’s not larger than life, put it on televsion.

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IN HONOR OF Pi DAY: THE GREATEST Pi FIGHT EVER!

This being Pi Day I wracked my brain to find a connection to Lee Marvin but the closest I could come up with were the deep-dish apple pies served up in Liberty Valance. Close enough, right?…..I didn’t think so. Instead, I give you images from one of my all-time favorite films which contained probably the all-time greatest pie fight.
The Great Race was a film I didn’t see in theatres, at least not the first time. It aired on TV, in two parts and then years later 5 nghts a week on a local network. I watched it every time, and on the rare occssion it showed up at a revival theatre, I was there, front & center. It wasn’t a great film, but to me and my friends growing up, it was a whole lot of over-the-top, old-fashioned fun with Tony Curtis’s swashbuckling, Peter Falk’s buffoonry, Natalie Wood’s lusciousness and above all, Jack Lemmon’s comedic genius in dual roles. Still a favorite all these years later!
Below, are some wonderful and rare images from the book The Platinum Years by photographer Bob Willoughby. Of all the great coffee table books about movies, I reccomend it above all others. It came out in the 1970s and Willougby’s images from his life as an on set photographer are downright stunning! The images below are just a small example….

Jack Lemmon as Prince Hapnick (giddily shown far left) with Natalie Wood as Maggie Dubois and Tony Curtis as the Great Leslie (both center) assess the damage as the pi fight winds down.

Jack Lemmon as Prince Hapnick (giddily shown far left) with Natalie Wood as Maggie Dubois and Tony Curtis as the Great Leslie (both center) assess the damage as the pi fight winds down.

The havoc of the pie fight near the end of the film is shown above but better than that, this image of director Blake Edwards working on set…..

This rare pic answers that oft-asked question, WHO THREW THAT PIE? Director Blake Edwards is caught in mid-form slamming his star Natalie Wood right in the kisser. At far left,  co-star Jack Lemmon, already nailed, steps out of the scene to admire his director's form.

This rare pic answers that oft-asked question, WHO THREW THAT PIE? Director Blake Edwards is caught in mid-form slamming his star Natalie Wood right in the kisser. At far left, co-star Jack Lemmon, already nailed, steps out of the scene to admire his director’s form.

 

Soupy Sales, The Three Stooges or anybody else you can think of must have cringed with envy at the enormity and huge budget afforded the filmmakers in this pie fight to end all pie fights. Of course, Natalie Wood may have had a different opinion…..

Shown at the end of the scene, Natalie Wood smiles and shows off Blake Edwards' handy work.

Shown at the end of the scene, Natalie Wood smiles and shows off Blake Edwards’ handy work.

Even Jack Lemmon was not immune but then again, playing the villianous Professor Fate, why should he be?

A pie caught in mid-flight lands on its intended target, actor Jack Lemmon, just as he was about to propel two of his own projectiles.

A pie caught in mid-flight lands on its intended target, actor Jack Lemmon, just as he was about to propel two of his own projectiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These terrific images are but a small sample of what fun can be had on this once-in-a-lifetime National Pi Day. It must be said that in order to stay within the spirit of this blog, one must simply ask the question, who would you least want to get a pie in the kisser from and how would he throw it? The answer is of course, Lee Marvin: Point Blank.

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HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY TO LEE MARVIN!

Happy Birthday Lee!

It was on this day, on February 19, 1924, that Lee Marvin came into the world in New York’s Booth Memorial Hospital, which still exists, by the way. His very existence (described in a flowery letter by his mother in Lee Marvin Point Blank) was a result of the union of Virginia’s Courtenay Washington Davidge and Elmira New York’s Lamont Waltham Marvin, seen below in their halycon dating days in the early 1920s (left) and then later during the Depression where they lived in Queens, New York (right)…
leesfolks

On the rooftop of their Manhattan apartment, baby Lee is seen perched on a pillow with his mother, smiling his tongue-wagging smile even as an infant as he would do decades later as Liberty Valance….

babylee

 

Because Lee’s father, Monte, worked for Kodak in the 1920s, the Marvins were one of the few families at the time able to take such images as shown below, as his parents trade places to pose with baby Lee and his older brother (by 18 months) Robert….
family

Finally, the only known nude scene of Lee Marvin (right), shown here along with his brother, Robert (left), playing in the bucolic setting of Woodstock, New York. Beneath it is an image of curly-haired Lee as a toddler already assuming the stance and defiant curl of the lip he’d maintain in many film performances. Some things are just ingrained….

withbrother

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