MARTIN SCORSESE INCLUDES 2 LEE MARVIN FILMS

Martin Scorsese, the legendary director of legendary films has become associated with great gangster films as much as John Ford has been associated with great western films. He’s also a well-renowned film enthusiast so the combination of those two factors makes for the invetiable list of his all-time favorite gangster films. It was recently unvieled this week in an online British periodical that was called from an interview Scorsese did in 2010 (The British article can be read here). The obvious question, stated with tongue firmly in cheek, becomes what took so long? 
The list is whittled down to a mere fifteen films, which is surprisingly short considering the breadth of Scorsese’s film knowledge and passion. I had known of his appreciation of Lee Marvin’s film work as I wrote about it in the last chapter of Lee Marvin Point Blank, citing Harvey Keitel’s great speech in Martin Scorsese’s first film, Who’s That Knocking At My Door (1968). I had also blogged about it previously

The poster for an upcoming film on the right as shown in Scorsese’s MEAN STREETS.


 I was naturally glad to see Marvin’s Point Blank on the list despite the rather strange definition Scorsese gives the film: “Lee Marvin is Walker, the man who may or may not be dreaming, but who is looking for vengeance on his old partner and his former wife. Like Burt Lancaster in the 1948 I Walk Alone, another favourite, he can’t get his money when he comes out of jail and enters a brave new corporate world.” Not quite accurate to say Walker ‘Comes out of jail,’ as if he was paroled the way Lancaster was in I Walk Alone. Just saying. 
 I was also pleasantly surprised to see Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955) on his list, another film in which Lee Marvin contributed. Not included was The Big Heat (1953) which was equally surprising. Not in a bad way, however, as it has been heralded by others quite a bit but Pete Kelly’s Blues is worthy of some new and more positive reconsideration.

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



So, there you have it. The great Martin Scorsese gives his thoughts on his favorite gangster films, with Lee Marvin making the count not once, but twice. By the way, to be fair, he made the list based on chronology and not in order of importance. If you can’t see it, the list is below and the choices are impressive. Thank you, Martin Scorsese.

  • The Public Enemy (1931)
  • Scarface (1932)
  • Blood Money (1933)
  • The Roaring Twenties (1939)
  • Force of Evil (1948)
  • White Heat (1949)
  • Night and the City (1950)
  • Touchez pas au Grisbi (1954)
  • The Phenix City Story (1955)
  • Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955)
  • Murder by Contract (1958)
  • Al Capone (1959)
  • Le Doulos (1962)
  • Mafioso (1962)
  • Point Blank (1967)

  • Dwayne Epstein
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JUDGE ROY BEAN STARRING…..LEE MARVIN?

Judge Roy Bean, a legend of the old west, was indeed a real person ((1825-1903) and has been immortalized on screen countless times. The larger-than-life character of Bean would seem like a natural for the likes of Lee Marvin, who specialized in larger-than life portrayals. Apparently at one point, he almost was “The hanging Judge west of the Pecos.” 

      According to a recently discovered documentary (Milius 2013), it was Marvin who was the intended star of the 1973 film, The Life & Times of Judge Roy Bean. I was amazed to only recently find this out as I would have included it in the appendix I did of nearly four dozen films Lee Marvin almost made as an exclusive extra in Lee Marvin Point Blank.

Renowned artist Richard Amsel’s poster for the 1973 theatrical release of THE LIFE & TIMES OF JUDGE ROY BEAN.


According to writer/director John Milius’s film school alum, George Lucas in talking about Milius and the project: “He got a job to write Judge Roy Bean. Judge Roy Bean was one of the most brilliant screenplays I ever read. It just was magnificent and polished and good and it just blew everybody away.” Martin Scorsese chimed in with, “The work reflected a stand that was impenetrable. You couldn’t change it. This guy really believed in what he was saying.”
For the full story as to what transpired, John Milius himself takes over the story in an interview conducted long before his debilitating stroke:

Writer/director John Milius.


“It was sent to Lee Marvin. And Lee Marvin got the script. His agent sent it. And he was reading it and he really liked it. He got drunk and left it on his chair and went off and passed out somewhere [laughs]. And Newman picked it up and started reading it and took it away. He called his people in Los Angeles and said, ‘Buy this script. I wanna do this.’ So, they came to me and said, ‘We wanna buy this script.’ I said, ‘Fine. I wanna direct it.’ They said, ‘No, no. That’s not possible.’ 
   See, there were two prices. One that was really cheap with me directing it. The one that kept going up and up without me [was the other price]. They finally paid the price without me. In 1972-73, that was a helluva lot money. There is no good movie without a good script.
   It wasn’t at all the same movie. Huston wasn’t the right person to direct it and Newman certainly wasn’t the right person to act in it and they’re all terrific people. Paul Newman is on of the nicest, most intelligent people in the world. I can’t say anything against him. He just wasn’t right for that movie.”

On the set of POCKET MONEY made the year before in which Newman may have read Marvin’s copy of the script.


And so, there you have it. Yet another, and probably one of the strangest examples, of a property Marvin would have been great in but due to unusual circumstances, was not meant to be. Pity, really in as much as I liked the quirky film, Marvin would have been terrific!
– Dwayne Epstein 

The real Judge Roy Bean.

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“SOPRANOS'” MOVIE FEATURES LEE MARVIN MARQUEE

The Sopranos’ movie, entitled The Many Saints of Newark, is currently shooting in Newark and in order to make it period correct for 1967, it features a well placed movie marquee. If you can’t see the images in the link in the next paragraph, this might help….

Movie marquee in The Sopranos movie that’s set in 1967.

Same marquee from a different angle.

 

According to the Central Jersey News website, the film concerns how young Tony Soprano came to be during the tumultuous Newark Riots. In order to make it period correct, film makers had the local theater display the most popular film of the summer of 1967, The Dirty Dozen. Matter of fact, it was the single most financially successful film in MGM history at the time, in no small part due its popularity in urban areas, such as Newark.
By the way, this upcoming film is not the first time a Lee Marvin movie has been featured in a film. Martin Scorsese, a certified Lee Marvin fan, used a well-known Marvin film in his 1973 classic, Mean Streets. Further proof of Lee Marvin’s popularity in urban environs. Check out the screen capture below of Harvey Keitel and Robert DeNiro in the lobby after viewing a screening of The Searchers….

Check out the poster for an upcoming film on the left as shown in Scorsese’s MEAN STREETS.

It’s not the first time Scorsese has referenced Lee Marvin in a film, either. His debut film, Who’s That Knocking at My Door (1967), has an even better reference in dialogue by again, Harvey Keitel. Pretty impressive dialogue, too. For the reason for the dialogue, as well as its actual contents, look no further than Lee Marvin Point Blank, your one-stop Lee Marvin reference tool. Matter of fact, the last chapter is chock full of such pop culture Lee Marvin references. However, if after reading Lee Marvin Point Blank,  you know of any other such references I may have missed, feel free to comment here. Thanks!
-Dwayne Epstein

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