HAPPY HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY, TOSHIRO MIFUNE

The first of April is known to most folks as April Fool’s Day (or Easter this year!) but to some observant film fans it also the birthday of Lee Marvin’s favorite co-star, Toshiro Mifune. Lee Marvin Point Blank readers are well aware of Marvin’s feelings for Mifune.

Original release ad for HELL IN THE PACIFIC, Marvin & Mifune’s only film together.

Marvin’s affection for Mifune was rare for a man of his generation and despite the difficult circumstances during their one project together, their friendship grew and lasted until Marvin death in 1987.
Mifune was a legend in the Japanese film industry, due largely to his collaboration with director Akira Kurosawa. He achieved the rarely seen success of international celebrity in the burgeoning film market of the postwar years, including a handful of American films despite his inability to speak English. It did not matter as his appeal required no words. As Lee Marvin famously said of Mifune: “This guy hypnotizes you with his genius. Those eyes! The battered samurai warrior standing alone, not wanting outside help.”

(L-R) Toshiro Mifune, Lee Marvin, Michele Triola and Mifune’s wife, Sachiko Yoshimine.

Of the one film they made together, Hell in the Pacific is given it’s just due in Lee Marvin Point Blank. Other sources for its production are detailed in director John Boorman’s memoir, Adventures of a Suburban Boy and Stuart Galbraith’s IV mammoth tome, The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune.  Personally, I found it to be a noble failure as both allegory and filmmaking. Upon the heavily edited version released to theaters at the time, Marvin himself felt the same way but, despite it’s reception,  it remained on of his personal favorite films. It’s not without its merits, chief among them being the two actors’ presence and the eye-popping cinematography of Conrad Hall.

(L-R) Cinematographer Conrad Hall (seated), Lee Marvin, director John Boorman and Toshiro Mifune on location during HELL IN THE PACIFIC (1968).

While Galbraith and Boorman give wonderful accounts of the rigorous production, both seem to lack insight into the one element that seems to accompany any Lee Marvin project, and that is humor. Thanks to exclusive interviews with Lee’s first wife, Betty Marvin and his career-long agent, Meyer Mishkin, I was able to secure several hilarious anecdotes to put in my book that would have been lost to time had they not agreed to open up to me.
Still in all, Hell in the Pacific is worth viewing, if only for the powerful presence of both Marvin and Mifune, two actors at the top of their game in a film personal and important to them both. Watch it again for the great Mifune’s heavenly birthday and when Marvin shouts out “Come and get it!” raise a sakazuki in the great man’s honor.
– Dwayne Epstein

Director John Boorman’s 2003 memoir, Adventures of a Suburban Boy.

Author/Historian Stuart Galbraith’s massive 2001 tome, The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune.

 

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LEE MARVIN BIOPIC CAST POSSIBILITIES: PART I

When I first began working on Lee Marvin Point Blank, the idea of a biopic never occurred to me, but since it made the NY Times Bestseller List, a biopic now seems like a natural follow-up. So, with that in mind, why not consider the possibilities of a biopic cast?
Who could play the lead is a great topic of conversation already explored in two previous blog entries. However, it might be interesting to consider the important supporting characters in Lee Marvin’s life and work for a biopic cast. Granted, readers of the book never knew the individuals personally that I wrote about, but through various photos and anecdotes, I think it’s possible to get a handle on some of these folks.

First up, there’s Lee’s career-long agent, Meyer Mishkin.

Lee Marvin & career long agent Meyer Mishkin.

“Little Mish,” as he was called in the business, was dwarfed by the six foot-three Marvin but as the actor’s friend, mentor, advisor and father figure, the wise little fella was the only one capable of keeping Marvin in line. So, with that in mind, there are several choices to consider. The most obvious to my mind, are the likes of Seth Rogan or Jonah Hill. Heck, if he were not so Italian looking, Joe Pesci would be worthy.

Actor Paul Giamatti

However, Paul Giamatti (who despite his name looks much less Italian), comes on as a strong candidate having played similar parts in the past (Cinderella Man, Love & Mercy, Straight Outta Compton, etc).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An even stronger candidate is an actor who was actually once a client of Meyer Mishkin’s back in the 1970s, around the time he won the Oscar for Best Actor.  I spent the day with Mishkin interviewing him about his time with Lee Marvin. At one point, I asked him if having this actor as a client, with all his well-known scandalous behavior at the time of drug abuse and DUI arrests was worst or better than Lee Marvin was as a client. The bemused Mishkin just rolled his eyes. The actor?

Meyer Mishkin’s former client, Richard Dreyfuss.

 

Richard Dreyfuss hasn’t done much acting over the last few years and at 70, he’s quite a few years older than Giamatti, but personally, I think he would jump at the chance at playing his former agent and career builder.

Next up for consideration, based on what I wrote about in my book, would be Lee’s first wife, Betty Marvin. I got to know her as well and could humbly add that we got to be friends. The best words to describe her would be funny, understanding, independent, wise and self-sacrificing, at least in terms of her husband and children. Many actresses today could fill the role expertly.

Betty and Lee Marvin early in their marriage.

Several come to mind, of course, such as Laura Dern, Julianne Moore, Jessica Chastain, Kristin Wiig, Laura Prepon, Vera Farmiga, Gwyenth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, and the like.

However, once again there are two stand-out possibilities. First, Joan Allen, an actress of whom the very first time I remember seeing her in a film, reminded me of Betty Marvin in so many ways.

Multi-Oscar nominated actress, Joan Allen.

She’s taller than average like Betty, bears a resemblance and conveys similar personality traits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other possibility is probably and even stronger candidate than Joan Allen based on the same attributes. Remember the late 1990s ABC sitcom Dharma & Greg? Well, the break out star of that show, Jenna Elfman, is my pick.

Dharma & Greg’s Jenna Elfman.

She’s built very much like Betty was in those days and has the quirky sense of humor, as well.

As to the other woman in Lee’s life around that period of time, there’s the juicy role of one Michele Triola.

Marvin and his ‘last minute date’ Michele Triola at the Oscars after he won Best Actor for Cat Ballou.

By all accounts from my research she was fun to be around in a bawdy kind of way, at least when it came to her relationship with Lee. Apparently, she was also cunning, vindictive and fame-hungry at any cost. To be blunt, the kind of character any actress would love to portray. The likes of Carla Gugino, Rachel Weisz, Marisa Tomei or Helena Bonhma Carter come to mind.

From my research, and having seen her play a similar role in American Hustle, I’d add Amy Adams in the mix as a strong candidate.

Hotter than hot actress, Amy Adams as Michele Triola?

To my mind, there is another strong possible candidate as far as this generation of actors are concerned. I don’t know if she has the acting chops to pull it off but she has also played someone similar on the sitcom That 70s Show, and that’s Mila Kunis.

Current headline maker, actress Mila Kunis.

There are other important roles to fill, such as Lee Marvin’s family, his co-workers/friends, etc., but I’ll have to leave that for Part II. As Johnny Carson used to say, more to come. But until then, feel free to add your own thoughts in the comment section below.
– 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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