PRE-STARDOM: LEE MARVIN & THE LADIES

Unlike other male film stars, Lee Marvin didn’t have many romantic entanglements in his films, as readers of Lee Marvin: Point Blank are fully aware. When he became a leading star that changed only very slightly but it was even more true in his pre-stardom days.
Oh, he interacted with the opposite sex on screen but certainly not in the manner that normally befitted a future superstar. Take for example 1953’s The Big Heat, in which he played henchman, Vince Stone. His girlfriend, Debbie, was played by Gloria Grahame and anyone who has seen the film knows how their relationship winds up.

A self-satisfied Debbie (Gloria Grahame) hands the phone over to an impatient Vince Stone (Marvin) knowing it’s his boss after she just chided Stone for jumping whenever the big boss calls, in Fritz Lang’s THE BIG HEAT.

Of course Marvin’s chivalry towards the opposite sex is on display earlier in the film in how he treats Carolyn Jones and the way he offers her a cigarette. Talk about foreshadowing!

Then there’s the way Marvin’s aptly named Slob interacts with Terry Moore in the bizarre 1955 cult classic, Shack Out on 101. From the pre-credit prologue until the film’s finale,

Terry Moore as Cotty tries to deal with the advances of Slob in SHACK OUT ON 101.

Marvin and Moore’s way of dealing with each other is one of the highlights of the film. Terry Moore detailed the way in which Marvin threatened her on camera when I interviewed her for Lee Marvin Point Blank and she was delighted with the results. Less delighted was Donna Reed about her equally terrifying scene with Lee Marvin in Hangman’s Knot (1952). Her reaction delighted Marvin but certainly not her.
It seems the only time Marvin was allowed to be halfway human towards women was on television, in which his versatility was put to better than use than on film….

A tender moment with Patricia Donahue in The Last Reunion episode of the NBC anthology series, GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATRE.

As Lt. Frank Ballinger, Marvin has a uncharacteristically tender moment on his show M SQUAD.

Television notwithstanding, once viewers were able to attach a name to the familiar face, Lee Marvin was back in movie theaters enacting some typical love scenes…

As hired killer Charlie Strom, Lee Marvin gently persuades blind receptionist Virginia Christine  to divulge some vital infomation in Don Siegel’s THE KILLERS.

Vivien Leigh drives home her point to Lee Marvin in their heated debate concerning women’s shoe styles in Stanley Kramer’s SHIP OF FOOLS.

On the brink of major stardom in the early 1960s, Lee Marvin’s roles in such films as The Killers and Ship of Fools had him treating the opposite sex very much in keeping as he had throughout his pre-stardom years of the 1950s. By the end of the 1960s, however, he was an undeniable superstar, in the clinches with the likes of Jane Fonda, Jeanne Moreau and the ever present Angie Dickinson. How did he deal with these ladies on camera as well as off? The subject of the next blog entry….and a good portion of Lee Marvin Point Blank.
– Dwayne Epstein

 

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LEE TV SHOWS: MARVIN ON TELEVISION

Lee’s TV Show appearance: From the earliest days of live television to the the TV-movies of the late 1980s, Lee Marvin had been a permanent fixture in America’s living rooms in spite of his screen success. An entire chapter of Lee Marvin Point Blank is dedicated to his TV performances in which he proved to be more versatile than he ever was on the big screen. Rather ironic considering he hated the medium of television. His versatility allowed him to do such things as …..

lastrenuinionplay romantic love scenes as shown above with Patricia Donahue in “The Last Reunion” episode of GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATER.

He gave a poignant performance as a brain damaged boxer who must choose between the age-old conflict of his life or his pride in boxer

THE SCHILTZ PLAYHOUSE episode from September 1959 entitled “A Fistful Of Love.”

As manned space flight became a reality, he also played a troubled astronaut alongside E.G. Marshall inorbit

 

The DESILU PLAYHOUSE production entitled “Man In Orbit” in May of 1959.

His physical appearance had him playing bad guys in westerns in the movies but on TV he played

colgatewesterna western drifter in the title role of “The Easy-Going Man” episode of NBC’s COLGATE WESTERN THEATER.

As his success slowly grew, he was not above appearing in other types of shows simply as himself, such as

gameshowa short-lived game show entitled YOU DON’T SAY with host Tom Kennedy (center) and fellow celebrity contestant, Beverly Garland.

Even after his film success in the mid-sixties he continued to make appearances on such unlikely venues as

bobhopeBob Hope’s comedy specials and as a host of a 1976 TV special highlighting the work of

stuntsof such legendary stuntmen as Dar Robinson (right).

 

 

 

 

 

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