MOVIE MAN WAVE ON ITS WAY…AND IT’S NOT THE FIRST TIME

Movie man wave? Whatever it is, it’s on its way, according to an article in Deadline Hollywood. I’m assuming the writer is trying to come up with a new, hip phrase along the lines of “Bro-mance,” or some other term in these days of viral social media. Based on the comment section he appears to be taking his lumps for it, too. Personally, I think ‘movie man wave’ is a terrible term but the movies he’s referring to all sound like winners. From Ford Vs. Ferrari to The Irishman and more, it’s looking to be a great end of the year movie season. Of course, nothing in Hollywood happens as a stand alone as Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood started the current trend last summer.
Truth be told, it’s a trend that actually started as far aback as silent movies, with the likes of What Price Glory? (1926). Some of the best early ones co-starred the likes of James Cagney and Pat O’Brien, or Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. When I was growing up such films were called ‘Buddy Movies,’ which made more sense than ‘Bro-mance or ‘Man Wave.’

Paul Newman and Lee Marvin may have lacked chemistry in POCKET MONEY but the film did allow for this wonderful candid image of Marvin that remains my favorite.

The actor who made more films in this realm? Probably Lee Marvin, whether as friends, rivals, or downright enemies, he worked with all the other major male stars in that capacity. It’s an impressive list that includes the likes of Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, John Wayne, Charles Bronson, Toshiro Mifune, Jack Palance, Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Robert Shaw, Richard Burton, Oliver Reed, practically the entire spectrum of male movie stars. The final result often varied in quality but the star power certainly didn’t. And what did Marvin think of this various and divergent list of co-stars? That answer can only be found in detail within the pages of Lee Marvin Point Blank.
– Dwayne Epstein

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LEE MARVIN’S KLANSMAN: WHAT IF IT DIDN’T GO SOUTH?

The recent events dominating the news out of places like Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland, got me to thinking about Lee Marvin’s 1974 film The Klansman. While it is of course axiomatic that nobody sets out to make a bad film, certain ones, with even the best intentions, have no choice but to turn out that way.
In the case of The Klansman, Marvin was not necessarily drawn to controversial subject matter but what he read in Sam Fuller’s adaption of William Bradford Huie’s novel got him to change his mind.  While the reasons for The Klansman’s embarassing failure is well documented in the pages of Lee Marvin Point Blank, Fuller’s original script was anything but cliche’ and Marvin signed on for it. Fuller’s friend and neighbor, John Cassavetes read it first and told Fuller, “It’s a pisscutter of a script.” Want proof? Here’s just one sequence in the film Fuller wrote involving Marvin’s character, southern sheriff ‘Big Trak’ Bascomb and his free-thinking college age son, Alan…..

 An amazing sequence from Sam Fuller's original script of The Klansman, featuring Marvin's characterof  Bascomb and his son Alan that did not make the final cut.

An amazing sequence from Sam Fuller’s original script of The Klansman, featuring Marvin’s characterof Bascomb and his son Alan that did not make the final cut.

Can you imagine what the reaction to that would have been in even more open-minded 1974 America? There had been other films in which redneck sheriffs were lead characters but there was always some sort of redemption in the end. In the Heat of the Night comes to mind and was certainly the best of the lot but there, too, the characters played by Rod Steiger and Sideny Poitier came to respect each other by film’s end, and there was certainly no sequence in it as shown above.

The script Marvin read had him playing a character who actually got WORSE as the film went on and Marvin liked it. No excuses for his behavior was originally written other than what he had displaying onscreen all along except it simply got worse for the audiences to gasp at, expecially Fuller’s ending! In short, racially motivated violence by police, as we’ve seen alot of lately, would have fit the mould of The Klansman if the filmmakers had the courage of their convictions. When the film was about to start production, Marvin had this to say to the publicist….

The Klansman's publicist got this quote from Marvin just as the film went into production to later be used us part of the film's press kit.

The Klansman’s publicist got this quote from Marvin just as the film went into production to later be used us part of the film’s press kit.

 

The changes that were made disgusted the actor and his drinking naturally escalated, although not as much as his strangely cast costar Richard Burton. After the film’s release and the behind-the-scens debauchery had made front page news, Marvin said this in an interview with a short-lived magazine called Girl Talk (!)

In the long defunct GIRL TALK magazine, Lee Marvin gives his thoughts on The Klansman after its release.

In the long defunct GIRL TALK magazine, Lee Marvin gives his thoughts on The Klansman after its release.

Sadly, Marvin would never again commit to a film with a controversial social commentary. Not because he didn’t want to play an unsavory character, as some actors would. He had no problem with that. He clearly didn’t want to run the risk of seeing the message he was trying to convey become diluted. A shame really, as he did look good in the costume, though….

Marvin as 'Big Trak' Bascomb in The Klansman, looks like a cross between Mayberry's Andy Taylor and The Dirty Dozen's Maj. Reisman.

Marvin as ‘Big Trak’ Bascomb in The Klansman, looks like a cross between Mayberry’s Andy Taylor and The Dirty Dozen’s Maj. Reisman.

 

 

 

Other than in The Klansman, anybody know a police dept. in which a Thompson submachine gun is regular issue?

Other than in The Klansman, anybody know a police dept. in which a Thompson submachine gun is regular issue?

The Klansman's two ad campaign's featuring its stars.

The Klansman’s two ad campaign’s featuring its stars.

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CANDID PHOTOS FROM THE SET OF THE KLANSMAN (1974)

While filming The Klansman (1974) in Oroville, California, film historian John Gloske unobtrusively visited the set and took some candid photos. I met him by chance back in the 90s and, with very little cajoling on my part, he graciously shared them with me while I was researching Lee Marvin Point Blank. That’s him below standing next to Richard Burton…

KLANSMAN1

RICHARD BURTON & JOHN GLOSKE ON SET OF THE KLANSMAN W/ LEE MARVIN BELOW.

KLANSMAN2

CANIDD SHOTS OF LEE MARVIN ON THE SET OF THE KLANSMAN

Gloske also agreed to be interviewed and told me of an hilarious prank pulled on an unwitting and overly serious Cameron Mitchell was related in the book. Not included (but recounted below) was Gloske’s quote about the experience of being on set during as well as  after the film’s shoot: “Okay, When they finished the film, Richard Burton wound up in a detox center. The both of them, throughout the film, were drinking big tumblers of vodka with ice. Marvin made a big deal about it because he said, ‘Hey, I’m an American and I can outdrink Burton.’ Burton thought he was THE drinker in the world but Burton wound up in the detox center.”

 

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