THE DIRTY DOZEN PREMIERE PARTY INVITE – JUNE, 1967

Back in the days when studios did things up BIG, the studio that produced The Dirty Dozen, MGM,  planned an old-fashioned formal premeire party with all the trimmings. The studio wasn’t in the greatest financial shape at the time and was understandably nervous about the film’s prospects, never dreaming it would become the biggest hit of the year and one of the highest grossing films in MGM’s history. Relucantly, however, they did send this invite to a select few….

Attendees of this special invitation only soiree received the following souvenir program…..

DDINVITE

Dirty Dozen Preimere invite

DDFRONT

Dirty Dozen program cover

 

On the back was the following promotional ad…..
The entire legendary cast was in attendance at the black-tie affair (Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Richard Jaeckel, George Kennedy, Trini Lopez, Ralph Meeker, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Clint Walker and Robert Webber). For Lee Marvin, who was divorced from his wife Betty (but still in contact with her) and keeping company with Michele Triola, the quandary was who would he take to the event? According to this ragged clip from Cue Magazine, the answer surprised everyone…..

DDBACK

Dirty Dozen program info

DDCUE

Lee Marvin & Monte Marvin at premiere party

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UNSEEN LEE MARVIN PHOTOS FOR LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK

Unseen Lee Marvin photos?
In researching and writing LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK, choosing the final images that would accompany the text proved to be an embarrassment of riches. However, due to both space and rights restrictions, not all the images were able to make the final cut. Periodically, those images will be seen here and for whatever reason, often make their own themes. Below are three such examples.

First, a still from the climatic opening fight scene from John Ford’s  Donovan’s Reef (1962) with John Wayne in the scenic Hawaiian Islands. The film started out to be the fun-loving romp Ford had intended for all concerned, but Marvin’s excessive partying took a much darker turn (Lee Marvin Point Blank).

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Lee Marvin and Duke Wayne heed Jack Warden’s advice to stand at attention in the midst of their annual brawl.

Next, there’s an image from writer-director Richard Brooks’ The Professionals (1966) showing the four leads, Woody Strode, Lee, Burt Lancaster, and Robert Ryan with their backs to the camera preparing to shoot the next scene. During the film’s down time in the Nevada desert, Marvin and Strode, along with stuntman Tony Epper, wreaked such havoc in the Vegas casinos that it rivaled the fabled Rat Pack. Marvin is shown here easily talking Strode into doing just that as an uninvited Lancaster curiously looks on.

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Finally, while making Robert Aldrich’s The Dirty Dozen in England in 1967, Marvin cavorted in the London pubs with former Chicago cop and ex-Marine Bob Phillips (shown left),  who played Cpl. Morgan in the film. An unknown old friend from Phillips’ Chicago days (center) visited the set after a day’s shooting. Phillips’ own caption for this photo: “You can tell’em it ain’t coffee in those cups.”

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STEVE ALLEN’S EXCLUSIVE COMMENTS ON LEE MARVIN

I interviewed the legendary TV pioneer Steve Allen in his Burbank office back in 1997 for a two-part piece that ran in Filmfax magazine. The experience remains one of my favorites as it yielded wonderful anecdotes and observations. At one point during our talk, he asked me what else I was working on. When I mentioned the Lee Marvin bio he offered the following thoughts that didn’t go into the final pages of Lee Marvin Point Blank as he spoke of the experience of seeing Bad Day at Black Rock when it first came out in 1955…..

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(above, L-R: Dean Jagger, Walter Sande, Lee, Walter Brennan, Russell Collins, Robert Ryan and Spencer Tracy.)
Steve Allen: I still think his marvelous performance in Bad Day at Black Rock — which is one of my favorite movies, anyway — was a powerhouse. One of the reasons that picture was so good was that it had three schmucks in the cast: Lee, Robert Ryan, and Ernest Borgnine. As a result of that clever, accidentally fortuitous story plotting, the moment when poor one-armed Spencer Tracy finally lashed out as the good guy, elicited from a good neighborhood totally white audience the loudest ‘Yeah!’ I ever heard in my life in a movie. I mean you hear it at football games and such but I never heard a [movie] audience do that before.

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