RELEASED THIS DAY IN 1953: LEE MARVIN IN SEMINOLE

Lee Marvin’s earliest supporting roles are often overlooked, such as Seminole, released this day in 1953. The film itself is a typical Hollywood take on a fascinating aspect of U.S. history, as pointed out in Lee Marvin: Point Blank. In fact, when Marvin was in school Florida, he found the true story of the Seminole tribal chief Osecola so fascinating, he wrote a book report on the subject. He may have been equally thrilled to get the job in the film only to become equally disappointed once he read the script.

Original poster art for 1953's Seminole, in which 7th billed Lee Marvin is no where in sight.

Original poster art for 1953’s Seminole, in which 7th billed Lee Marvin is no where in sight.

TIME magazine aptly derided the film as “a swampy melodrama,” in which mean soldiers try to eliminate marauding Indians with a sympathetic White officer caught in the middle. Rock Hudson played the sympathetic officer Anthony Quinn played Osceola, and the the mean soldiers were headed up by RIchard Carlson. Marvin was listed SEVENTH down the cast list, but he did have a a substantial scene towards the end of the film.

Marvin (far left) is dutifully militaristic as Richard Carlson (left) and Rock Hudson (center) plot their next move.

Marvin (far left) is dutifully militaristic as Richard Carlson (left) and Rock Hudson (center) plot their next move.

 

Anthony Quinn as Osceola (left) and childhood friend Rock Hudson (right) ride off together in dubious battle.

Anthony Quinn as Osceola (left) and childhood friend Rock Hudson (right) ride off together in dubious battle.

The film’s director, the underrated Budd Boetticher, did point out how the run-of-the-film led to better things for Marvin shortly thereafter…..
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“…..[Marvin] played Sgt. Magruder and he was very, very good. [Seminole’s screenwriter] Burt Kennedy brought him in. He suggested Lee to play the second lead on my next picture with Randy [Scott]. Now Duke Wayne [as producer], and you can quote me on this, Duke was either a son-of-a-bitch or the best friend you ever had, depending on the mood he was in. Burt asked Duke, “Who should we use?” Duke said, “Let’s use Randy. He’s through.”
The result was one of Lee’s earliest lead roles and one of his all-time best performances: Big Masters in Seven Men From Now (1956).

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PARAMOUNT STUDIOS PROMO PICTURE FROM 1969

Paramount Studios Promo Picture: In 1969 the flamboyant young head of Paramount Pictures, Robert Evans, wanted to show off his new slate of projects and the stars that were in them and talked several of them into posing for this promo picture on the steps of the Paramount Pictures lot. Shown on the top row from the left are Rock Hudson, John Wayne and Yves Montand. Based on the apparent eyepatch, Wayne was obviousy still filming True Grit but was soon to work with Hudson in the post-Civil War film, The Undefeated. At the time the photo was taken, Hudson was working with Julie Andrews on Paramount’s  Darling Lili. Bottom row from the left are Lee Marvin, Robert Evans, Barbra Streisand, Paramount VP Bernard Donnenfeld and Clint Eastwood. Streisand and Montand were starring in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Eastwood was inexplicably still in costume for he and Marvin’s project, Paint Your Wagon. Big budgeted westerns and musicals, or in the case of Paint Your Wagon, a little of both.. Ahh, how the world has changed!

Note that in spite of the pretty impressive star power, it is the heavily bearded Marvin who successfully stands apart and alone form the pack.

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