Long before the immediate gratification of information via the internet, and the misinformation that goes with it, there used to be this thing called books, and one particular series that was always worth looking forward to was the latest edition of Screen World. The annual compendium of the previous year’s releases was highly anticipated by yours truly. In fact, being an avid movie fan at a very young age, I can say my library’s acquisition of it was akin to the anticipation I felt when the Fall preview issue of TV Guide came in the mail. Anybody besides me remember that?
The Screen World annuals were produced under the guidance of John Willis, beginning in the 1940s as a sister publication to Theater World, which chronicled the same for the legitmate theater. Unlike contemporary film chronicles, Screen World gave no snarky reviews, cutesy summaries or even box office receipts. It simply showed the year’s releases, with the main cast and crew accompanied by press release photos. As such, it has proven to be a a wonderful time-tested archive of film history.
Take the year 1973, for example. I chose this year as it was my personal favorite of year of U.S. film releases.
Luckily, for the purposes of this blog, it also proved to be a very good year for Lee Marvin. Working on Lee Marvin Point Blank and having the majority of each year’s copy of Screen World helped me to get the exact month of his film’s releases and as the two examples below bear out, Emperor of the North Pole and The Iceman Cometh are two of Marvin’s best. The production of both films, by the way, are detailed in Lee Marvin Point Blank, of course. Screen World had other features of note, such as illustrious obits, foreign films, actors to watch, and bio data for pretty much every living actor at the time. May not seem like much now, but back before the web and undocumented ‘wikis’ it was a treasure trove of information. As shown below…..