ADVENTURES IN AUTHORING: ANSWERING NEGATIVE CRITICISM

A while back I was having dinner with my publisher, Tim Schaffner, when the subject of negative criticism of Lee Marvin Point Blank came up.
Don’t get me wrong, the overwhelming majority of reviews of the book have been largely positive and for that I am eternally grateful.

Paperback back cover of LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK (designed by Jake Kiehle) highlighting some of the reviews.

However, the handful of negative criticism still stick in one’s craw. I can chuckle at it now but at the time, you can’t imagine how frustrating it is to be pummeled over something the critic claims authority over, yet in reality, knows nothing about….and then blames me!
What had bothered Tim was a review that not only raked the book over the coals, but also tore into what the reviewer thought was the awful editing of the book. Why did that bother Tim so much? He just happened to have been the editor! I told him I had read some other negatives too, but he emphasized to me in no uncertain terms that no matter how tempting it is: DO NOT RESPOND IN KIND. His point being that iit gives them a platform, brings you down to their level, and might even effect sales negatively in the long run if the review is believed.
He was right of course, but seeing as how this is my blog, to help support and supplement my book, run for cover if you are so inclined as I’m-a gonna fire back, once and for all. As James Dean said to Rock Hudson in Giant: “And there ain’t a dang thing you can do about it!”
Okay, Since I had told Tim I wouldn’t respond in kind, and to keep myself as honest as possible, I’ll just focus on two such reviews and I won’t be citing the source of the criticism. I’ll merely quote the inane comment anonymously and then show how frustratingly wrong they can be. Ready? I’ll start with the one that pissed off Tim so much. Here goes….

… Dwayne Epstein’s Lee Marvin: Point Blank isn’t anything close to definitive. A sloppily edited assemblage of interviews, it’s first-draft oral history in which readers with considerable patience can find Epstein issues several medical diagnoses derived from his own conclusions….Marvin fans who can get through all the throat-clearing tedium will find similar quotable bits in these underedited pages.

Heh, heh. Can you see why Tim, the book, editor got so pissed? No proof to back up their claim, no alternative response, not even an example of my ‘throat-clearing tedium,’ other than one sentence in which the quote is taken completely out of context. I hope the idiotic reviewer got paid well for his online rant because he may have kept a lot of well-meaning movie geeks from reading my book and discovering Lee Marvin for themselves. Sadly, it’s their loss.
And now, my personal favorite. There’s the one from a respected and long-in-the-tooth film journal that went to town on my facts. Strange scenario involved as well because the reviewer sent me the review and apologized as it was a last minute assignment for him, thus hinting that he may not have read the whole thing. Like a bonehead, I thanked him for his effort without reading the review first. Still kicking myself over that one. Here’s part of what bugged me….

Epstein does tell of Marvin—during the filming of Samuel Fuller’s The Big Red One (1980), his last great role—taking the stage at a Roman-built amphitheater in Israel to recite a soliloquy from King Lear. That event is as surprising to the reader as it must have been to Marvin’s costars, as there’s no other mention in the book of Marvin having an affinity or aptitude for William Shakespeare or classical drama.

Hmm, do you think he may have missed the section in which Lee studied the classics at the American Theatre Wing (ATW)? Possibly. Then again, he probably also missed this image in the photo section (laid out by graphic artist Jake Kiehle), as well…..

Lee Marvin in LM:PB’s photo section shown in Shakespearean garb while attending the ATW.

I swear to you folks, try as you might, you just can’t make these things up!
Okay, enough ranting. Don’t go by my word as to the book’s value. Certainly don’t go by the word of an online movie geek or pompous film journalist, either. By all means, judge for yourself. Read the book. Find out about Lee Marvin. Rent or download some of his films. Then, do something revolutionary these days: make up your OWN mind.
– Dwayne Epstein

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MASSIVE LEE MARVIN PHOTO SALE OF OVER 100 ORIG. IMAGES!

MASSIVE LEE MARVIN PHOTO SALE! Please be sure to scroll to the bottom to see ALL images and information required for purchase.
Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank are well aware of the great photos found within its pages, so now here’s a photo sale to own ALL of my own original 8×10 film-related images for yourself! I have made every attempt to upload as many images as possible, but several dozen are still not able to be shown due to length and size of the blog entry. If a specific image is requested let me know and I’ll do what I can to send it privately.
What this is: All the images listed below are being sold in bulk. It is being sold solely on this website and not via Ebay or other venues for a variety of reasons. All images are ORIGINAL 8x10s put out to promote a given project for film or TV promotion and are in condition from mint to very good. An amazing feat considering most of these photos are several decades old! Descriptions in blue are links to previous blog entries in which the image has been posted with greater clarity. To viewer larger versions of each image simply click on the  image.
How this works: Any and all interested parties need merely reply to this blog entry at the bottom of the page. PAYPAL is the preferred method of payment but may accept check, money order, or Western Union all with seller’s approval. The reply will NOT be seen publicly as I am the only one who can approve the reply and I will keep all messages private and will also respond in private. Any and all questions, offers or comments will be responded to privately. All serious offers will gladly be considered but keep in mind I have set a necessary reserve price that I won’t be making public.
So, feel free to peruse the images below and make me an offer if interested. I’ll respond in kind. Thanks for looking and greatly look forward to doing business with you. Enjoy!
FREE PRIORITY SHIPPING!
FILMS: U.S.S. TEAKETTLE (film debut): 3
HANGMAN’S KNOT (1952): 2
GUN FURY (1953): 1
THE BIG HEAT (1953): 1
SHACK OUT ON 101 (1955): 4
ATTACK! (1956): 1
SEVEN MEN FROM NOW (1956): 1
RAINTREE COUNTY (1957): 1
THE COMANCHEROS (1961) : 1
DONAVAN’S REEF P.R (1963): 1
SGT. RYKER (1963): 2
THE KILLERS (1964): 3
SHIP OF FOOLS(1965): 3
CAT BALLOU (1965): 1
THE PROFESSIONALS (1966): 5
POINT BLANK (1967): 4
MONTE WALSH (1970): 1
POCKET MONEY(1972): 4
PRIME CUT (1972): 1
EMPEROR OF THE NORTH (1973): 1
SPIKES/ICEMAN(1974-73): 1
SPIKES GANG: (1974) 1
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL(1976): 2
GREAT SCOUT & CATHOUSE THURSDAY (1976): 2
AVALANCHE EXPRESS (1979): 10
BIG RED ONE (1980): 2
DEATH HUNT (1981): 5
GORKY PARK (1983): 2
DIRTY DOZEN:THE NEXT MISSION (1985) 6
DELTA FORCE(1986): 1
MISC: PING PONG W/ PAUL FIX & JOHN DEHNER (1960, APPROX): 1
MARINE AWARD (1963): 2
W/ MEYER MISHKIN @ LONDON PREMIERE (1969): 1
PARAMOUNT PROMO (1969): 1
1971 PR PIC: 1
CONTACT SHEETS: U.S.S. TEAKETTLE: 1 (separated)
MICHELE TRIOLA (Approx. 1960): 2
MONTE WALSH: 1
NEWSPAPER PALIMONY PIX: The newspaper I used to work for had a morgue file on the palimony suit with a bunch of pix of Lee and his wife Pam during the trial that the paper let me have for good. They are of varying sizes and include captions. I’d say about 3 dozen in all mostly in sepia tone (but not all) on velox paper as camera-ready images.
FRAGMENTED IMAGES: From newspapers, mostly the 70s & 80s numbering about 2 dozen with captions.

Four studio 8×10 portraits of Lee Marvin from the 60s and 70s.

Extremely rare separated contact sheet of Lee Marvin with Gary Cooper on the set of Marvin’s first film, U.S.S. TEAKETTLE (aka YOU’RE IN THE NAVY NOW). Images can be blown up larger and framed, of course.

Two extremely rare onset photos from Lee Marvin’s first film, U.S.S. TEAKETTLE (aka YOU’RE IN THE NAVY NOW). Top photo, Marvin is on the far right with headphones around his neck. Bottom photo Marvin is running second from left. Also pictured is Millard Mitchell, Jack Warden and Harvey Lembeck.

Photo set from SHACK OUT ON 101 with Terry Moore, Kennan Wynn, Whit Bissel & Jess Barker.

Photo set from SHIP OF FOOLS with Vivien Leigh.

Photo set from THE PROFESSIONALS with Woody Strode, Robert Ryan & Burt Lancaster.

Photo set from POINT BLANK with Angie Dickinson, Carroll O’Connor & Sharon Acker.

Photo set from SHOUT AT THE DEVIL with Pam Marvin.

2 Photo set from THE GREAT SCOUT & CATHOUSE THURSDAY with Elizabeth Ashley & Kay Lenz.

Photo set from AVALANCHE EXPRESS with Robert Shaw, Linda Evans, Mike Connors, Joe Namath, Maximilian Schell & Horst Bucholtz.

Photo set from GORKY PARK with William Hurt and Ian Bannen.

Photo set from THE DIRTY DOZEN: THE NEXT MISSION with Ernest Borgnine, Richard Jaeckel, Larry Wilcox, Ken Wahl, Sonny Landham, Jeff Harding, Michael Paliotti, Jay Benedict, Sam Douglas, Gavan O’Herlihy, Rolf Saxon, Ricco Ross & Stephen Hattersley.

Some but not all of the Velox images used by newspapers during the 1979 “palimony” suit that made headlines for months.

Two separate contact sheets of Michele Triola’s semi-nude modeling days before she met Lee Marvin. Probably the late 50s or early 60s. Images can be blown up larger and framed, of course.

A contact sheet of photos taken on the set of MONTE WALSH of Lee Marvin and Jeanne Moreau, as well as separate images of Ina Balin from THE COMANCHEROS on the same sheet. Images can blown up larger and framed, of course.

Smaller newspaper images from his various films kept on file for the celebrity columns in the 60s-80s. Each measure approx, 3×5, very much like a wallet size photo. Some have captions as shown above.

 

 

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BIG RED ONE RECONSTRUCTION AT THE DGA

Writer/Director Sam Fuller’s The Big Red One never received the accolades it deserved in his lifetime for a myriad of reasons. I mention this simply because I was going through my research records for Lee Marvin Point Blank and came across some reminders of the film’s reconstruction back in 2004. I was invited to the screening at the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) in Hollywood and wound up mingling with several of the film’s participants.

Program cover for the DGA screening of Sam Fuller’s reconstructed THE BIG RED ONE.

Those in attendance included Sam’s widow Christa Fuller and their daughter Samantha, as well as the film’s costars Robert Carradine, Kelly Ward, Bobby DiCiccio, Perry Lang and a few others. Mark Hamill was scheduled to appear but had to cancel.
Anyway, it was a wonderful experience.

Inside page of BIG RED ONE reconstruction program.

There were also a few unexpected surprises, such as Martha Plimpton and her father, Keith Carradine. I spoke briefly with Carradine in hopes of getting an interview for his work in Emperor of the North but sadly, it was not to be.
On a happier note, I was able to reconnect with Peter Levinson (1934-2008), The Big Red One’s original publicist who had granted me an interview a few months before, regaling me with some wonderful industry anecdotes I might blog about in the near future.
Viewing the film was of course an incredible experience as the lost footage had been rumored and whispered about for decades were finally on display. Historian Richard Schickel did a most commendable job putting the pieces together, as most fans would later discover on DVD.
Okay, I am apparently avoiding the obvious, which is what I REALLY found in my research records. Can you tell? So, without further adieu, here it is. Before the film started, Christa Fuller took a photo of me chatting with her daughter outside the DGA building. It might best be dubbed “Beauty & The Beast.” I give you…..

Samantha Fuller (left) reacts to something I’m telling her while I blather on about something that, for the life of me, I have no memory of whatsoever. Maybe that’s a good thing.

 

 

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