Lee Marvin’s popularity in the 60s and 70s was not limited simply to the U.S. but drew worldwide acclaim. Consequently, it’s no secret that the Japanese populace loves American pop culture. If any proof were needed, check out the extremely rare Japanese Program covers to several Lee Marvin film programs distributed at the time of the film’s release (all of the films are detailed in Lee Marvin Point Blank)….
Following The Professionals (written and directed by Oscar-nominated Richard Brooks), pictured above, is the equally rare Japanese program for Marvin’s underrated 1970 western Monte Walsh….
Clearly, Japanese filmgoers enjoyed the American western and may even have seen allegories to their own samurai mythology, such as the way director John Sturges had by turning Kurasowa’s Seven Samurai into the Magnificent Seven or Sergio Leone turning Kurasowa’s Yojimbo into A Fistful of Dollars. Marvin’s 1974 failed western, The Spike’s Gang could have easily been done in a samurai-stye. By the way, check out the pre-Ocar Ron Howard….
Speaking of allegorical films, few were done as well as Marvin’s 1973 opus, Emperor of the North, pitting his rugged individualist hobo against Ernest Borgnine’s sadistic establisment railroad man. AT the time of it’s release it flopped for a myriad of reasons but luckily, through DVDs and cable, it’s find a new life….