January 2022 marks a new year and with it, a couple of pretty good Lee Marvin movies on TCM. Oh, I know, 2021 was a pretty crappy year when all is considered. But look at the bright side. A new year always offers new hope, more chances for success and the possibility for more dreams to come true…or not. The future, dark as it looks, can still be bright as it remains unknown. Maybe the best way to ensure some glimmer of hope is by revisiting these Lee Marvin classics (all times are PST)….

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955): January 8th, 1:30 pm.

(L-R) Russell Collins, Walter Brennan, Spencer Tracy (seated), Dean Jagger, Lee Marvin and Robert Ryan in Bad Day at Black Rock.

 A recognized classic of slow building suspense, the entire all-star cast is uniformly excellent in this modern day western suspense thriller. Nothing new to say that hasn’t been said already as I wrote about previously here and here. Naturally, don’t just take my word for it. See it for yourself if you’ve never seen it…and if you have, enjoy it again. It’s just that good. 

The Dirty Dozen (1967): January 24th, 11:30 am.

Composite of scenes from the TCM perennial, THE DIRY DOZEN.

Once again, not much more to say about this recognized WWII classic other than to add it’s the subject of my current project to be published rather appropriately on Father’s Day, 2023. Truth be told, there actually is more to say as I’ve already racked up interviews with surviving cast members, adult children of the cast and 93-year-old producer, Ken Hyman. In other words, watch the film again and stay tuned for some great stories about it!

Raintree County (1957) January 31, 2:00 pm.

(L-R) Lee Marvin and Montgomert Clift as ‘Bummers’ during the Civil War scene in Raintree.

Okay, so this rip-off of Gone With the Wind (1939) has a painful-to-watch Montgomery Clift performance, a shrill Elizabeth Taylor and some rather unsavory plot twists. However, it also has some beautiful photography, underrated Agnes Moorhead and one of the best performances Lee Marvin ever gave on film. If you can sit through it, you’ll see what I mean as I’v written previously

Pretty good movies to end 2021 on and start the new year of January 2022 with, don’t you think? Don’t forget, all the films mentioned above are written about in greater depth in the pages Lee Marvin Point Blank

Oh yeah, almost forgot something.

A recent photo of good friend Ron Thompson (inset) and one of his two animated alter egos, Pete, from Ralph Bakshi’s AMERICAN POP.

American Pop (1981)

It premieres on TCM January 22nd at 12:45 am and is a worthy addition here, even if for no other reason then I love the film and know the film’s star, personally. Ron Thompson is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and gives an amazing dual performance in the film without ever being seen! Not even Lee Marvin can say that. Ron has always been worth watching and has recently experienced an overdue renaissance of sorts that you can see here.  Check him out in animator Ralph Bakshi’s rotoscoped classic depicting 20 century pop culture. He’s remarkable in it!

Okay, now I can say it. Happy new year, one and all!
– Dwayne Epstein

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3 thoughts on “JANUARY 2022 ON TCM

  1. Hi Dwayne,
    In the pic of “Bad Day”, to the left of Lee is Dean Jagger, who got his sheriff’s job snatched away and given to Lee in one second, something that would never happen in real life without a series of time-consuming hearings involving the police union and upper management. Dean’s wife Etta was a friend of my grandmother’s before Etta moved from Modesto, CA to L.A. in the mid ‘60’s and married Dean. She taught my mom and aunt to dance when they were children. One day sometime in the mid ‘70’s when I was pre-teen, Dean and Etta came over to grandma’s house for a visit. I wasn’t there that day, but I remember getting all confused when grandma was talking about it because I thought she was talking about Mick Jagger. 😦!

    Regarding “Raintree”, have you ever noticed that in “Eight Iron Men” Edward Dmytryk lets Lee do cleaning and maintenance work on his military weaponry while delivering his lines, and then lets him do the exact same thing again in a scene from “Raintree County”?

    • Hi Shawn,
      Interesting take on “Bad Day,” but the scene in which Jagger loses his badge drives home the point that Black Rock is not like most towns. Ryan runs things and does what he pleases. In fact, I don’t think there even is a town council for hearings, let along a police union. As Tracy says, “The law of the jungle has taken over and the apes are running things.”
      Cool that your family knew Dean Jagger and his wife. Matter of fact, my girlfriend served him back in the late 70s when she worked as a waitress in cafe near a hospital in Santa Monica. She told me he was visiting a relative and came in for breakfast each day. She also said he was an extremely nice man and a VERY good tipper. Ordered an egg white omelette every morning.

      • Hi Dwayne,
        Yes, I know that most towns are not like Black Rock! But the joke to myself was that I had a govt. job for 29 years and saw co-workers get away with horrible things and still get to keep their jobs. My boss was exactly like the character Robert Ryan played, and like Anne Francis’ character, I had a crush on my boss too!

        I have a better story about one of Lee’s co-stars, if you can consider the game show he did in the summer of ‘64 …. with Mickey Rooney, who sits directly above Lee on the panel. My mom was born in L.A. in 1940. I assume this happened around ‘43 or ‘44, and had to have happened before the Mick went to war. Grandpa worked at Bullocks dept. store, so they must have lived near there. My mom was playing in their alley, and the Mick comes driving through and snarly screams at grandma “GET THAT KID OUT OF THE WAY!!”. I’ve always liked the Mick, but before my grandma died when I was 17, she didn’t like it when I mentioned his name.

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