TCM will be airing writer/director Richard Brooks’ The Professionals(1966) today at 8pm EST (5pm PST), one of Lee Marvin’s best and over time, least appreciated films. Within the genre of action films it is without question one of the best of its kind, with several Oscar nominations to its credit to prove it. The dialogue is smart and witty, the plot filled with unexpected twists, the performances are all top notch and the efforts behind the camera are equally impressive. From Conrad Hall’s eye-filling photography to Maurice Jarre’s rousing score, everything clicks.
Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank know the depth, challenges and ultimate rewards that went into the film’s production. I was fortunate enough to interview co-stars Woody Strode, Jack Palance, stuntman Tony Epper and production manager Phil Parslow, who have all since passed on. Their exclusive tales of making the classic are eye-opening and give no small amount of credit to Marvin himself. Whether taking it upon himself to keep the film’s guns clean in the unpredictable desert conditions, or ensuring co-star Woody Strode received proper credit, Marvin’s contribution can not be overestimated. So, in honor of its hopeful rediscovery, check out some of the rare graphics below…
– Dwayne Epstein
(L-R) Title cast members Woody Strode, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan and Burt Lancaster watch unobtrusively as Jack Palance and his ragtag army attack a federal troop train.