MEMORIAL DAY MARATHON

Memorial Day Marathon of classic war films has become a TCM staple these last several years and this year in no exception. This three day Memorial Day marathon of 39 films runs from Friday May 27th to Monday May 30th and includes some of the greatest war films ever made. Naturally, it would be impossible to show every great war film ever made — Lewis Milestone’s All Quite on The Western Front (1930) and Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H (1970) come to mind — but the films they are showing represent a pretty good cross-section of some of the best and most intense war films of all time. Driving home the point is a well-written Memorial Day Marathon essay that can be read here.
Most of these Memorial Day Marathon films I’ve seen (several times), while some I’m very much looking forward to seeing for the first time, such as the underrated Jeffrey Hunter in Hell to Eternity (1960) in the true story of a Marine veteran at the Battle of Saipan. Those interested in Lee Marvin’s experience at Saipan and the USMC’s Island hopping campaign in the Pacific can read it in his own words in Lee Marvin Point Blank.

Lee Marvin & fellow Marines in the Pacific during WWII.

All times listed below for the TCM Memorial Day Marathon are Pacific Standard Time….

 

                                         FRIDAY, MAY 27
5:00 PM Twelve O’Clock High (1949) The head of a World War II bomber squadron cracks under the pressure. Gregory Peck, Hugh Marlowe, Dean Jagger, Gary Merrill.
7:30 PM The Young and the Brave (1963) Three American POWs fight to escape from North Korea. Rory Calhoun, William Bendix, Richard Jaeckel.
9:15 PM Battleground (1949) American soldiers in France fight to survive a Nazi siege just before the Battle of the Bulge.  Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban, James Whitmore.
11:30PM Go for Broke! (1951) The true story of World War II’s all Japanese-American Nisei unit. Van Johnson, Lane Nakano, George Miki.
                                              Saturday, May 28th
1:15 AM Torpedo Run (1958) A submarine commander is forced to blow up a Japanese prison ship carrying his family. Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine, Diane Brewster.
3:00 AM Darby’s Rangers (1958) An Army Major leads his men behind enemy lines during World War II. James Garner, Etchika Choureau, Jack Warden.
5:15 AM Flying Leathernecks (1951) A World War II Marine officer drives his men mercilessly during the battle for Guadalcanal. John Wayne, Robert Ryan, Don Taylor.
7:15 AM Thunder Afloat (1939) An old sailor is duped into joining the Navy, where he runs into a longtime rival. Wallace Beery, Chester Morris, Virginia Grey.
9:00AM For Me and My Gal (1942) Judy Garland (in her first adult role) and Gene Kelly (in his film debut) star in the classic WWI-era musical directed by Busby Berkeley. Judy Garland, George Murphy, Gene Kelly.
11:00 AM See Here, Private Hargrove (1944) A green recruit has a series of madcap adventures in the Army. Robert Walker, Donna Reed, Keenan Wynn.
1:00 PM Up Periscope (1959) A U.S. frogman infiltrates a Japanese-held island during World War II. James Garner, Edmond O’brien, Andra Martin.

3:00 PM Attack! (1956)

Lee Marvin as Col. Clyde Bartlett & Eddie Albert as Capt. Erskine Cooney in Robert Aldrich’s Attack!

Based on the play “Fragile Fox,” a cowardly captain leads his men into danger in WWII Belgium. Jack Palance, Eddie Albert, Lee Marvin, Willian Smithers, Buddy Ebsen, Richard Jaeckel, Robert Strauss.

5:00 PM From Here to Eternity (1953) Enlisted men in Hawaii fight for love and honor on the eve of World War II. Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra, Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine.
7:15 PM Fighter Squadron (1948) A dedicated flyer pushes himself and those around him during a perilous World War II campaign. Edmond O’brien, Robert Stack, John Rodney.

9:00 PM Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Henchmen Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin watch as Spencer Tracy gets off the train and prepare to confront him in John Sturges’ Bad Day at a Black Rock.

A one-armed veteran uncovers small-town secrets when he tries to visit an Asian-American war hero’s family. Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Walter Brennan, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Marvin, Dean Jagger, John Ericson.

10:45 PM Breakthrough (1950) An American infantry unit moves from basic training to combat in Europe. David Brian, John Agar, Frank Lovejoy.

                                                Sunday, May 28th

12:30 AM Hell to Eternity (1960) A young man adopted by Japanese-Americans becomes a hero in World War II. Jeffrey Hunter, David Janssen, Vic Damone.
3:00 AM Ace of Aces (1933) After he’s branded a coward, a sculptor travels to France to help fight World War I. Richard Dix, Elizabeth Allen, Ralph Bellamy.
4:30 AM They Were Expendable (1945) After a demonstration of new PT boats, navy brass are still unconvinced of their capability. Robert Montgomery, John Wayne, Donna Reed.
7:00 AM Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) Repeat of Saturday’s broadcast.
8:45 AM The Great Escape (1963) Drama based on Paul Brickhill’s factual account of the efforts of Allied P.OW.s daring escape. Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen, James Garner, David McCallum, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, James Donald.
11:45 Am The Steel Helmet (1951) Americans trapped behind enemy lines fight off Communists during the Korean War. Gene Evans, Robert Hutton, Steve Brodie, James Edwards, Sid Melton.
1:15 PM Action in the North Atlantic (1943) A Merchant Marine crew fights off enemy attacks at the start of World War II. Humphrey Bogart, Raymond Massey, Alan Hale.
3:30 PM December 7th (1943) After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. fights to survive the early days of WWII.  Walter Huston, Harry Davenport, Dana Andrews.
5:00 PM Destination Tokyo (1943) A U.S. sub braves enemy waters during World War II. Cary Grant, John Garfield, Alan Hale Sr., Dane Clark, Robert Hutton.
7:30 PM The Red Badge of Courage (1951) A young Union soldier fights to atone for a moment of cowardice during the Civil War. Audie Murphy, Andy Devine, Robert Easton Burke, Douglas Dick.
9:00 PM The Big Parade (1925) In this silent film, a young innocent enlists for World War I service but soon learns the horrors of war. John Gilbert, Renee Adoree, Hobart Bosworth.
11:45 PM The Cranes Are Flying (1957) A Russian woman is tormented by fears that her boyfriend has been killed in World War II. Tatyana Samoilova, Alexei Batalov, Vasili Merkuriev.
3:00 AM Till the End of Time (1946) A returning World War II veteran falls for a troubled war widow. Dorothy Mcguire, Guy Madison, Robert Mitchum.
5:00 AM Battle of the Bulge (1965) A crack Nazi unit holds off the Allies during World War II. Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, Charles Bronson, Pier Angeli, James MacArthur, George Montgomery.
8:00 AM One Minute to Zero (1952) A U.S. colonel in Korea tries to evacuate American civilians. Robert Mitchum, Ann Blyth, William Talman.
10:00 AM Merrill’s Marauders (1962) Burma, 1944: The 5307th commanded by Brigadier General Frank D. Merrill is deep behind Japanese lines in the Burmese jungle. Jeff Chandler, Ty Hardin, Peter Brown, Claude Akins.
12:00 PM The Naked and the Dead (1958) A green lieutenant comes up against incompetent officers and a sadistic sergeant. Aldo Ray, Cliff Robertson, Raymond Massey. L.Q. Jones.
2:30 PM Sergeant York (1941) True story of the farm boy who made the transition from religious pacifist to World War I hero. Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie, George Tobias.
5:00 PM The Longest Day (1962) The Allied forces launch the D-Day invasion of German-occupied France. John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda, Peter Lawford, Eddie Albert, Sean Connery, Sal Mineo, Richard Burton, Richard Beymer, Robert Ryan, Rod Steiger, Red Buttons, Stuart Whitman, Steve Forrest, Mel Ferrer, Roddy McDowell.
8:15 PM Bataan (1943) Thirteen U.S. soldiers risk their lives to hold a bridge against the Japanese. Robert Taylor, George Murphy, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Nolan, Desi Arnaz.

10:30 PM The Dirty Dozen (1967)

An Angry Col. Breed (Robert Ryan) confronts rebellious Col. Reisman (Lee Marvin) in The Dirty Dozen.

A renegade officer trains a group of criminals for a crucial mission behind enemy lines. Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Jim Brown, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Robert Webber, Richard Jaeckel, Donald Sutherland, Clint Walker, Trini Lopez.

Tuesday, May 31st

1:15 AM Take the High Ground! (1953) A tough drill sergeant prepares green recruits for service in the Korean War. Richard Widmark, Steve Forrest, Maurice Jara, Robert Arthur, William Hairston.
3:00 AM Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) General Jimmy Doolittle trains American troops for the first airborne attacks on Japan. Spencer Tracy, Phyllis Kirk, Van Johnson, Robert Walker, Tim Murdock, Robert Mitchum.
5:30 AM The Letter (1940) A woman claims to have killed in self-defense, until a blackmailer turns up with incriminating evidence. Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson, Gale Sondergaard.
7:30 AM Objective, Burma! (1945) An elite team of paratroopers lands deep behind Japanese lines in the jungles of Burma. Errol Flynn, James Brown, William Prince, Henry Hull.
10:00 AM The Bridge on the River Kwai(1957) The Japanese Army forces World War II POWs to build a strategic bridge in Burma. William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins,  Geoffrey Horne, Sesue Hayakawa.

There you have it, TCM’s Memorial Day Marathon salute via some terrific films. Think of it as just one way to commemorate the holiday by honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice. As they say in The Dirty Dozen: “Those ho gave their lives in the line of duty.”

– Dwayne Epstein.

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MAY 2022 ON TCM

May 2022 on TCM means the airing of a couple of Lee Marvin perennials and some special tributes I am very much looking forward to seeing.  As to the perennials, for this May 2022, it seems TCM loves to show these two classics, especially around Memorial Day…

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

Marvin confronts Robert Ryan in the Oscar-winning The Dirty Dozen.

As to the rest of the month’s line-up, there are some interesting Lee Marvin connections, even though he doesn’t appear in the films listed. That aside, I chose to highlight the ones worth watching. Don’t forget to check your local listings for your time zone’s start time…. 


Dark of the Sun (1968) Wednesday, May 5th & Tuesday May 24: Airing in tribute to Yvette Mimeux, this little seen acton film has Rod Taylor delivering one of the most amazing fight scenes I’ve ever witnessed, as well as a pretty decent performance from Lee Marvin’s Dirty Dozen costar, Jim Brown. 
The Verdict (1982) & Hombre (1966) Thursday, May 5th: Two very different performances from two different time periods by two very great directors but both feature Lee Marvin costar Paul Newman. I’ve written about Sidney Lumet’s The Verdict previously but Martin Ritt’s Hombre deserves a second look. An ensemble cast features superb performances by all but especially Richard Boone. Could very well have been played by Lee Marvin. Also costars The Iceman Cometh’s (1973) Fredric March.
The Catered Affair (1956) Sunday, May 8th: Ernest Borgnine, Lee Marvin’s frequent costar, costars this time around with the legendary Bette Davis in this poignant inner-city drama directed by Richard Brooks, based on the TV play written by Paddy Chayefsky. Davis has never been better and Borgnine revisits Chayefesky’s Marty (1955) persona in a very different way. Also look for a young Debbie Reynolds, Rod Taylor and curmedgeonly Barry Fitzgerald.
John Ford, The Man Who Invented America (2018) Sunday, May 8th: I don’t know anything about this documentary but you can bet the house on the fact that I will be watching. In my humble opinion, this director of such Lee Marvin classics as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Donovan’s Reef is the greatest of all American directors.
Crossfire (1947) & Edge of the City (1957) Saturday, May 14th: Robert Ryan’s sole Oscar-nomination and John Cassavetes self-proclaimed best early work highlight the Dirty Dozen’s costars claim to fame. Very different films but definitely worth watching for their performances alone. 
The True Adventures of Raoul Walsh (2014) Wednesday, May 18th: As with the John Ford documentary, I never heard of this either but since Walsh directed many of my favorite films (including an early western with Lee Marvin) I’ll be checking it out. 
Seven Days in May (1964), Papillon (1973), The Wind & The Lion (1975) Wednesday, May 25th: These three well made films are being shown as part of a tribute to my all-time favorite film composer, Jerry Goldsmith. Watch these films for the music alone and you’ll see why he’s my favorite.
Memorial Day Weekend Marathon featuring: 
Bad Day at Black Rock
(1955) Saturday, May 28th & The Dirty Dozen (1967) Monday, May 30th: All weekend long Turner is showing some great films which naturally means the airing of these two perennials!

So there you have it, May 2022 on TCM for Lee Marvin fans and cinephiles alike. If you want to know more any of these films or the people involved, there’s always Lee Marvin Point Blank. Until then, all the best!
– Dwayne Epstein

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MARCH 2022 ON TCM: 31 DAYS OF OSCAR!

March 2022 on TCM means the annual salute to the Academy Awards with their month long program of 31 Days Of Oscar. Previous years had TCM programming it’s Oscar show in February but the pandemic has moved the actual award show to March 27th, hence TCM’s showcase airing March 2022.
This being a website/blog maintained to promote the life & work of Lee Marvin, I’ve gone through the TCM schedule for March 2022 to highlight several films for both the potential and dedicated Lee Marvin fan. Of course, all these films won Oscars thru the years, while previous schedules included films that were also nominated.  Wouldn’t it be nice to include films that SHOULD have been nominated? If they did, then we movie fans would be treated to such Marvin classics, as Point Blank (1967), Hell in the Pacific (1968) Monte Walsh (1970, Emperor of the North (1973)  and more! Might be something TCM schedulers could consider in the future. By the way, Only one film listed below actually stars Lee Marvin so the reason the others are listed is explored to a much greater extent in Lee Marvin Point Blank.

Until then, below are the days and times (PST) of films Lee Marvin followers can look forward to this month. 
The Dirty Dozen
(1967), Thursday, March 10th, 3:15 p.m.

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

I don’t think it’s possible for me to write any more about The Dirty Dozen than I already have….oh, wait! There certainly is more, as I’m in the midst of researching “Killin’ Generals: The Making The Dirty Dozen, The Most Icon WWII of All Time” to be published by Kensington Press on Father’s Day, 2023, so stayed tuned for that as I’ve already acquired a staggering amount of exclusive research that no one as ever seen before! 

The Longest Day (1962), Thursday March 10th, 5:00 pm.

Original ad art for the all-star production featuring an international cast for THE LONGEST DAY..



Producer Darryl Zanuck’s mammoth tribute to D-Day still holds up after all these years and the Oscars it won were well-deserved. Rarely known factoid: It’s believed that Zanuck wanted Lee Marvin for the John Wayne role but Marvin was briefly repped by MCA at that time and turned it down. Proved to be one of the myriad of reasons the actor went crawling back to Meyer Mishkin and stayed with him for the remainder of his career.

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) Monday, March 14th, 5:00 p.m.

(L-R) Lew Ayres as the innocent your soldier with Louis Wolheim as wizened sergeant in Lewis Milestone’s anti-war classic, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT.


The first and still one of the best anti-war films to ever come out of Hollywood, it was the only film to win Best Picture for Universal Pictures for many a decade. Lee Marvin is on record as calling it one of his favorite films from his childhood on. He was especially enamored by Louis Wolheim’s war-weary Sgt. and the way in which he cared for his charges. Marvin claimed to have based his performance in The Big Red One (1980) partially on Wolheim’s, as well as his own father, Monte Marvin. Check it out and see for yourself. By the way, frequent Marvin costar Ernest Borgnine played the role in a TV-movie remake.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Mostly in shadow, Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt battle big Barton MacLane for the money he owes them.


(1948) Tuesday, March 15th, 10:00 p.m.
Legendary director John Huston’s classic tale of greed among professed friends earned the director’s father, Walter Huston, a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and with good reason.  Why is it listed here? Well, according to Lee Marvin, it also contained one of his favorite realistic fight scenes ever put on film as I related here

Rashomon

Toshiro Mifune in Kurosawa’s 1950 classic, RASHOMON.


(1950) Wednesday, March 16th, 1:15 a.m.
In the postwar years of the early 1950s, the United Sates opened up the distribution of foreign films to America, forever changing the face of international cinema. A foreign filmmaker who led the charge was Japan’s Akira Kurosawa with a plethora of amazing productions starring Toshiro Mifune. Rashomon is listed here as some may know that Mifune was Lee Marvin’s favorite actor, mainly for his Samurai films. In this film, though, Mifune is a thief who commits a heinous act which is depicted from the various points of view of the people involved. As with many of Kurosawa’s films, Rashomon was later Americanized as the Martin RItt Film The Outrage (1964) starring Paul Newman, but with much less success. Mifune on occasion dabbled in American films but Kurosawa never did. He came close once with his original screenplay of Runaway Train (1985) which was eventually made by others. Who was his choice for the role played by Jon Voight? None other than Lee Marvin. 

A wonderful line-up of films for March 2022 are presented so feel free to check out the full calendar
Curious, in the current climate of international events, think TCM may show some Sergei Eisenstein films any time soon? I didn’t think so. 
– Dwayne Epstein

 

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