Robert Downey, Jr., the amazing actor who rose from the ashes of his very public substance abuse to become a major film star via such franchises as the very buff Sherlock Holmes and the equally super heroic Iron Man, is now reportedly going to star as the next incarnation of Lee Marvin’s Point Blank (1967) character, Walker. According to this fairly detailed article online.

As Walker in POINT BLANK.

Downey is of course not the first actor to reimagine the pulp novel character of Walker, (a.ka. Parker, Porter, as this article points out correctly, which other sources do not. Crime novelist Donald Westlake, writing under the pen name of Richard Stark, has seen his master thief character portrayed on film by everyone from Jim Brown and Robert Duvall to Mel Gibson and Jason Statham, all with varying degrees of success. Of course, like the many incarnations of James Bond, to most film fans Lee Marvin IS Walker, the same way Sean Connery will always be THE Bond. That said, I’m not one to jump on the “why-are-they-remaking-a-classic” bandwagon, as I think Robert Downey is an exceptional actor and can probably pull it off. Now, if we only knew which version of Westlake/Stark’s character they intend to use…

In other Point Blank related news, the original film’s producer, Judd Bernard, has passed away recently at the age of 94 as reported here.

(L-R) Moderator Jim Hemphill, Point Blank producer Jud Bernard, yours truly, Christopher Marvin and Clu Gulager on stage at the Aero Theater.

I met Bernard briefly as he turned up as a surprise guest on the Q&A panel of a screening of the film to launch the promotion of my book, Lee Marvin Point Blank. That was quite a night and his kind shall not pass this way again. Rest in Peace.
– Dwayne Epstein

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TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar is an ongoing annual event for the basic cable channel and this year Lee Marvin is very much in evidence. As the schedule shows, there are a plethora of his films on tap. No less than a half a dozen Lee Marvin gems, that’s right, a full half dozen, for most of February. If needed, here are the air dates (if you want to set your recording device for viewing, check your local listings for times). The Oscars or nominations of each film are listed below. My source? Why TCM’s own resident guardian angel, Robert Osborne from his excellent reference book, 50 Golden Years of Oscar. Okay, ready? Here are the Lee Marvin classics being shown for TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar….

THE CAINE MUTINY (1954) Airs Wednesday, February 5th. Nominated for Best Picture (Stanley Kramer, producer), Best Actor (Humphrey Bogart), Best Supporting Actor (Tom Tully), Best Screenplay (Stanley Roberts), Best Sound Recording (John P. Livadary (Sound Director), Best Film Editing (William A. Lyon & Henry Batista), Best Motion Picture Score (Max Steiner).

Marvin & shipmate Claude Akins in THE CAINE MUTINY.

CAT BALLOU (1965) Also Wednesday February 5th. Marvin won for Best Actor and the film was a also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (Walter Newman & Frank Pierson), Best Film Editing (Charles Nelson), Best Song: “The Ballad of Cat Ballou” (Jerry Livingston & Mack David), Best Score (Frank DeVol).

Marvin as Kid Shelleen one of 2-roles he enacted for his Oscar-winning performance in CAT BALLOU

THE DIRTY DOZEN (1967) Again, Wednesday February 5th. Won the Oscar for Best Sound Effects (John Poyner). Nominated for Best Supporting Actor (John Cassavetes), Best Sound (MGM Sound Dept.) and Best Film Editing (Michael Luciano).

Marvin confronts Robert Ryan in the Oscar-winning THE DIRTY DOZEN.

RAINTREE COUNTY (1957) Airs Monday, February 10th. Nominated for Best Actress (Elizabeth Taylor), Best Art Direction-Set Direction (William A. Horning & Urie McCleary; Edwin B. Willis & Hugh Hunt), Best Costume Desgn (Walter Plunkett). Best Score (Johnny Green).

Rod Taylor as Garwood Jones and Lee Marvin as Orville ‘Flash’ Perkins in RAINTREE COUNTY.



BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (1955) Airs Saturday, February 15th. Nominated for Best Actor (Spencer Tracy), Best Director (John Sturges) & Best Screenplay (Millard Kaufman).

Most of the cast, excluding Anne Francis, Ernst Borgnine and John Erickson in BADY DAY AT BLACK ROCK.



THE PROFESSIONALS (1966) Airs Monday, February 24th. Oscar nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay (Richard Brooks for both), and Best Color Cinematography (Conrad Hall).

(L-R) Woody Strode, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan and Burt Lancaster as THE PROFESSIONALS.

So there you have it! Further proof — as if any were needed — that Lee Marvin didn’t just make really good action films. He made some of the greatest of all-time! Don’t think you’ll be seeing any Jason Statham titles in years to come on TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar. Just saying.
And of course, rare behind-the scenes stories on all of theses films (and more!) can only be found in Lee Marvin Point Blank.
See ya at the movies.
– Dwayne Epstein

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