JUNE 2021 ON TCM

June 2021 is almost upon us and with it comes a new month of films on TCM. Unfortunately, the line-up is rather sparse when it comes to Lee Marvin but thankfully, thee are a few (rather redundant) choices. 

Ship of Fools (1965): June 12th, 2021.

Lee Marvin off camera as Bill Tenney in SHIP OF FOOLS. Anyone know who the Annette Benning look-alike is helping Marvin adjust his tie?


This Stanley Kramer directed classic has aired on TCM more than a few times but it’s well worth multiple viewings. Diehard Lee Marvin fans are not particular enamored with it as he’s not toting any heavy firepower. In fact, the only firepower he totes is his racist southern accented dialogue. There are many interesting facts behind the scenes concerning Lee Marvin’s involvement in the film that I’ve blogged about in the past, but the best and most intimate revealing details are of course in Lee Marvin Point Blank.

Lee Marvin and the diminutive Michael Dunn share a laugh between scenes.



The film is not entirely successful in its melodrama but if you do choose to watch it having not done so before, be sure to hang in for the great scene between Marvin and Michael Dunn, as well as the climax between Marvin and Vivien Leigh. 

The Bat (1959): June 23rd, 2021.
No, Lee Marvin is not in this Vincent Price thriller but he was, believe it or not, in a stage version of the play early in his career. It’s not known which part he did play but it’s a pretty safe bet it was the Vincent Price role. So with that in mind, watch it….if you dare! 
Ahem, sorry.

I Died a Thousand Times (1955): Junes, 25th, 2021. 
Jack Palance took a stab at leading man status in the scene-for-scene remake of Humphrey Bogart’s High Sierra. Marvin’s scenes are minimal as one of Palance’s goofy henchmen but he did leave an impression on a young Shelley Winters as I wrote about previously.

That’s it for June, 2021, Lee Marvin fans. As I said in the beginning, the choices are sparse but I figure ANY Lee Marvin is better than none. 
– Dwayne Epstein

Share Button

UNTOLD TALES ABOARD THE SHIP OF FOOLS

Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank are well aware of the very strange events that took place during the making of 1965’s Ship of Fools. If you haven’t read it, then by all means, please do so as you’re in for quite a surprise! I was fortunate to interview such participants as Producer/Director Stanley Kramer and others who told unimagined tales of the film’s strange production.

Original ad for Ship of Fools with critics praising the individual performances, even if Christianne Schmidtmer's is a little less lofty.

Original ad for Ship of Fools with critics praising the individual performances, even if Christianne Schmidtmer’s is a little less lofty.

With such a huge and eclectic cast, strange events are bound to happen and I couldn’t get them all in the book. Such as this little anecdote from Lee’s then wife, Betty:

A p.r. still of Lee Marvin for Ship of Fools looking strangely like Boris Karloff.

A p.r. still of Lee Marvin for Ship of Fools looking strangely like Boris Karloff.

“Here’s a very good example. Who was that wonderful dwarf? Michael Dunn? Yes! Michael came over. They had done Ship Of Fools together. The only one to dance with me….He’d put his head in my belly. Lee didn’t mind but he thought it looked funny. Michael always wanted to hold hands with me. Michael was also a wonderful sculptor. Michael came through my studio one time. I think he took the wrong door. He came through my studio. He was like this little wild rooster. He saw this one piece and he fell in love with it. He brought it in. ‘I love this. Who did this?’ Lee said, ‘I don’t know. Where did you get it?’ I’m very modest. I know I may not seem that way but it when it comes to my work,..so, I said, ‘Michael, it’s mine.’ I also had a sculpting studio. So the two of us went out. He’s molding this wonderful head and..we had the best time. It lasted about two hours. It was very funny.”

Lee Marvin on the railing with costar Vivien Leigh in what would be her last film.

Lee Marvin on the railing with costar Vivien Leigh in what would be her last film.

This anecdote, told to me by costar Barbara Luna is a hoot. Sorry it didn’t make it in the book but that which did make the cut, is even better!

“One afternoon, Lee called me into his dressing room and he proceeded to give me a pep talk. I mean, a pep talk! He was a bit inebriated. He was angry with me. He was angry with me because..well, I realized later that he was projecting because, often times, if you’re not where you want to be as a human being, you recognize it easily in others. He started to tell me that I was not doing with my talent what I ought to be doing. I wanted to hear it but I didn’t want a lecture at that moment. Yet, I admired him dearly for doing it and wanting to do it because he cared enough. After about maybe 45 minutes to an hour, I thought ‘Geez!’ I could see that he was really tipsy. I tried to get up to leave and…

Actress Barbara Luna as she looked in Ship of Fools.

Actress Barbara Luna as she looked in Ship of Fools.

He wasn’t flirting with me. Not by any means. He was seriously giving me a pep talk about why I am not utilizing my talent….I think maybe the biggest culprit was because it took him so long to get his career off the ground. I think he just identified so strongly with my talent or what ever it was. He was identifying strongly. I finally couldn’t sit there any longer and plus, I probably had to get out on stage. He wouldn’t let me out! I was starting to get peeved. So, I finally got out the door. He probably turned his back for a second. He chased me! Now he was really drunk. Oh, he chased me around the stage! What stopped him, finally, he was barreling after people. He got his foot caught in you know, those butt buckets? They’re bucket they keep around for cigarettes. He tripped and he got his foot caught in one. Then he really got mad. He started to run with the bucket, I must have..Maybe I ran out the door. I don’t know where I ran. Everybody was sitting around because we had to be there everyday. Simone Signoret and Vivian Leigh and..So, that’s my biggest memory of Lee. It was so funny. You know how he was.”

Lee as Bill Tenney in Ship Of Fools, as he also looked when he cornered Barbara Luna.

Lee as Bill Tenney in Ship Of Fools, as he also looked when he cornered Barbara Luna.

Share Button

LEE MARVIN IN CARICATURE

LEE MARVIN IN CARICATURE
Back in the studio days of Hollywood it was quite common to see caricatures of popular stars in everything from Bugs Bunny cartoons to the walls of the Brown Derby. The trend faded with time but in its prime, Lee Marvin was a ripe target as shown below….

cartoon6Famed caricaturist Cristiano cleverly rendered James Stewart, Lee and John Wayne in the climax of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) without giving away ‘too’ much of the plot twist that has to be seen all the way to the end.

cartoon3The rave review for Ship of Fools (1965) in the old NEW YORK WORLD TELEGRAM included this cartoon rendering of co-stars Vivien Leigh, Jose Greco, Lee and Michael Dunn.

 

 

 

 

Lee’s great oscar-winning performance in Cat Ballou (1965) resulted in the poorly rendered cartoon below…cartoon4

 

 

cartoon2

 

A wonderful caricature by STARK for Lee’s 1967 cult classic Point Blank is shown above.

 

cartoon1

 

You never really made it as a celebrity unless you were rendered by Al Hirschfeld. For 1977’s Avalanche Express are Lee, Linda Evans and Robert Shaw. Can you spot the Ninas??

cartoon5Court artist Bill Robles strove very hard NOT to render Marvin as a cartoon during the palimony trial of 1979 as shown here in Los Angeles Magazine. Think he succeeded?

 

Share Button