100 BEST FILMS OF ALL TIME

100 Best Films of All Time? Pretty impressive concept for a list, if I do say so myself. A gargantuan undertaking, to be sure, but I recently came across a website attempting to do just that. Granted, such lists have existed elsewhere, such as within the American Film Institute and elsewhere. What makes this particular list different is how updated it is to include films as recent as 2021.
   Therein lies the problem. I can understand updating a list every five or ten years or so. However, to be considered “the best” anything requires several aspects, most notably, the test of time. A film released last year may be considered great now but in a few years could be largely forgotten or considered overrated in its day. This particular list can be taken to task for just that reason among others. It also failed to acknowledge several known classics that has most definitely stood the test of time. There are no Capra classics on the list, such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) It Happened One Night (1934), and others. Also non-existent are the films of such stars as Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, Jane Fonda, Steve McQueen, Meryl Streep or James Cagney. 
   Granted, such a list is highly subjective but the fact that this list was said to have been compiled by film critics makes me shake my head in disappointment as they really should have known better. Sure, nowadays everybody seems to be a film critic via social media, but if these acknowledged critics were really worthy of the title they should definitely know better!
   Okay, my rant is over…well, almost. There sis only one single solitary Lee Marvin movie on the list. No, not Point Blank (1967). Not The Dirty Dozen (1967), not even Bad Day at Black Rock (1955! The one film? Believe it or not, at number 78 — which puts it near the bottom — they chose this….

Lee Van Cleef (far left) watches as Lee ‘Liberty Valance’ Marvin holds his own up against film legends Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

And the worst part is they give away the twist ending without even a mention of a spoiler alert! I’ve always said any critic who gives away the ending of the film in a review should not be allowed to do their job. Unforgivable! 
    Okay, now the rant is over. Don’t just take my word for it in terms of the problematic aspects of the list. You can read this “100 Best Films” list for yourself by clicking this link. Read it and weep, as they used to say. In the mean time, you can always find out what made the likes of Lee Marvin more worthy of such a list, or any list for that matter, by reading Lee Marvin Point Blank.
– Dwayne Epstein

 

Share Button

ROBERT DOWNEY, JR….AS WALKER?

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, et.al) 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

Share Button

MOVIE SLOGANS

Movie slogans — or taglines — for film poster ads have existed as long as there have been movies. It’s an obvious gig to come up with superlatives from the publicity department for a given film, but the ones that walk the tightrope between enticing a viewer without ruining the film and explaining the premise some times reach the poetic level. I have some favorite examples, such as the one for Alien (1979): “In space no one can hear you scream.” or the slogan used for The Front (1976): “What if there were a list? A list that said: Our finest actors weren’t allowed to act. Our best writers weren’t allowed to write. What would it be like if there were such a list? It would be like America in 1953.” My personal favorite is the one used for The Wild Bunch (1969), the film Lee Marvin almost made: “Five men who came too late and stayed too long.”
 Speaking of Lee Marvin (smooth segue, don’t you think?) as the author of Lee Marvin Point Blank, I thought it might be fun to try something here. Can you identify the film based only on the movie slogan? Nothing being offered in this little quiz. Just curious to see how well any readers may know his films. Below are the movie slogans and then below that, are the posters for the films. Ready? Here we go…..

“There is more than one way to kill a man.”

“They were not forgotten by history. They were left out on purpose.”

“There are two kinds of people in his uptight world. His victims and his women. And sometimes you can’t tell them apart.” 

“Out of violence, compassion. Out of suspicion, trust. Out of hell, hope.”

“Train them! Excite them! Arm them! Then turn them loose on the Nazis!” 
 

 

 

 

The original ad for THE KILLERS.

Ad for The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday

Point Blank, 1967.

Hell in the Pacific, 1968.

Poster for THE DIRTY DOZEN, the best of Men on a Mission films in which the genre is defined in the ad.

Dwayne Epstein

  •  

 

Share Button