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
(195?) 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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THE LIVES OF ROBERT RYAN

The Lives of Robert Ryan, by author J.R. Jones, is one of many sources sought out by yours truly in my research effort of Killin’ Generals. In so doing, I came across this little tidbit concerning the making of The Iceman Cometh (1973)….

Lee Marvin (Hickey), Robert Ryan (Slade) and Tom Pedi (Rocky) watch as Fredric March takes his first walk outside in years among the new-fangled automobiles.


As he [Cheyney Ryan, p.272] later told author Dwayne Epstein, Marvin showed up one day at 8 AM with a case of beer and proceed to get hammered. “He got into a thing about what a big star he was,” Cheyney recalled. “It was really unpleasant…He said, “Your father’s not a big star anymore. I’m a big star. He used to be a big star and now I’m the big star.” This went on and on and on.” [Director John] Frankenheimer took Marvin aside later and read him the riot act about his drinking...
   Yes, Cheyney Ryan did tell me that, but he also told me that the next day Marvin apologized profusely and stayed sober as he worked with the cast whether he was needed or not. This important factor was left out by author Jones.

Marvin and Ryan, men of a certain age and time, in The Professionals.


In an earlier section of The Lives of Robert Ryan, author J.R. Jones recounts the tale of ‘Vegas Vic’ while filming Richard Brooks’ The Professionals (1966) in Nevada. Unfortunately he tells the version Woody Strode explained in his memoir, Goal Dust, which is vastly different than what Strode told me in person. I was also fortunate enough to interview fellow culprit and stunt double Tony Epper and his memory of that night is not only impeccable but utterly believable. Want to know what really happened? Read Lee Marvin Point Blank. Until then, in the immortal words of Robert Aldrich: “Onward!”

The Lives of Robert Ryan by J.R. Jones.


– Dwayne Epstein

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ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Ernest Hemingway has been very much back in the media again, due to filmmaker Ken Burns’ 3-part PBS documentary exploring the author’s life, work and legacy. I have yet to see it but probably will eventually as I do appreciate both Ernest Hemingway’s and Ken Burns’ talent. 
 Hemingway has always been an interesting subject and much of his work was required reading in school, and with good reason. Personally, I preferred his short stories more than his novels and it’s with that in mind, a connection can be made between Ernest Hemingway and Lee Marvin. The most obvious even has the author’s name officially in the title: Ernest Hemingway’s The Killers (1964).

Theatrical poster for the made-for-TV movie (the first!) THE KILLERS, released in theaters worldwide.


  Purists of Hemingway’s work have looked down on the revamped version of the film but there is still some strong Hemingway influence in there. Keep in mind it was a simple story (published in 1927) of the title characters coming to kill a man who doesn’t run from his fate. In fact, he invites it.
The story goes that the original film’s screenwriter, Richard Brooks, met the drunken Hemingway in a bar and asked him what he thought the reason was that ‘Swede’ didn’t run from the killers. “Damned if I know,” the author responded. Adding, “Why do you think they wanted to kill Swede?” Brooks thought for a moment and said, “Probably had something to do with big money or maybe a special woman.” Hemingway’s response: “Or maybe both.”
Granted, the subject in the Marvin film is a race car driver not a boxer but the fact is the title characters become a major focus of the film based on on the 3,000 word short story, as Hemingway may have intended. It’s TV-movie roots aside, it’s still a hell of a movie and one of Lee Marvin’s best so thank you, Ernest Hemingway. 
There’s also another less obvious Lee Marvin connection to Ernest Hemingway. No, it’s not their shard love of deep-sea fishing. Another wonderful Hemingway, short story, “The Snows of Killimanjaro,” was the source material for Marvin’s audition at the Actor’s Studio under the watchful eye of Lee Strasberg.

Susan Hayward comforts gangrene-stricken Gregory Peck in the overblown film version of SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO (1952).


I discovered the story and thought it a great way to introduce the actor and his legacy to the readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank. If you don’t know the somewhat bawdy tale, you can find it in the book linked above. Feedback is always welcome.
– Dwayne Epstein

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