Domestic Lee Marvin is not something witnessed onscreen very often. Even more scarce is Father Lee. However, this being Fathers Day, it’s a good time to explore those rare occasions of domestic Lee in which, to my mind, only occurred twice on film and in both instances, they were not the classics the filmmakers intended.

A rare domestic Lee shown in THE KLANSMAN (1974) with Wendell Wellman playing his son Alan and Richard Burton as neighbor Breck Stencill.

In The Klansman, he’s Sheriff “Big” Trak Bascomb, married with a grown son preparing for college. A simple side plot to the rather unsavory and racially charged film that’s probably the worst film Marvin ever starred in, with costar Richard Burton fairing even worse. Unfortunately, the originally script by Sam Fuller was truncated which is a shame since it had a devastating un-filmed sequence in it involving Marvin’s son Alan Bascomb that I was able to get a copy of and write about here. In any event, the less said about the embarrassing film, the better.

(L-R) Lee Marvin as Flynn O’Flynn protects and defend daughter Barbara Parkins in SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (1976).

The other instance of Marvin playing a paternal character was the action/adventure film from AIP entitled Shout at the Devil. Costarring Roger Moore and Ian Holm, the film takes place in WWI-era Africa with Marvin as a big game poacher protecting daughter Barbara Parkins and battling her betrothed (Moore), as well as the Germans, in this weak entry in the actor’s canon of films.
Obviously, the type of films Marvin made did not often make for a domestic Lee audiences could appreciate. He played married characters in The Professionals (1966) in the film’s back story as well as in Point Blank (1967). In both films, however, his spouses did not fair well, in the screenplay.
There were instances in which characters in his films acted paternally towards supporting characters, such as the gentle way in which treated Sissy Spacek in Prime Cut (1972) and the mentoring he administered to the novice bank thieves of Spikes Gang (1974).
These symbolic examples aside, Lee Marvin was just not cut out for domestic bliss, once again, on screen and off. Of his four grown children, none of them were willing to go on the record with me for Lee Marvin Point Blank with the sole exception being his son, Christopher. His poignant afterword was a worthy and surprising addition to the text. So, with Fathers Day in mind, feel free to check out the book’s afterword and then watch a better Lee Marvin movie to enjoy.
With dad, of course.
– Dwayne Epstein


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Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank are well aware of the coverage each of Marvin’s films are given, but some times, a source is discovered AFTER publication, such as SHOUT AT THE DEVIL assistant producer, Tony Klinger.

Writer, producer, director, novelist Tony Klinger

Writer, producer, director, novelist Tony Klinger

I became acquainted with Tony Klinger via social media and it turns out, he could not have been nicer or more forthcoming in detailing the experience of working with Lee Marvin. I came in contact with him thanks to another social media source, Paul Rowlands. Paul runs a wonderful blog entitled Money Into Light which I highly recommend. In fact, he interviewed me, as well, not longer after the book came out, which you can read at this link.
When Paul interviewed Tony in January 2012, I discovered his great story about working with Lee after the book was finished. Tony spoke with me about it as well, but since he put it so succinctly when he spoke with Paul Rowlands, I can reprint it here with Paul’s kind permission and my additional graphics. Enjoy….

Paul Rowlands
: How was working with Lee Marvin?
Tony Klinger: I have to admit a real preference for real people who don’t pretend to be something they’re not, and Marvin particularly fell into that category. A real man’s man, and what you saw on the screen was pretty much what you got. He was more than a bit scary, like a volcano ready to explode. One time, for SHOUT AT THE DEVIL, we were filming the sequence when the battleship Blucher was going to be discovered and blown up. It was an immense sequence involving a plane flying over that we had re-built from the original designs from the First World War, a Vickers Gun Bus. It was a real feat of engineering, and we had to build two of them and get certificates of air-worthiness before we could use them. It was a push-me plane, with the propeller at the rear of the cockpit and seats for two. The whole thing was very difficult since the reason the Vickers Gun Bus had not been widely used by the British in that War was because they weren’t too great. We had another problem at the time, and that was the rumour going round the farming community near to the river Umzimbubu, or was it the Niafu? Anyhow, I know it translates as The Watering Place for the Hippopotamus, and these farmers believed that when we were going to blow this ship up, which was a full-scale replica, it was going to be a nuclear explosion!

LP soundtrack cover of SHOUT AT THE DEVIL which includes a riotous, bawdy recording of "O'Reilly's Daughter," sung by none other than Lee Marvin, backed by "The Bar Flies."

LP soundtrack cover of SHOUT AT THE DEVIL which includes a riotous, bawdy recording of “O’Reilly’s Daughter,” sung by none other than Lee Marvin, backed by “The Bar Flies.”

Lee Marvin had the day off because, in the movie, his character was supposedly somewhere else during this action sequence, but he felt we didn’t have enough extra sailors to play the Germans. Many rumours have also flown about regarding Lee’s legendary drinking capacity, but up to this point he had never drunk when he was working. I was stationed at a corner on a dusty road leading to the field of vision surrounding the battleship, with the intention of keeping it clear, and I wasn’t ready for Lee suddenly driving around the corner, dressed as a German sailor. I put my hand up to halt Lee’s progress, and he got out of his car somewhat erratically. I realised that this wasn’t a day he was called to work, and noticed his hands were full of a large case of beer, and that half the bottles were already consumed:

Lee Marvin with loaded elephant gun at the read, set to do battle with man or beast.

Lee Marvin with loaded elephant gun at the ready to do battle with man or beast.

‘You can’t go to the set now Lee, you’re not supposed to be in these scenes.’ I said this as politely as I knew how. He looked at me with those rheumy eyes, and it was as if I was transported into a surreal version of his film CAT BALLOU (1965). He wasn’t smiling.

‘Are you going to try and stop me?’ he asked. I thought about where this was going, and despite my being a fit, strong and younger man, I wasn’t keen on a physical attempt to stop Lee.

A surly Lee Marvin, along with wife Pam, being interviewed on location in Africa for "Shout at the Devil."

A surly Lee Marvin, along with wife Pam, being interviewed on location in Africa for “Shout at the Devil.”

‘No, Lee. They’re filming and you aren’t supposed to be in it.’

‘I know that. I can be another extra. I figure there aren’t enough. I can bend low and be polishing some brass work, and keep my head down’, he insisted, miming the action he was keen to undertake. I smiled and tried to shepherd him back to his car, but he was big and strong, and wasn’t enthusiastic about moving. We stood looking at one another. ‘You’re a nice kid’ he said. ‘But if you don’t get out of the road right now, I am gonna put you on your ass!’. He said it quietly, but with definite menace. My mother had always insisted you never hit the talent in the face, as it will affect the next day’s filming, and she also insisted, when I was in the school boxing team, that I shouldn’t get hit in the face. At this moment I remembered her words and weighed up the chances: either he decks me, or I manage to punch him and potentially ruin filming the next day. Discretion being the better part of valour, and Lee being awfully tough, I decided the only thing I could do was wave him through.

Roger Moore (left) and Lee Marvin from the pressbook of "Shout at the Devil."

Roger Moore (left) and Lee Marvin from the pressbook of “Shout at the Devil.”

As he was driving through to the set, I got on my radio to the director, Peter Hunt, to tell him that Lee had insisted on being an extra, at which point Hunt proved to me why his name was perfect except for the first letter of his surname, as he berated me for encouraging Marvin to come to the set.And that’s why, if you look closely at the extras down below, as the plane flies over the battleship, the German sailor with some white hair sticking out from his cap is Lee Marvin.

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With his immense popularity thru the 1970s, Lee Marvin appeared on the covers of even more magazines. Below are several more examples……

The periodicals that his visage appeared on were no longer limited to films and/or show business. When a short-lived mainstream magazine called WORLD ran a feature on the experimental American Film Theater, they chose for their cover story not such prestige actors as Katherine Hepburn, Paul Scofield or any number of the other legendary stars of the AFT’s projects to grace the cover. Their choice was Marvin as Hickey in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh.
Say what you want, he did wear period clothes well.

The actor was a favorite subject of men’s magazines for feature stories but very rarely was pictured on the cover. An exception was this 1974 issue of SAGA magazine….


SAGA, 1974

The inside pictures were even more impressive than the cover….


SAGA II, 1974

Men’s magazines were not the exclusive territory of Marvin coverage. Not to be outdone, a Cosmopolitan rip-off titled Girl Talk saw the news stand potential of a Lee Marvin cover. By the way, check the salon stamp in the bottom left corner…..


One would assume that a magazine called Photoplay would be a tabloid tell-all, which is indeed the case here in the States. Across the pond, the U.K. named a magazine Photoplay, and surprise, surprise, it actually touts the movies themselves. The international stardom of Marvin certainly rated cover space (along with a barely squeezed in Roger Moore) as shown below….

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