MARCH 2022 ON TCM: 31 DAYS OF OSCAR!

March 2022 on TCM means the annual salute to the Academy Awards with their month long program of 31 Days Of Oscar. Previous years had TCM programming it’s Oscar show in February but the pandemic has moved the actual award show to March 27th, hence TCM’s showcase airing March 2022.
This being a website/blog maintained to promote the life & work of Lee Marvin, I’ve gone through the TCM schedule for March 2022 to highlight several films for both the potential and dedicated Lee Marvin fan. Of course, all these films won Oscars thru the years, while previous schedules included films that were also nominated.  Wouldn’t it be nice to include films that SHOULD have been nominated? If they did, then we movie fans would be treated to such Marvin classics, as Point Blank (1967), Hell in the Pacific (1968) Monte Walsh (1970, Emperor of the North (1973)  and more! Might be something TCM schedulers could consider in the future. By the way, Only one film listed below actually stars Lee Marvin so the reason the others are listed is explored to a much greater extent in Lee Marvin Point Blank.

Until then, below are the days and times (PST) of films Lee Marvin followers can look forward to this month. 
The Dirty Dozen
(1967), Thursday, March 10th, 3:15 p.m.

Composite of scenes from the TCM perennial, THE DIRY DOZEN.

I don’t think it’s possible for me to write any more about The Dirty Dozen than I already have….oh, wait! There certainly is more, as I’m in the midst of researching “Killin’ Generals: The Making The Dirty Dozen, The Most Icon WWII of All Time” to be published by Kensington Press on Father’s Day, 2023, so stayed tuned for that as I’ve already acquired a staggering amount of exclusive research that no one as ever seen before! 

The Longest Day (1962), Thursday March 10th, 5:00 pm.

Original ad art for the all-star production featuring an international cast for THE LONGEST DAY..



Producer Darryl Zanuck’s mammoth tribute to D-Day still holds up after all these years and the Oscars it won were well-deserved. Rarely known factoid: It’s believed that Zanuck wanted Lee Marvin for the John Wayne role but Marvin was briefly repped by MCA at that time and turned it down. Proved to be one of the myriad of reasons the actor went crawling back to Meyer Mishkin and stayed with him for the remainder of his career.

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) Monday, March 14th, 5:00 p.m.

(L-R) Lew Ayres as the innocent your soldier with Louis Wolheim as wizened sergeant in Lewis Milestone’s anti-war classic, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT.


The first and still one of the best anti-war films to ever come out of Hollywood, it was the only film to win Best Picture for Universal Pictures for many a decade. Lee Marvin is on record as calling it one of his favorite films from his childhood on. He was especially enamored by Louis Wolheim’s war-weary Sgt. and the way in which he cared for his charges. Marvin claimed to have based his performance in The Big Red One (1980) partially on Wolheim’s, as well as his own father, Monte Marvin. Check it out and see for yourself. By the way, frequent Marvin costar Ernest Borgnine played the role in a TV-movie remake.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Mostly in shadow, Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt battle big Barton MacLane for the money he owes them.


(1948) Tuesday, March 15th, 10:00 p.m.
Legendary director John Huston’s classic tale of greed among professed friends earned the director’s father, Walter Huston, a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and with good reason.  Why is it listed here? Well, according to Lee Marvin, it also contained one of his favorite realistic fight scenes ever put on film as I related here

Rashomon

Toshiro Mifune in Kurosawa’s 1950 classic, RASHOMON.


(1950) Wednesday, March 16th, 1:15 a.m.
In the postwar years of the early 1950s, the United Sates opened up the distribution of foreign films to America, forever changing the face of international cinema. A foreign filmmaker who led the charge was Japan’s Akira Kurosawa with a plethora of amazing productions starring Toshiro Mifune. Rashomon is listed here as some may know that Mifune was Lee Marvin’s favorite actor, mainly for his Samurai films. In this film, though, Mifune is a thief who commits a heinous act which is depicted from the various points of view of the people involved. As with many of Kurosawa’s films, Rashomon was later Americanized as the Martin RItt Film The Outrage (1964) starring Paul Newman, but with much less success. Mifune on occasion dabbled in American films but Kurosawa never did. He came close once with his original screenplay of Runaway Train (1985) which was eventually made by others. Who was his choice for the role played by Jon Voight? None other than Lee Marvin. 

A wonderful line-up of films for March 2022 are presented so feel free to check out the full calendar
Curious, in the current climate of international events, think TCM may show some Sergei Eisenstein films any time soon? I didn’t think so. 
– Dwayne Epstein

 

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JOHNNY CARSON, LEE MARVIN, JUNE, 1980

Johnny Carson, the once and future king of late night talk shows, had Lee Marvin on The Tonight Show as a guest fairly frequently whenever the actor was promoting an upcoming project. In the summer of 1980, he did just that when The Big Red One was about to be released (the clip they show of it is terrific!)

Lee Marvin’s dapper entrance on Johnny Carson’s TONIGHT SHOW gives his customary greeting to Doc Severinsen and the band.

I discovered the entire show was posted on YouTube thanks to frequent blog follower, Shawn Marengo, god bless her. As she aptly pointed out to me, Marvin looked quite dapper in his 3-piece, apparently custom-made suit. May have been one of the handful of suits he purchased for the infamous palimony suit, according to his lawyer, David Kagon.

Screen grab showing Johnny Carson & Lee Marvin discussing THE BIG RED ONE.

Marvin and Carson were good friends, although I don’t know if they ever socialized outside of the show. Not that it matters as they have a very easy report with each other, as shown in the way Marvin subtlety corrects Carson on the pronunciation of the film’s title. They also joke amusingly about WWII reunions with former Marine Colonel Ed McMahon brought into the conversation. Marvin does fib a bit when he says he never goes to such reunions as his first wife gave details of his presence at such reunions to this author in Lee Marvin Point Blank.
Since the show was still in its one and a half hour format, feel free to do as I did and skip over the segment of Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes to get to Lee Marvin at around the 51 minute mark. Ironically, although he probably isn’t aware of it, Marvin’s good friend James Whitmore is in a commercial during his segment to hawk dog food. There’s also a humorous segment with Buck Henry that Marvin sticks around to participate in. Remember when talk show guests used to do that?

Anyway, without further ado, I give you The Tonight Show, circa June 25, 1980. Enjoy!
– Dwayne Epstein

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THE OSCAR TRACK

The Oscar track is upon us since the nominations were announced last month, as shown here. I use the term “The Oscar track” as it’s the appropriate term used by Lee Marvin when he was interviewed by TIME Magazine’s Stefan Kanfer in the 1970s. Kanfer had the audacity to tell the actor he didn’t think his Oscar-winning performance in Cat Ballou was even close to his best performance. The writer was amazed to hear Marvin agree with him. Adding, “But y’know, you run this track, and that’s the track that the racers are on; it’s the Oscar track. It really isn’t based on skill as much as it’s based on luck and popularity.” Kanfer’s remembrance of the interview — along with his assistant, future Oscar-nominated screenwriter, Jay Cocks — is hysterically recounted in Lee Marvin Point Blank.

Lee Marvin in POCKET MONEY and as he probably appeared when interviewed by Stefan Kanfer.


 As to the Oscar track, Marvin’s point is well taken. Now, normally this time of the month I’d be blogging about any upcoming Lee Marvin-related films on TCM but since the network is broadcasting “31 Days of Oscar” all month there’s a dearth of Marvin-related films. The sole exception is Ship of Fools, which is a shame since he made other films that were indeed on the Oscar track in one way or another: The Professionals (1966), and The Dirty Dozen (1967) received such recognition but truth be told, I think a few of his films SHOULD have been on The Oscar track and were not. 
 On the technical side, the innovations apparent in Point Blank (1967), such as the editing and the sound advancements (first film in which the actors were individually ‘miked’) and Conrad Hall’s breathtaking cinematography of Hell in the Pacific (1968) were certainly worthy. They may have ran out of the money since they were both directed by the very British John Boorman and both films did poorly when first released. I don’t know if either factor is the case but it’s a pretty safe bet. 
 I can say, for the purposes of this blog entry, two of Lee Marvin’s performances overlooked by the Academy were certainly worthy:
Monte Walsh (1970), remains an overlooked classic for which Marvin gave one of his most poignant performances.

Monte Walsh, 1970


As cited in detail in Lee Marvin Point Blank, several critics at the time of its release said the same and thought an Oscar nomination for Best Actor was practically a foregone conclusion. Sadly, It never happened. 

The Big Red One (1980): Sam Fuller’s semi-autobiographical yarn of his experiences in Europe during WWII allowed Marvin to give one of the best performances of his career, running a gamut of emotions from badass to empathy as a nameless sergeant pushing his young charges on a rifle squad, to the poignancy of caring for a young boy in a liberated concentration camp. 

The Big Red One, 1980.

It’s a pity both of these performances were overlooked and the reasons they were are as speculative as they are varied. Too bad there’s no such thing as a retro Oscar track. If there were, Marvin would win it in a walk.

– Dwayne Epstein

 

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