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.
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
Tucson Notable, a running series in the Arizona Daily Star newspaper, recently revived one particular notable in its online archive from 1985. He was interviewed for the paper by reporter Johanna Eubank in a piece entitled, “Tucson notable: Lee Marvin called Tucson home.”
The article was brought to my attention by fellow biographer Marshall Terrill via the social media platform, Facebook. Marshall and I go way back so he knows of my interest in all things Marvin making The Tucson Notable article a natural for this blog entry.
The Tucson Notable author does an admirable journeyman’s task of celebrity journalism with a few obvious and noticeable exceptions. Granted, it’s a rather short piece to begin with but within those perimeters she still manages to get a few things incorrect that are worth pointing out:
• She wrote that Marvin and Richard Jaeckel are the only cast members from the original that appear in the sequel, The Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission (1985). Not quite…
Lee Marvin (left), looking like a wax museum figure from the Hollywood Museum gets his orders from General Ernest Borgnine in the lackluster DIRTY DOZEN sequel.
Speaking of The Dirty Dozen, director David Ayers is apparently still moving forward with his updated remake, for better or for worse.
• She also states that The Killers (1963) would later become a TV series. Um, not hardly. Besides, what would be the premise? Kill a different subject each week and then find out why? In the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination they couldn’t even broadcast the original TV-movie so they sure wouldn’t make it a running series!
Original ad for THE KILLERS which included the tag line, “There’s more than one way to kill a man!”
I realize what I stated here might seem like nitpicking, but in this day and age of cries of “fake news” vs. ‘real news,” I though it worthy of pointing out to anyone who wants to set the record straight what the actuals facts are. Of course, if you want the actual researched facts, there’s always Lee Marvin Point Blank.
– Dwayne Epstein