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Archive for the ‘Lee Marvin’ Category

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OK, folks, let’s see if we can sort this one out. John has written in trying to pin down a certain Western. Here’s what he wrote:

“I saw a western in the fifties as a kid that had a scene in which one of the secondary characters gets killed with a rake. You don’t see the killing, just the aftermath of a bloody rake leaning against a wall and blood on the wall. That image has stayed with me lo these many years but I cannot remember the title.”

Firecreek (1969) came to mind, but that’s the Sixties and a pitchfork. Then there’s Violent Saturday (1955). Again, a pitchfork and not a Western.

Anybody got any ideas?

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Universal’s Vault Series is serving up a handful of 50s Westerns, basically taking the TCM Western Horizons set and selling them as single discs (available exclusively from Amazon).

Horizons West (1952) has Budd Boetticher directing Robert Ryan, Julie Adams and Rock Hudson in a Technicolor post-Civil War tale.

Saskatchewan (1954) puts Alan Ladd, Shelley Winters, J. Carrol Naish and Hugh O’Brian in the hands of the great Raoul Walsh.

Dawn At Socorro (1954) was directed by George Sherman, which is enough for me. Factor in Rory Calhoun, Piper Laurie, Mara Corday, Edgar Buchanan, Skip Homeier, James Millican and Lee Van Cleef, and you’ve really got something going.
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Pillars Of The Sky (1956) stars Jeff Chandler and Dorothy Malone. Support comes from Ward Bond, Olive Carey (both appeared in The Searchers the same year) and Lee Marvin. George Marshall directed in CinemaScope. I love this film.

Backlash (1956) comes from John Sturges and stars Richard Widmark, Donna Reed and William Campbell. Good stuff.

These will make a welcome addition to anybody’s collection, but what I want to know is: where are A Day Of Fury (1956) and Last Of The Fast Guns (1958)?

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Vera Cruz pressbook sized

With Burt Lancaster’s 100th birthday on the horizon, UCLA has put together a terrific program to celebrate one of the greatest stars of them all. Running through June, it offers up a great sampling of Lancaster’s career.

For me, and readers of this blog, the best night of the bunch might be this Friday, with a 35mm screening of both Vera Cruz (1954) and The Professionals (1966). Both are terrific, with Vera Cruz being a highlight of the 50s Western. Like Shane (1953), it’s one of the films that fell victim to the widening of theater screens in the wake of CinemaScope. This time around, Robert Aldrich’s picture was cropped/blown up to SuperScope’s 2:1 ratio (it was probably shot for 1.85).

Another great evening will be the June 7 screening of Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957), a film I find flawed but wonderful. Its VistaVision should be a gorgeous thing on the big screen.

Vera Cruz (1954) and The Professionals (1966)
April 12, 2013 – 7:30 pm

Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957) and I Walk Alone (1948)
June 7, 2013 – 7:30 pm

The Billy Wilder Theater
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 206-8013

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UPDATE: Burt and Coop’s costar in Vera Cruz, Spanish actress Sara Montiel, passed away today at 85. She was once married to Anthony Mann.

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Audie

We walked around Arlington National Cemetery this afternoon — it was a beautiful day. While there, we paid a visit to a few of our heroes.

We were told there was a desire to give Audie Murphy his own monument at Arlington. But in his will, he requested that he be buried just like his buddies.

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Lee Marvin is buried next to boxer Joe Louis. The nice lady in the Visitor’s Center knew exactly where Marvin was, rattling off his location (Section 7A, grave 176) in a split second. He’s a popular one, she says.

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Burt Kennedy is also in Section 7A (grave 15). Took these with my cell phone, so I apologize for the quality. Also, the subject line is lifted from Harry Carey Jr.’s book.

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Marvin

Lee Marvin
(February 19, 1924 – August 29, 1987)

Finally seeing Budd Boetticher’s Seven Men From Now (1956) set me off down the trail that would lead to this blog and its book-in-progress namesake. It’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, Western or otherwise.

A huge part of the film’s success is our birthday boy, Lee Marvin. With scenes like the one above, there was no way he was going to remain a character actor. And as we all know, and as films like The Professionals (1966) and Point Blank (1967) prove, he wouldn’t stay one for long.

This’d be a good day (especially since it’s raining here in Raleigh) to curl up on the sofa with that new Marvin biography.

 

 

 

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Here’s one I’m really looking forward to — Lee Marvin: Point Blank by Dwayne Epstein.

His later career as a leading man certainly overshadowed his work in 50s Westerns, but he left a huge mark on whatever 50s cowboy picture he was in — Hangman’s Knot (1952), Gun Fury (1953), The Raid (1954), Pillars Of The Sky (1956), Seven Men From Now (1956). So many good ones.

There have been books on Marvin in the past, but none have impressed me much. And working on this blog (and the related book), I’ve certainly looked. This one from Schaffner Press looks promising.

The author, Dwayne Epstein, is out on the road with the book these days, a tour that includes an appearance at Savannah College Of Art And Design on January 31, where his talk will be followed by a screening of John Boorman’s incredible Point Blank (1967), one of my favorites.

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