Tag Archives: Lee Marvin

Thoughts on Point Blank at 50

Point Blank premiered in San Francisco on August 30 1967. Critically overlooked at the time, its launched John Boorman’s Hollywood directorial career, became a cult hit and has had an enduring influence on crime cinema. It is a film I have watched on numerous occasions and each time it yields new insights. The 50th anniversary is an opportune time for a few thoughts about its importance.

Point Blank was loosely based the 1962 novel, The Hunter, the first in the series of books by the late Donald Westlake, writing as Richard Stark, about the master thief, Parker. It opens with Walker, as the Parker character is called, played by Lee Marvin, double-crossed and left for dead by his friend, Mal (John Vernon), and wife, Lynne (Sharon Acker), with whom Mal was having an affair, after the three of them have heisted a regular money drop on the prison island of Alcatraz by a powerful criminal network, the Organisation. Walker, somehow, survives his wounds and manages to get off the island. He reappears and proceeds to tear Organisation apart to find Mal and get his share from the heist, the amount of $94,000. He is assisted by a mysterious man, Yorst (Keenan Wynn), who at first comes across as a cop, but is eventually revealed as a senior member of the Organisation, who sees in Walker a means to eliminate his internal competitors.… Read more

Lee Marvin: 10 essential films

Prime CutThe iconic American actor, Lee Marvin was born today, February 19, 1924. To celebrate the occasion, my latest piece for the British Film Institute looks at his 10 essential movies.

You can check out the piece in full here at the British Film Institute site.

The weird & wonderful hidden history of the Logies

TV Week 1959 coverThe 57th annual Logie Awards will take place this coming Sunday, so start looking forward to the red carpet procession, those strange looking statues, and the local and international celebrities. And sure, it’s easy and a bit predictable to bag out the Logies (even many of the guests who attend the awards do so live on social media), but what’s far more interesting is the Logies oft forgotten history.

Some facts about the Logies are well known. Bert Newton has hosted the ceremony 19 times. Kylie Minogue made history in 1988 by being the youngest star to win the Gold Logie. The awards were held on an ocean liner (twice) and, in 1970, a special Gold Logie was awarded to the astronauts on the Apollo 11 for providing TV’s greatest moment, the telecast of the moon landing.

Other Logie related facts are not so familiar. While the official Logie’s website has a comprehensive list of the award winners, it’s far less expansive on the colourful events and controversies that have occurred at Australian television’s night of nights. For that information, one has to dig deep into the Internet and, in particular, the bowels of YouTube, where various unknown individuals have preserved snippets of Logies ceremonies passed.

The first Logie Awards were held in 1959, just a few years after the introduction of television in Australian (Googie Withers was guest presenter and the Gold Logie went to Graham Kennedy and Panda Lisner).… Read more

Toshiro Mifune, Lee Marvin & Hell In the Pacific

MifuneIf he was still alive, Legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune would have been 95 years old this week. He was born on April 1, 1920. I was idly looking on the Internet for images of the imposing Mifune, when I found the fantastic picture above. I don’t know exactly when and where it was taken, but in all likelihood, it was London, sometime in 1967.

Mifune and Lee Marvin worked once together, on John Boorman’s 1968 strange, hallucinogenic war film, Hell In the Pacific. The film was a pet project of Marvin’s and he was reportedly devastated by the fact it did not do well critically or at the box office.

For those of you who are not familiar with the film, Mifune and Marvin played a Japanese navy captain and a US air force pilot, respectively, who are marooned on a remote island in the Pacific and continue to engage in version of the larger war raging around them. In some respects, the film mirrored the real lives of both men. Marvin had served in the war and been wounded in action during the battle for Saipan, while Mifune had served in the Japanese imperial army.

Mifune had approached Marvin with an eye to working with US actor. Despite being somewhat hostile towards Mifune, Marvin agreed to meet.… Read more

Crime Factory issue 13 is out

CF13-COVER

A heads up that issue 13 of Crime Factory is out (with cover design by the one and only Eric Beetner, who also did the cover for my novel, Ghost Money)

In this issue I talk to Dwayne Epstein, author of the new Lee Marvin bio, Lee Marvin Point Blank, about Marvin’s life and movies and what it was like to research a book on one of the true icons of masculine cool.

But that’s just one piece among many, including:

Michael A Gonzales interviews Gary Phillips and Tommy Hancock, creators of the new anthology, Black Pulp.

Ruth Dugdall talks working with and writing about criminals with Angela Savage.

Tom Darin Liskey gives true crime reportage from Indian Country.

Elusive Ozploitation icon Roger Ward is interviewed about his career by James Hopwood.

Plus Kennedy assassination pulp fiction (and no, I didn’t know such a thing existed either before this issue, either), great fiction and reviews.

It’s a bargain at 99 cents for the Kindle version or $5.99 plus postage for the print version.

Or, if you’re on a budget (or just stingy), you can download the PDF here for free.

And Melbourne folk, while I’m pulling on your coat about Crime Factory related matters, this coming Tuesday, May 14, Crime Factory Publications is proud to be teaming up with Cinecult 303 for a screening of Lee Marvin’s cult classic, Prime Cut (which I reviewed on this site here).… Read more