Summer Under the Stars- Lee Marvin (August 28th)
Lee Marvin is Lee Marvin. Enough said.
Okay, I won’t be quite so brisk. I mean, I’m not Lee Marvin, after all.
Lee Marvin is a fascinating, unique figure in this era of cinema. Few men had quite a hold on anti-hero and gruff villain parts as he managed. He seemed to always play a man’s man, equally at home in the gruffness of westerns or the violence of neo-noir.
However, he could just as easily cast that aside and give a sensitive, heartfelt and even funny performance. Let’s not forget, he took home the Academy Award (against stiff competition) for his portrayal of Kid Sheleen in 1965’s Cat Ballou.
Think back on the Academy Award wins for a comedic performance. I’ll wait…
A Career in Review:
Violent Saturday (1955)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
If You Can Only Watch One:
This is a hard one. There’s a few answers which I could give (The Dirty Dozen!); however, with Lee Marvin Day comes a movie which is a long-standing, nostalgic favorite of mine which I can’t ignore. Cat Ballou.
This is a movie which seems to get a bit of… derision? Is that the right word? And I’m not entirely sure quite where it stems from. I wrote about this movie as one of my favorites for the month, and this is a hill I will die on.
Cat Ballou follows a young woman (Jane Fonda) who, after her father is murdered as part of ruthless western expansion, decides to become a gunfighter.
The movie is of course a comedic western bringing together a fun performance from a very young Jane Fonda, as well as great work by Marvin (who as mentioned, won an Oscar for his portrayal), Michael Callan and the always lovable Dwayne Hickman.
Cat Ballou airs at 3:15pm EST.
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You have no idea of the shinbone kick exhilaration that a nine year old boy and his friends felt as they left the DeWitt Theater in Bayonne, New Jersey after seeing ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ (1962). For us at that time it was the perfect western tale! And as often seen in great movies, the cast of characters is superb.
At the same theater in 1967, that boy now 14 years old, had no ability to express the innate understanding that he just sat through a exceptional movie (‘film’ was creeping into his vocabulary by then) starring Lee Marvin: Point Blank. Cannot walk down an enclosed corridor without hearing those footsteps.
Our young cinema eyes knew or at least sensed, back then, when a film was a reel winner.