If one were to ask me why I cannot get excited about Mark Wahlberg or Matt Damon as leads in films, my answer would be Lee Marvin. Lee made an indelible impression in the early days on television appearing in M Squad and The Twilight Zone and in films like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, The Professionals, The Dirty Dozen, Point Blank and The Big Red One. He was a man doing a man's job. I'll never forget the way he delivered his final line of dialogue in Don Siegel's 1964 remake of The Killers with Angie Dickinson, John Cassavetes and, yes, Ronald Reagan: Lady, I haven't got the time.
I did time on the set of Paint Your Wagon directed by Joshua Logan starring Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood at Producers Studios (now Raleigh Studios) on Melrose Avenue. We filmed a barroom scene for about a week on a stage filled with movie smoke from pots of burning beeswax to create the saloon atmosphere. Everyone had to learn the words to the song Gold Fever and sing it--for a week. Though Jean Seberg was in the movie, I had no idea at the time who she was and I don't know if she was even on the set. I do remember Clint Eastwood as being quiet and keeping to himself taking occasional strolls to get out of his trailer when he wasn't shooting.
What I remember best is Lee Marvin. Whether he thought of Paint Your Wagon as much more than a pay day or sensed that it would come to be seen by some as one of the worst musicals ever made, we may never know. It did get him a hit song--Wand'rin' Star--which he sang in the film. Paint Your Wagon was the sixth largest success for Paramount at the time but failed to recoup its cost. In any case, Lee was not happy during the shoot and spent most of his time across the street in a dive called The Playboy. Whenever he was needed to shoot a scene, the assistant director would run across Melrose Avenue and, eventually, return with Lee Marvin in tow who would then turn in a great, effortless performance and retire, once again, to The Playboy.
On the last day of shooting, we were on golden time and near the very end of it, Josh Logan had had his fill and left the set to join Lee at The Playboy. The final shots were handled by the assistant director. After that, the production moved on to Oregon. I stayed in Los Angeles.
All I can say is that Lee Marvin made a bigger impact just walking across Melrose Avenue than many of today's actors do in their performances on the big screen. I'll leave you with this quote from Lee that I cleaned up a bit: "You spend the first forty years of your life trying to get in this business, and the next forty years trying to get out."
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
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Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
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Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...