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Ex-Strangler Hugh Cornwell has an internet radio show about film history and movie music


 
Hugh Cornwell, who was once the lead singer and guitarist in the Stranglers, has a new internet radio show devoted to movies and their music. You wouldn’t know it from his most famous song about Hollywood, but Hugh loves the moving pictures.

MrDeMilleFM is Cornwell’s second internet radio venture dedicated to film. (The interviews he did with Debbie Harry and Brian Eno for the first one, the now-defunct Sound Trax FM, have vanished along with their former home, but Cornwell says they will return in time.)

Where else could you hear John Cooper Clarke set up the themes from Johnny Guitar and Vera Cruz? Only on the half-hour special on the career of onetime Universal City mayor Ernest Borgnine the punk poet guest-hosted for MrDeMilleFM, you lucky bum! Cornwell himself has hosted ten shows so far, among them affectionate looks at the careers of Lee Marvin (whose delivery on “Wand’rin’ Star” inspired JJ Burnel’s on the Stranglers’ “Thrown Away,” incidentally) and the Marx Brothers (whose “I’m Against It” preceded the Ramones’, of course).

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.31.2017
09:06 am
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Walker IN YOUR FACE: Behind the scenes of iconic 60s crime drama ‘Point Blank’
11.12.2015
10:13 am
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In the 1960s, Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson starred in two pivotal gangster movies that dragged American crime cinema out of the shadows of film noir and into the harsh technicolor daylight of the nuclear age. The first was Don Siegel’s The Killers in 1964—a reworking of the Ernest Hemingway short story which had been originally filmed in 1946. The film co-starred Ronald Reagan in perhaps his finest role as a vicious underworld mobster. Siegel brought a brutal, calculating violence to his film which was further developed by John Boorman three years later with Point Blank. Where Siegel’s characters merely lived in their ultra-modern landscape, Boorman’s players were left cold and alienated by the clean, bright and colorful modern world.

Loosely based on pulp novel The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake, Boorman shifted the book’s east coast location to the blue skies and golden beaches of California. He changed the central character from the likeable tough “Parker,” to the hungry, relentless loner “Walker.” In Lee Marvin, Boorman was blessed with the only actor capable of inhabiting this complex role. Boorman has since said that Marvin used his own “brutalizing” experiences as a sniper in the Second World War to bring Walker to life—experiences which had “dehumanized him and left him desperately searching for his humanity.” It is certainly one of Marvin’s greatest performances (his next movie with Boorman Hell in the Pacific is equally as brilliant) and he was superbly supported by Angie Dickinson, Keenan Wynn and John Vernon.

Boorman’s powerfully iconic and artful direction puts Point Blank above any other crime movie of that era, and though lightly praised at the time, it is fair to say with Point Blank there would have been no Bullitt or Dirty Harry or any of the long list of gritty crime thrillers that dominated the 1970s.
 
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Lee Marvin and John Boorman discuss filming a scene.
 
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Lee Marvin as Walker.
 
More iconic photos from the filming of ‘Point Blank,’ after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.12.2015
10:13 am
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Hollywood’s macho, tough guy legend: ‘Lee Marvin, a personal portrait’ by John Boorman
10.16.2015
11:16 am
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Lee Marvin was the kind man you’d want at your side should ever you get in a barroom brawl. There was something about Lee Marvin that you could trust—an integrity that meant he’d be there trading fists until the very last varmint was out cold. Sure he was tough, but there was also a great sensitivity to Marvin—he had an intuitive understanding to other’s needs and a knowledge on how best to help them.

When John Boorman was directing the closing scenes for Point Blank on Alcatraz, Marvin recognized the young director was out of his depth and needed a little time to get his head around how he was going to direct the scenes. To give him time, Marvin played drunk—singing and roaring. The production manager took Marvin away and fed him black coffee. As soon as Boorman had his thoughts together, Marvin was ready to shoot the scene.
 
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Lee Marvin was born in 1924 into a middle class family his father was an ad executive, his mother a fashion writer. Lee once claimed his family could trace their lineage back to Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. He was educated at a Christian socialist boarding school, which shaped his politics as a lifelong liberal and Democrat.

As a youth, he hopped trains criss-crossing America. In the Second World War, he enlisted in the US Marines serving as a sniper with the 4th Marine Division fighting in the Pacific. During the Battle of Saipan most of his platoon was wiped out. Marvin was badly wounded—shot on the foot, leg, and buttocks—a deeply traumatic event that left him feeling guilty to have survived when so many of his comrades had died. He later said he felt he was “a coward,” which was the exact opposite of what he had been. Later, when he was an established star, he joked in one TV interview that being a young soldier in battle had taught him how to act.
 
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In movies Marvin’s tough, granite, impassive looks made everyone else look like they were acting. He was a genuinely brilliant actor, who brought subtly to gesture and movement, and purpose to the simplest of lines few actors could match.
 
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John Boorman and Lee Marvin during filming of ‘Point Blank’ 1967.
 
John Boorman had his big break through Lee Marvin. Fifty years ago when Marvin was the King of Hollywood—after beating Laurence Olivier and Richard Burton to best actor Oscar for Cat Ballou—he gave Boorman his full and unmitigated support as the director of Point Blank. Boorman was a novice who had made only one (flop) movie, but Marvin liked and trusted him. It was a major risk for Marvin, but he saw something in Boorman that was worth standing up for. Point Blank once again confirmed Marvin as top of the tree and started Boorman off on his long cinematic career.

More Marvin after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.16.2015
11:16 am
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Comedy trolling genius interviews Cheech & Chong, Zappa, Boy George and McCartney

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Before Ali G, Borat and Keith Lemon, “Norman Gunston” was trolling celebrities with his bogus interviews for Australian television. Gunston was the madcap creation of actor-comedian Garry McDonald, who ambushed celebrities and probed them with his microphone and excruciatingly dumb questions.

Gunston made his first (brief) appearances on the Pythonesque Aunty Jack Show in 1972, before becoming the “legendary un-personality” on spin-off series Wollongong the Brave in 1974. With his shiny blue suit and his face covered with blood-spotted pieces of tissue paper, the beautifully observed Gunston was an instant hit.
 
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Gunston excited to be probing a Beatle.
 
Over the years, Norman Gunston interviewed Paul and Linda McCartney, Cheech and Chong (who he mistakes as comedy duo Morecambe and Wise), and Lee Marvin (caught in a airport terminal). Sometimes the stars played along—like a flirtatious Karen Black or Frank Zappa, who happily jammed with the harmonica-playing Gunston, or Muhammed Ali who said to Gunston “I’m punchy, what’s your excuse?” 

Occasionally, the celebs didn’t know how to handle Gunston—like an eyeballing Elliott Gould, or a confused Warren Beatty, but their desperate responses only add to the comedy.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.13.2015
09:07 am
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Lee Marvin, Steve McQueen, Warren Oates and John Boorman at the ‘Point Blank’ wrap party
08.28.2014
10:44 am
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You can read all the self-help and how-to-succeed books you want, but sometimes success comes down to how you get on with other people.

The English director John Boorman had only directed one (flop) film, the sub-Beatles Dave Clark Five flick Catch Us If You Can, when he met Lee Marvin to discuss working on a film together. Marvin was at the top of the tree having just won several awards (including an Oscar) for his performance in Cat Ballou. The actor was in England working on his latest feature The Dirty Dozen when he had a discussion with Boorman about the possibility of making a film together based on Richard Stark’s novel The Hunter. There was a script, but neither Marvin or Boorman liked it much, both preferring Stark’s hard-edged loner Parker from the book, or as he was renamed in the screenplay, Walker.

For whatever reasons, the novice film director and the experienced actor hit it off, and Marvin agreed to appear in Boorman’s film—there was only one thing, he just didn’t want that script. In an interview between Boorman and Steven Soderbergh, the director recalled how the actor called a meeting with the film company’s head of studio, the film’s producers and himself, where Marvin asked if he had script approval? They told him, he did. Then Marvin asked if he had approval of the main casting? Again he was told he did. Then Lee Marvin did something extraordinary:

He said, “I defer all those approvals to John.” And he walked out. So on my very first film in Hollywood, I had final cut and I made use of it.

This is how John Boorman was able to make Point Blank the way he wanted to make it. The film established him as a powerful and visionary director, while his movie Point Blank was hailed by critics as a masterpiece, which has grown in reputation over the years, and is now listed as one of those [Pick a number] Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Success comes not from any dime store self-help book but from who you are and what talent you have, and sometimes from the people who like you.

This selection of seldom seen photographs come from the wrap party given for Point Blank at the Zoo club in Los Angeles, 1967.
 
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Lee Marvin arrives at the Zoo club with drink and cigarette to hand.
 
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Lee Marvin, John Boorman and Michelle Triola—who would later (unsuccessfully) sue the actor for palimony.
 
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Steve McQueen with then wife Neile McQueen (short dark hair). Note Burt Reynolds cuttin’ a rug.
 
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Marvin and Boorman horse around with Keenan Wynn.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.28.2014
10:44 am
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How to join the Sons of Lee Marvin in five easy steps
08.27.2013
09:24 am
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Back in the 1980s Tom Waits, Jim Jarmusch, John Lurie, and maybe one or two others started a facetious little organization called the Sons of Lee Marvin in honor of one of their favorite actors. As it is a secret society, details are scarce—Nick Cave is in the club, and the director John Boorman has been given an honorary membership. It is rumored that Thurston Moore, Iggy Pop, Josh Brolin, and Neil Young are also in the group.

If you would like to join the Sons of Lee Marvin, here’s all you have to do:

1. Be born with a penis.
2. Have “a facial structure such that you could be related to, or be a son of, Lee Marvin.”
3. Develop an intense fondness for Lee Marvin, especially how his characters are “outsiders and very violent” and “have a very strong code.”
4. Achieve significant notoriety as an adorable bohemian/downtown musician or filmmaker.
5. Become close buddies with Jim Jarmusch.
 
Sons of Lee Marvin
(T-shirt available at Threadless.)

The following anecdote appears in the May/June 1992 issue of Film Comment:
 

Just the idea of Marvin’s characters being outsiders and very violent appeals to me. Some seem to have a very strong code—even if it’s a psychotic one—that he follows rigidly.

A secret organization exists called The Sons of Lee Marvin—it includes myself, Tom Waits, John Lurie, and Richard Boes…. Six months ago, Tom Waits was in a bar somewhere like Sonoma County in Northern California, and the bartender said:

“You’re Tom Waits, right? A guy over there wants to talk to you.”

Tom went over to this dark corner booth and the guy sitting there said, “Sit down, I want to talk to you.”
“What do you want to talk to me about? I don’t know you.”
“What is this bullshit about the Sons of Lee Marvin?”
“Well, it’s a secret organization and I’m not supposed to talk about it.”
“I don’t like it.”
“What’s it to you?”
“I’m Lee Marvin’s son,” and he really was.

He thought it was insulting, but it’s not, it’s completely out of respect for Lee Marvin.

 
The fan page jim-jarmusch.net has a pretty good summary of the known information about the Sons of Lee Marvin.

If you haven’t seen it, Point Blank—directed by honorary SOLM John Boorman—is a great movie. Here’s a pretty spiffy clip:
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Lee Marvin and Angela Dickinson perform ‘Clapping Music’
Jim Jarmusch, Neil Young, RZA: The music of Dead Man and Ghost Dog

Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.27.2013
09:24 am
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Lee Marvin and Angela Dickinson perform ‘Clapping Music’

 
Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson perform Steve Reich’s minimal piece “Clapping Music.” As one YouTuber points out, “His shoulders must be SO SORE.”

(via TDW)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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02.04.2011
12:14 pm
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