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Lee Marvin: Point Blank

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Overview

The first full-length, authoritative, and detailed story of the iconic actor's life to go beyond the Hollywood scandal-sheet reporting of earlier books, this account offers an appreciation for the man and his acting career and the classic films he starred in, painting a portrait of an individual who took great risks in his acting and career. Although Lee Marvin is best known for his icy tough guy roles?such as his chilling titular villain in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance or the paternal yet brutally realistic ...

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Overview

The first full-length, authoritative, and detailed story of the iconic actor's life to go beyond the Hollywood scandal-sheet reporting of earlier books, this account offers an appreciation for the man and his acting career and the classic films he starred in, painting a portrait of an individual who took great risks in his acting and career. Although Lee Marvin is best known for his icy tough guy roles—such as his chilling titular villain in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance or the paternal yet brutally realistic platoon leader in The Big Red One—very little is known of his personal life; his family background; his experiences in WWII; his relationship with his father, family, friends, wives; and his ongoing battles with alcoholism, rage, and depression, occasioned by his postwar PTSD. Now, after years of research, interviews with family members, friends and colleagues, and complete with rare photographs and illustrative material, Hollywood writer Dwayne Epstein provides a full understanding and appreciation of this acting titan’s place in the Hollywood pantheon in spite of his very real and human struggles.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"It's a good  Hollywood bio, focusing on its subject's public and private lives without descending into the sort of gossip and rumor that typify many celebrity life stories" and "This is the kind of biography Lee Marvin deserves."—Booklist Online, December 21, 2012

"Unforgettable. . . . A surprisingly intelligent and heroic figure springs from the page. . . . Epstein looks at a complicated figure and presents him in a full-length, three-way mirror. And it is absolutely impossible to look away." —Stefan Kanfer, New York Times-bestselling author, Tough Without A Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart

"Epstein’s admiration for his subject is clear yet never too heavy-handed. A well-paced, thoughtful examination of a singular corpus of work that influenced film portrayals of violence in subsequent decades."—Kirkus Reviews (Nov. 15, 2012)

"Epstein has crafted a thorough, intimate, and highly readable portrait of this imposing actor who became an unlikely star...I doubt anyone will ever match its breadth and depth in assessing Lee Marvin’s life and career."—Leonard Maltin, Movie Crazy

"Epstein hits the bulls eye."—Noir City, a publication of the Film Noir Foundation

"Author Epstein takes on the not-inconsiderable goal of fleshing out Marvin as a genuine person. His outstanding book presents meticulously researched facts about the man and his work, combined with insightful comments and interviews from those who knew him."—Cinema Retro

"...good, warts-and-all portrait of a truly complicated man, seen through Epstein’s sympathetic eyes."—True West

"Epstein handles Marvin's career and checkered personal life with equal adroitness." —Filmfax

Kirkus Reviews
A generous biography of Oscar-winning actor Lee Marvin (1924–1987), best known for his roles in The Dirty Dozen and Point Blank. Epstein, journalist and frequent writer on Hollywood, considers Marvin--who often played supporting roles as henchmen, soldiers and other characters in Westerns--through a prism of aggression. With ancestors that included Robert E. Lee, George Washington and Ross Marvin (a member of the Robert Peary Arctic expedition), the author proposes that Marvin inherited "the characteristic of the violence-prone male," which manifested as a bristling spirit often besotted with problems, what is now known as PTSD and alcoholism--all of which Marvin channeled through villains who allowed him to go beyond the range of the acceptable in real life. Epstein recounts how tension at home and frequent expulsions from school eventually led Marvin to enlist as a Marine in World War II and to turn toward the stage, Hollywood and TV in the ensuing years. The author effectively chronicles the actor's long path from breaking out of niche roles to wider acclaim. Though he does not refrain from including a handful of coarser anecdotes about the actor's behavior, along with trials in his romantic life, Epstein balances such moments with commentary on Marvin's kindness, talent and professionalism. Remarks from interviews conducted with Marvin's longtime agent, Meyer Mishkin, and with Marvin's first wife, Betty Marvin, especially illuminate the man who "etch[ed] interesting portraits of humanity's dark side." Epstein's admiration for his subject is clear yet never too heavy-handed. A well-paced, thoughtful examination of a singular corpus of work that influenced film portrayals of violence in subsequent decades.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936182404
  • Publisher: Schaffner Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/19/2013
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 683,395
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Dwayne Epstein is a freelance journalist and author whose reviews, essays, and articles have appeared in numerous film publications and newspapers, including FilmFax, Outre, and Variety, as well as Bill Krohn’s books Serious Pleasures and Hitchcock at Work. He is also the author of several young adult biographies of subjects ranging from Adam Sandler to Hillary Clinton. A lifetime fan and collector of Lee Marvin photos and memorabilia, he has appeared in the A&E Biography episode devoted to Lee Marvin. He lives in Long Beach, California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Lee Marvin had such a dominating presence on screen. I thought i

    Lee Marvin had such a dominating presence on screen. I thought it would be interesting to read a little more about the man, and I was thrilled with the book once I started reading it. This book was much more detailed than I expected. It has details on his life beyond the screen that are simply captivating. There are good times chronicled and bad times. His alcoholism and depression were covered in a very detailed, very interesting way. I really enjoyed this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2013

    Author Dwayne Epstein has written a comphrensive and detailed re

    Author Dwayne Epstein has written a comphrensive and detailed research on actor Lee Marvin. He takes us through his childhood, relationships with friends and family, the war years as well has the Hollywood years. While you might come away not liking Mr. Marvin you will at least have an understanding of the man who was a war hero who suffered from PTSD, alcohol problems, as well as serious anger issues. To read about the man who was an important part of Hollywood history this book is a must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2013

    ********

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    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    Very good read!

    I have seen many of Lee Marvin movies in my day. However I was young and not in to rating his acting abilities. Now I find that he was one if not the best technical and natural actors in Hollywood with no acting training. The only thing he was better at was drinking!

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  • Posted June 20, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Confirmation of success and struggle

    A huge talent with dark overtones, I heard Lee struggled with alcohol. Considering his war service, and what wasn't known about PTSD in that era, it is no surprise that he was conflicted and maladjusted. Well worth the read for classic movie buffs.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2014

    I found this book to be a well written, revealing, in-depth port

    I found this book to be a well written, revealing, in-depth portrait, with a well researched narrative of his fascinating ancestry, childhood and adolescence, family relationships, his early career in the theater, his highly successful film career and his retirement years. His war experiences were an important part of Lee's life, but the author does not overly dwell on that, but instead lays it out in Lee's own words and then Epstein skillfully weaves those experiences into the tapestry of Lee's lengthy career. The reader will discover a refreshing, sometimes humorous and often intimate portrait of a multi-facted actor who forged a unique figure on the silver screen and whose impact on film is still being felt today. The author also puts forth an interesting hypothesis for posterity and leads us to re-examine both Lee's contribution to The American Cinema Of Violence and Lee's own unique portrayal of violence in American film in a way that has never been previously explored. I could not stop reading this fascinating book, and I highly recommend it to not only Lee Marvin fans, but to anyone interested in the history of post war American film.

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  • Posted March 19, 2014

    Being a big classic movie fan, when I saw this book I thought, w

    Being a big classic movie fan, when I saw this book I thought, wow, I don't think I have seen anything on Lee Marvin. I was right. My Google search found nothing in regards to a detailed account of Marvin's life. So I purchased the book and was so glad I did. It is so greatly written. Mr Epstein did a fantastic job of noting the life and career of a great film legend! This is one biography I would highly recommend!! If you are looking for a well written detail oriented biography of someone worth reading, this is it.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

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