Lee Marvin
Book Topics
Hollywood
male action stars
tough guy actors
academy awards
film noir
heroes and villains
WWII
WWII veterans
PTSD
US Marines
alcoholism
violence in movies and TV
"palimony"
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Lee Marvin : Point Blank

Lee Marvin: Point Blank is the first full-length, authoritative and detailed story of the iconic actor's life to go beyond the Hollywood scandal sheet reporting from earlier books, and provide an appreciation for the man and his acting career and the classic films he starred in, whether it's his chilling titular villain in "Who Shot Liberty Valance" to the paternal yet brutally realistic platoon leader in "The Big Red One." And, while Marvin is best known for his icy tough guy roles, veteran Hollywood writer Epstein provides us with a portrait of a much, deeper, more complex individual who took great risks in his acting and career, often joining forces with relative unknown directors of the time like John Boorman and Sam Fuller. Yet, although voted the leading male action star in 1967, and winner of an Academy Award (Cat Ballou), 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, LEE MARVIN: Point Blank will provide a full understanding and appreciation of this acting titan's place in the Hollywood pantheon in spite of (or perhaps because of) his very real and human struggles. Moreover, this biography provides a penetrating psychological and sociological analysis of Lee Marvin and his role in shaping the image of the violent male in modern film. By exploring Marvin's family history and his formative years as well as the harrowing combat that Marvin was involved in the Pacific campaign in WWII, Epstein gives us a portrait of a man shaped and shattered by violence, yet one who, having been intimately acquainted with it, could bring it home to the film audience with an intensity and realism previously unseen in modern cinema.
Book Topics
Hollywood
male action stars
tough guy actors
academy awards
film noir
heroes and villains
WWII
WWII veterans
PTSD
US Marines
alcoholism
violence in movies and TV
"palimony"

Reviews and Comments

  • "With tireless research and access to so many people in Marvin's orbit... 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."
    "Movie Crazy" (blog)
  • "Dwayne Epstein has courageously updated the Marvin file with an archive of interviews and research that encompasses a life lived large on the world stage, surging like a Hollywood epic across continents and filled with a cast of the famous and infamous. Epstein hits the bullseye."
    a publication of the Film Noir Foundation
  • "A well-paced, thoughtful examination of [Marvin's] work that influenced film portrayals of violence in subsequent decades."
  • "This is the kind of biography Lee Marvin deserves. 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."
  • "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."
    author of the NY Times Bestseller, "Tough Without A Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart"
  • "Epstein masterfully lays out and puts together all the pieces of the Marvin puzzle without moralizing or salivating, the twin bad angels of movie biographers. All future writing about Lee Marvin will be measured against Point Blank, which gives us the man in full. Like its subject, it will be a tough act to follow."
    Author of "Hitchcock at Work"