Lee Marvin on John Ford

Lee Marvin as Liberty Valance (1962)

Vincent has kick-started his ongoing John Ford Blog-a-thon which lasts all week and ends July 9th. His blog is French, but he welcomes readers and blog-a-thon contributors from around the globe.

In all honesty I haven’t seen a lot of John Ford’s films myself but my favorites are Mogambo (1953), The Searchers (1956), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and Donovan’s Reef (1963). A lot has been written about Ford and his contributions to American cinema and I’m not sure what I could bring to the topic, but I did want to spread the word about the John Ford Blog-a-thon so others could participate if they were so inclined and in the process share a little Lee Marvin goodness with you all. I really love tough guy Lee Marvin and I wish women were allowed to join The Sons of Lee Marvin. Maybe someone needs to start a semi-secret society called The Daughters of Lee Marvin?

Below is a terrific & insightful interview clip of Lee Marvin talking about his work with John Ford:

You can also find the rest of this interesting interview with Lee Marvin at this great YouTube channel.

7 thoughts on “Lee Marvin on John Ford

  1. That’s a great video of Lee Marvin. To be honest, I’ve never seen many of John Ford’s movies either. I know I saw “Mogambo.” I watched the video more for Lee Marvin. He, as well as Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, etc., were tough guy actors I grew up really idolizing as a boy. Whether it was “The Dirty Dozen” to “Death Hunt,” I loved all the movies of his I ever saw.

  2. a friend of mine used to work in a bar that the real son of lee marvin hung out at. apparently whatever beef he had with the “organization” (i followed the wiki link) was settled and he plays drums on a track on tom waits’ mule variations. of course, i’m basing all of this on second hand info from bar chatter, but my friend who told me is an honest person. haha.

  3. Keith – I’m glad you enjoyed the video. I thought his insights on working with Ford were really great.

    Dan – Thanks for sharing your Marvin story Dan! Even if it’s second hand, I enjoyed it. I’ve always been intrigued by The Sons of Lee Marvin.

  4. I haven’t seen a lot of Ford yet either. The only Westerns I’ve gotten through are The Searchers and Stagecoach, both of which I enjoyed, though admittedly I don’t much care for John Wayne. I really like Grapes of Wrath, but more I think for Toland’s cinematography. It’s a good movie that stays true to my memories of the book (I haven’t read it in almost 15 years, so certain parts might be hazy). Ford had a wisely visual sensibility, and his films seem like they’re evocative enough to be lasting.

    Lee Marvin was a great tough guy. Most recently I saw him in the 60s television version of The Killers, which I think you would have liked (assuming you haven’t seen it already). John Cassavetes is in it, and it’s very 60s mod-cool. Lee Marvin’s great in it, and has the best death scene.

  5. I’m not really a fan of Wayne’s either so that’s probably one reason I’ve just not gotten around to watching a lot of Ford’s films. I tend to prefer Italian westerns over American ones. I have seen bits of The Grapes of Wrath but I always seem to catch the powerful final hour on TV and I need to watch it all.

    The Killers is one of my favorite Marvin films! It’s really terrific and he’s great in it. I love the way it’s shot at times and the story is smartly told.

    If you enjoyed that I highly recommend checking out the John Boorman film Point Blank (1967). It’s another very mod looking crime film with noir overtones. It’s probably my favorite Marvin film and I think you’d really enjoy it AR.

  6. Honestly, I found much of The Killers to be a bit of a mixed bag. Stylistically, it was a bit cheesy and very 60’s TV. Too bright and glossy for my tastes, I guess. But the tone is very sardonic, especially for the time, and the whole idea of having the killers themselves investigate is a stroke of genius. It’s certainly interesting, but I prefer Siodmak’s film version.

    I’ve heard of Point Blank before. I’ll have to check it out.

  7. I am researching Lee Marvin’s TV career. If anyone can help me find the following episodes please let me know. Contact me at:



    Chicago Beat (1958) (TV Pilot)

    Escape – Whappernocker Song (02/09/1950)
    Fireside Theatre – Sound in the Night (01/29/1952)
    Fireside Theatre – Sound in the Night (02/16/1952)
    Rebound – The Mine (02/29/1952)
    Dragnet – The Big Whiff (01/15/1953)
    The Doctor AKA The Visitor – The Runaways (06/21/1953)
    The Revlon Mirror Theater – Lullaby (10/03/1953)
    The Motorola Television Hour – Outlaw’s Reckoning (11/03/1953)
    Suspense – Needle in a Haystack (11/10/1953)
    Schlitz Playhouse of Stars – Give the Guy a Break (01/29/1954)
    The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse AKA Action Tonight – The Psychophonic Nurse (02/05/1954)
    The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse AKA Action Tonight – Open Season (03/19/1954)
    Center Stage – The Day Before Atlanta (11/07/1954)
    General Electric Theater – The Rider on the Pale Horse (11/28/1954)
    General Electric Theater – Mr. Death and the Red Headed Woman (11/28/1954)
    TV Reader’s Digest – How Charlie Faust Won a Pennant for the Giants (04/11/1955)
    Studio One – Shakedown Cruise (11/07/1955)
    Climax! – Bailout at 43,000 Feet (12/29/1955)
    Kraft Television Theatre – The Fool Killer (03/07/1956)
    Front Row Center – Dinner Date (03/18/1956)
    Studio 57 – You Take Ballistics (02/10/1957)
    Climax! – Stain of Honor (02/14/1957)
    The United States Steel Hour – Shadow of Evil (02/27/1957)
    Schlitz Playhouse of Stars – Easy Going Man (08/02/1957)
    General Electric Theater – All I Survey (02/02/1958)
    Climax! – Time of the Hanging (05/22/1958)
    Schlitz Playhouse of Stars – A Fistful of Love (01/02/1959)
    Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse – Man in Orbit (05/11/1959)
    Western Theater – Easy Going Man (07/31/1959)
    Sunday Showcase – The American (03/27/1960)
    General Electric Theater – Don’t You Remember? (05/08/1960)
    The Americans – Reconnaissance (03/06/1961)
    Wagon Train – The Christopher Hale Story (03/15/1961)
    March of Dimes: What About Linda? (01/14/1961)
    General Electric Theater – The Joke’s on Me (04/16/1961)
    The DuPont Show of the Week – The Richest Man in Bogota (06/17/1962)
    Pantomime Quiz – Lee Marvin vs. Gypsy Rose Lee (10/01/1962)
    Ed Sullivan Show (10/12/1969)
    The Changing Scene (1970) TV Special Barbara Eden Gene Kelly
    Superstunt (11/17/1977) Host in a TV Special
    Tomorrow Show Coast to Coast (05/08/1981)
    Late Night with David Letterman (02/12/1986) Final Interview

    Tonight Show with Johnny Carson


    Lee Marvin’s Lawbreakers:

    003 The Seattle Story
    004 The Atlanta Story
    005 The Philadelphia Story
    006 The Dallas Story
    007 The New Orleans Story
    008 The Pittsburgh Story
    009 The Indianapolis Story
    010 The Cincinnati Story
    011 The Detroit Story
    012 The Hartford, Connecticut Story
    013 The Westchester Story
    014 The Boston Story
    016 The Greenburgh, New York Story
    017 The Providence Story
    018 The Chicago “A” Story: Part II
    019 The Baltimore Story
    020 The Minneapolis Story: Part I
    021 The Minneapolis Story: Part II
    022 The Rochester Story
    023 The Philadelphia Story: Part II
    024 The Buffalo Story
    025 The Culver City Story
    026 The Burbank Story
    028 The Long Beach Story
    029 The Denver Story
    030 The Milwaukee Story
    031 The Miami Story
    032 The Oakland Story
    033 The St. Louis Story

    — The Highway Murder Story (official title unknown)
    — The Tony Gonzales Story (official title unknown)
    — The Michael Olds Story (official title unknown)
    — The Joseph Gaito The Edward Kern Story (official title unknown)
    — The Teenage Bomber Story (official title unknown)

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