Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Forgotten Film: The Dirty Dozen

It was the summer of '67, I being a dozen years old then, that I really became aware of (and secretly wanted to be as cool as) the actor Lee Marvin. I can recall it as if it were only yesterday. I went to the Warner Theatre in Huntington Park in June/July of that year to take in Robert Aldrich's The Dirty Dozen. Growing up, I had seen Marvin plenty of times before in reruns of M-Squad, plus his guest appearances as the heavy on TV shows of the time (Rawhide, Bonanza, etc.) and older movie westerns (Comancheros, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, etc.). But, it was here in this action/war film that the real impression of the man was ingrained into my susceptible psyche. I'll stipulate for the record that being cool then is a dimensional shift away from what that means today. It was definitely a more masculine era back then (for better or for worst).

[Coincidentally, this actor and film would seem the antithesis to Carrie Bradshaw and the Sex and the City 2 movie which also opens today. All I can say is, what great timing! ;-)]

The rest of this post has been updated and moved over to my current blog, found here.

15 comments:

  1. Cool is correct. I have " the Iceman Cometh" on Q, that should be interesting.
    Have to laugh when I think about Lee Marvin, there was a fellow in Miami I once worked with that was the spittin' image of Lee Marvin. I mean really, the voice everything! So in a weird kinda way, I loaded lots of baggage on airplanes with Lee Marvin. Not!

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  2. What an excellent post! I love Lee Marvin and your comparison to Robert Mitchum is an apt one. Both guys exuded a badass, nononsense quality that is sorely missing from most actors nowadays. They just had it, it was effortless, it was who they were. Nowadays you see actors trying to force it, trying to replicate and failing miserably. Guys like Marvin and Mitchum are a dying breed as exemplified by guys like Nick Nolte (in his prime) or William Forsythe (check out THE DEVIL'S REJECTS) who are also a rare commodity.

    I envy you being able to see THE DIRTY DOZEN on the big screen. I hope you and your son have a fun time.

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  3. Thanks, Herb. Lee Marvin was one great movie star (wish we had someone like him nowadays).

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  4. Great comparison with Nolte and Forsythe, J.D. And how true about what's sorely missing from most actors nowadays. My son and I are really looking forward to tonight. Thank you for your kind words and comment, my friend.

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  5. Hmmm, was this based on a book? It's certainly not forgotten, but a nice choice nevertheless. 

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  6. Welcome, Richard. Best as I can tell, this film is not based upon a book. From Wikipedia:

    "The Dirty Dozen is not the story of a real unit. However, there was in the US Army a unit called the Filthy Thirteen, an airborne demolition unit documented in the eponymous book, and this unit's exploits inspired the fictional account. Barbara Maloney, the daughter of John Agnew, a private in the Filthy Thirteen, told the American Valor Quarterly that her father felt that 30% of the movie's content was historically correct, including a scene where officers are captured. Unlike the Dirty Dozen, the Filthy Thirteen were not convicts; however, they were men prone to drinking and fighting and often spent time in the stockade."

    I usually participate in the Friday Forgotten series, but I include movies and songs, along with the books, in my postings. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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  7. I, too, was twelve in 1967, and Mom's friend, Frannie, took us to the drive-in to see The Dirty Dozen. Problem is, she liked to leave early to beat the crowd. In this case it meant that we didn't know who made it out alive. There's Mom in the front seat asking, "Who can you see? Can you see any of them?" and there I am hanging out of the back window of the car trying to see which actors were on screen. The next night Mom borrowed my grandparents' car and we went back to the drive-in to see the movie in its entirety. It will always be one of my favorite films.

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  8. That's a great memory, Cathy. Thank god for Mom with regard to this film, huh? Thanks very much for adding to this with your comment.

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  9. My introduction to Lee Marvin came when I saw CAT BALLOU. He played the dual roles of gunfighter Kid Shelleen and the town drunk. He scared the dickens out of me as Kid Shelleen so when Dirty Dozen came out, I didn't go see it. I still haven't seen it in its entirety, just bits and pieces, but I saw The Devil's Brigade, which I gather is a rather watered down version of Dirty Dozen, is that right?

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  10. I didn't see Cat Ballou till some time after The Dirty Dozen (I'm pretty sure I first watched when it debuted on network TV). And Lee Marvin was great in it playing the dual-role. I enjoyed The Devil's Brigade, but coming a year after TDD it does seem like another studio's answer to it. You know I'm going to recommend watching The Dirty Dozen in its entirety. If you were out here today, I'd insist on taking you with us tonight, Naomi.
    ;)

    Thanks for your comment.

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  11. The tagline on that poster is priceless! I've not seen either of these which is clearly a crime as I'm a pretty big war movie buff. I'm thinking of doing a post-memorial day weekend imitation of your double feature via Netflix. Not the same as the big screen but at least I'll get to see the movies.

    Hope you enjoyed the evening and have a wonderful holiday!

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  12. That is a great tagline. Let me know how you like the films after you get the chance to see them. Thanks, Rachel.

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  13. I just wanted to let you know that inspired by this wonderful post, I watched Lee Marvin and the gang tear it up this weekend thanks to TCM airing it. I hadn't seen the film in ages and loved every second of it. Man, Marvin was such a badass! I also had forgotten how deliciously psycho John Cassavetes' character was. heh. Good times.

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  14. That's great to hear, J.D.! It's such a great film, and its cast was the best for this actioner. Thanks for letting me know, my friend.

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