An engagingly personal tribute that is strengthened and weakened by the approach
John Boorman met Lee Marvin in London when the latter was making The Dirty Dozen and immediately they struck up a friendship. Shortly afterwards they made two films together, the first of which was Point Blank, during which Boorman found that he learnt a lot about screen acting and how to direct from the contributions and support from Marvin. Later they worked together on Hell in the Pacific. With his friendship providing an insightful collection of memories of Marvin, Boorman leads this intimate documentary on the life of Lee Marvin.
I have a few issues about this film but none of them really stand up because the title told me just what I was getting. You see this isn't a strict documentary that charts Marvin's career in detail but rather a personal film that rambles along driven by memories of Boorman and a few others it isn't really chronological but then a discussion on the life of a friend at their wake rarely would be. I liked this approach because it did feel a lot more meaningful that just having lots of clips of talking heads providing pat memories. Too often with lots of contributors that would be what you mostly get but here we do get valuable personal reflections I particularly valued the bits where Boorman talked us through a couple of scenes that he did with Marvin and explained what was Marvin's ideas and what he achieved by changing the scenes, this made me respect him even more as an actor and it was nice to see the craft and not just the end product.
Overall then, not a fascinating or detailed documentary by any means but it does do just what it says it will in the title. As such it is an affectionate and engaging collection of memories, some of them fascinating, some of them not, but generally the approach works as a personal tribute to the man.
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