Lee: The Lee Marvin Anthology

Lee-The Lee Marvin Anthology
Crime Factory Publications
Pub date: March 3rd, 2013

Lee Marvin looms large. Lee Marvin was no John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. Lee Marvin was different. There is a scene in the film he did with Charles Bronson called Death Hunt. This scene doesn’t appear in every print of the movie but I know it’s out there. Marvin is pulling guns out of a trunk. He grabs a pump shotgun and he works the action on it. Between the expression on his face and the natural way he handled the weapon, to me, this scene perfectly shows why Marvin was different from the rest. If you have seen what I’m talking about or can at least picture what I describe, you know.

Lee is an anthology of fiction inspired by the life of Lee Marvin. It contains stories by Scott Phillips, Heath Lowrance, Johnny Shaw, Ray Banks, Jake Hinkson and Andrew Nette, among others. The stories are are set in chronological order beginning with Hospital Ship by Adrian McKinty. Set in 1944, it’s about Marvin laying wounded on a hospital ship in the Pacific. Jake Hinkson’s Out on the 101 is a noir tale set in 1954. Heath Lowrance’s 1961 set The Man Who Shot the Duke is about an event that could have happened on the set of Liberty Valance. Cameron Ashley’s 1966 set Just Swell is about Oscar night debauchery. A quest for a bigger gun in the film Point Blank leads to mayhem in 1967 Mexico as written by Eric Beetner. Did you know Lee Marvin almost played Quint in Jaws??? Down Mexico Way set in 1972 talks about just that.

In my eyes, anthologies are hit or miss affairs. Very few are solid all the way through. When you have one with a premise such as this one, the bar is set high. I loved it. It was original. In some of the stories you can actually hear Marvin’s voice. I was thoroughly surprised with how good this collection was. I highly recommend it. The downside is that if you’re not a big Lee Marvin fan, you may not be into this collection. Most of the stories are set around his films so if you know the films, you will find yourself smiling while thinking this could have happened. This is not a crime collection so others will be put off by that fact alone while reading. These are stories of drinking, fighting, and fucking. I can only wonder what Lee Marvin would make of this collection