I always like to check who got a particular role/part/casting - and how - why? Who refused it - missed out? The casting story for The Wild Bunch reveals some very interesting candidates.
Who would you have picked? Why? A very tough decision.
Wikipedia says: "Director Sam Peckinpah considered many actors for the Pike Bishop role, before casting William Holden: Richard Boone, Sterling Hayden, Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, and James Stewart. Marvin actually accepted the role but pulled out after he was offered a larger pay deal to star in Paint Your Wagon (1969)."
Pretty well a Who's Who of Western film Icons.
Richard Boone Western Filmography
Way of a Gaucho - (1952) / Pony Soldier (uncredited) (1952)
City of Bad Men - (1953) / The Siege at Red River - (1954)
The Raid - (1954) / Ten Wanted Men - (1955)
Man Without a Star - (1955) / Robbers' Roost - (1955)
Star in the Dust - (1956) / The Tall T - (1957)
The Alamo - (1960) / A Thunder of Drums - (1961)
Rio Conchos - (1964) / Hombre - (1967)
Big Jake - (1971) / Against a Crooked Sky - (1975)
Diamante Lobo - (1976) / The Shootist - (1976)
Richard Boone TV Westerns
Frontier - episode - The Salt War -1956)
Studio One in Hollywood - episode - Dead of Noon - (1957)
Have Gun – Will Travel - 225 episodes - (1957–1963)
Cimarron Strip – episode - The Roarer - (1967)
Hec Ramsey - 10 episodes - (1972-1974)
Sterling Hayden Western Filmography
1949 El Paso / 1952 Flaming Feather
1952 Denver and Rio Grande / 1952 Hellgate
1953 Kansas Pacific / 1954 Arrow In the Dust
1954 Johnny Guitar / 1955 Timberjack
1955 Shotgun / 1955 Top Gun
1955 The Last Command / 1957 Gun Battle at Monterey
1957 The Iron Sheriff / 1958 Terror in a Texas Town
1975 Cipolla Colt
Sterling Hayden TV Westerns
1957 Zane Grey Theater / 1957 Wagon Train
1982 The Blue and the Gray
Charleton Heston Western Filmography
1952 The Savage / 1952 The President's Lady
1953 Pony Express / 1953 Arrowhead
1955 The Far Horizons / 1957 Three Violent People
1958 The Big Country / 1965 Major Dundee
1968 Will Penny / 1972 The Call of the Wild
1980 The Mountain Men / 1993 Tombstone
Burt Lancaster Western Filmography
1951 Vengeance Valley / 1951 Ten Tall Men
1954 Apache / 1954 Vera Cruz
1955 The Kentuckian / 1956 The Rainmaker
1957 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral / 1960 The Unforgiven
1965 The Hallelujah Trail / 1966 The Professionals
1968 The Scalphunters / 1971 Lawman
1971 Valdez Is Coming / 1972 Ulzana's Raid
1976 Buffalo Bill and the Indians / 1981 Cattle Annie and Little Britches
Lee Marvin Western Filmography
Gun Fury (1953) / The Raid (1954)
The Comancheros (1961) / The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Cat Ballou (1965) / The Professionals (1966)
Paint Your Wagon (1969) / Monte Walsh (1970)
The Spikes Gang (1974)
Wagon Train, Bonanza, and The Virginian …
Robert Mitchum Western Filmography
1943 Hoppy Serves a Writ / 1943 Border Patrol
1943 Leather Burners / 1943 Colt Comrades
1943 The Lone Star Trail / 1943 Beyond the Last Frontier
1943 Bar 20 / 1943 False Colors
1943 Riders of the Deadline / 1944 Nevada
1945 West of the Pecos / 1947 Pursued
1948 Blood on the Moon / 1949 The Red Pony
1952 The Lusty Men / 1954 River of No Return
1955 Man with the Gun / 1956 Bandido
1959 The Wonderful Country / 1967 El Dorado
1967 The Way West / 1968 Villa Rides
1968 5 Card Stud / 1969 Young Billy Young
1969 The Good Guys and the Bad Guys
1993 Tombstone Narrator / 1995 Dead Man
Robert Mitchum TV Work
1985 North and South
Gregory Peck Western Filmography
1946 Duel in the Sun / 1946 Yellow Sky
1950 The Gunfighter / 1950 Only the Valiant
1958 The Bravados / 1958 The Big Country
1962 How the West Was Won / 1967 The Stalking Moon
1967 Mackenna's Gold / 1982 The Blue and the Gray
1989 Old Gringo
James Stewart Western Filmography
1939 Destry Rides Again / 1950 Winchester '73
1950 Broken Arrow / 1952 Bend of the River
1953 The Naked Spur / 1954 The Far Country
1955 The Man from Laramie / 1961 Two Rode Together
1962 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
1962 How the West Was Won / 1964 Cheyenne Autumn
1965 Shenandoah / 1966 The Rare Breed
1968 Firecreek / 1968 Bandolero!
1970 The Cheyenne Social Club
1976 The Shootist
Amazing ... stunning. You can't lose. Put all the names in a hat and pull one out ... any one of them would have done a great job.
Next let's have a look at Ernest Borgnine's role of Dutch Engstrom ...
I’m gonna say that The Spikes Gang (1974) was the last true Western that Lee Marvin made.
A pretty good little film that never got it’s due. Certainly worth a see.
Director Richard Fleistcher's message is loud and clear: a badguy is not a hero (even if he is a Movie Star) and there is no glory - or freedom - in being a crook. And who better to deliver that message than Lee Marvin?
A great little cast - Gary Grimes, Charles Martin Smith, Marvin, Ron Howard - including two sweet cameo supporting roles by (Western Great) Arthur Hunnicutt and Noah Beery Jr.
Paint Your Wagon (1969) may qualify as having Western flavour ... and Clint Eastwood. But it's a musical. (Yet ... so was Cat Ballou ... in part) I think it’s a pretty good movie in it's own right - and many folks like it, but ... I don't categorize it as a Western.
Survey says ... ?? Your opinion ?
Death Hunt (1981). It has action, guns and horses ... and Charles Bronson. But a Western? I don't feel it.
Others may challenge these judgements. My opinion is not final on anything.
The Professionals didn't seem to indulge in a lot of marketing promotion. Possibly (credibly) relying on it's AllStar cast to carry it.
But some of marketing images are still a bit of a head scratcher.
This DVD cover/poster headlines "Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Jack Palance and Ralph Bellamy". But ... ? the image shows Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale, Marvin, Ryan and Woody Strode.
Palance and Bellamy are Billed, but not pictured. Cardinale and Strode are pictured, but not Billed.
This can only be attributed to contractual agreements regarding who would get Billed ahead of who ... whom? I guess.
Even stranger: As shown below, Cardinale did not even appear in the original photo, but she was cleverly inserted later - between Lancaster and Marvin.
YET ... she is not even identified on the Bill !! ??
Again, we have actors Billed (Lancaster, Palance, Bellamy) - but not pictured.
And actors pictured (Cardinale, Strode), but not Billed.
I know it's hot out there in the desert, but ...
How hot is it? Check this:
Whew ... it's sweaty out here in the desert.
Who are those slobs in the background?
(Foreign marketers had no problem showing where their interest lies.)
Best Director: Richard Brooks
Best Adapted Screenplay: Richard Brooks
Best Cinematography: Conrad Hall
The film won two Motion Picture Magazine Laurel Awards in 1967, for Best Action Drama and Best Action Performance for Lee Marvin.
In Germany, it was one of only four movies to receive a Golden Screen award (the others were Doctor Zhivago, Merveilleuse Angélique and You Only Live Twice) in 1967.
"Maybe there's only one revolution, since the beginning, the good guys against the bad guys. Question is, who are the good guys?"
- Burt Lancaster / The Professionals
Lee Marvin moves into full blown stardom - becoming a legitimate box office titan - in one of the greatest Westerns ever made (My Favorite) starring along side Western Film Greats Burt Lancaster, Jack Palance, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode, Claudia Cardinale, Ralph Belamy ... What a cast!
Following Cat Ballou (Oscar) this is one of 4 Westerns remaining in Marvin's Western filmography: Monte Walsh / 1970 (with Jack Palance); Paint Your Wagon / 1969 (with Clint Eastwood); Emperor of the North / 1973 (with Charles Bronson).
A true Western Star.
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It's often interesting to read reviews from when the time the film was originally released - and see how they bear up as to how the film is presently regarded.
Several movies that are now regarded as Classics were savagely ripped by reviewers of the day. But time often tells a different story. However ...
Wikipedia tells us (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Shot_Liberty_Valance)
"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was an instant hit when released in April 1962, thanks to its classic story and popular stars John Wayne and James Stewart. Produced on a budget of $3.2 million, the film grossed $8,000,000 at the box office, making it the 16th highest grossing film of 1962. Edith Head's costumes for the film were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, one of the few westerns to ever be nominated for the award. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has continued its popularity through repeated television broadcasts and the rental market. It is also widely considered to be one of director John Ford's best westerns and generally ranks alongside Red River, The Searchers, The Big Trail, and Stagecoach as one of John Wayne's best films."
The Critics liked - and the People liked it.
Below: A nice video presentation with a nice rendition of song The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance written by songsters Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis.
Warning: possible huge spoilers ... if you've never seen the movie.
Music: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - Gene Pitney
Between The Comancheros and Cat Ballou (Oscar), Lee continued his meteoric climb to the Hollywood heights with perhaps his most famous role as Liberty Valence in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Many will agree that Lees viscous performance easily upstages Hollywood greats John Wayne and James Stewart - and perhaps establishing an iconic benchmark for Western villainy. YET, on the official poster (below) we still see Marvin billed a distant 4th behind Stewart (billed first over Wayne?), Wayne, and Vera Miles - with no notable image of Marvin - even though his character (Valance) is in the movies title !!! I'll never figure out Hollywood marketing.
Look for another furure Western Badguy superstar (yet to emerge) Lee (Van Cleef) as one of Marvin's henchmen.
(Above) That's Lee at the bottom ... I guess
Love him or hate him, you'd really have to search for a long time to find a lousy picture of John Wayne. This guy was charisma personified.
"Well, if people didn't try something new,
there wouldn't be hardly any progress at all."
- Jane Fonda / Cat Ballou
Cat Ballou - Ballad of Kid Shelleen
MFW: You're right Marilyn ... nobody knew he had it in him.
Kid Shelleen (Lee Marvin) demonstrates his gun hand ....
The whole dang gang:
Dwayne Hickman, Michael Callan, Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, Tom Nardini
"He did it! He missed the barn!"
MFW: And now for something COMPLETELY different: a movie so unique that it almost defies category: One the strangest ... Westerns? ... definitely a comedy ... ever made. Unique .. funny ... star studded ... award winning ... and it made lottsa money.
He may have missed the barn, but he still made a bulls-eye.
More ... on the way ...
Lee makes it to the Top of the Mountain - A Western with John Wayne
... But he's still 5th on the Bill
Marvin ... 5th on the Bill
The Stranger Wore a Gun is a muddled mess made palatable by Scott's likeable hero, a strong supporting cast, and the novelty of 3-D at its most nakedly exploitive.
Lee moves up to 3rd on the Bill ...
Warning: Huge Spoiler below ...
... Lee gets killed ...