Lee Van Cleef, Charles Bronson, Roger Corman

Written by Joe D on November 14th, 2007

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Lee Van Cleef VS. a Cucumber with Claws

I just noticed something. A guy I just met via email sent me a book he wrote about Lee Van Cleef. The guy’s name is Mike Malloy. Anyway I’m reading this book and I see that Lee Van Cleef’s first starring role in a film was given him by Roger Corman.

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The Artful Roger

The film was called It Conquered The World and Van Cleef played a scientist who contacts a Venusian creature that wants to take over the Earth. And it almost does with Lee’s help, until he has to destroy it and save Mankind. I liked this movie when I was a kid.

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The Monster Menaces The Beautiful Beverly Garland, doesn’t she own a motel in Studio City?

The only bad thing is the rubber monster. Van Cleef is great as always. Another thing, Corman gave Charles Bronson his first leading role in Machine Gun Kelly.

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This is an excellent film and I whole heartedly recommend it to everybody. It features an outstanding performance by Maury Amsterdam of all people!

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This movie got Bronson noticed in Europe and he was on his way. Van Cleef and Bronson both became huge stars through working in Europe.
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Another thing Van Cleef and Bronson have in common. They both play the Harmonica!

They were both in their 40’s when they finally made it. Bronson had been in a lot of films, he was favored by Andre deToth and appears in several of his films. But even a giant talent like deToth didn’t or couldn’t give Charles a leading role.
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Van Cleef is in High Noon and is very effective. But who gave him his first leading role? Roger Corman. Was it because he was a true independent filmmaker, answering to himself?
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Was it Corman’s vision, ability to see talent for himself and the guts to take a chance? Probably a bit of both. These two stars were Galactic! International Box Office Giants. And they weren’t pretty faces, maybe to be a macho leading man you have to go to Europe and come back as one, like Clint Eastwood. Bronson’s nickname in Italy was Il Bruto (The Ugly), Van Cleef was mistakenly called “Mr. Ugly” in American ad campaigns after his appearence in The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.(He played The Bad) Who are the macho leading men today? Russel Crowe? He’s from Australia, Mel Gibson? Ditto. Are there any home grown ones? I wonder why not.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Apr
    8
    12:07
    AM
    Diane

    Lee Van Cleef was VERY good looking, a Very Rugged (not to mess with Him) Handsome Man. Pretty is for Woman.

  2. Apr
    8
    6:58
    AM
    Joe D

    I agree, the point being he was NOT pretty, like a lot of leading men today.

  3. Jun
    26
    1:34
    AM
    Todd T

    They don’t make them like Lee Van Cleef anymore!

  4. Jan
    9
    8:01
    PM
    Terri

    Lee Van Cleef was the original “Bad Man”. The best of them all and ofcourse the handsomest and sexyest.

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