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Lee Marvin, "as cool as this looks....."


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After having watched this memorable film many, many times since it first came out in the 60's I always thought it was pretty cool to have 2 magazines taped together like shown here. But at that, I just don't believe it would have been all that practical to have an excessively long protruding mag as it would seem to be ripe for banging into something and either dislodging it or deforming it rendering some kind of damage to the mag or the mag well. I certainly never saw an actual WW II photograph like this on an M3. But I if memory serves there does exist a photograph of this being done with a Thompson. Not sure it was necessary to tape the 2 so far down on the mag, making it really, really long.  

Lee Marvin.jpg

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Even if they were set at the shortest possible length with the spare mag just clearing the magwell it wouldn't be a good idea. Having the spare mag upside down almost guarantees moving losing bullets or moving them enough to cause a misfeed, shoving crud into the mag, bending the lips or all three.  Taping them side by side facing in the same direction with a spacer between similar to how the HK mag clips work would seem to be a better idea

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My late father did that with his M2 carbine and taped two banana mags together (one upside down) so he  could do quick mag changes when the North Korean and Chinese did mass wave charges.  Not sure if that would have been a common practice with a M3A1 during Korea, but never heard of that practice during WW2 regarding the GG.   

 

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Never overlook the cool factor in movies!  That said, I suppose it is possible that it might have been done in the situation in which Lee Marvin's character found himself in "The Dirty Dozen" as he was guarding a bunch of murderers and thugs, not in an actual  combat setting.  But I think it was doubtful.  I'll have to go to IMDB and check who was the military advisor on the set, if they had one.  Most of this type movies did have a retired service man giving advice, but that didn't mean they always (or ever!) took it.

I always count the rounds fired from guns in movies, and most machine guns seem to have at least a 200 round magazine capacity, I know Bruce Willis's MP5 did in Die Hard! 

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17 hours ago, Mike Hammer said:

After having watched this memorable film many, many times since it first came out in the 60's I always thought it was pretty cool to have 2 magazines taped together like shown here. But at that, I just don't believe it would have been all that practical to have an excessively long protruding mag as it would seem to be ripe for banging into something and either dislodging it or deforming it rendering some kind of damage to the mag or the mag well. I certainly never saw an actual WW II photograph like this on an M3. But I if memory serves there does exist a photograph of this being done with a Thompson. Not sure it was necessary to tape the 2 so far down on the mag, making it really, really long.  

 

Not only are they taped to make it as long as possible, it looks like they are front to front instead of side to side! Hard to imagine a more awkward arrangement. Lee Marvin did NOT need such a gimmick to look cool. Also, I do not see a buttstock on that gun. 

Edited by JJX
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3 hours ago, BillinBama said:

Never overlook the cool factor in movies!  That said, I suppose it is possible that it might have been done in the situation in which Lee Marvin's character found himself in "The Dirty Dozen" as he was guarding a bunch of murderers and thugs, not in an actual  combat setting.  But I think it was doubtful.  I'll have to go to IMDB and check who was the military advisor on the set, if they had one.  Most of this type movies did have a retired service man giving advice, but that didn't mean they always (or ever!) took it.

I always count the rounds fired from guns in movies, and most machine guns seem to have at least a 200 round magazine capacity, I know Bruce Willis's MP5 did in Die Hard! 

My PPSH mags have a 200 round capacity. 

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Posted (edited)

Here's another picture. Like SRanger mentioned, it would be very easy to lose rounds or get crud in the bottom mag. Just carry a mag pouch, reaching for a one out of the pouch is worth the extra 2 seconds. Notice the blank adaptor at the end of the barrel, we discussed that some years ago on another thread here.

 

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Edited by Mike Hammer
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  • 2 weeks later...

DSC_0811.JPG

On 3/12/2024 at 11:29 AM, JJX said:

Not only are they taped to make it as long as possible, it looks like they are front to front instead of side to side! Hard to imagine a more awkward arrangement. Lee Marvin did NOT need such a gimmick to look cool. Also, I do not see a buttstock on that gun. 

Good catch, in addition to no Buttstock, the gun has the VERY early L rear sight. When  I visited Babty's movie rentals in England the owner showed me a rack of Grease Guns and said that ONE of them was used by Lee Marvin in the movie, BUT they never documented which one. He also said Lee Marvin wanted to use an MP40 for that part, but I guess he was "shot down" in that request.

Note that the 3rd and 7th M3s on the top shelf appear to have L rear sights.

The movie was filmed in the UK, based at the, long-gone, MGM Studios in Borehamwood, using locations in Hertfordshire. 

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I also just ran across an article (can't find it again) where Sterling made 10 and 15 round magazines that they "bound" together in a similar fashion as shown above. The article said it was for suppressed non FA fire. 

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On 3/23/2024 at 3:22 PM, Frank Iannamico said:

DSC_0811.JPG

Good catch, in addition to no Buttstock, the gun has the VERY early L rear sight. When  I visited Babty's movie rentals in England the owner showed me a rack of Grease Guns and said that ONE of them was used by Lee Marvin in the movie, BUT they never documented which one. He also said Lee Marvin wanted to use an MP40 for that part, but I guess he was "shot down" in that request.

Note that the 3rd and 7th M3s on the top shelf appear to have L rear sights.

The movie was filmed in the UK, based at the, long-gone, MGM Studios in Borehamwood, using locations in Hertfordshire. 

Frank, great shot of Babty's Grease guns and Thompsons. What were the circumstances that they allowed you to view there inventory, please tell us more about your visit? For those who don't know Babty's is the British version of what the U.S. Stembridge gun rentals used to be for movies. Lots of history there with all the James Bond film guns and the guns used in the Indiana Jones films.

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I went to England with Dan Shea, who knows everyone there. On that trip in 2012, several people went along, Dan, Phil Dater, Dolf, and Robert Segel.

It was a two-week trip, Dan was able to get us in the National Firearms Collection (former Pattern room) The British Small Arms School gun room, Warminster, another Army facility in Shrivenham  (I don't recall the name) Babty, A section 5 dealers Greg Felton, and Dave Thomas'  and the War and Peace show, on the weekend we went to the War Museum in London. It was great all I had to do was show up in the hotel lobby in the morning and get in the van.  The attached  images are all from Babty   

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Frank, that certainly must have been an eye opening trip. Wow. It certainly helps to have connections. Great photos of Bapty's, I'm sure not very many people have had the privilege of viewing their inventory.

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Those pictures are a mere fraction of Babty's inventory, there are a lot more guns than in the photos, and they also had helmets, uniforms, military radios, swords rubber prop-guns, Knights armor, etc.  We also visited a restored WWII airfield in the north of England, it was closed, but Dan got us in, one of the aircraft was a C-47 used in HBOs Band of Brothers Series.   

At the time we were at Babty the place was being remodeled there were workers and painters there, so everything upstairs was in disarray.  

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On 3/24/2024 at 10:08 AM, Rekraps said:

I also just ran across an article (can't find it again) where Sterling made 10 and 15 round magazines that they "bound" together in a similar fashion as shown above. The article said it was for suppressed non FA fire. 

I thought the 10 and 15-round Sterling mags were made at first for the MK7, for concealability. Then of course they could be used with any variant.

Frank, seriously interesting pictures, thanks for sharing.

I have seen several historic photos with dual mags but I bet those guys did not do it for every day use, at least not for long. This trooper has two Thompsons mags front to front, but it serves a purpose as a good way to attach a support strap during a jump. The mags also overlap as much as possible.

 

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  • 2 months later...

Here’s another shot of Marvin. Personally The Professionals was a better movie. He got to play with a Lewis and a 1917a1 briefly.

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