Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Favorite Actors, #8: Robert Mitchum
First Movie I Saw Him In: The Winds of War (1983; not a factor in me liking him, but it was the first; I also knew who he was prior to this-- ya see, Mitchum and I go way back)
Three Favorite Movies: Out of the Past (1947); El Dorado (1967); Farewell, My Lovely (1975)
Honorable Mention: One Shoe Makes It Murder (1982) (a TV movie, but Mitchum is so good in everything; even detective dreck like this. Actually, it's not bad!)
Favorite Performance: Out of the Past (1947)
Why I Like Him: Big, Bad, Bob Mitchum. The only actor ever who could sing a calypso tune, pummel some guy into unconsciousness while a cigarette dangled off his lip--and never break a sweat. He's the face of film noir: weary, cynical, but with a sense of humor that gets him through it all. He’s my American Ideal as to what “cool “ should be; too bad there aren’t people like him around anymore. On top of that, Mitchum’s a genuine character. Ever see his 1971 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show? Watch the scotch in his cup rise and fall after every commercial break. I actually prefer the “Mature Mitchum”, when he was a living dinosaur, a tough guy from another era who was an island unto himself. His very Mitchumness made him unique, yet he was still timeless, ageless; a reminder of another era but strangely contemporary and fresh. I know that probably doesn’t make sense to you, but it does to me…
Random Info: Got around a ban an on-set drinking ban imposed by director Vincente Minneli during the filming of Home from the Hill (1960) by injecting oranges with syringes full of vodka. No one could figure out how Mitchum stayed intoxicated. Mitchum sent actor and one-time co-star George Hamilton a Mother’s Day card every year until the end of his life. Oh! I should also mention that I often "amuse" my wife when I offhandedly suggest that when I'm an old man, I'll wear those huge eyeglasses like Mitchum did in his later years. My glee is endless when I get a reaction from her.