Sunday, August 06, 2017

A Centennial Tribute to Robert Mitchum

August 6th is the centennial birth date of Robert Mitchum.


Mitchum was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on August 6, 1917.

It's fun to note that another Bridgeport, in California, would play a key role in Mitchum's career 30 years later, as that's where he filmed several scenes for one of his key breakout roles, in the film noir classic OUT OF THE PAST (1947), seen here with Virginia Huston:


There are multiple Mitchum Centennial celebrations taking place this year. Today TCM is hosting Robert Mitchum Day as part of its annual Summer Under the Stars Festival.


There's currently a Mitchum film festival in Boston, with one coming later in the year to New York.


At this year's Lone Pine Film Festival in October, Mitchum's daughter Petrine will be present at a screening of his early Western NEVADA (1944).

After the screening Ed Hulse will moderate a "Centennial" Q&A with Petrine and William Wellman Jr., whose father directed Mitchum in another important star-making role, THE STORY OF G.I. JOE (1945) as well as the later Western TRACK OF THE CAT (1954). (And who, as we learned from yesterday's movie, kicked him off of 1955's BLOOD ALLEY; it will be interesting to see if that comes up!)


It's difficult to name a favorite Mitchum film, as he made so many good ones; indeed, I've reviewed over 30 here (scroll to end of post) and have many more still ahead of me to see for the first time.

That said, here are a few photos from some Mitchum films which are personal favorites, starting with Jane Greer in OUT OF THE PAST (1947):


With Teresa Wright in publicity for Raoul Walsh's "Western noir" PURSUED (1947):


Costarring with William Holden, Gary Gray, and Loretta Young in the wonderful RACHEL AND THE STRANGER (1948). I need to revisit this one and review it here!


With Barbara Bel Geddes in another one of his excellent '40s Westerns, BLOOD ON THE MOON (1948):


With Janet Leigh in a publicity pose for the Christmas perennial HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949), another Mitchum film I've seen multiple times yet haven't reviewed here:


With Greer again in the lighthearted chase film THE BIG STEAL (1949):


With his good friend Jane Russell in HIS KIND OF WOMAN (1951):


With Ann Blyth in the Korean War film ONE MINUTE TO ZERO (1952):


With Linda Darnell in the thriller SECOND CHANCE (1953):


His performance in THE LONGEST DAY (1962) as Brigadier General Norman Cota, one of the highest-ranking men on Omaha Beach on D-Day, definitely ranks up there for me as an all-time favorite Mitchum role:


My friend Raquel is a great Mitchum fan, as one might guess from her blog being named Out of the Past! She's written an article for DVD Netflix naming 10 of her favorite Mitchum films. Most of her recommendations are different from my favorites above, which speaks to the breadth and depth of his career.

In later years Mitchum occasionally worked in television. He had a small role in a fond favorite, NORTH AND SOUTH (1985), and he was the lead in the sprawling Herman Wouk WWII miniseries THE WINDS OF WAR (1983) and its sequel, WAR AND REMEMBRANCE (1988-89):


Robert Mitchum died on July 1, 1997, in Santa Barbara, California. He was just shy of his 80th birthday. His wife Dorothy would live until 2014, passing away at 94.

With Dorothy and sons Chris and James:


With Petrine, who became a historian of movie horses:


Robert Mitchum movies previously reviewed at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: NEVADA (1944), JOHNNY DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (1944), WHEN STRANGERS MARRY (1944) (aka BETRAYED), THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO (1944), WEST OF THE PECOS (1945), TILL THE END OF TIME (1946) (also here), THE LOCKET (1946), CROSSFIRE (1947), PURSUED (1947), OUT OF THE PAST (1947) (also here), DESIRE ME (1947), BLOOD ON THE MOON (1948) (also here), THE BIG STEAL (1949), WHERE DANGER LIVES (1950), MY FORBIDDEN PAST (1951), HIS KIND OF WOMAN (1951), THE RACKET (1951), MACAO (1952), ONE MINUTE TO ZERO (1952), THE LUSTY MEN (1952), SECOND CHANCE (1953) (also here), SHE COULDN'T SAY NO (1954), TRACK OF THE CAT (1954), MAN WITH THE GUN (1955), THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955), THE ENEMY BELOW (1957), THE SUNDOWNERS (1960), THE LONGEST DAY (1962), EL DORADO (1967), THE YAKUZA (1975), MIDWAY (1976).

He starred in many more excellent films, far too many titles to list here; I'll be updating this post with additional links as I review more of his movies!

Update: Here's my review of RIVER OF NO RETURN (1954).


Bonus Posts: Out of the Past in Bridgeport, California (2010) and Bridgeport, California Movie Locations (2014).

Additional Bonus Posts: Raquel has also very recently written on the location filming of both RIVER OF NO RETURN (1954) and OUT OF THE PAST (1947), so be sure to check those out as well!

As Raquel notes in her OUT OF THE PAST piece, we can also be grateful that Mitchum's life didn't come to an early end making that movie, as his arrival in Bridgeport was a bit, er, abrupt.


As we honor Robert Mitchum on his centennial, I feel gratitude for his long, robust career and a body of work still enjoyed today by countless film viewers. Robert Mitchum will be remembered and appreciated for as long as movies exist.

5 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

I did a lot of "extra" work from about 1984-1995 and I got pretty used to being in close proximity to famous people. Only twice was I truly dazzled, once when Gregory Peck walked onto the set and a couple hundred of us extras burst into applause, the other time was when I -- literally -- bumped into Robert Mitchum.

During the run of the TV show THE EQUALIZER, star Edward Woodward suffered a heart attack and Mitchum filled in for a few episodes. But I totally forgot about that when I was hired to do background work on the show.

We were transported to some fancy big house north of Manhattan and ushered in through its front door. I walked in and was looking around when someone crossed in front of me from another room and we collided. The guy grabbed me by the shoulders and looked straight at me. It took about a nano-second for me to recognize Robert Mitchum.

He gripped my shoulders and said, "Whoa there big guy." I was understandably speechless. Then he said "how are ya?" I managed to stammer out that I was fine, then asked, "how are you?" He shook his head, patted my arm and said, "My momma told me there'd be days like this." He then moved on while I laughed as if I'd just heard a really hilarious joke.

I had no further contact with him, but I did later observe him, lounging in an easy chair, while a truly gorgeous young woman hung on his every cool, laconic word.

I think the reason that I got more excited by being around Mitchum or Peck than by Tom Hanks or Robert DeNiro was simply that those guys had been movie stars since I'd been born, while the others were relative newcomers.

Anyway, it was a memorable if brief encounter.

1:17 PM  
Blogger KC said...

Lovely tribute. For some reason I was very taken by the pic of Jane Russell and Mitchum. Am I just projecting, or can you see the affection between them?

10:55 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Rick, what a fun story! Thanks so much for sharing it. My daughter spent some time doing extra work while she was job hunting after college and it was always nice when I heard of a certain actor treating everyone on the set in a friendly and professional way. Sounds like Mitchum was one of those guys. :)

Thanks, KC! I think you're right, that picture is charming and reflects their genuine friendship.

One of the stories that has touched me was when I read that Jane Russell accompanied the family to scatter his ashes at sea when he passed on.

Best wishes,
Laura

12:18 AM  
Blogger Raquel Stecher said...

Great tribute Laura! I've enjoyed a lot of the films you mentioned. I wish I could have gone to at least one of the screenings at the local Mitchum repertory series but alas life got in the way. It was great that the Brattle hosted it. There are a lot of titles I love missing from my DVD Netflix list, I had to chose from what they had available. Mitchum had such a wonderful and varied career!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks, Raquel! Glad to know you have enjoyed a number of the movies featured here. He did indeed have a really long and interesting career; there were several more titles I really like, including some in which he had relatively small roles (THE LOCKET and JOHNNY DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, for starters). What a career!

Best ewishes,
Laura

7:51 PM  

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