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Mitchum . . .and Mitchumesque

by sd burch
Mitchum . . .and Mitchumesque by sd burch
At this point most will agree that the perenially under-estimated Robert Mitchum was, in spite of his persona of the sleepy-eyed, lazy, drunken, don’t give a damn actor, one of the screen’s finest actors and one of its hardest workers. On the set of El Dorado, Howard Hawks called Mitchum’s bluff and told him that he knew Mitchum’s act was a fake and that Mitchum was always first on the set and last to leave and always had his lines learned. Certainly Mitchum made many tepid and mediocre movies in his career, but he himself was always interesting to watch, even in such throwaway potboilers as The Amsterdam Kill, The Way West, The Grass is… Read more

At this point most will agree that the perenially under-estimated Robert Mitchum was, in spite of his persona of the sleepy-eyed, lazy, drunken, don’t give a damn actor, one of the screen’s finest actors and one of its hardest workers. On the set of El Dorado, Howard Hawks called Mitchum’s bluff and told him that he knew Mitchum’s act was a fake and that Mitchum was always first on the set and last to leave and always had his lines learned. Certainly Mitchum made many tepid and mediocre movies in his career, but he himself was always interesting to watch, even in such throwaway potboilers as The Amsterdam Kill, The Way West, The Grass is Always Greener, and Fire Down Below. In his career, he only received one Academy Award nomination (Best Supporting Actor, 1945, Story of G.I. Joe), yet his best work rivals that of any other great actor. As one critic once pointed out, at his best he was Mitchum and when not at his best he was . . .well, Mitchumesque.

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