He made a calypso album.
You have to know that. You have to know there is more to Robert Mitchum than playing bad guys…and having enormous pectoral muscles.
And that voice.
Of the 136 films IMDB credits Mr. Mitchum, I have seen a piddly 7. But trust me when I tell you, it’s enough to know that this man is an icon. We don’t have a Robert Mitchum right now. We don’t have someone out there so manly he can scare the bejesus out of women and men alike in Night of the Hunter, record the corniest album known to man, and then scare the bejesus out of everybody again in Cape Fear. Clooney could do it with comedy, but that’s as close as we’ve come to a Mitchum Man in the 21st century. The man is, in a word, underrated.
And that’s too bad. It’s too bad for him, in absentia. And it’s too bad for us, because who doesn’t want to watch charisma?
First, go look at the picture on my last blog post.
Mmm hmmmm. Classic “Men want to be him, Women want to be with him,” Kodak moment, no? Sure, he murders that poor hooker right after that, but it’s the menacing dark side that is so appealing.
I’ve been touting Night of the Hunter as one of the greatest films ever for some time now. And while he’s not the only reason (Lillian Gish holds her own), he’s a big part of it. His rendition of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” is no “Mama Looka Boo Boo”, I promise it will send chills down your spine.
Next, I want to introduce you to a film I have adored since I was truly a little girl. What a Way To Go! It has everything. If you think of “everything” as Paul Newman, Gene Kelly, Dick Van Dyke, Dean Martin, and Robert Mitchum. Which I do. Mitchum is only in about a quarter of the movie, but he is still an important, nay integral role. And funny, too. This man is funny. You can tell.
Then we have Cape Fear. He is in both, you know. Now. I loathe and detest the remake. Even with G. Peck and R. Mitchum’s stamp of approval, I can’t fight my Nolte/Lewis/DeNiro as Mitchum nausea. And I love Scorcese. I just think he should have left perfection alone. So I invite you to partake in perfection. And a little Peck on the side. Rrrrrrggggllll… Cape Fear makes you wait. In agony. Brutal, beautiful agony.
I’m tempted to just lock myself in a room with a laptop and Watch Mitchum Instantly until I’ve worn out my queue.
But my next foray into the World of Mitchum will have to be something different. He deserves that. Something in a uniform I think…
“Leaning on the Everlasting Arms….”
*What is a movie hero? An un or under-sung member of the filmmaking community who deserves more of the spotlight. And yet lack of such a spotlight often adds to their charm.