Exactly a week back, this blog was celebrating the birthday of a favourite of mine: the gorgeous Mumtaz turned 70. Today, Dusted Off celebrates the birth anniversary—the centenary, in fact—of another favourite of mine: Robert Mitchum.
Born on August 6, 1917, Mitchum first began appearing in cinema during the early 40s (having already worked in an eclectic range of jobs, from ditch-digging, professional boxing, theatre actor and writer, to a machine operator at Lockheed). Although he is today best known for noir films (think Cape Fear and The Night of the Hunter), Mitchum acted in varied roles and genres. From one of the best submarine war films ever (The Enemy Below) to an unusual—and endearing—love story in Heaven Knows, Mr Allison; from the angsty medical drama Not as a Stranger to the hard-hitting expression against anti-Semitism, Crossfire… Mitchum was in films of all types.
To commemorate Mitchum’s birth centenary, I found myself in a dilemma. I’ve already reviewed several of his best-known films (not to mention several that are barely known). I’ve even devoted an entire week on Dusted Off to Mitchum. It seemed appropriate to review a Mitchum film: one of the classic noirs? Blog reader Hurdy Gurdy Man suggested Out of the Past or The Big Steal. I decided, instead, to review an unusual film, a sort of cusp between the Westerns that marked Mitchum’s early career and the noirs that marked his later years as an actor. Pursued is a noir Western.
When I told my husband about this post, he said, “Shouldn’t that be ten of your favourite Mitchum characters?” I thought over it, and had to disagree. No; these characters aren’t my favourites. Some of them are wonderful men, but others aren’t—for instance, the characters Mitchum plays in films like Cape Fear and The Night of the Hunter are chillingly evil.
So this, then, is not a list of the most likeable characters Mitchum’s played. They’re a list of the roles he’s excelled in.
When I did my first eye candy post, I put Mitchum in at the top. He may not be classically beautiful, but in my lexicon Mitchum is very drool-worthy! Something to do with the combination of the voice, the face, and those massive shoulders, I guess… Anyway, no Robert Mitchum Week could ever be considered complete without a post that just dwelt on the sheer magnetism of this man. So here goes.