Sunday, August 6, 2017

100 Years of Robert Mitchum

It was 100 years ago today that Robert Mitchum was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He would become one of the most celebrated actors of the later part of the Golden Age of Hollywood, starring in such films as Out of the Past (1947), Holiday Affair (1949), The Night of Hunter(1955), Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957),  The Enemy Below (1957), Cape Fear (1962), and many others. Over the years he made films in many genres, including war movies, film noir, Westerns, and even comedies.

In honour of the 100th anniversary of Robert Mitchum's birth, here is a short pictorial tribute.

Robert Mitchum's first credited role was as Rigney in the Hopalong Cassidy Movie Hoppy Serves a Writ (1943). He was credited as "Bob Mitchum". He would go onto appear in many more Hopalong Cassidy movies.
From the earliest years of his career Robert Mitchum appeared in several war films. Among the best known was one in which he played the secondary lead, opposite Burgess Meredith, The Story of G.I. Joe (1945). Mr. Mtichum was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film.

By the late Forties Robert Mithcum was being cast as the lead in films. He became particularly identified with film noir. He appeared in several films noirs, the most famous of which is often counted among the greatest films noirs of all time, Out of the Past (1947).

During his career Robert Mitchum would also appear in several comedies. Holiday Affair (1949) was not a hit upon its initial release, but has since developed a considerable following.

Over the years Robert Mitchum would play several heavies, including one of the greatest villains in the history of American film. He played Harry Powers, sociopath and serial killer, in the classic Night of the Hunter (1955). Although not a success, either with critics or at the box office, upon its initial release, it has since become regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.

It is a mark of Robert Mitchum's versatility that he could go from playing a psychopathic murderer in Night of the Hunter to playing a U.S. Marine Corporal who befriends a nun in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957) only two years later. Deborah Kerr received an Academy Award nomination for her role as Sister Angela in the film.

Robert Mitchum was very good playing villains, so good that he played more than one legendary screen bad guy. Max Cady in Cape Fear (1962) would certainly number in any list of the greatest movie villains

Robert Mitchum continued to appear in Westerns throughout much of his career. He played Sheriff J.P. Harrah opposite John Wayne in the movie El Dorado (1966). In El Dorado Mr. Mithcum was clearly one of the good guys.

In the Seventies Robert Mitchum played private eye Philip Marlowe in two films The first was Farewell, My Lovely in 1975. He would play the detective again in 1978 in The Big Sleep.

Robert Mitchum continued to work in the Eighties and Nineties, appearing in such film as Mr. North (1988), Scrooged (1988), and Woman of Desire (1994). His final film was the Norwegian movie Pakten in 1995, known in English as Waiting for Sunset.

1 comment:

Raquel Stecher said...

I loved this piece Terry! Great use of photos and I like how you outlined the different types of roles he did.