Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Old Robert Mitchum

A year ago they released THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE on BluRay, and it's one of those great 70s crime films, gritty and real and with one of Mitchum's best performances (in a career of great performances). So I thought we'd take another look at the tail end of Mitchum's career...




In RESERVOIR DOGS Mr. Blonde is a big fan of Robert Mitchum movies, and so am I. The great thing about Mitchum is that he worked right up until he died - and was still a leading man when most actors his age were playing grandfathers. He was a star in Westerns and War Films in the early 1940s, was *the* star of Film Noir in the late 40s to mid 50s, then starred in NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (one of the greatest films ever made) as the *villain*, and then spent the rest of the 1950s and some of the 1960s as a *romantic lead*, and did a bunch of revisionist westerns in the 1960s... and by the 1970s he was starring in action movies. You read that right - Old Robert Mitchum was the star of some great 70s action flicks, like THE YAKUZA (1974, co-written by Paul Schrader)...



This is one of those great action movies that seems to be forgotten. Mitchum played an ex-cop who goes to Japan to help a WW2 pal whose daughter has been kidnapped and gets involved with both current crime issues (those Yakuza dudes) and his WW2 past. He's not just the action guy kicking ass, he's the romantic lead, too! He's the one kissing hot Asian women!

He also *starred* in THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1973, screenplay by producer Paul Monash who was one of those big shot TV writers from the 50s who created a bunch of classic TV shows and also produced movies like CARRIE, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA) another one of those great crime films that nobody has seen these days. The great thing about Old Mitchum in this film is that he's playing a tough old guy a few weeks from going to prison for a stretch who is trying to do some last minute crime deals to take care of his family... and things go wrong and some shooting has to happen. Mitchum is that guy who may be old, but you don't want to eff with him.



Then Old Mitchum played Philip Marlowe in FAREWELL, MY LOVELY (1975, written by David Zelag Goodman who wrote STRAW DOGS and LOGAN'S RUN) which was kind of riding the coat tails of CHINATOWN, but pretty damned good. When Mitchum was younger he'd starred in the best Film Noir movie ever made, OUT OF THE PAST, playing a disgraced private eye... and you wonder why they didn't cast him as Marlowe back then - he was perfect. But when they did get around to casting him, being the Old Mitchum worked in his favor. He played the role as if he'd seen all of this crap a million times before. This film has a great score... and some dude named Sylvester Stallone playing thug #2.



Old Mitchum also made an updated version of THE BIG SLEEP, which should be avoided, three years later.

He finished the 1970s *starring in action movies* as a tough old guy - and was supposed to star in 48 HOURS in the 80s... but he was probably too busy *starring* in TV miniseries like WINDS OF WAR, NORTH AND SOUTH, and WAR AND REMEMBRANCE. In the 90s, he *starred* in 3 TV series, was narrator for TOMBSTONE, and finished his career playing director George Stevens in the James Dean movie for TV the year he died.



Robert Mitchum's career lasted a hell of a long time... but those 70s action flicks he made as an old man contain some real classics.

"The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I've spent more time in jail," Robert Mitchum.

- Bill
IMPORTANT UPDATE:

TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: Backstory - Creating the past for your characters.
Dinner: Popeyes Chicken & biscuits.
Pages: A bunch of catch up work on classes I'm teaching later in the year.
Bicycle: Short hops to Starbucks and back and then to the subway to Hollywood for drinks with friends and back.
Movies: Nada.
















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