Tag Archives: Robert Mitchum

Movie Wisdom- Robert Mitchum Edition

15 Aug

Several months ago, I put together a Movie Wisdom post based on the films of John Mitchum. Now, I have decided to write one about the movies of his more famous brother, Robert Mitchum.

The idea developed as I watched Thunder Road, a movie that I had never seen. Robert Mitchum wrote it; starred in it; and co-wrote the theme song. In other words, it was a movie that he was passionate about.

Thunder Road is about moonshine running in Appalachia. After watching the movie, I looked up its filming locations. When I was a kid, I heard that a movie like this one was made nearby, and I wondered if this was the one. It was not, but I am going to figure out that mystery.

Anyway, here are some words of wisdom that can be found in the movies of Robert Mitchum.Robert Mitchum

From River of No Return

There are lots of ways to die. Starving to death isn’t my favorite.

The longer you last the less you care.

From Thunder Road

If you want to bray, go find yourself a barnyard.

From The Longest Day

The thing that’s always worried me about being one of the few is the way we keep on getting fewer.

You can’t give the enemy a break.

From El Dorado

A man can’t shoot good when his horse is jumping.

Faith can move mountains, but it can’t beat a faster draw.

From 5 Card Stud

A man don’t work, he ain’t respectable.

The funeral is for the living.

From Scrooged

Sometimes the truth is painful.

That’s the one good thing about regret: it’s never too late. You can always change tomorrow if you want to.

From Cape Fear

If you hold on to the past you die a little each day.

Movie Wisdom – John Mitchum Edition

24 Nov

It is probably too soon for another edition of Movie Wisdom, but I have been inspired by one of my favorite movies, which is on television at this very moment. El Dorado stars John Wayne, James Caan, Robert Mitchum and a ton of character actors. One of those actors is Robert Mitchum’s brother, John.

John Mitchum was never a leading man like his brother, but he was in a bunch of good movies. In honor of finding this gem deep in the heart of my satellite dish, this is the Movie Wisdom that can be found in the movies of John Mitchum.John Mitchum

From Stalag 17

Just because they are dumb doesn’t mean that they’re stupid.

From My Fair Lady

The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.

The French don’t care what they do actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.

There even are places where English completely disappears; in America they haven’t used it for years.

Women are irrational, that’s all there is to that!

From El Dorado

Next time you shoot somebody, don’t go near ’em till you’re… sure they’re dead!

Faith can move mountains, but it can’t beat a faster draw.

From Bandolero!

There things a man ought never do – spit in church, scratch his self in front of his ma, and pick his nose.

From Chisum

Because no matter where people go, sooner or later there’s the law. And sooner or later they find God’s already been there.

We may have to be neighbors, but I don’t have to be neighborly.

From High Plains Drifter

It’s what people know about themselves inside that makes ’em afraid.

They say the dead don’t rest without a marker of some kind.

From Magnum Force

A man’s got to know his limitations.

From The Outlaw Josey Wales

Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’.

Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean.

It’s sad that governments are chiefed by the double tongues.

Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.

Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.

Without a doubt, those are wise words.


Money Cannot Buy Class

8 Jun

One of my favorite movies is Home from the Hill, a 1960 melodrama starring Robert Mitchum and Eleanor Parker. It follows the lives of Wade Hunnicutt and his family through a myriad of Shakespearean conflicts. Their’s is far from the perfect family. However, there is another aspect of Wade’s life that attracts me to the movie. He is the richest man in town.Home from the Hill

Hunnicutt owns all of the good farmland and lives in the biggest house. Everyone calls him Captain as a sign of respect, but it is also a sign of obedience. Hunnicutt’s stature leads him to believe that he has the right to do anything he wants. He plainly states his outlook on life when he says that he is the “kind of man that walks around with nothing in his pockets, no identification because everyone knows who you are. No cash because anyone in town would be happy to lend you anything you need. No keys ’cause you don’t keep a lock on a single thing you own. And no watch because time waits on you.”

Hunnicutt also believes that he is the kind of man who can have any woman he wants, single or married, because his wealth and power allows it. In fact, the movie begins with Hunnicutt getting shot by a jealous husband. As the movie continues, it gets more and more complicated.

So, why am I interested in the story of Wade Hunnicutt? Because he is the perfect example of how people with wealth or power should not act. People who are lucky enough to hold such status should be humble and should realize that it does not make them better than others. They should realize that they do not have the right to treat others with disrespect.

A lot of discussion has focused on the 1%. Well, it is real people like the fictional Wade Hunnicutt who give the 1% a bad name. Sure, Hunnicutt may be an over the top caricature, but he still represents the idea wealth and power allows people to act in ways that are inappropriate.Phoenix Ball

Last night, we attended the Phoenix Ball, a local gathering that raises money for Cumberland University, and I started thinking about this. We ran into a lady who has been a long time resident of our town and is someone of means. However, you would not know it by talking to her. She does not put on airs and always takes time to ask about family and friends. In essence, she knows how to act. She has class.

I have been in the presence of a lot of people who are like her. You would never know what they have through their actions. However, I have also been in the presence of a lot of people who make a point to let you know who they are and where they rank. I wonder which ones are truly the more successful.

As I tweeted earlier, money can buy a lot of things, but it cannot buy class. I wish more people would realize that money does not bring respect. Being a good person and treating people right is what brings respect. That is something people from all economic levels can do.


The Westerns of Dean Martin

11 Jun

I have been reading about the Rat Pack and the exploits of its members – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Together, they were legendary. However, I have been thinking about their individual careers.

Obviously, Frank Sinatra is one of the most famous performers of all time.

Sammy Davis, Jr. also had a great career.

Peter Lawford is probably best known as a Kennedy in-law.

I’m not sure what else Joey Bishop did.

Dean Martin, though, is my favorite. He sang great songs and made great movies. Some of the best movies were Westerns. For a cool crooner, Martin was pretty handy on a horse and with a gun.

In my mind, his best Western was Rio Bravo, starring John Wayne, Ricky Nelson and Walter Brennan. Here’s a trivia question. How many people in Rio Bravo had records that reached Number 1? The movie is about a sheriff who has arrested the brother of a wealthy rancher. He and his deputies have to fight to keep him in jail and to stay alive. Martin plays Dude, a deputy who doubles as the town drunk.Dude

Another great thing, Rio Bravo was filmed at Old Tucson Studios, one of my favorite places to visit.

5 Card Stud is another good one. Martin plays Van Morgan, a gambler who has to solve a series of murders before he becomes the next victim.5 Card Stud

Everyone who is killed was playing in the same card game. It also stars Robert Mitchum and Inger Stevens but suffers from what I call the “law of diminishing suspects”. There are so few suspects that solving the mystery is too easy.

Bandolero! pairs Martin with James Stewart as brothers who have taken different paths but find themselves in trouble together.Bandolero

Along the way, they take Raquel Welch hostage.

My least favorite Dean Martin Western is The Sons of Katie Elder. It stars John Wayne and has the makings of a great story, but the “sons” are mismatched. The youngest “son” is way too young to play the part. I hate to say that a Western starring John Wayne and Dean Martin is bad, so I will say that it’s not very good.

Martin is the gambling brother, Tom Elder, and he follows older brother John in trying to figure out who killed their father. One of the best scenes has Martin playing a “fake eye” trick in a bar.The Sons of Katie Elder

Dean Martin made other Westerns, but these are the ones I have seen. Honestly, I don’t think I could make it through the comedy ones with Frank Sinatra.

Listeria – Western Actors Edition

24 Oct

I know that this edition of Listeria is coming along soon after the last edition of Listeria, but I went overboard on my last trip to the magazine stand. Besides, this one covers one of my favorite subjects – Western movies. I grew up watching them with my dad, and that experience played a role in my interest in the history of the West.

American Cowboy published a special issue called “Legends of Western Cinema” and listed the 20 greatest Western actors. However, there is one problem that needs to be addressed before I begin. When people think about Westerns, or the history of the West, they think about cowboys first. Some of the greatest Westerns don’t involve cowboys at all. They involve mountain men, Native Americans, cavalry and all sorts of characters. In the real West, not everyone were cowboys. A good way to see this? If there are no cows around, then there are probably no cowboys around.

The rant is over, so here we go with the list. These are the 20 greatest Western actors according to American Cowboy in the order that they have listed. I will list my favorite movie of each and add the actors that I believe should be included.

John Wayne – The Searchers

Gary Cooper – High Noon

James Stewart – The Far Country

Henry Fonda – Once Upon a Time in the West

Clint Eastwood – The Outlaw Josey Wales

Steve McQueen – The Magnificent Seven

Kirk Douglas – There Was a Crooked Man

Robert Duvall – Open Range

Ben Johnson – She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Lee Marvin – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Sam Elliott – Tombstone

Tom Selleck – Quigley Down Under

Charles Bronson – Once Upon a Time in the West

Woody Strode – Sergeant Rutledge

Gregory Peck – The Gunfighter

Paul Newman – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Tom Mix – Riders of the Purple Sage

Glenn Ford – 3:10 to Yuma

Tommy Lee Jones – No Country For Old Men

James Garner – Duel at Diablo

That’s the Top 20. I could name a bunch that belong on the list, but I will limit myself to five.

Randolph Scott – Ride the High Country

Kevin Costner – Silverado

Robert Mitchum – Five Card Stud

Robert Redford – Jeremiah Johnson

Richard Widmark – Broken Lance

There is the list. Who else should be included? Who should be omitted? What are your favorite movies? Let me know.

Who Needs Kevin Bacon?

5 Oct

I have been sitting here trying to figure out what to write about, and I finally decided to write about what is on television. Encore is showing The Longest Day, a 1962 movie about the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. Obviously, this is an important historic event, and numerous movies have been made about it. What amazes me about this movie is the ensemble cast of huge actors from that time in Hollywood history. All this time, people have been playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” when they could have been playing “One Degree of The Longest Day“.

It stars John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter six years after they were in The Searchers.

It stars John Wayne and Robert Mitchum four years before they made El Dorado.

Sean Connery and Gert Frobe appeared in this film two years before Connery, as James Bond, heard Frobe, as Auric Goldfinger, say, “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.”

It has Richard Todd, who was Ian Fleming’s first choice to play James Bond in Dr. No. Interestingly. Dr. No came out in 1962, as well.

I mean, this thing has everybody in it, and there are connections all over the place. To prevent having a post that drags out, I’ll just list a bunch of the actors and my favorite film of theirs.

Eddie Albert – The Longest Yard (although he was also good in Green Acres)

Richard Burton – Cleopatra (which I think was being filmed at the same time)

Red Buttons – Hatari! (which also starred John Wayne)

Sean Connery – Goldfinger (the best James Bond movie ever)

Henry Fonda – Once Upon a Time in the West (a great Spaghetti Western)

Gert Frobe – Goldfinger (the title character in the only James Bond movie to show a Kentucky Fried Chicken)

Jeffrey Hunter – The Searchers (which also starred John Wayne)

Peter Lawford – Ocean’s Eleven (a member of the Rat Pack who married into the Kennedy clan)

Roddy McDowall – Planet of the Apes (also in Cleopatra with Richard Burton)

Sal Mineo – Giant (appeared with Elizabeth Taylor, who was also in Cleopatra)

Robert Mitchum – Five Card Stud (starred with Dean Martin, who was also in Ocean’s Eleven and was a member of the Rat Pack)

Edmond O’Brien – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (which also starred John Wayne)

Leslie Phillips – Harry Potter Series (as the voice of the Sorting Hat)

Robert Ryan – The Wild Bunch (a movie that’s bloodier than The Longest Day)

Rod Steiger – The Amityville Horror (there was a horror in that house but not the one they show in the movie)

Robert Wagner – Broken Lance (married to Natalie Wood, who starred in The Searchers with John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter)

Stuart Whitman – The Day the Earth Stood Still (also starred in The Commancheros with John Wayne in 1961)

John Wayne – The Searchers (my favorite actor of all time)

Richard Dawson – The Running Man (but he was better on The Match Game and Family Feud)

Bernard Fox – Big Jake (which also starred John Wayne, but he was also in my favorite television show, The Andy Griffith Show)

So, I present the game, “One Degree of The Longest Day“.

On the Wings of Thorn Birds and the Winds of War

8 Jun

Have you ever noticed that television is filled with copycats? Let one show succeed, and the networks clamor with a plethora of similar shows. That’s why the airwaves are currently filled with reality shows and crime lab dramas. That’s why a few years ago we had dozens of game shows with contestants trying to become millionaires. That’s also why television from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s was dominated by miniseries – dramas, usually based on popular novels, that spanned a few nights. They were must-see TV back in the day.

This topic has entered my mind because I am in the middle of rewatching one of my favorites. As I have watched it, I have remember how millions of people got caught up in these shows, and it seemed as if the world stopped to see what would happen. The following are the ones that I remember the most.

Centennial – The one I am currently watching was based on a James Michener novel and lasted over 26 hours. It traced the history of a western town from the arrival of the first trapper until the 1970s and took viewers into the lives of the people who played a role in the history of the area. It was fictional but had some real history mixed in. It seemed to star every television personality of the day, including Richard Chamberlain.

Roots – The granddaddy of them all, this miniseries was based on the work of Alex Haley, a fellow Tennessean, as he traced his family’s history through slavery. Over 100 million people watched it finale, and it spawned two sequels. After this success, Haley was sued for plagiarism and admitted that some parts of his work were lifted from another source. It seemed to star every African-American actor of the day but did not include Richard Chamberlain.

The Thorn Birds – Based on a novel by Colleen McCullough, it was the second highest rated miniseries of all time. Admittedly, I did not watch this one, and I am not sure my parents did either. It is set in Australia and follows a woman who is in love with a priest. This causes her problems for obvious reasons. It had a bevy of well-known stars, including Richard Chamberlain.

Rich Man, Poor Man – I always thought that was a cool title. This one came early in the miniseries experiment and lasted seven weeks. Based on a novel by Irwin Shaw, it followed the differing paths of the Jordache brothers. Obviously, one became wealthy, although not by selling fashionable jeans, and the other one struggled to get by. Peter Strauss and Nick Nolte played the brothers, but it did not star Richard Chamberlain.

Shogun – James Clavell’s novel was a fictionalized account of the life of William Adams. Don’t know who he is? Don’t worry, I don’t know either. However, I know that the main character is an Englishman named John Blackthorne, and he finds himself shipwrecked off the coast of Japan. After the wreck, he makes enemies and friends while trying to adjust to a different culture. The miniseries was filled with Japanese actors and Richard Chamberlain.

The Winds of War – Herman Wouk’s writing was the basis for this one as it details the years leading up to the entrance of the United States into World War II. It covers major world events during this period and their effects on two American families, the Henry’s and the Jastow’s. Robert Mitchum starred in this series, but it did not star Richard Chamberlain.

These are but a few examples of a genre that once thrived on the television sets of America. Obviously, I have missed several. If you have any favorites let me know.