Robert Mitchum: The cynical and skeptical gaze of classic cinema

Robert Mitchum he laughed at his own success. “What’s good about this job is that you start at nine in the morning; you finish at six in the afternoon; they pay you every Friday; they tell you what to do; They tell you what to say, and that’s it, that’s it. There are no more tricks. That is why it is easy to understand that one of the greatest stars of all time was Rin Tin Tin ”, he said. He also made fun of his qualities as an actor. “I only have two styles of acting: with and without a horse.” Yet he embodied the anti-hero roles better than anyone else. As an actor he was sober, almost expressionless. He had a hard, angular face, topped by a dimple in his chin. An ideal physicist to play cynical and skeptical types, like the ones he embodied in two of his biggest hits: Return to the past Y Angel Face.

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His childhood was not easy. He was born in Connecticut 100 years ago, on August 6, 1917, and after two years he was orphaned. He was expelled from the institute for being violent and rowdy. At 15 he left home. He hopped on a freight train and traveled to the southern United States. He worked in the most diverse trades, from stevedore to cabaret porter. He was arrested for vagrancy on several occasions. He was also a boxer and participated in almost thirty fights. This is how he developed that robust physique that characterized him throughout his career. His life trajectory seemed culled from some of the films he starred in.

In the cinema he made his debut in 1943 playing small roles. He was always a studio actor, that is, he made the movies that were sent to him, without being able to personally choose the roles. We saw him as a cowboy, a soldier, a policeman or a gangster, almost always ambiguous characters that he covered with irony, sarcasm or real evil like those of Hunter’s night The Cape of Terror. His filmography is full of great classics: With him came the scandal, River of no return, The longest day, Yakuza The Bye doll. In 1946 he got his only Oscar nomination for the film We are also human beings. He had a brief musical career and recorded several albums.

Mitchum He never abandoned the rebellious character that he had forged in his youth. He always had a great fondness for alcohol. He was brought to justice for possession and use of marijuana and argued and fistfights with producers and directors. Otto Preminger was able to see first-hand his strength in the filming of Angel Face. He only married once; it was in 1940 with the actress Dorothy Clements with whom he had three children. He had romances with stars like Marilyn Monroe, with which he worked in River of no return, Ava Gardner The Rita Hayworth.

All the nuances of the intense life of Robert Mitchum they focused on their maturity. In his last years he starred in emblematic titles such as Ryan’s daughter. His last movie, Dead Man, under the orders of Jim Jarmusch, filmed it in 1995. A couple of years earlier, in 1993, the San Sebastián Festival awarded him the Donostia Award. The last years of his life were dedicated to two of his great passions: composing music and writing poetry. He died two decades ago, on July 1, 1997. A century after his birth, the image of the knuckles of his hands, with the words love and hate tattooed on them, that we saw in Hunter’s nightThey are part of the best and most terrifying that cinema has given.

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On the occasion of the centenary of his birth, TCM recalls one of the most disturbing looks that the cinema has given, broadcasting, every Sunday in August, some of its best films such as The Golden, Hunter’s night The Ryan’s daughter, tapes where we can check the strong magnetism that Robert Mitchum always kept up with the camera.

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Robert Mitchum: The cynical and skeptical gaze of classic cinema