Robert Mitchum - Walk Like a Panther.

April 24, 2009

By Paul Brazill
at you would say that, wouldn't you?

Guest Blogger



‘Some walk like they own the place
Whilst others creep in fear
Try if you can to walk like a man
You've got to walk like a panther tonight’



Or so said, Jarvis Cocker,and, indeed, he could have been talking about the great uncaged beast that was Robert Charles Durman Mitchum. Big Bob, certainly prowled though many films like he ‘owned the place’ although, in typically self deprecating fashion, he said this: "People say I have an interesting walk. Hell, I'm just trying to hold my gut in."

For most of his life Mitchum was also uncaged. After being expelled from High School, he traveled throughout the country on railroad cars, taking a number of jobs including a ditch-digger and a professional boxer. He experienced many adventures during his years as one of the Depression era's "wild boys of the road."

However, in Georgia he was arrested for vagrancy and put on a local chain gang . Years later, in August 1948, he was arrested by narcotics officers for marijuana possession and sentenced to 60 days at a California prison farm.

But in film he always seemed free. Roger Ebert called Mitchum 'the soul of Film Noir' and this was true in films such as Crossfire, The Big Steal,. Otto Preminger's Angel Face and Out of the Past, directed by Jacques Tourneur ,where Mitchum's cynical, mischievous attitude along with his lascivious droopy eyes and non-committal mouth were ideally suited to the role of the anti-hero.

However, the Charles Laughton helmed The Night of the Hunter is still considered by many to be Mitchum's best performance, playing a psychotic criminal posing as a preacher to find money hidden in his cell mate's home.

Thanks to Paul & Graciebird for their fantastic guest posts this week! To view all of the other guest blog posts so far, click on the "guest blogger" tag at the end of the post!

21 comments:

Paul Brazill said...

Thanks for having me!

the beaten dog barks said...

well, paul, you know my opinion of the man.
a fitting tribute, indeed.

especially NOTH and Cape Fear, where his Max Cady was the definite, filled with underlying menace and sleaze,as opposed to Deniro's cartoon uber-mensch.

Col Bury said...

Nice piece, Paul. I used to love Mitchum's 'broken arse' walk, too!

Col Bury said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Solender said...

Big Bad Bob was never badder than in the original (and only as far as I'm concerned) Cape fear. Nice piece Paul!

Radiation Cinema! said...

I always think of Mitchum as the real deal - a man that had lived an actual life full of definitely un-artistic experience. The Criterion Collection comes out with "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" in May. One of Motchum's late roles, and one of his best. I already have mine of pre-order. Nice piece, Mr. Brazill. -- Mykal - Radiation Cinema!

Radiation Cinema! said...

And - I forgot to say - VERY nice portrait, Kate. You nailed it. -- Mykal

Mike Whitney said...

In '78, I met Bob at a local TV station in Houston, when he was promoting The Big Sleep remake. He liked my music, he wrote songs and played guitar, too. So, after the show, we shared an herbal cig in the limo, talking music, but not movies.

A great guy, and a fond memory.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

The grandfather of a Savannah, GA buddy of mine was actually in the same work camp as Mitchum, and he told me the only reason Bob managed to escape from the jernt is because the guards refused to chase him down (Mitchum had developed a reputation for being on'ry and the screws were tired of dealing with him).

Paul Brazill said...

Mike Whitney-wow!

ARCHAVIST said...

This months Uncut Magazine features a disc with Robert Mitchim singing the ballard of Thunder Road - he wasn't actually that bad.

Mike Whitney said...

I remember reading about that period of his life in his auto bio that I read in 1969. Very cool..

Millie said...

This is a great post, Paul.

And, the painting is perfect, Kate!

Graciebird said...

Nice post, Paul! And Kate, as always, you never fail to please!

Mercurie said...

Great job, Paul! Robert Mitchum certainly owned every picture he appeared in. This was even true of the romantic comedy A Holiday Affair...Wendell Corey didn't stand a chance! The man was born to play in films noir.

And I love the picture, Kate!

Paul Brazill said...

Thanks everyone. And thanks to Kate for letting me gatecrash her swanky abode!

Sebina said...

He is one of my favorites, and what a great tribute. LOVE the painting too :)

Paul Brazill said...

cheers Sebina. and Kate is quite a talent, eh?

Kate Gabrielle said...

Thanks Paul for a wonderful post!!! I'm so glad you wrote this for my blog :)

Cormac Brown said...

First, nice piece, Paul.

Second? From now on, I want have my favorite sample of Mitchum's dialogue at the ready, "Well pardon me all over the place. It will come in hand throughout life.

Paul Brazill said...

Kate, my pleasure.
Cormac- nice to see you here!