Biography of Robert Mitchum (1917-1997)

Film actor American, born in Bridgeport (Connecticut. United States), on August 6, 1917, and died in Santa Barbara (California. United States) on July 1, 1997. His full name was Robert Charles Durman Mitchum.


Member of a family of Irish, suffered early avatars of a childhood and a youth when less difficult (expulsion of different schools, arrests for loitering). He held several occupations (miner, Boxer, worker) before being encouraged, when serving employee in a shoe store, by the agent of his sister, who was a singer, to leave it all to become an actor. Twenty-five years you decide to learn something from the noble art of acting, so it enters the "Long Beach Theater Guild", but was quickly hired in Hollywood as a helper.

The beginnings were hard. His physical, ginormous, sentenced him to interpret pieces of paper in a single phrase, until came the opportunity to extend their records in the modest series of westerns, known as the "Hopalong Cassidy" (1943), which the rider William Boyd starring. The following year, their interpretations in When Strangers Marry, of William Castle or thirty seconds over Tokyo, Mervyn LeRoy, already are of some importance, and, a year later, in 1945, he is nominated (for the first and last time in his career) to the Oscar as best supporting Actor for also we humans of William A. Wellman.

The success of this film, its physical presence and the circumstances of the second world war turned him in the ideal image of the Yankee soldier. Fact that exploded in other productions; among them, until the end of time (1946), by Edward Dmytryk; Korea, zero hour (1952), by Tay Garnett, where they fell in love with a nurse so lovely as Ann Blyth; Duel in the Atlantic (1957), Dick Powell, faced, in a memorable psychological battles, Curt Jürgens, which was the German officer who commanded the submarine which Mitchum was destroyed, and only God knows (1957) by John Huston, where there was partner with the lovely Deborah Kerr, coinciding both in two other films: page blank (1960), Stanley donenwith Cary Grant and Jean Simmons of luxury partners, and the underestimated and yet magnificent three lives wandering (1960), Fred Zinnemann, a film that in the sunny Plains of Australia with Mitchum, husband of the Kerr, leading cattle from one end to the other of the country, winning and losing fortunes dice and, as well, says the Spanish title--taking and making lead a wandering life to their offspring and wife.

He frequented, over its contract with the RKO, very often the image of hero or anti-hero of the film noir, where its apparent inexpressiveness became ideal for a kind of laconic and little eloquent character. At crossroads of hatred (1947), by Edward Dmytryk, film of the three Robert (Mitchum, Young and Ryan), Mitchum is superb, as the rest of the cast, in this intense thriller, one of the first that introduces the subject of anti-Semitism in the film, perfectly directed by Dmytryk, one of the famous "10 Hollywood", in the most intense yet Senator McCarthy witch hunt.

In the same year, wheel return to the past, Jacques Tourneur, a masterpiece of absolute within the genre and one of the most disturbing Mitchum appearances on screen, especially in the scene in which, after having spent the night in a tent, enters the plane directly in gabardine, inescapable and essential "black" iconography symbol. Along with a forgotten little dear Jane Greene, beautiful and dangerous mistress of a gangster (never a woman has enjoyed such character in the film), Mitchum gets head in a network of blackmail and murders, committed, perhaps, by the gangster (Kirk Douglas), but induced by this deadly lover, which will try to flee to Mexico, and that will not get it by excess of zeal of a deceived MitchumYes, but also completely in love.

This magical year of 1947, Raoul Walsh you are lead to the West in pursuit, a strange western full of mystery and suspense (one of the first to include elements related to the tragedy and psychoanalysis), very well played by Teresa Wright, Judith Anderson, and by a Mitchum determined to find the killers of their parents.

Reappears in two tapes that deserve attention: The Lusty Men (1952) by Nicholas Ray, and an adventure in Macao (1952) of Josef Von Sternberg. In the first, an intelligent drama about the world of rodeos, is a retired champion who becomes the mentor of Arthur Kennedy, a young ambitious, pure portrait of the character played by Mitchum 20 years earlier. In the second, an adventure that the RKO stood in the exotic Macau, a former Portuguese colony, is matched to the great discovery of Howard Hugues, Jane Russell. It was not the first time that I saw with this actress, true force of nature; a year earlier, John Farrow a film whose advertising prayed had already presented them at the borders of the crime (1951): "The hottest combination that has ever hit the screen".

Already in 1953, Robert Mitchum falls into the clutches of Jean Simmons in angel face, by Otto Preminger, a film which, from the opening sequence, entangles the viewer throughout an uncertain and dangerous - on the edge of a ravine-, invisible, but very close. This so captivating, so terrifying feeling not abandon us until the end of the film. While Mitchum, inseparable from its monolithic character, intrigues by his taciturn nature and his powerlessness resigned, Jean Simmons puzzles offering an image double, maleficent and delicate, intractable and fragile; a calculating woman, no doubt, but by an inexplicable love for a Mitchum that does not believe that the passion that was born between the two becomes so devouring and haunting, so lethal.

Otto Preminger returns to call him the next year to make it appear, bare-chested much of the footage, along with a gorgeous Marilyn Monroe, in river of no return (1954). Next to Mitchum, Marilyn is not, for the first time, the sex object that the Hollywood myth was forged, but that it is a woman who thinks, works (is a singer of "saloon"), suffers, which react lucidly in really complicated and tense circumstances. In the first film in cinemascope where the staging uses long screen to restore the realism of wide-open spaces and draw a psychological conflict, Mitchum is a man who escapes from his usual image of rough and little by little discovers feelings of his son, which never has been, and the humanity of this "saloon" stripped of all singerexcept his guitar and his red shoes.

He followed rules of the atypical western, and in cinemascope, with an excellent (and underestimated) production of William A. Wellman, The Track of the Cat (1954), where he interprets the unfriendly eldest son of a strange family that is forced to go out in a storm of snow and wind in search of the title (a Black Panther) jack that it continuously decimates their farm animals. Fantastic interpretation of Mitchum, in a film that gets to feel the stale atmosphere that is breathed in that House, with few women for both men, and the closed psychology of each of the family members.

But its fine and nuanced interpretation offered a year later for one of those considered major players in history, Charles Laughton, who for the first and last time (was a failure at the box office) would be behind the camera in this masterpiece without argument that is the night of the Hunter (1955). Robert Mitchum, strong and determinative, is the preacher who quotes the Bible and by playing with the moral and spiritual terms. It is a nocturnal predator, whose knuckles bear the letters "love" and "hate", looming over apparently weaker creatures: two children who keep a secret that only knows Mitchum. Before shooting, Laughton saw several films of D.W. Griffith, in order to soak up the atmosphere and style of the silent film to make his work, unique in all senses, a kind of tragic descent into the heart of a provincial, tornada America instead of all the terrors possible. Face to Mitchum, pure embodiment of evil forces, Lilliam Gish (the heroine of some films of the master Griffith) symbolizes purity and tenderness. The (re) creation of Mitchum and the film itself are absolutely sublime.

Another title in 1955 came to prove that the producers could rely on it as a dramatic actor, you won't be a stranger, Stanley Kramer. And, in 1960, he returned to be sober in a powerful melodrama of Vincente Minnelli, with him came the scandal, where he gave life to a dictatorial and womanizer (understandably, as his wife was the delightful Eleanor Parker) landowner capable of bullying to all members of your family.

It was the best productions in which he participated during the 1960s and 1970s: was at the height required between the impressive and motley cast the longest day (1962), Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton and Bernhard Wicki and Gerd Oswald; It was a convincing lawyer who goes crazy by Shirley MacLaine on any day at any corner (1962), by Robert Wise; He was in a psychological drama, along with Elizabeth Taylor and Mia Farrow, entitled secret ceremony (1968), of Joseph Losey; He was better than ever under the command of David Lean, in this wonder called the daughter of Ryan (1970), and not desentonaba in a film, curious no more, Sydney Pollack, Yakuza (1975).

Three productions, apart the daughter of Ryan, and three interpretations, diametrically opposite, blooming career over the decades: the drunken sheriff of El Dorado, of Howard Hawks, where da replica to John Wayne, a sort of 'remake' of the Rio Grande of the own Hawks; the memorable psychopath, vengeful and intelligent, clear continuation of the of the night of the Hunter, of Terror, j. Cape. Lee Thompson; and its wonderful, tired but poetic, Philip Marlowe's bye, Doll (1975), Dick Richards, third version of the novel by Raymond Chandler.

Although his private life was tarnished by several scandals (among them, in mansions of some famous anonymous Orgies, consume marijuana, etc.), nothing has been able to dethrone star's image of an actor who participated in more than 100 films during the five decades that remained active, as he continued to work in film and television during the eighty and ninety years. Branded as laconic and little expressive, the truth is that analyzed today, his filmography is as attractive in quality and in quantity, and some of his interpretations have been eternally sealed into memory of many moviegoers.


1943: aerial Gunner; Bar 20; Beyond the Last Frontier; Heroes of the sea; The Dancing Master; Doughboys in Ireland; False Colors; Follow the Band; All together; Hoppy Serves a Writ; Riders of the Deadline; We're Never Been blue; The human comedy; Cry Havoc; Border Patrol; The Leather Burners; Colt Comrades; The Lone Star Trail; Minesweeper.1944: Girl Rush; Johnny Doesn ' t Live Here Any More; Mr. Winkle Goes to War; Nevada; Thirty seconds over Tokyo. When Strangers Marry; 1945: We are also humans; West of the Pecos; 1946: until the end of time; A memory footprint; Undercurrent.1947: Return to the past; Crossroads of hatred; Desire Me; Pursued.1948: Returns to dawn; Blood on the Moon.1949: The Big Steal; The Red Pony; Holiday Affair1950: When Danger lives.1951: hate and pride; The Racket; The borders of the crimen.1952: an adventure in Macau; The Lusty Men; Korea, time cero.1953: Angel Face; Persecuted; The sorceress blanca.1954: The Track of the cat; River of no return; She couldn't Say No.1955: the night of the Hunter; You won't be a stranger; With their same armas.1956: foreign intrigue; Bandido.1957: Only God knows; Battle of the Atlantic; Fire escondido.1958: between two passions; Thunder Road.1959: Beyond Rio Grande; Treason in Atenas.1960: three lives wandering; Blank page; With it came the scandal; At Night Fighters1961: The Last Time I Saw Archie; Cape of the terror.1962: the longest day; Any day in any esquina.1963: the last of the list (cameo); Safari in Malaysia; Between two fuegos.1964: she and her husbands; The adventurer's Kenia.1966: the Dorado.1967: oregon.1968 road: the battle of Anzio; The poker of death; Secret ceremony; Villa cabalga.1969: A man imposes the law; Pistolero.1970: The daughter of Ryan.1971: return to the hogar.1972: the wrath of Dios.1973: the confidente.1975: Yakuza; Goodbye, muneca.1976: the last Tycoon; The battle of Midway.1977: operation Amsterdam; Detective privado.1978: Super Rocky.1979: fence broken; Agency.1981: Night Kill.1982: when we were campeones.1984: Ambassador in the Middle East; Maria.1988 lovers: Mr. North; The ghosts attack the jefe.1991: the end of the terror.1993: Woman of Desire.1994: Backfire! As Narrator: 1993: Tombstone. Works for television 1956: Climax! (episode: The Louella Parsons Story). 1976: spots for National Alliance of Businessmen.1981: Winds of War.1983: A Killer in the Family.1985: The Hearst and Davies Affair; Promises to Keep; Meeting at Fairborough.1986: Thompson's Last Run.1989: Brotherhood of the Rose; Jake Spanner, Private Eye.1990: A family for Joe; I inpulso violento.1992: Midnight Ride.


PASSEK, Jean-Luc, et al., dictionary of cinema, Librairie Larousse, 1986. Spanish version: URABAYEN CASCANTE, Miguel, et to the. (Madrid: Ediciones Rialp, S.A., 1991).

LÓPEZ, José Luis, dictionary of actors (Madrid: Ediciones JC, 1983).