Monday, February 8, 2016

Them Ornery Mitchum Boys by John Mitchum

John Mitchum. Them Ornery Mitchum Boys: The Adventures of Robert & John Mitchum Pacific, CA.: Creatures at Large Press, 1989.

A large amount of brawling occurred amongst the Mitchum brothers throughout life. Many of these fights are detailed and we see the Mitchums up for themselves and are tough and usually victorious. It was not wise to challenge a Mitchum, as most of the fights were brought on by others.

It was often supporting character actors who had the lines the public remembered from films during Hollywood’s Golden Age. As skilled actors, the Mitchum brothers delivered many of the memorable lines in their films.

The Mitchum brothers were nicknamed “them ornery Mitchum boys” from childhood. Bullies attacked them. John bit back and Bob fought them so hard both bullies were hospitalized.

Their sister Annette became a dancer on Broadway shows. She moved to California and changed her name to Julie.  Bob spent time as a young hobo and took a train to visit his sister. She took Bob along on auditions. Bob to some theater work beginning in 1937, Bob realized he could reach inward and find characters using his adventurous youth as a brawler and hobo. He had even briefly been in a chain gang while being a hobo.

Bob appeared in his first movie, “Border Patrol”, filmed in 1942 and released in 1943, This led to more move roles in 1943, Bob appeared in five movies in 1944 including “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo”. His role in “Nevada” gained notice leading to more work He was in “The Story of G.I. Joe” in 1945 that brought him even more attention.

Robert Mitchum was in the movie “Cossfire”. He established himself as one who underplayed his characters. Director Eddie Dwytryk coached “I know what you’re doing, but it you keep it up, even the sound man won’t hear ya.”

In 1947, John MItchum was approached in the streets by an agent who asked if John waa an actor. John stated he was not. The agent asked if he wanted to be an actor. John replied “Why not? Where do I go?” John was signed to be in the movie “The Private.”

Robert was arrested for having marijuana in 1948. John writes it was entrapment. The press was alerted before the police entered a party and arrested him. John believes the police and move studio wanted to show they were doing something about the marijuana problem. Yet they did not want one of their big stars arrested. So Robert was set up Robert was sentenced to 60 days in jail and two years probation.

The event helped publicize Robert Mitchum’s name. He received larger roles.

John was in the movie “Flying Leathernecks”. A replica of Henderson Field, where Marine Corps planes flew, was built. It was so realistic it startled pilots who were familiar with Henderson Field.

John was on the 1951 TV series “Adams Spare Rib” which ran for 13 episodes, The sponsor, Easy Air Mattress, on live TV attempting to show how strong their mattress was that it could even hold an elephant, brought in an elephant, The elephant’s toot went through the mattress.

John was in the movie “One Minute to Zero”. In the move, he played an artillery officer ordered to fire on refugees being used as shields by North Korean troops. This was a controversial scene as this did happen in the Korean War.

Nicholas Ray was a director who would sit in deep concentration and then jump up with every detail having been determined. Ray directed both brothers in “The Lusty Men”. Both brothers agree it was one of their best films.

Henry Hathaway as a director was known for screaming directions. The author believed Hathaway would yell at weak links in cast and crew as a form of therapy.

Simone Silva, an actress who Robert had never met, ran up naked from the waist up to Robert, in front of press photographers. Silva did this to publicize her career.

If an extra had to say a line, the extra was paid more money, perhaps $40 in the early 1950w. Some movies saved paying an extra by having them respond nonverbally, such as being asked how many rode into town, and the extra would raise a number of fingers.

Bob once crawled in a scene bare chested for four takes for director John Huston. When Huston say how Bob was bloody from nettled, Huston asked when Bob didn’t say anything. Bob replied “That’s the shot you wanted, wasn’t it?”

Carey Lofton was a noted stunt driver. He once dug a trench so he could perfectly hit it while driving at a high speed in order for the care to roll over three times and land exactly were requested.

Actor Charles McGraw once complained that his Mexican hotel toiler did not flush. McGraw did not realize the handle was on the left side. McGraw died in 1980, probably while drunk, when he fell through the glass in shower which cut an artery.

Bob Mitchum was in 19 movies during the 1960s.

When John was filmed “El Doredo”, the director Howard Hawks told John a squid would go off on his hard at the count of three. This would simulate a bullet hitting his hand. Hawks had the squid go off on the count of one to film John’s actual surprise reaction.

Bob stated of actor Bruce Dern in 1982 “he hasn’t yet learned that acting is not a competitive business”

On actor Forrest Tucker, John writes I an happier to write that the tales of his sexual prowess, so legendary as to sound apocryphal, are true.” Tucker once his his penis to sink a two foot gold shot.

Clint Eastwood stated his directing style consisted of “1.) there are no rules of filmmaking---only sins---and the cardinal sin is dullness, and 2.) never underestimate the intelligence of the audience. Doing os stimulates restlessness and boredom and taxes the audience’s patience.”

Clint Eastwood demanded and received half interest in his movies. As director Ted Post stated, “This approach took its tool of meaningful scenes that were ruthlessly shortchanged and even excised. Clint’s gread and ego began to affect his sensibility and judgment. It was painful to watch.” Eastwood once allowed Post to direct a scene Post argued was important. Eastwood had instructed the cameramen not to even load the cameras and then claim the film was ruined in the laboratory,

An inmate at San Quentin Prison once told John Mitchum the mistake in films when someone is shot and they fall backwards several feet. The inmate explained he has shot and killed three people and each kept moving forward towards him.

John had a role in the CBS daytime TV drama “Clear Horizons.”

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