Robert Mitchum Retrospective
April 27–July 5. Perennially underrated during his career, Robert Mitchum stands in retrospect as one of Hollywood's greatest leading men. Ruggedly built and handsome in an unconventional, though undeniable way, the sleepy-eyed Mitchum possessed an easy authority, along with an air of defiance toward, and an effortless disdain for, anyone else's. It made him perfect for tough guy roles in Westerns and crime films, but he wasn't simply some musclebound action hero.
His laconic delivery and un-showy instincts gave his performances a jazzy, offbeat vibe, allowing his wit, soul and a kind of existential weariness to come through. Never a careerist, he could be dismissive of his work and Hollywood in general, but ironically, he never wanted for projects during his 50 years in show business. Perhaps as a result of this ambivalence, he gravitated towards anti-heroes and subversive fare, resulting in a filmography packed with quirky cult classics: OUT OF THE PAST, with Mitchum blasé as the doomed hero in the definitive film noir; NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, Charles Laughton's terrifyingly beautiful fairy tale, with Mitchum's deranged preacher a kind of big bad wolf; the anarchic and pro-outlaw THUNDER ROAD, which Mitchum wrote, produced and starred in; CAPE FEAR, with Mitchum murderously seductive as the vengeful Max Cady; and his late-career valedictory, THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, with Mitchum as the aging, two-bit gangster in one of his subtlest and best performances.