Robert Mitchum and Robert Downey Jr.: Two Dangerous Men

We watched the 2009 movie Sherlock Holmes last night, a fun bit of fluff set in the days when Sherlock and Dr. Watson were young and studly. What the world needs now is a hot Doctor Watson, and we got that in Jude Law. Rachel McAdams disappointed as Irene Adler, but that might be because I’ve always wanted to play Irene Adler.

Robert Downey Jr. appears to have cleaned up his drug habit after a year in jail, after many previous drug busts. God, I hope he has, because as I’ve said before here, he and Daniel Day-Lewis are the greatest film actors of a generation. I’m not going to say IMHO. I love George Clooney’s intelligence and independence. (And face.)  For me the Leos and Bens and Javiers and Matts of the movie world are excellent, but second tier to my Big Two.

I think it’s those brown eyes. Downey has done more for brown eyes since anyone but Van Morrison.

My mother had a huge lifelong crush on another  naughty Robert, Robert Mitchum. I have no issue with this,ladies and gents.

He rules film noir, and guess what, he got busted for some maryjane in his pocket and spent three months in jail .Mitchum was married to the same lady for like, almost fifty years and he wasn’t in and out of rehab as Downey was. I love his take about acting:I’m paraphrasing here but it was something like “Acting is easy. You show up on time, you know your lines and you hit your marks.”  Robert de Niro (hmmm, another Bob) was swell in Cape Fear but you don’t know real fear until you’ve seen Mitchum in the original.

If this was a film school thesis I’d have to write a cunning and scholarly summing up about the two Roberts. This is a random blog post, soI’m not obligated. Just rent the movies, OK? And I bet my virtuous mother would have had as big a crush on my Robert as she had on her Robert.



Filed under A Couple of Bucks, Art, History, Media

7 responses to “Robert Mitchum and Robert Downey Jr.: Two Dangerous Men

  1. Seen ’em both—love ’em both.

    Downey in Chances Are was sweet and real and entirely lovable; Downey in Ally McBeal was the most powerful beast in the forest, but a nice beast—you were just astonished to see how he’d matured into DOWNEY.

    But Mitchum—aye, lass—there’s a Man’s Man.

    And now, I never fail to think of June Allyson, who was telling Johnny Carson one night of taking her two young children out to Trick or Treat in Beverly Hills.

    They stopped at the Mitchums’ house, where Mr. and Mrs. M were having their dinners on TV trays, watching the news.

    June’s little son got his candy from the tray on the hall table, then wandered over to Mr. M’s dinner tray, solemnly picking the butter-dripping baked potato and dropping it into his bag.

    June, horrified, started to scold him, only to hear that unmistakable deep-from-a-dark-mine rumble, “Let the kid have the BAKED POTATO!”

    Now I can’t think of him without smiling.

    But he scared me witless in that “LEAN—ing, LEAN—ing” movie.

  2. Rachel: What a tremendous Robert Mitchum story! And I’d rather have a baked potato in my bag than a Mars bar any day.

  3. peter

    I like those Bobs.

    Tonight I loaded Clash of the Titans expecting to hear Liam Neeson utter “release the Kracken” but instead got Sir Larry Olivier, Maggie Smith and Burgess Meredith, plus Ursula Andress and Harry Hamlin. Wow. Despite the amalgam fillings, dopey Bond Girl and visible smoke machines, it wasn’t all bad.

    • I’m gonna have to rent that movie. No kidding: Olivier and Ursula Andress?

      Hang my head in shame: I’ve got a couple of amalgam fillings. I’ll get them replaced before I portray Irene Adler.

  4. When i was in college my favorite comic book was Iron Man, mainly because he was 50% hero, 25% asshole, and 25% tortured soul. Robert Downey was the perfect actor for Iron Man (1 is better than 2, but they are both really good.) Somehow my son ended up loving Iron Man a much a I did.

  5. Alex

    Ms. Alex used to watch Ally McBeal, so in the interest of marital semi-bliss I’d sometimes join her. From the moment RD Jr. (all too briefly) joined the show, his acting just lacerated the tired, formulaic scripts. This was in his pre-rehab days, but it was crystal clear that his talent level was several notches above the rest of the cast.

  6. We both loved Iron Man.

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