Robert Mitchum

August 6 (1917) is the birthday of Robert Mitchum, actor, writer, poet, songwriter, director, singer. Yes, singer.  

Although Mitchum starred in many movies including war and film noir, he made 29 Westerns, starting with a bit part in a 1943 Hopalong Cassidy movie. This photo is of Mitchum with John Wayne in the 1966 Western El Dorado. The movie was widely acclaimed and a box office success. 

In El Dorado Mitchum plays a drunken sheriff who is helped by his gunfighter friend, played by John Wayne. The plot is very similar to that of the 1959 movie Rio Bravo and is considered a remake. Mitchum plays the Dean Martin drunk of Rio Bravo, James Caan plays Ricky Nelson, and John Wayne plays John Wayne, which he did in all his films. 

The favorite part of this movie for me is actually the opening credits. They run against a slide show of striking original paintings by Olaf Wieghorst (who was given a small part in the film). George Alexander sings a haunting ballad based loosely on the Edgar Allen Poe poem “Eldorado”. Caan recites the actual poem in the film. I play those opening credits repeatedly. 

Mitchum died July 1, 1997.