Awhile back...we were discussing people who did not get along with Susan and I had posted about a book I have ROBERT MITCHUM IN HIS OWN WORDS..and told you Susan fans about the things in the book (not very much) of them not getting along. Also...to make Susan dislike him more, was to eat raw garlic before their close up scenes together. That is all true...ALSO that during filming WHITE WITCH DOCTOR, that he would go for days, without showering and his body odor was rancid (which I did not put in here before).
But I also wrote that there was not much to the book, since, the few parts I read, which was only the ones involving he and Susan, was only short answers, simply saying 'one word' responses.."NO"...and nothing more, when asked if it was true that he was a prankster with certain female stars that he disliked working with...and his only response would be.."NO"..and nothing more.
Well..I had also said that 'the book' was not worth much, with those type of responses. But now I have to say, I had never taken time to 'read' the entire book, only those few responses,,,and now, after reading the entire book, I found he had A LOT to say..and the entire book was very interesting.
This book might be in 'his own words'..but the book is word for word interviews he did with many different people, both at live events and tv shows. He is always outspoken and to the point and a very interesting man who was quite well-read and remarkable in what he had to say.
He HATED being an actor..always thought it was a poor way for a MAN to make a living. He said he showed up...knew his lines (a photographic memory) and did the scenes...got his paycheck...went home and have seen very few of his films, or for that matter, ANY American films throughout his life.
I'm quite surprised that he and Susan never hit it off..because he is also 'people shy' and admits it. He claims to have played the same person over and over again in all of his RKO films..that RKO told him, once, that every studio had to have a 'manure salesman' and HE was their manure salesman. He hated parties and the Hollywood scene and always lived away from all of that. His wife stuck by him throughout all of his 'BAD BOY DAYS' and stayed away from the Hollywood scene.
Maybe Robert and Susan were too much of a kind, in many ways. He said what he thought and never regretted any of it. He disliked other actors who admired themselves to the point of 'not acting'. He hated DESIRE ME and working with GREER GARSON who, he said...had to have 42 'takes' for her expression in saying 'one line'..which was.."NO"..and the same with LORETTA YOUNG who had to have a mirror behind them, so she could watch 'herself' as they were being filmed. One day he took a bar of soap and covered the mirror with soap. Then turned to Loretta and said.."NOW..let's do the scene. I AM RIGHT HERE...NOT IN THE MIRROR". He avoided the 'stuck up stars' of Hollywood and would rather spend time with the 'extras or behind the scene people' while doing a film.
Susan avoided the press as much as possible...was 'people shy'...was never 'buddies' with co-stars. I think the problem between these two was that she didn't like his foul language and rude joking around. She was more serious and so they just didn't hit it off. Mitchum felt that movies were 'junk'..but even when he says that, I found that he helped 'save' many films he was not even in, because he was 'used' as a life saver...and wrote many things into screenplays he was not even in. The man was no slouch when it came to writing and 'on spot' in knowing his lines.
There are MANY big film people who considered Robert Mitchum one of the 'best' actors Hollywood ever had..but he played it 'all down' and more or less enjoyed being known as 'the bad boy' that the papers made him out to be. A lot is learned...on THE TRUTH behind those headlines the public read and it all comes out in these interviews.
I always liked a ROBERT MITCHUM film..and found him in my top favorite male stars. I thought it only fitting, that I 'make up' for what I had said early on...before reading this book. If you like Mitchum...you will get a lot out of the book. I just wish that Susan and Bob could have got to know one another better while working together.....
Just had a reread of your post about Robert Mitchum's "In His Own Words", and I think you touched on some very good points.
I'd also just recently looked again at your post about your review of Rita Moreno's new book, and I'd then alluded to Lee Server's book about Robert M.'s eclectic life("Baby, I Don't Care"--a heck of an appropriate but rather sad title, I thought, after closing the last of many disturbing/amusing/confusing pages of his life!) If I didn't know much about the man BEFORE I read this long, detailed bio (but, in my opinion, worth it)--I sure knew LESS when I was finished!
Notwithstanding all the tales of Mitchum vs. his leading ladies--and I do know that it was said that Susan's nasty divorce was raging during the making of one of their films ('White Witch Doctor'?)--which would excuse ANYONE'S disinterest towards her leading man---whether the 'perfect match' or Godzilla on garlic........I was suddenly struck by one other valid reason that may have led both leading actor and actress to close the book on any possible friendship that could have developed between them.
Susan, from her earliest years, held acting and films in her highest esteem, wanting passionately to learn and perform her 'craft' to the best of her ability. In that sense--she differed greatly from so many of her fellow performers--women AND men--who did more dreaming of perfecting their best angles than to perfecting their next lines!!
Whereas, even if Robert M. obviously did get enjoyment from his career, he went out of his way to denigrate and downgrade this way of making a living. He let everyone know that hard work to perfect this 'profession' was a joke--and all he need do was to be on the set at the right time, ready to go, say all his lines--and then head on back to his day's earlier drinking and carousing!!! (Often making fun of those who DID prepare like professionals, working hard to portray the role they were playing. All this seemed to be truly enigmatic to him!)
After reading his bio--and I am assuming SOME of it was on the mark--Mitchum certainly had his own demons. And a combination of so many aspects of his 'psyche' must have fought one another, trying (even if subconsciously) to figure out WHO he was. I'm not convinced he ever knew.
Now, Susan, whilst struggling with her own identity, DID, at least, KNOW how much she respected her career. And, inbetween her struggles, I felt she was rarely in doubt that being the best performer she could be--and having her hard work acknowledged--would be an honor like no other.
I can certainly be off-base in my conclusion--but I find it very hard to imagine Susan--more so than Robert--(and aside from her reaction to his crudeness-and, perhaps, even her eventual discovery of his kind, gentle, intelligent 'core') to ever get past his belittling of the one constant 'love' in her life--her acting.
So! What do you think about all my endless 'speculating', Errol? (Too much 'analyzing' on my part---and not enough reaching for my skis---and just blasting my way through all of life's many bumps?)
best, Lynn [
I think that you could be correct in thinking this...Mitchum was not 'shy' about saying how he felt about an 'actor's life'. He did not feel it a 'manly' way to make a living.
And...on his 'take' on women co-stars...I was quite surprised how he didn't think much of Jane Russell, who he did more movies with than any other actress. But..these were his own words on interviews. I know he did not like Loretta Young and thought she and Greer Garson were so 'into themselves'...and he hated that.
In fact...on these interviews he DID mention some of these actresses with 'disgust'..but he never mentioned Susan at all in his bad remarks. He just didn't mention her..PERIOD! Which goes to show there was no love lost!
He didn't see much in Jean Simmons, thought Marilyn Monroe was a very 'troubled' person, but 'strong' when she refused to leave the raft they were on in RIVER OF NO RETURN until he left it. THE RAFT BROKE LOOSE AND WAS ALREADY INTO HEAVY RAPIDS BEFORE THEY WERE SAVED.) He made fun of Victor Mature..said he would never do a 'stunt'. That the most he ever did was walk off the sidewalk onto the curb of a street.)
THE ONLY FEMALE CO-STAR HE MENTIONS with liking was FAITH DOMERIGUE, He said that director JOHN FARROW (Mia's father and Maureen O'Sulliavan's daughter) treated Faith like 'dirt' and he almost came to blows with him over how she was being treated.
Mitchum and Hayward truly 'did' have a different way of looking at movie making and YES...Susan always did it with honesty and seemed to love her craft, while Mitchum would take smaller roles with less lines and money and 'always' wanted to know 'how many days' it would take to do a picture. If it was more time than he wanted to 'waste' on making a film...he would refuse the role. Mitchum was originally 'wanted' for the role Clark Gable played in THE MISFITS. Oh...there were...many..roles that he turned down..and admits he wss a 'lazy actor'. He said his most happy days in making films was in the beginning...when he did 19 films in one year. He liked doing the 'short' B-Hoppalong Cassidy westerns. THAT..was his favorite times and after that..it was 'boring' and he said he 'gave the same performance over and over' in the films people liked so well.
OH...he did like working with one female star other than Faith. He LOVED working with DEBORAH KERR and holds her in the 'highest regards' as an actress. woman..and human being.
I always liked Deborah Kerr too...but it seemed like Susan and Deborah were always nominated...the same years...for Best Actress...so Susan 'always' would win out, in that case....