Hope we made the case in the intro to yesterday’s Monday Quiz that Robert Mitchum was one of the key onscreen figures of Hollywood’s classic period, and among the most influential to successive generations of actors. As with all artists he made it look easy.
We also hope that our quiz will inspire you to review Mitchum’s lengthy and impressive career — he got better as he got older, and he was already pretty good when he was young. Not a bad place to start is author Lee Server’s 2001 biography, Robert Mitchum: Baby I Don’t Care.
Ok, let’s get to the answers to our Monday Quiz. As usual you can can go over the questions by just scrolling down to the blog below. Here we go:
1) Answer: b) False. Mitchum was born on Aug. 6, 1917 and was quintessentially American. It may surprise you that he hailed from New England — Bridgeport, Connecticut to be exact.
2) Answer: The son of a railroad worker father and a Norwegian immigrant mother, Mitchum left home in his teens. His wanderings got him into trouble and landed him on a Georgia chain gang on (a) vagrancy charges.
3) Answer: Mitchum was often cast in (b) westerns early in his career. A notably good one is director Raoul Walsh’s 1947 oater, Pursued. Film noir came later.
4) Answer: Mitchum received a best supporting actor Oscar nomination in 1945 for playing a junior officer in (d) 1945’s Story of G.I. Joe. He lost out to winner James Dunn for A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.
5) Answer: No question here. Mitchum’s terrifying performance as maniacally murderous evangelist ‘Harry Powell’ in (d) 1955’s Night of the Hunter still scares Frank. An unforgettable portrayal. Also, Mitchum is very scary as rapist ‘Max Cady,’ who threatens upright Gregory Peck and family in 1962’s Cape Fear. Take a look at both if you dare.
6) Answer: The infamous marijuana raid took place at the home of (d) Lila Leeds, a blond starlet friend of Mitchum’s. Leeds had an abbreviated Hollywood career peaking the late Forties. She attempted to cash in on the headlines by starring as a chorus girl who ruins her life by smoking pot in the 1949 melodrama, Wild Weed. (She Shouda Said NO reads the one-sheet cut line).
7) Answer: It was (c) Howard Hughes who spared Mitchum’s career following his release from jail. Hughes not only put him under contract at RKO but picked out softer properties to re-endear Mitchum to mainstream audiences. It worked.
8) Answer: a) True. Mitchum was married to one wife, Dorothy, from 1940 until his death in 1997.
9) Answer: d) Deborah Kerr, Mitchum’s costar in 1957’s Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. She was not Mitchum’s favorite female costar.
10) Answer: The Winds of War, aired over seven nights on ABC-TV. Mitchum topped a sprawling, all-star cast of the $40 million production, the most expensive to that time (1983). Mitchum also topped the cast in the series’ 29-hour sequel, War and Remembrance, which aired over six night on ABC in 1988-89. This one’s reported cost was put at $100 million — a HUGE amount for tv at the time.