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Robert Mitchum: "Baby I Don't Care" Hardcover – March 20, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (March 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031226206X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312262068
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Never forget that one of the biggest stars in the world was Rin Tin Tin, and she was a four-legged bitch," was tough guy Robert Mitchum's stock response when asked what it felt like to be a movie star. While many Hollywood personalities and stars now attempt to maintain their personal privacy, Mitchum gloried in the seamless meld between his lives on and off screen. Born in 1917 to a railroad worker and a mother with intellectual, even bohemian, inclinations, Mitchum lost his father early, and ran off when he was 14 to hop freight cars during the Depression. After gigs as a boxer, stevedore and union worker (perhaps even joining the Communist Party), he tried acting and finally got a break in Hollywood. After playing a cowboy in a 1943 Hopalong Cassidy serial, he made another 18 film appearances that year. In 1945, his performance in G.I. Joe made him a star. He perfected his tough guy image by the late 1940s, playing variations on this part (often comic as his career waned) until his last film, in 1995. In his heyday, Mitchum made headlines by suing Confidential magazine for libel, getting arrested on a marijuana drug change and generally acting rowdy. Server (Danger Is My Business) is at his best describing Mitchum's fine actingAespecially in the 1955 Night of the HunterAand his struggles to remain independent in an industry that demanded conformity. This is a well-researched, highly entertaining and revealing biography that contextualizes Mitchum in the broader world of industry and national economics, business and politics. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Mitchum was Hollywood's original "Bad Boy," who, as the title implies, didn't seem to care about living up to anyone's expectations. Best known for tough-guy roles in a career that spanned over 50 years, he made over 120 films, "forty of them in the same raincoat," and played everything from cowboys to sophisticated lovers. With no pretensions toward being Lawrence Olivier, Mitchum said he picked jobs for the number of days off, but there was no doubt that he was a powerful, sad-eyed, simmering screen presence. His private life was even more interesting than his film roles. Mitchum was a Depression-era hobo who fell into acting. Even when famous, he was independent and found trouble; he was busted for smoking marijuana before most people in the country even knew what it was. Server (Danger Is My Business) does good research but also offers a big, thick, juicy celebrity read that will not disappoint aficionados of the genre. Highly recommended.DRosellen Brewer, Monterey Cty. Free Libs., Salinas, CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

LEE SERVER is the author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed biographies Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don't Care and Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing. Robert Mitchum was named a Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times, "the film biography of the year" by the Sunday Times (U.K.) and one of the "60 Greatest Film Books" by Total Film Magazine. Ava Gardner is a New York Times Notable Book, and a NY Times, Los Angeles Times and USA Today Best-seller. "Diligently and widely researched," wrote Jonathan Cecil in the Times Literary Supplement, "Server's book is a gripping study of an elusive character, and a sizable contribution to the history of mid-twentieth century cinema." Server's other books include Sam Fuller: Film is a Battleground, Asian Pop Cinema: Bombay to Tokyo, and the pulp fiction histories, Danger is My Business and Over My Dead Body. His work has appeared in the Guardian, Interview Magazine, the New York Daily News, the Sunday Telegraph, Sight and Sound, and Film Comment among other publications.

Customer Reviews

The book is well researched.
Steven Daedalus
Lee Server has written an excellent critical biography on Robert Mitchum - one of the cinema's most elusive icons.
Scott T. Rivers
You will not be bored reading this book...I highly recommend it.
G. Misthos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Kay Lewis on March 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Bio's I generally keep around for "light" reading to fill in those breaks when other books get to heavy. However, this well done tome written by Lee Server kept my attention from the introduction to the epilog. Of course, being a life-long fan of Mitchum may have had something to do my diligent enthusiasm for sticking with it while dust settled around me.
The author obviously dug deep in his research because he offers much information I don't think was generally known about Mitchum. His long marriage, which had to be a great trial to his long-suffering wife Dorothy, was exposed in a different tenor then anything else I've read on the couple. He brings out a soft, compassionate side to the crusty, vulgar macho man one generally hasn't been exposed to. Mitchum have been one of the few actors who worked with Marilyn Monroe that was understanding of her tardiness and outward vanity that covered a very vunerable woman with low self-esteem. Yet, he wasn't afraid to take on the "big guys"....the directors and producers while endeavoring to protect those that were intimidated by the "fat cats". He stood up for his convictions and remained honorable to those he cared about. To the end he was his image...Robert Mitchum; tough guy. He probably never had a clue how highly he was thought of because to him, he was just doing a job that as he put it, a dog, "Rin Tin Tin" was in the same profession! He tossed out one-liners that years from now will probably be well known cliches. I always respected him as an, I also respect him as a man. Hollywood lost their last great actor from the glory days.
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66 of 73 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on May 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As a dedicated fan of Robert Mitchum, I was happy to see a full-scale biography available at last. It does an excellent job of cataloging Mitchum's films and acting methodology. I would have appreciated less repetition of "understated, natural, stole the film" etc., and more insight to the particular strengths he brought to his best movies. The author tells us the movie might have been bad, but Mitchum-never. I have seen almost all of Robert Mitchum's films, and I am here to tell you, there were a few that he strictly walked through his part. This is true of almost any actor that has had a 30+-year career.
The book is severely limited by the lack of access to the principal players in Mitchum's life: his wife, sons, and many of his closest relationships. There are disadvantages to an "authorized" biography if the family wishes only the positive virtues of the subject to be included. However, without their input or cooperation, it is almost impossible to get any realistic picture of the man. Before I read this book, I knew Mitchum was a drinker, a brawler, a womanizer and a bad boy. When I finished the book, I didn't have much to add to that impression. His early life though sketchy, was interesting. His famous detachment is easily understood when you read about his childhood. His mother, though a hard worker, was a drifter and her children more or less raised themselves.
The direct sources are questionable. His sister is an unusual woman who claims "ESP" with Robert; though her view of him is so laudatory I sometimes wondered if she was speaking of an entirely different person. The tales from "barroom buddies" are just that - highly questionable. He seems to have been aloof toward his children and slightly skeptical. Mrs.
Read more ›
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Burwell on March 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I just recently finished Lee Server's bio on Robert Mitchum and found it to be extremely worthwhile. I had been eagerly awaiting for it to come out, both as a Robert Mitchum fan and as a fan of the writer, Lee Server, who has written excellent books on Pulp Fiction, Vintage Paperbacks, and Noir culture in general. He has a humorous and hip take on these subjects, knowledgable and enthusiastic without being academic.
The Mitchum book is written in the same style. It's full of great stories and details, particularly about his early life on the road, his infamous Reefer Bust, and how many of his movies were developed. There are numerous and lively anecdotes about many well-known directors and actors (John Huston, Charles Laughton, Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe) and some others who should be better known (Jane Greer, Edward Dmytryk, Anthony Caruso, Jacques Tourneur) The blend of Mitchum's actual life and his film life is shown seamlessly and there are no phony explanations about any of his actions. He is shown in many aspects: poet, partyer, brawler, and father. Warts and all. The book is a long one with many details but it is written in a crisp and fast-moving style. A very enjoyable read. Anyone who wants to learn more about: Mitchum, Film Noir, Hollywood, and a fascinating slice of 20th Century history should pick it up. This one's a keeper!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By JayJay on October 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
I first read this biography tye year it came out after it had been named one of the Best Books of the Year in the Los Angeles Times list. This took me by surprise since Robert Mitchum was not the type of actor who usually ended up on Best anything lists when he was alive. I would go so far as to say he was one of the most overlooked great actors and stars. I read the book from cover to cover and it was as good as the Times said and better, enthralling, informative, full of new information about Mitchum and the hundred movies he made. More crazy things happened to Mitchum than all the other stars put together. This book has some of the most entertaining and funny Hollywood stories I have ever read. Mitchum was an eccentric man who didnt play by anybody's rules. He refused to take Hollywood bull-- (I don't think i can use the word that Mitchum aimed at Hollywood most of the time. The book recounts a larger than life story and tells it so that you feel like you are reading a novel and want to know what happens next. You go from the hard living of the Depression and Mitchum running away from home and riding the rails until he gets into big trouble and on a chain gang. Then the first years as a struggling movie actor falling on his butt in a lot of b westerns. Then stardom but he almost ruins that by a little problem with drugs and a police raid when Mitchum is playing around with some sexy young actresses. This is a long section in the book that covers his trial and jail time and it is great. Some of the stories in the book had me rolling over with laughter (I won't spoil it but the best oneis about a big donnybrook fight with Frank Sinatra and some other actor and Mitchum and it involves eating Sinatra's toupee).Read more ›
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