Robert Mitchum - The Signature Collection (Angel Face / Macao / The Sundowners / Home from the Hill / The Good Guys and the Bad Guys / The Yakuza)
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The quasi-noir is Macao (1952), a compulsively enjoyable piece of nonsense produced by the ever-meddling Howard Hughes. It's credited to director Josef von Sternberg, but it was largely reshot by Nicholas Ray (according to a Mitchum-Russell interview included on the disc, Mitchum wrote some of the new scenes). Doesn't matter; the combo of Mitchum and Jane Russell (re-teamed from the even kookier His Kind of Woman) is enough to carry this slice of backlot exotica. Both actors look skeptical about the material and amused by each other, and Russell gets to sing "One for My Baby."
Home from the Hill (1959) is an underappreciated change of pace for both Mitchum and director Vincente Minnelli. Mitchum, all authority as the super-manly patriarch of an East Texas family, supplies the brawn; Minnelli brings the same sensitivity to the emotional effects of color and movement that he brought to his musicals. Biggest surprise here is that two young-cub Georges, Peppard and Hamilton, are both very good in the male-ingénue roles. Another long film, Fred Zinnemann's The Sundowners (1960), is a gentle and wise account of a nomadic family of sheep-herders in Australia. Mitchum and Deborah Kerr bring a beautiful sense of mature romance to their relationship, and Zinnemann catches the beauty of the country. Plus, you learn how to shear a sheep.
The clinker in the set is Burt Kennedy's The Good Guys and the Bad Guys, a 1969 Western that can't decide whether it's sending up High Noon or playing it straight. Mitchum's the aging Marshall eased out of his job, George Kennedy is the equally aging varmint whose gang (led by whippersnapper David Carradine) plans a train robbery. One can imagine John Wayne as the Marshall and Mitchum as the rogue, but the movie would still fall flat. Finally, The Yakuza (1975) finds Mitchum in his weathered seventies form, and easily the best thing about Sydney Pollack's stately film. The Paul Schrader-Robert Towne script heads to Japan for some cultural lessons and much finger-severing. All in all, the set shows the range of a perpetually underestimated actor who never stopped being cool. --Robert Horton
Top Customer Reviews
Look up 'film noir' in the dictionary and there should be a picture of Robert Mitchum in The Yakuza, alongside Bogie in The Maltese Falcon. It's that good of a film.
The theme is about honor, or "giri." The last bastion of manhood in an relativistic world ambivalent towards heroism, unsure about any values, moral or otherwise, and gone to hell.
Against this background, you may be a tad on the shady side of the law, but do you keep faith with your friends?
For that matter, would you risk taking a bullet for someone you personally loathe but whom you "owe" because he's saved the life of your wife and child?
The plot begins when Mitchum is approached by an old army buddy that he hasn't heard from in decades, save for the annual obligatory Christmas card. His daughter's been kidnapped by Japanese mobsters and he needs his help.
As to Mitchum, his character is established in one line.
"You've been successful?"
Mitchum: "That depends on how you figure those things."
True enough. He has no family, no friends, no one even remotely close. The film noir loner, now in his sixties.
He goes back to Japan, links up with the only woman he ever loved, and the one enemy who can help him gain entry into the dark world of the Yakuza; an ultra-traditionalist latter-day Samurai ( Tanaka Ken ) who "owes" Mitchum.
One small problem, he's no longer a Yakuza. He's been out of the mob for years. When Mitchum finds out this unpleasant bit of inforation and blurts out "I can't ask you to do that!" Tanaka Ken quietly replies: "You already have."
The aged warriors go to it again. A great story of love and betrayal. Acted in a style of understated whispers between flashing katanas that bring the house down.
the movies all look very good..and there are a nice group of bonus features from vintage featurettes to commentaries! On Macao...I particularly enjoyed the 30 minute interview with Jane Russell and Robert Mitchum that Robert Osborne conducted...very late in the life of Mr Mitchum. The packaging it great and frankly 6 films from the great Robert Mitchum at under $10 each on DVD w/bonus features is a terrrrrifffic deal!
The movies aren't generally considered Mitchum's best or best known but when you consider you've got Jean Simmons as a costar and Otto Preminger directing Angel Face, Josef Von Sternberg helming Macao, Vincent Minnelli directing HOme From The Hill, The great Fred Zinneman directing and the legend Deborah Kerr co-starring in the Sundowners ...you can figure this isn't the bottom of the barrel either! Oh and Sydney Pollack directed The Yakuza and contributes a great commentary....
To sum up...warner Bros...continues to deliver THE VERY BEST classic titles on DVD with the best combination of quality transfers/bonus features and value packages!!!!
So, my Dad is paying for the two of us, and right before we walk inside he leans down and says to me, "You know, this is the closest thing I've ever seen to understanding the differences between the East and West." You gotta understand that my Dad hardly ever said anything. So, this comment blew me away. My attention was riveted. It took me by the collar and pulled my focus away from the windex/old candy odor of the floors, the torn seat cushions where I was sure some old rats called home, and the dirty beach towel someone had hung to keep the light out of the hallway into the "theater."
The movie exceeded my expectations. It all starts with the shot of a gangster with tatoos all over the back of his body. Safe to say, even if you've seen or read the Illustrated Man, you've never seen anything like this before. I mean who the heck would ever let anyone tattoo them from neck to toe? You've basically got it all. Robert Mitchum in his creaky, world-weary mode, delivering lines like a T-Rex with attitude. You've got supporting roles from the likes of Brian Keith who brings a sad, pathetic lining to his double-crossing, gambling freak role.Read more ›
He was best known for his iconic work in film noir at RKO, many of which have been released in recent years by Warner Brothers in superb DVDs. 2 more are included here, where he is under the direction of two legends: Otto Preminger at the helm in ANGEL FACE, with the great Jean Simmons, and MACAO by the one and only Josef Von Sternberg, where Mitchum once again is paired with a sizzling Jane Russell. These are a treat. Then, we move to broader territory. The amazing Vincente Minnelli, although best known for musicals, could master ANY genre, with his genius. HOME FROM THE HILL, is an example of a searing family drama, where Mitchum, Eleanor Parker and newcomers Georges Peppard and Hamilton are just terrific. Mitchum here sets the stage for Dallas' J. R. Ewing years later. An underrated masterpiece with a great score by Bronislau Kaper. Then comes one of Mitchum's truly greatest works, where under the direction of Oscar-winner Fred Zinnemann, he re-teams with Deborah Kerr in the unforgettable drama THE SUNDOWNERS from 1960. By 1969, Mitchum was ready for a little western fun, and you get that in spades from THE GOOD GUYS AND THE BAD GUYS. A delightful western comedy with an all star cast. Appropriately, the set ends with Sydney Pollack's masterpiece THE YAKUZA, a 1975 work that was ahead of its time. A brilliant performance by Mitchum, and a must have for his fans. Although you can cherry pick some of these separately, the deal you get by buying the whole box is the bargain of the Century!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good (barely) film and Directed by Sydney Pollock starring miss cased Robert Mitchum, Mr Mitchum in my opinion did not have the physical Energy at this stage of his life for this... Read morePublished 3 months ago by mark a. johnson
Total classic. Robert Mithums all time best performance. A killer of a movie.Published 6 months ago by Bruce Gershner
Yes, it's 70's campy. And yes, the clothes are horrendous! But it has THE BEST sword fight ever filmed - without question! Read morePublished 9 months ago by LeeJackson
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