Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Reading Manly Men Bios!
Ha, got you there! While I was in New Jersey I read Robert Mitchum's biography, "Baby, I Don't Care." What a character, this big sexy coolster, part Norwegian, part Indian, smarter than anyone would expect and hard to define. The book is a bit long (500+ pp) but you think about him long after it's done. One of the things people remembered about him the most, aside from his "I don't care" bohemianism, and his incredible face, was that he was a great story teller.
Last summer I was really intrigued by Raoul Walsh's autobiography,"Each Man in his Time" . As a child his parents entertained famous Broadway actor of the day Edwin Thomas Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth whom Walsh was later to play in The Birth of a Nation (1915). They lived on a farm somewhere near Harlem and entertained all the most famous people of their day it seemed.
Being an autobiography, this book had a lot more insight into the life of a man who traveled with and filmed Pancho Villa in Mexico, and had stories that were just breathtaking. He didn't seem happy except when he was making a movie. He was a director for 50+ years!
Robert Mitchum and Raoul Walsh intersect briefly in the 40's.
What got me thinking was this: both men were known for being great story tellers, both men were major figures in Hollywood history. Who's a great story teller anymore? Movies today have so little story line. People today rarely tell stories in social situations. Hmm, is there something here?
And that's actually the point of this post. I got to thinking.