Nice Girls Don’t Stay for Breakfast: Venice preview of Bruce Weber’s ‘work in progress’ on Hollywood Legend and tough-guy Robert Mitchum

Posted 10 years ago by myetvmedia

Apparently nothing like the tough guy we saw on the screen, manhandling his women (River of No Return, The Lusty Men and countless others), menacing innocent victims (Cape Fear) or the proselytizing con-man (Night of the Hunter), but rather a hollywood recluse with a weakness for romantic Cole Porter tunes, practical jokes and poetry. Bruce Weber has provided some more precious nuggets in this preview of his work in progress ‘Nice Girls Don’t Stay for Breakfast’ screened at this years Venice Film Festival. While it adds little structure to his previous preview in New York three years ago, it does suggest an emerging theme and a much fuller understanding of what made Mitchum tick.

Turns out this guy is really a romantic. Weber got him to participate in the documentary by repeatedly lavishing Mitchum with gifts delivered by beautiful women. Weber delves into some detail about this to de-mythologize the aloof and reluctant Actor. Like the rest of us, Mitchum is prone to flattery, wants to know that people are thinking of him many years following the curtain being drawn on the roles that made him one of Hollywood’s legendary male sex symbols. Weber cleverly starts to turn the ‘I don’t give a fuck about much’ attitude that defined Mitchum’s persona, both on and off screen, on its head. He uses legends in their own right, including Clint Eastwood, Mitchum’s brother and Mitchum himself to flesh out stories about aspects of and notable moments in his career, but there is no soul bearing just yet and there isn’t likely to be. One particular story about how he got an ailing John Huston to take on more nourishment while in hospital is particularly entreating. Unlike the revisionist self analysis freely given by Chet Baker in Weber’s masterful ’88 film ‘Lets Get Lost’, whether truthful or not, we are given a deep and candid understanding of Baker’s psyche. ‘Nice Girls Don’t Stay for Breakfast’ will not likely peel back the Mitchum onion. But what Weber is able to give us is a less guarded and human Mitchum — letting loose over cocktails and dinner, singing obscure Porter tunes, flirting with an attractive lady with middling results and telling stories like the one about John Huston. We begin to see a vulnerability that was never a part of his screen persona. Give Weber credit because this guy turned down interviews with every major talk show host, among them Barbara Walters, Larry King, Dick Cavett and Lettermen. And although muted in personal detail, Mitchum is revealing something here to Weber on film that goes against character.

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Nice Girls Don’t Stay for Breakfast: Venice preview of Bruce Weber’s ‘work in progress’ on Hollywood Legend and tough-guy Robert Mitchum

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