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Robert Mitchum: "Baby I Don't Care"

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  458 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
One of the movies' greatest actors and most colorful characters, a real-life tough guy with the prison record to prove it, Robert Mitchum was a movie icon for an almost unprecedented half-century, the cool, sleepy-eyed star of such classics as The Night of the Hunter; Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison; Cape Fear; The Longest Day; Farewell, My Lovely; and The Winds of War. Mitchum' ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published March 6th 2002 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published March 20th 2001)
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Oct 26, 2007 Tosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who are truly hipsters
Cool can be defined in two words: Robert Mitchum. In this world where nothing is consistent, we have one man who was consistent in his ability to convey a sense of "I don't give a fuck" throughout all of his 79 years. Reading Lee Server's biography Robert Mitchum: "Baby I Don't Care", one is struck by Mitchum's skill in making things look easy -- when Mitchum actually bothers to use any skill. His acting technique was closer to Zen than method acting: His primary concern was to memorize the shoo ...more
Oct 22, 2013 Ed rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Film noir fans
Lee Server has produced what must be the definitive biography of the American actor Robert Mitchum. Server organizes and presents his material well, and there is lots of it there. I like how he includes the quotes and stories from those who knew Mr. Mitchum. I paid particular attention to the sections about his great movies I have enjoyed watching: Angel Face, Cape Fear, Out of the Past (probably my favorite RM film I've watched several times), Rio Lobo, and I know I'm forgetting the others. He ...more
Feb 09, 2013 GoldGato rated it really liked it
He was a poet with an ax. Beneath this deity of indifference beat the heart of a lyricist who used the adventures of his early life to become one of the last Golden Age film stars. Masculine. Tough. Sarcastic. Charismatic. The Bard of BadAss.

Mitchum didn't need to do much. The great film critic, James Agee, once aptly described him as, "Bing Crosby...on barbiturates". The languorous big dude had presence, and that's what makes a movie star. Watching the camera close in on Mitch's simmering profi
Jan 16, 2008 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've thought it was unfortunate timing that Robert Mitchum died a day or two before/after James Stewart. His passing didn't get the attention it deserved. For fans of indelible old films like The Night of the Hunter and the (real) Cape Fear, this is a must read.
Jan 08, 2010 Leslie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cinerama, biography
I always like Robert Mitchum, but this biography tells the story of a true hero, namely an American who was able to live without fear. His personality is not presented in a fawning way, but rather takes advantage of a subject who was transparent because he was self-aware. By way of contrast, the Dean Martin biography is about a man who didn't care, but who was ultimately shallow and not self-reflective. Great reading!
Annie Garvey
Nov 23, 2014 Annie Garvey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I still remember the line that he used on his wife. It worked because she stuck with him throughout all his infidelities. It was: "Stick with me baby, and you'll be farting through silk." What a prize.
Winter Sophia Rose
Jan 21, 2015 Winter Sophia Rose rated it it was amazing
Compassionate, Funny & Heartfelt!!! An Excellent Read!!!
Michael Arden
Jan 19, 2013 Michael Arden rated it it was ok
You'd really have to be a big fan of old movies to enjoy this biography of Robert Mitchum, the prototype of the cool, detached antihero on screen. He was a brilliant natural actor who could totally commit to memory entire scripts after one reading. Mitchum was also an extremely intelligent man and voracious reader who always tried to portray himself as not being smart at all, probably to protect himself in a curious way. Likely it had to do with his upbringing in a dirt poor bohemian family of w ...more
Alison Potvin
Jun 20, 2012 Alison Potvin rated it did not like it
Basically a very dry rundown of the making of all of Mitchum's films, with a few anecdotes of those who worked with him thrown in.

An occasional allusion to his wild side was fun to read about and I kept hoping to read more about his personal life and affairs but halfway through the book I realized it was going to continue to be more of the same, lifeless account of his films.

Mitchum is cast.
Mitchum is described as a prankster, possessor of a photographic memory and masculinely magnetic by bit p
Jun 28, 2013 Warren rated it liked it
This is a curious book. Although filled with interesting (and often hilarious) anecdotes, Server never really gives us much insight into the inner Mitchum. That's not a disgrace -- even Mitchum's closest friends never really seem to have reached the man's core -- but it leaves the book feeling rather incomplete. The pacing is also odd, with Mitchum's last twenty or so years seeming to hurtle past the reader. Again, his golden era of the 40s and 50s provides a nice series of anecdotes, but in the ...more
Mar 08, 2015 Susi rated it it was amazing
The other reviews here tell you all you need to know about this book, so I'll say no more than this......

If you're not a fan of Mitch, don't bother to read it, it won't interest you in the slightest.

However, if you are a fan (or, as in my case, a devoted fangirl who will happily gush about the great man until someone hits her over head to shut her up!)then this is an essential read.

Robert Mitchum was the epitome of cool, the likes of which I sincerely doubt we will ever see again.
Víctor Guerrero
Sep 21, 2015 Víctor Guerrero rated it it was amazing
Leí la traducción española, titulada ¡Olvídame, cariño! Más que una biografía, es un libro de aventuras. Pero es que la vida de Robert Mitchum, uno de los actores más infravalorados de la historia del cine, da para una saga completa. Mitchum fue un profesional ejemplar que le quitaba glamur y trascendencia al oficio de actor. Y un espíritu libre que siempre decía lo que pensaba. Un libro muy bien documentado, ameno y divertido, ideal para los amantes del cine clásico.
Dec 26, 2010 Jim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
And frankly, after two hundred pages, neither did I. I was already suspecting this wasn't much more than a hagiography of "and then Mitchum did this, and then he did that", when my dad said he'd read a total stinker of a book about Mitchum, and proceeded to say exactly what I was thinking about this! That applied the reading brakes big time, and I was left thinking why did I spend seven quid on the damn thing, and could I flog it on ebay?
Jun 15, 2009 Troy added it
Boozin', babes and brawling. And being the part of some ass-kicking films as well. If there is anything cooler than Mitchum I don't want to know...
Feb 17, 2010 Beth/Chuck rated it really liked it
Learned alot about Mitchum's life. There was a chapter devoted to my 2 favorite Mitchum movies & learned alot about the films themselves.
Mar 15, 2008 Paige rated it it was amazing
A fantastic biography. All bios should be this great.
Mar 08, 2017 Lisa rated it liked it
Book was well written. Disappointed in the person Mitchum was. But people are people :)
Nicola Pierce
Mar 17, 2017 Nicola Pierce rated it it was amazing
I'll keep it brief - I finished the last couple of lines of this book through a veil of my own tears and wanted nothing more than to return to the first page and begin it all over again. The house was in disarray, the ironing hill became a mountain and I was meant to be meeting my own writing deadline but I just could not stop reading this as fast as I could.
Hilary Kelly
Nov 13, 2016 Hilary Kelly rated it really liked it
I just finished reading Robert Mitchum "Baby I Don't care" by Lee Server. I miss him terribly.I suppose I'm always like that when someone who exuded life, dies. Obviously, he lived for me as long as he was living in the book.
I love him for being such a renegade.So few people can carry it off. It takes a lot to make a Robert Mitchum,but the absence of a father figure in his youth is probably the chief contributory factor. His intelligence, charisma, good looks and adventurous spirit and of course
Full disclosure requires that I state that for me Mitchum is one of all the all-time great Hollywood movie stars and he starred in some of my favourite films (Crossfire, Out of the Past, Angel Face, Night of the Hunter, Friends of Eddie Coyle and Farewell, My Lovely to name a few, out of the 100-odd he made). He also lived a fairly unusual life - left home at 14 to ride freight trains as a hobo, spent time in jail, escaped from a chain gang, became a boxer, served in the Army, and finally wound ...more
Lee Anne
A fine, very comprehensive biography of the coolest, bad-ass-est movie star ever.

James Dean and Marlon Brando and all those other Method rebels had nothing on this guy; he was so relaxed that oftentimes, directors would worry that his performance was terrible, only to look at the dailies and find it was all there on the screen, remarkable and nuanced.

Server uses a movie-by-movie approach, so with Mitchum's over 100 films, it's no wonder this book clocks in at over 500 pages. (Missing though, a
David Lowther
Robert Mitchum certainly led an extraordinary life and Lee Server's biography of him certainly lifts the lid on Hollywood. It's exceptionally well researched and hundreds of interviews were carried out by him.

What I most liked was the detail about the making of each film. Mitchum appeared in many very good films including one masterpiece The Night of the Hunter, but in many more duds, mainly due to the studio system operational during the first half of his career. He was undoubtedly a fine acto
Aug 04, 2011 Matthew rated it it was ok
Not so much a pinch of salt, an entire sack of the stuff is required to be taken when reading this book. It's not an autobiography I accept, but the author has clearly been given limited access to even Mitchum's immediate family and as a result the book is entirely anecdotal. It boils down to first he did this, and then he did that, and then he did this for well over 600 pages. In all honestly he probably only made two films of any real merit but neither of these are given any additional coverag ...more
Nov 25, 2016 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
If you like biographies and if you have a particular interest in classic Hollywood, you will really enjoy this book. Robert Mitchum was a fascinating person and an outsider. A man who was full of contradictions, he was not only a very heavy drinker, always ready for a fight, but he was also extremely well-read, had a photographic memory and aspired to be a writer himself. Mitchum fell into his movie career after a rough childhood and adolescence during the Depression. The research that went into ...more
Aug 03, 2013 Kenneth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best biographies I've ever read, due in large part to Mitchum's unique life. He was perhaps a bigger badass offscreen than on- and his incredible hijinks extend well beyond the over-publicized pot bust. That said, turns out he was a big pothead his whole life, yet possessed a remarkable memory that enabled his career as an actor. I think what I loved most was learning about his early life, when he, at a very young age, decided he wanted to be a poet and then embarked upon a li ...more
Apr 28, 2014 Darcie rated it liked it
Robert Mitchum was a badass. That is my takeaway from this book. Also, I'm glad I haven't seen *every* movie in which he starred (or was featured) because some of them sound like veritable stinkers. If you want details about all of them, read each page. If you want details about his life, you might have to skim a bit.
Christine Sinclair
Dec 28, 2013 Christine Sinclair rated it really liked it
This biography is extremely well-researched and well-written. It's surprising that no one has done a biography of Mitchum before. His life and his career are the stuff that movies are made of. It paints a complete picture of an enigmatic loner who became world-famous. A very good read for a film buff like me.
Stacey Remick-Simkins
Oct 21, 2016 Stacey Remick-Simkins rated it it was amazing
One of the great biographies and a must-read if you are an early Hollywood movie historian/aficionado and particularly a Mitchum fan. His life was truly storied and as amazing as the movies he starred in. Server manages to reveal the many layers of this man making him human and giving context to the era in which he lived. I am keeping this in my personal library of biographies.
Sep 28, 2008 Jenna rated it liked it
I found this book to be an entertaining chronicle of Robert Mitchum's life and career, but the author's prose style was a bit too choppy for my taste and it was sometimes difficult to tell whether he was quoting someone or improvising appropriate dialog.
Dec 07, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it
This is a well-written biography; a page-turner.

Mitchum comes off as a fascinating, self-destructive individual and, frankly, not very likable.

How accurate is this portrait?

One can't be sure.
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Lee Server specialises in books on popular culture and literary history.

He is the critically acclaimed author of such as 'Danger Is My Business: The Illustrated History of the Fabulous Pulp Magazines' (1993), 'Over My Dead Body: The Sensational Age of the American Paperback' (1995) and the biography 'Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don't Care' (2001).
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