I Saw A Film!
Another great old movie in need of remastering for high definition. Mitchum is in top droopy-eyed form as a whiskey runner, probably the film industry’s most sympathetic criminal organization, next to prostitution, moonshine runner. I’ve known a few of the old timers myself. The film features a Mitchum penned tune about a whippoorwill, it’s a sappy dull little thing his plain-jane girlfriend sings in a lounge. I’m not sure the film gets the seediness of the age right or if it’s actually just the age being naturally seedy. The towns look dusty and sleepy, the people look like they’re desperately bored. There are car-chases and guns fired aplenty, but while it’s fun watching the old cars rumbling and jockying for position, we modern movie-goers are spoiled with the action. Nothing in Thunder Road happens without building the tension with blaring brass.
The revenuers are chasing Doolin, and he just can’t quit the big stakes risk-taking. We all know the end of this story before it even gets rolling, but we kinda wish for a different scenario. As his ladies beg him to quit, and his kid brother begs to join him. Brother played by Mitchum’s oldest son, there’s no mistaking that. There’s also a big wheeler-dealer offering to buy out the small guys’ shine businesses. Of course, the locals are too proud to give in to the fat man. Doolin and the boss meet in his office as the honcho watches a bird outside his window. He’s cranking Wagner for the bird to see if it affects his nest building. Weird discussion ensues about what motivates the bird. Mitchum karate chops the dude right out and makes an escape out the window like it’s Starsky and Hutch or something.
Meanwhile we get explosions, tons of fake looking driving action, loads of squealing tires and the glowing ghost-like 50s ladies mooning after Mitchum. Mitchum is only 40 here, and has always looked well beyond his years. Is that his charm? Elderly young man looking as disinterested as possible.
OK this is running free on Prime USA and the poster has a pose by Mitchum that he never resembled in any film.