April 20, 2020

BLOOD ON THE MOON: Robert F**king Mitchum!

Starring Robert F**king Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Preston, Walter Brennan, Phyllis Thaxter, Frank Faylen. Directed by Robert Wise. (88 min)

Review by Mr. Paws😸

We all need a little more Robert Mitchum in our lives. As classic tough guys go, only McQueen and Bogart were cooler.

He’d already been in dozens of movies prior to Blood on the Moon, mostly in supporting roles and often billed as Bob Mitchum. As the parts grew bigger, so did his name and once Out of the Past was unleashed, he was bestowed the official title of Robert F**king Mitchum, the unflappable man’s-man who kicked ass and melted hearts, despite looking like an auto mechanic who always showed up for work hungover. 

As for Robert F**king Mitchum on a horse and brandishing a six iron...just hook that shit up to my veins. 

He’s in full Robert F**king Mitchum mode in Blood on the Moon as Jim Garry, a hired gun recruited by old buddy Tate Riling (Robert Preston), to help keep local baron John Lufton (Tom Tully) from bringing his herd home, which would supposedly affect local land owners. But Garry learns Riling is actually planning to swindle Lufton: With nowhere to take his cattle, Riling will offer to buy it cheap, then resell it at a higher price. After getting to know the Lufton family – particularly Tom’s feisty daughter, Amy (Barbara Bel Geddes) – Garry questions which side he’s on, especially once some of the local ranchers start dying.

"So...what's the F stand for, stranger?"
It isn’t a particularly original story, nor does it sound all that interesting on paper. However, this is another movie where skillful direction (by Robert Wise) and fine performances keep it crackling. I mostly knew Preston from sunnier roles like The Music Man, but he actually did a lot of westerns early-on and makes an effective villain. Perpetual cowpoke Walter Brennan is on-hand as a sympathetic rancher-turned-cohort out to avenge his son’s death. However, the movie belongs to Robert F**king Mitchum, who Robert-F**king-Mitchums as only Robert F**king Mitchum can.

He’d go on to bigger things, of course, redefining antiheroes and creating a few of Hollywood’s greatest villains. But he had already become Robert F**king Mitchum long before that, Blood on the Moon being a great early example. Though the film itself may not be considered a classic, his performance certainly is.


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