Tag Archives: robert mitchum

STRONG LOOKS

While many were acting as if Clarks as a street-level style statement was non-existent in Jamaica before Vybz Kartel gave them extensive shout outs, we knew better. Seeing as a UK PR company operating on Originals’s behalf excitedly forwarded a press release, evidently the brand was delighted too. ‘Clarks 3’ was the one though, busting out the ‘Wallabee Riddim’ that Wayne Marshall ripped through for ‘Mr Shotta’ the tune that set off the summer, right up to its soggy finale. What was even more interesting is that in videos where Vybz professed his Clarks love and heft of collection, he opted to wear last year’s underrated Clarks Originals Cobra model in burgundy. It’s not a model to all tastes, but these are infinitely preferable (bar that nasty heel branding) to any daft patent/shiny/ineptly collaborated versions of the Wallabee. Plus they’re made from ballistic nylon too. Too progressive for the masses though, who—it would seem—would prefer a techy moc-toed mockery from bigger sportswear brands instead.

Beth Lesser’s ‘Dancehall’ book is laden with crepe-soled, British masterpieces worn right— but you knew that already and picked up the book didn’t you? Unless you were preoccupied with Aryan-looking bookworms sullenly wandering the grounds of US universities when it came to inspirational photo tomes. It’s interesting that the Wallabee was born in the late ’60s in an attempt to clone a similar model from Germany’s Viking brand. Viking was a big brand in Jamaica anyway, and to my knowledge, had a late ’80s/early ’90s boom with Chipie-clad rudeboys round my way. Bally shoes played their part too, and one of the best-dressed in dancehall was Supercat, as immortalized on the 1986 ‘Boops’ LP. A gloriously ostentatious image with a fantastic bit of dressing and some superior footwear, it was a foolish omission from last week’s shoe-centric entry.

The man’s career would survive into the ’90s with tales of killing in self-defence, remixes that ushered the dawn of the Bad Boy era and a few minutes in which he even made Kriss Kross’s ‘jump’ sound hard. Take a look and listen to the album. He’s a baller. You’re not at all a baller.

Having just sussed out the scanner – previous grey area evaded for fear it could instigate blog-laziness and through old-fashioned technophobia, the opportunity to upload the best jail picture of all time arose. Robert Mitchum in prison blues but Cordovan shoes during his short stint in a county jail following a 1948 weed bust. I’ve written about the topic before, but this is a seriously strong look from head to toe. Next time you’re mean-mugging for a herb photographer friend in double denim and brogues, just bear in mind that someone did it better 52 years prior. Without really trying.

SHOULD’VE BEEN A CONTENDER: STEPHEN KEATS

It’s no big secret that I think ‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle’ is one of the great crime novels and movies. Credible, dialogue driven, yet often unrecognised, beyond Mitchum’s low-key, grouchy performance – one of his best, he’s surrounded by some of the best character actors out there. It’s a shame that so many passed before their time and never got the dues deserved. Richard Foley for one, died too soon. I know every motherfucker with a WordPress account is eulogizing the style of some staggeringly obvious performers, but it’s heartening that Erik Brunetti’s mighty FUCT – specifically its SSDD imprint, referenced ‘The Trial of Billy Jack’ – OGs riff off the offbeat while everyone else fellates McQueen. Bronx-born Stephen Keats is the true star of ‘…Eddie Coyle’ as gunrunner Jackie Brown.

Consider that bombastic statement – that’s in a film with a career best from one of the greatest that ever did it, but I stand by that statement. At turns ultra relaxed and ultra fidgety, Jackie’s always on his Ps and Qs, and while the big collars haven’t aged well during his talk of broken knuckles with Eddie at the film’s opening, the hair, polo neck, multi pocketed leather jacket, car, firearm knowledge (automatic weapons are a more problematic matter) and sunglasses make him a lowlife icon. Absolute cool. It’s only some old-fashioned snitching that brings this workmanlike delivery man down.

Tragically, despite some appearances in classic films like ‘Death Wish’ and ‘Black Sunday’ b-movie status inexplicably remained – he got no shortage of work, but should’ve become more well-known – and he took his own life in 1994. He undertook a Vietnam tour-of-duty before becoming an actor and interviews indicated he saw some harrowing things that took a toll. RIP Stephen Keats. One of the greats.

A depressing story needs some happy news – other than the fact you need the Criterion ‘…Eddie Coyle’ disc in your life, Janus films (Criterion’s brethren) recently put out a cinema print of the madcap 1977 Japanese horror, ‘Hausu’ aka. ‘House’ – well-regarded but confined to trades by lovers of odd films, you need it in your life. There’s more lurid brilliance in 5 minutes of ‘Hausu’ than you’ll get in any film released this year. That means a DVD release is a-coming this summer. There’s even a t-shirt.

The director actually made this comically manly Japan-only Charles Bronson deodorant commercial too.

On a newer film note, while ‘A Serbian Film’ is probably going to ruin our lives with depictions of something truly hideous if it ever gets released without Daily Mail readers engaging in self-immolation outside art cinemas, on a ’70’s cinema topic, the writer, who I assumed might be a lunatic, masturbating with razors and tediously out to shock, seems eerily normal, with some fine reference points mentioned in this interview. It’s the calm ones you have to watch out for.

ROBERT MITCHUM’S CORDVANS

Blog post from February 2009.

Demonstrative of my thought process in action, on pondering ’70’s crime films, in this case, ‘Charlie Varrick’ and ‘The Friends Of Eddie Coyle’ after discovering that ‘…Eddie Coyle’ – which is a first-rate Boston-based heist thriller with some of the best dialogue of all time (based on a great novel too), is set for Criterion’s lovingly restored DVD treatment in a few months. This is down to a hint in their newsletter. It also means I opted to refrain from watching a bootleg today. I can wait. How such a film languishes in cultdom is a whole ‘nother topic of rant.

Continue reading ROBERT MITCHUM’S CORDVANS