Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cool vs. McCool

So... I've been watching the third season of Wanted Dead or Alive on DVD, and got to thinking.

Now, there's no question that Steve McQueen was one of the "coolest" guys that ever lived. The guy just radiated that self-assured, confident quality on film and in real life. He was somehow bigger than life, the kind of man that every guy wanted to be. Racecar driver, biker, ladies man, and pal of Bruce Lee. Now, that's cool.

As I considered that, I also started to think about another actor and pop icon that also seemed to be the pinnacle of coolness – and I'm not talking about Fonzie. No, I'm refering to Robert Mitchum, he of the hooded, sleepy eyes and easy drawl, the smooth, laid-back, clearly-not-giving-a-shit about anything or anybody else manner. He recorded albums, went to jail for marijuana possession at the height of his movie stardom (and his fans didn't care!), and wrote and starred in Thunder Road.

Interestingly, it's claimed that he disliked McQueen.

Both of these guys are long gone – McQueen passed away in 1980, and Mitchum in '97 (both of lung cancer) – but they're still remembered as the embodiments of "cool."

So, who's cooler? Mitchum or McQueen?

I'm inclined to give the title to Mitchum, solely on the basis of his calypso album. (Well, that and Thunder Road.)

What do you guys think?


Anonymous said...

Mitchum all the way. I always found McQueen to be an icy and emotionless acting cypher (so easy to parody in Altman's Brewster McCloud). McQueen was cool for the things he did, but Mitchum was cool just leaning up against a wall.

Michael May said...

Mitchum, definitely. I couldn't have told you why until I read Barrus' post, but "McQueen was cool for the things he did; Mitchum was cool just leaning up against a wall" sums it up perfectly.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm definetely a Steve McQueen man rather than Mitchum. But Wayne Allen Sallee is a true Mitchum man.

John R. Platt said...


Craig Zablo said...

Without a doubt Mitchum.

Andy said...

Compared to Mitchum, McQueen was a pretender.