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Christopher Mitchum

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Christopher Mitchum (page 2)

In the early 1970s, you went to work in Europe (Italy, Spain, France...) and appeared in many "B" pictures directed by the likes of Tulio Demichelli or Aldo Sambrell. What motivated you on this career change? Did you ever feel that it could have a negative impact on your image?

Of course it had a negative impact on my image. After I filmed Big Jake with Wayne, I received a number of awards. NATO and Box Office Star-to-watch. Photoplay Gold Medal Award Best New Actor, and so on. While on the PA tour for the release of Big Jake, I received a job offer to shoot a film in Spain with Olivia Hussey, Karl Malden and a great international cast. I was the star. I took it. When I got back, I didn't have a job interview for 11 months. Finally, I got an interview for Steelyard Blues. The casting director took one look at me and said, "Oh, you're THAT Chris Mitchum. I'm sorry, I can't interview you."


"Because you've starred with John Wayne."

Duke was very visible standing up for our troops in Viet Nam. Hollywood saw that as "supporting the war." It wasn't. Still, anyone who starred with Duke was blackballed. "They" didn't want to chance another star having a political voice with which they disagreed. So, I was blackballed in some circles. I had another job offer in Spain. When I went there, my first film, Summertime Killer had been a big hit. Ran for a year on the Gran Via. I was a major star there and immediately upon arrival, I was offered another film. I had a family to feed. Europe was where the work was, so I moved to Spain. Of course, once you become a "foreign star," you're regarded as a "B" actor and fall out of the loop.

How did you get to work in the Philippines and Indonesia? How was the working atmosphere and shooting conditions in each country? For example, would you have any specific memories about producer Bobby A. Suarez (the head of BAS Films, for whom you did "Master Samurai" in 1974), father and son directors Cesar & Jun Gallardo, or memories or anecdotes about 1987 film "SFX Retaliator" and fellow actors Linda Blair and Gordon Mitchell?

When Franco was alive, Spain had a great film industry with great, worldwide distribution. When he died, about a month after I had moved back to the States, the film industry fell apart there. All they wanted to do was make porn and anti-Franco films. Because of the films in Spain and Europe, I became a major star throughout Asia. I started getting film offers from that part of the world. In fact, my first film there was H-Bomb, in Thailand, which hooked me back up with Olivia Hussey. (Summertime Killer, which was Spain's biggest grossing film at the time, was a major hit throughout Asia.) After doing one film in Asia, other companies started coming after me.

Linda Blair? I think I'm in love with her. She is an absolutely terrific woman. Gordon Mitchell? Funny, before acting, he was my brother's gym teacher at University High School. I liked Gordon. We kept in touch until his death. As for other stories, you'll have to read my book.

Your brother James also made films in Italy and in the Philippines: concerning shooting films in those countries, who set the path to the other?

The actors in the family all walked on the same beach, but we all made our own footprints.

What are your memories of Jess Franco and his working methods? "Faceless" was reportedly directed in part by Franco's wife Lina Romay. We also heard that the film was supposed to have a sequel. Is that true? Any specific comments about Franco's film "Dark Mission"? Any memories about Brigitte Lahaie, Telly Savalas, Christopher Lee, Helmut Berger, Richard Harrison?

Ah, yes. Again, you'll have to read my book.

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