Robert Mitchum, one of the great figures of film noir.
It dawned on me recently while watching Trump at a press conference with Justin Trudeaux of Canada that he has an uncanny resemblance to Robert Mitchum (1917-1997). The contrast between the hipster Prime Minister of Canada and the grizzled Trump was striking. I thought, wow, as Trump stares down at Trudeaux, he has that same look on his face that Robert Mitchum would have in his films. In fact, in many ways Trump is the Noir President of our times. As Reagan was the embodiment of the long lost American West, the cowboy, so Trump is in many ways the embodiment of the old fashioned, and in many ways now lost, urban culture of America’s past.
Donald Trump, the noir President of the United States.
For those who may need some reminding, Robert Mitchum was perhaps the greatest actor of the noir genre. Bogart is probably his only rival in this area. I won’t get into the details of film noir here, except to say that it often deals with dark, tough, cynical subjects, while the heros, albeit flawed, nevertheless have a certain amoral–moral compass which ultimately guides their actions. The hero of the noir is often considered an anti-hero, someone who works against and completely outside a corrupt system to seek certain forms of justice. He does not follow the standard methods of justice. Rather, he is an outsider, scorned and despised and even opposed by those within the socially acceptable structures of power, and yet his moral compass, firmly fixed on its object of just retribution, is flexible enough to maneuver its way through the most contemptible layers of a slime infested, completely corrupt society. The noir hero has serious and often debilitating personal flaws, and yet his flaws are often his advantage when dealing with and confronting the more insidious elements of society. His ruthlessness is often the best method to overcome the ruthlessness of those he confronts.
Now, this is obviously a very far flung analogy, but there is some truth to it. When I speak of Mitchum, I speak of his screen persona. What his political views were in real life is irrelevant here. It is the public, screen image that is important, the persona that is displayed to the world through film. Being a President and being a movie star are similar in many ways, the most important of which is the role that is being projected to the public, and a role that the public must enjoy and accept, and even respect, and not reject, in order for the politician or actor to be successful.
As stated above, I noticed one important similarity to Mitchum in the way Trump merely looks at people. He is tall, and tends to have air of tough, confident superiority about him. Like Mitchum, no one is bigger than Trump in his presence. Trump knows this and is not afraid to display it. In fact, he uses it to his advantage.
Mitchum in the 1947 noir classic, Out of the Past.
Another strikingly similarity between Trump and the Mitchum style of noir, is Trump’s ability to fight back. No President has faced as much hostility as Trump. He has aligned against him, in lockstep order, the news media, Hollywood, academia, and most of big government and the Deep State. Hell, most of the elected officials in his own party even despise him.
Trump meeting with fellow power brokers.
And yet to be so despised by so many of the staid establishment is part and parcel of the noir hero. He feeds off this. It gives him strength and purpose. To be an outsider, fighting against those who simply want to uphold a corrupt criminality is what the noir hero does best. Again, the noir character works outside of the realm of the politically and socially acceptable, he breaks rules, he defies norms. He riles people up. The noir detective, as personified by Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe or Spillane’s Mike Hammer, are in constant conflict with the official organs of law enforcement, and yet they manage to do things in their own way, and achieve ultimate goal of apprehending the criminal in the end, despite how many people they may have to piss off in the process. Many people lay in the wake of the noir hero, angry, hurt, and filled with a seething hatred for his success. The crazed Left is a good example of this when it comes to Trump.
And then of course there are always the dames and the femme-fatals of noir. These are the sexy, beautiful, alluring women who are in one way or another associated with the hero. Sometimes they are his lovers and confidants, sometimes they are as innocuous as a secretary who has a thing for the man, and other times they are the seductive sirens of crime and corruption who nearly lead him astray and sometimes even destroy him. Every good noir story has such women.
Mitchum and a noir dame.
Trump also has a knack for surrounding himself with beautiful but sometimes dangerous women. Most often they adore him, as with Melania; at other times he gets into trouble with them, as we saw in the Access Hollywood tape. And yet no matter what the situation, Trump always seem to be in the company of beautiful women. Such is the life of a noir hero or President
Trump always surrounds himself with hot babes…
Another similarity between Trump and Michum is the toughness factor. Trump, at least in his public persona, exudes toughness. This is backed up by his open contempt for his enemies, especially in the media. He enjoys sparring with them. He does not back down from a fight. And when he fights, he fights to win. In a typical old school New York attitude (and most noir has an urban setting), Trump does not want to take prisoners; he wants to win, and he wants to win completely and absolutely. Let’s face it: to run for a position like President requires a certain toughness; to endure the unprecedented vitriol and hatred that Trump has endured, and will endure for the remainder of his presidency, requires even that much more toughness. And this is nothing to say of the foreign enemies of the United States. Compare with this with the previous President, who exuded little more than an effete, feminine pajama boy prissiness. “Pussy” is the first word that comes to mind when any man with a pair thinks of Barack Hussein Obama. The contrast between Trump and Obama cannot be more striking.
But what strikes me the most about the Trump and Mitchum comparison is the simple straight talking, straight forward, “I don’t give a shit” attitude towards everything. This is pure, undiluted Americana. Mitchum could convey this with one disdainful comment, with one haughty and superior glance, with one steely confrontation with an antagonist. One month into his Presidency it is clear that Trump has not been phased by the office or the experience; he is still Trump, and he will remain Trump and do what Trump does best, fighting the establishment, riling up the press, and driving menopausal feminists and sissy limp wristed leftist males insane, and he will do it on his terms. And as he does this, it is clear that he is enjoying every single moment of it. Like Mitchum in his films, there is something so unorthodox and unpredictable about Trump that we watch in fascination as he completely rewrites the political rules for being a President, the rules he himself has done more than anyone else in modern history to smash forever.
We are indeed living in fascinating and exciting times. The battle royale of the modern world, nationalism vs. globalism, has been joined, and I will say more on that in a future post.
I stand firmly with Trump on the side of nationalism.