February 12th, 2013: Mitchell (1975)

Our Hero, Ladies and Gentlemen

Cast: Andrew V. McLaglen (Director); Hoyt Axton (“Mitchell” Theme); Linda Evans, Merlin Olsen, Jerry Hardin

What It’s About: Mitchell (Joe Don Baker) is a different kind of cop…the kind who stumbles upon crimes when patrol men are driving him home because he’s had too many.  Can he stop the nefarious Gallano (Harold J. Stone), or was that Mistretta (Morgan Paull)?  Can he figure out what links the murder Walter Deaney (John Saxon) commits to James Arthur Cummings (Martin Balsam), the man his supervisors assign him to investigate?

Why Watch it Today?:  Joe Don Baker turns 77 today-a happy birthday to the man who made my favorite episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 so special!  Baker can actually be great in the right role, but like many of his leading parts, Mitchell emphasizes his schlubby big guy traits, which does not make for a dynamic hero.

Other Choices:  Walking Tall is the movie that made Joe Don Baker’s career, and far better fit for him.

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