His eyes were sad, slightly bulbous with drooping eyelids. It gave him a brooding and melancholy appearance. His face was heart-shaped, square and broad at the brow, narrowing on its way down to the chin. His nose had a smooth forward slope that broke off in the middle into a downward slant. His lips were soft and flat and almost unremarkable until he broke it out into one of his rare smiles that were as charming as they were alarming. And the piece de resistance, the dimple. Oh that wonderful little dimple planted just perfectly in the middle of his chin. While Cary Grant's chin looked like a women's derriere, Mitchum's chin looks like an angel had touched it and left the dimple in its stead. It was just glorious. Robert Mitchum's look was a kind unto its own.
So when I was chatting away at the party, swirling a glass of sauvignon blanc in my hand, Kevin alerted me to the fact that Robert Mitchum's doppelganger stood directly behind me. I was excited to see him but was skeptical too. I was casual about it and slowly scanned the room until I spotted him. I'm sure my eyes must have widened with surprise when they fell upon his face. He was the young, contemporary, fresh-faced version of Robert Mitchum. The heart-shaped face, the sad eyes, the broken nose, they were all there. The lips were thin and weak and there was no dimple but alas we can't have it all. I looked away, slightly embarassed but terribly intrigued.
As the party progressed, I met various people, all of them friendly yet none of them looked quite like a movie star the way he did, with the exception of one very pleasant woman who had a passing resemblance to a young Goldie-Hawn. And at one point I was told I looked like Rose-McGowan. Then I met the Robert Mitchum look-a-like. Kevin introduced me to him and we shook hands. He was quite striking to look at but his young masculine bravado was a bit off-putting. Kevin managed to work in the name "Robert Mitchum" and the film Out of the Past (1947) in to the conversation, albeit briefly, and he seemed to have not noticed the references. I wonder if he knew who Robert Mitchum was at all. This young man may very well be oblivious to the fact that he carries with him the face of a legendary screen star. Or he might have not been listening very intently to the conversation because it was evident that he had had a few beers at that point. It was his ever-reddening eyes that betrayed him.
The eyes. I have to elaborate on those. They were pretty fixed on Kevin as he was the one of interest in the conversation. Yet ever so often they would travel to my eyes and then, with a lack of grace or even rudimentary shame, to my decolletage. I was slightly unsettled by these glances but I would expect such attentions from an ambitious, young, hot-blooded professional man. Especially one who had been drinking. I thought to myself, "would Robert Mitchum have looked at my decolletage?" And my answer was, "of course he would!" Mitchum appreciated the ladies but he would have been much more sly about it. His eyes would have had the appearance of looking at mine while the whole time they were really looking at a region further below. Or the glances would have occurred when my eyes were turned away, so I wouldn't have noticed. Robert Mitchum was smooth not obvious, unlike his contemporary.
A few words were then spoken and we parted with Robert Mitchum's look-a-like. Thoughts reeled through my head, aided by the wine and I knew that I had to share such a story with my fellow classic film fans. And with Kevin, who enjoyed the encounter as much as I did.
Additional note: The Cary Grant comment comes from Marc-Eliot's biography of the actor. I didn't make it up, no matter how much I wish I did.