HIS KIND OF WOMAN is a 1951 American black-and-white film noir
Robert Mitchum and
Jane Russell . The film features
supporting roles by
Vincent Price ,
Raymond Burr , and Charles McGraw
. The movie was directed officially by
John Farrow and based on the
unpublished story Star Sapphie by Gerald Drayson.
Post-production on the film was rife with problems and RKO executive
Howard Hughes was dissatisfied with John Farrow's work, and a
number of scenes were cut, added, and re-shot by the uncredited
Richard Fleischer , who had just completed
The Narrow Margin for RKO.
Hughes also organized a screenwriting team that included Fleischer and
Earl Felton , which extensively rewrote the film and
added many pages to the first script.
* 1 Plot
* 2 Cast
* 3 Production
* 4 Post Production
* 5 Reception
* 5.1 Box Office
* 5.2 Critical response
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Down on his luck, professional gambler Dan Milner (Robert Mitchum)
accepts a mysterious job that will take him out of the country for a
year but pays $50,000. He accepts a $5,000 down payment and tickets
that will take him to an isolated Mexican resort, Morro's Lodge, where
he will receive further instructions. Milner is attracted to the only
other passenger on his chartered flight to the resort, Lenore Brent
Robert Mitchum with
Jane Russell in a scene from
When he arrives, Milner finds that several guests at the luxurious
Baja California resort have hidden agendas. He is disappointed to find
that Lenore is the girlfriend of famous movie actor Mark Cardigan
(Vincent Price). Milner overhears two guests, self-proclaimed author
Martin Krafft (John Mylong) and a man named Thompson (Charles McGraw),
planning something which he suspects involves him. When Milner
confronts them, he is given $10,000 and told that someone is on his
way to Baja to see him.
Seemingly drunk Bill Lusk (
Tim Holt ) flies in, despite warnings of
very dangerous storm conditions. Milner thinks he must be the contact,
but when the two are alone, Lusk claims to be an undercover agent for
Immigration and Naturalization Service
Immigration and Naturalization Service . He tells Milner that the
U.S. government suspects that underworld boss Nick Ferraro (Raymond
Burr), deported to Italy four years earlier, is scheming to get back
into the country posing as Milner. The two men are a close physical
match and Milner is a loner, so no one is likely to miss him. Krafft
turns out to be a plastic surgeon .
Meanwhile, Cardigan's wife Helen (
Marjorie Reynolds ) and his
personal manager Gerald Hobson (
Carleton G. Young ) show up. She had
Reno to get a divorce, not really intending to go through with
it, as she is still fond of her husband. Hobson also thinks it is a
poor idea because Cardigan's film contract is expiring and the bad
publicity would make it hard to get a new one. With her own plans
ruined, Lenore confesses to Milner that she is really just a singer
looking to hook a wealthy spouse. Milner shows his softer side when he
helps unhappy newlywed Jennie Stone (Leslie Banning) by cheating at
poker to win back her husband's gambling losses from investment broker
Myron Winton (
Jim Backus ).
Lusk sneaks into Thompson's room, but is caught and killed. Milner
and Lenore stumble upon his body dumped on the beach. Milner is
convinced that the dead man must have been telling the truth. That
night, Thompson and his men take Milner to a newly arrived yacht.
Milner is able to pass along a veiled plea for help to Lenore. She
persuades Cardigan, who is tired of just pretending to be a hero, to
help out. While the actor keeps the pursuing mobsters pinned down with
his hunting rifle, Milner sneaks back onto the boat, knowing that the
only way out of his mess is to deal with Ferraro once and for all. He
is caught and brought to the crime lord. After killing two of the
thugs and wounding and capturing Thompson, Cardigan mounts a rescue
with the reluctant assistance of the Mexican police and a couple of
the more adventurous guests. A gunfight breaks out aboard the boat,
followed by a melee. Milner manages to break free and shoot Ferraro
Cardigan and his wife are reconciled. Milner and Lenore end the film
in a clinch.
Robert Mitchum as Dan Milner
Jane Russell as Lenore Brent
Vincent Price as Mark Cardigan
Tim Holt as Bill Lusk
Charles McGraw as Thompson
Marjorie Reynolds as Helen Cardigan
Raymond Burr as Nick Ferraro
Leslie Banning as Jennie Stone
Jim Backus as Myron Winton
Philip Van Zandt as Jose Morro, the resort's manager
John Mylong as Martin Krafft
Carleton G. Young as Gerald Hobson
Paul Frees as Corley
The film was a rare role outside of
Tim Holt .
Richard Fleischer reshot most of the film during post production,
which he describes in detail in chapter five of his book Just Tell Me
When To Cry.
Howard Hughes had bought
RKO Pictures in 1948. Hughes
had asked Fleischer to change and reshoot the ending, estimating that
the reshoot would take ten days or two weeks. Story conferences
between Hughes, Fleischer, and writer
Earl Felton , however, took
several months to complete. The changes added new action scenes on the
yacht, a set of the bridge of which had been built for the original
production. As action sequences were added in the rewrite, this set
was expanded bit by bit to a set for a full size 150 foot yacht,
including interiors. The yacht set was in a very large water tank on
Stage 22 of the RKO Culver City lot, the biggest sound stage in
Hollywood. One added scene involved the sinking of a rowboat; "After
the boat reached a certain point, it had to sink fairly slowly, the
water coming up to the chins of the smallest seated soldiers." This
required that the tank with the yacht set be emptied, have a portion
rebuilt to deepen it to accommodate the sinking as scripted, and be
refilled. After two months of shooting and a month of editing, an
hour and 20 minutes of new material had been added to the film. When
Hughes viewed the new material, he decided that he did not like the
actor who played the Ferraro character, and ordered the scenes with
that character reshot with a different actor (
Robert J. Wilke was
chosen for the reshoot after a careful search and screen tests); this
second reshoot involved nearly every scene of the new material and a
number of scenes earlier in the picture. Three quarters of the way
through this second reshoot, Hughes saw
Raymond Burr in a movie and
ordered Wilkie's scenes reshot using Burr. The reshoots cost about
$850,000 to complete—approximately the amount of money which the
film lost in its initial 1951 release.
The film recorded a loss of $825,000.
In a review of the film, the staff at Variety magazine lauded the
Robert Mitchum and
Jane Russell as the lead characters,
writing, " two strike plenty of sparks in their meetings as each waits
out plot development ... Both Mitchum and Russell score strongly.
Russell's full charms are fetchingly displayed in smart costumes that
offer the minimum of protection. Much is made of Vincent Price's
scenery-chewing actor character and much of it supplies relief to the
film's otherwise taut development."
Critic Dennis Schwartz called the film, "An oddball tongue-in-cheek
crime thriller, filled with ad-libs, from Howard Hughes' RKO studio
that strays from its conventional film noir plot to try its hand at
comedy." Schwartz also appreciated the acting, writing, "It's a part
where Mitchum is perfectly at home with being a loner anti-hero and
Russell is perfectly cast as the bouncy 'his kind of woman,' who in
the last shot kisses him while his pants are being scorched by the
iron--a perfect metaphor to end on."
Linda Rasmussen liked Mitchum's performance but as a film noir proper
gave the film a lackluster review, "As a serious film-noir thriller,
it lacks suspense and depth. However, the film has its moments, and
Robert Mitchum is in his element as the loner anti-hero."
Jane Russell later said "It was a good film until they took John
Farrow off and put in this nonsense at the end, the gore and
* ^ Motion Picture Daily August 23, 1951
* ^ American Film Institute entry
* ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952.
His Kind of Woman
His Kind of Woman at the American Film Institute Catalog .
* ^ Richard Jewell & Vernon Harbin, The RKO Story. New Rochelle,
New York: Arlington House, 1982. p259.
* ^ Fleischer 1993 , p. 38
* ^ Fleischer 1993 , p. 49
* ^ Fleischer 1993 , p. 54
* ^ Fleischer 1993 , p. 56
* ^ Fleischer 1993 , p. 53
* ^ Fleischer 1993 , p. 62
* ^ Fleischer 1993 , pp. 62–65
* ^ Fleischer 1993 , pp. 69–70
* ^ Fleischer 1993 , pp. 71–72
* ^ Fleischer 1993 , p. 78
* ^ Richard B. Jewell, Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio
Pictures, Uni of California, 2016
* ^ Variety. Staff film review, August 29, 1951. Last accessed:
January 15, 2008.
* ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review,
December 15, 2004. Last accessed: January 15, 2008.
* ^ Rasmussen, Linda.
His Kind of Woman
His Kind of Woman at
AllMovie . Last
accessed: January 15, 2008.
* ^ Peary, Gerald (July 1992). "Russell". Film Comment (28.4 ed.).
* Fleischer, Richard (1993). Just Tell Me when to Cry: A Memoir.
Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN 978-0-88184-944-8 .