Mitchell (1975) (part 6 of 8)

At Deaney’s house, Mitchell is greeted by a servant in a stereotypical French maid outfit. Mitchell leers after her for a bit (did you expect anything less?) before Deaney greets him and brings him into the living room. Here we get the closest thing Mitchell has to a Nut-O-Fun™, which is an enormous pile of wrapped presents under a miniature Christmas tree. Naturally, this looks pretty goofy seeing that this is the house of our alleged main villain.

Actually, come to think of it, at this point it seems that Cummings is now Mitchell’s main adversary while Deaney is just someone in the way. When did that happen? Deaney instantly cops to hiring Greta to keep Mitchell quiet, then laments what it’s costing him (a hundred bucks an hour, which is not even close to being worth what she has to do for it). If that’s the case, then next time he might want to actually let Mitchell know what he wants him to do before giving him a bribe.

Mitchell says, “As far as I’m concerned, she is just some broad looking to get laid!” to which Deaney responds, “You wanna see the receipts?” Hey, it’s a good thing he saved those. She is tax-deductible, after all.

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Mitchell retorts that Greta will “lie in my bed for nothing”. Seems Mitchell overestimates himself just as much as Greta. Deaney then proceeds to outline an alternate bribe, which involves a very complicated scam involving laundered real estate. He goes into agonizing detail here, even tossing out several exact dollar figures along the way.

Mitchell refuses to take the bribe, rendering the twenty minutes Deaney spent talking about it completely meaningless. Mitchell promises to get Deaney for shooting “the Mexican”, in reference to the burglar from the opening scene. Why does Mitchell care so much about that guy? Who was he? We never find out.

It’s the next day and Mitchell is closely following Cummings to a place called the Indian Dunes Motor Recreation Park. Cummings sits in his car watching Deaney as he drives around in a dune buggy and makes big circles in the dirt. Cummings says to Benton, “You couldn’t pay me enough to get into one of those things.” Benton replies, “Me neither!” That’s because you weigh more than the damn thing, you dope.

Deaney pulls his dune buggy up next to Cummings’ car and pulls off his goggles. The two exchange pleasantries and note how much of a pain in the ass Mitchell is becoming. Cummings asks what Deaney plans to do about it, and Deaney replies, “We’ve been sitting on our asses too long. We hit him. We hit the goddamn bum!” Hey, can I help?

Mitchell (1975) (part 6 of 8)

“That’s right! Me, Spritle and Chim-Chim are gonna beat Mitchell’s ass!”

They both drive away and Cummings pulls up next to Mitchell, and tells Mitchell to come meet with him. They both drive down the road and pull over, and Cummings gets in Mitchell’s car. He says he can set Deaney up so that Mitchell can nail him, on the condition that Mitchell help Cummings out in return.

Mitchell sneers, “I want a fish and you offer a shrimp?” More prime Tough Cop talk! He tells him he doesn’t need any help to get Deaney, saying, “The way I see it, you first, and then Deaney!” Cummings replies, “You just shat on yourself, boy!” [!!] He gets out and Benton appears on the other side of the car with a gun pointed at Mitchell. Benton takes away Mitchell’s gun and heads back to Cummings’ car.

Cummings drives off and Mitchell follows in another exciting slow-speed chase. Inside Cummings’ car, Cummings explains to Benton that they need someone to protect them from Mistretta. He says he’s going to let Deaney kill Mitchell, at which point there’ll be “twenty cops sitting on us, not one. Now let Mistretta tackle that!” Twenty? I think he’s slightly overestimating the importance of Mitchell to the police force.

Cummings pulls off down a dirt road and Mitchell follows. Eventually, both cars pass through a shallow stream. For some reason, Mitchell’s car completely stalls out, but Cummings just continues on his merry way. Mitchell gets out of his car, and we see Deaney and one of his goons sitting nearby in a couple of dune buggies.

Mitchell wades through the ankle-deep stream, when suddenly the two dune buggies come roaring down a hill right for him. Mitchell sees them and frantically tries to run away, and they circle around him as he falls down in the water. He gets up and they continue to circle him. He runs, they circle him. Trust me when I say this part goes on forever.

Mitchell then runs into a thicket of weeds, which the two buggies take turns plowing through in an attempt to kill him. Mitchell then runs up some rocks, and the dune buggy driven by Deaney’s henchman chases after him. Unfortunately, the dune buggy gets stuck on a rock and can’t move, no matter how much the goon revs the engine.

The goon gets out, so Mitchell runs up to him with a big rock and begins smashing his face in [!!]. (And this, by the way, is where the images in the opening credits come from.) Hilariously, as he pounds the guy, Mitchell shrieks like a wounded elephant with each blow. Then he gets in the Goon Buggy, somehow gets it over that rock, and heads straight for Deaney.

Deaney looks appropriately horrified, and we get several comical close-ups of a determined Mitchell behind the Goon Buggy’s steering wheel. Deaney pulls off and Mitchell chases him for about an hour or two. The two eventually go over some small dirt hills on what I guess is a race course, or a really pathetic attempt to rip off Bullitt.

Finally, Deaney’s dune buggy gently tips over and instantly explodes into a huge ball of flame [!?!]. Mitchell just looks at the smoking wreck as he lights a cigarette. Ah, all in a day’s work. Anyway, this finally gets rid of Deaney, which is what Mitchell wanted. I think.

Mitchell (1975) (part 6 of 8)

Was Joel Silver one of the producers on this movie?

All right, I’ll describe this next scene very carefully. Mitchell is lying on his bed, surrounded by beer cans. He takes the last sip out of one of them, then gets up and heads to the bathroom to another Hoyt Axton song. He takes off his shirt, thankfully keeping his back to the camera. He then turns on the shower and starts to take his pants off. End of scene. I can really see why we needed that one.

The next day, we hear a radio report about Deaney’s death as Mitchell drives back to Cummings’ house. Mitchell starts honking his heart out, much to Cummings’ and our chagrin. Suddenly, a little kid skateboards up to Mitchell’s car and they engage in the film’s most bizarre conversation, a true battle of intellectual titans.

Kid: Hi.
Mitchell: Hi.
Kid: Are you the man from insurance?
Mitchell: Nope.
Kid: He came last night.
Mitchell: Yeah?
Kid: My mother doesn’t like you.
Mitchell: I don’t like your mother.
Kid: Why not?
Mitchell: Why not?
Kid: No, why not?
Mitchell: No, why not?
Kid: Why are you repeating what I’m saying?
Mitchell: Why are you repeating what I’m saying?
Kid: I’m not.
Mitchell: Well, I’m not.
Kid: You are.
Mitchell: Piss off.
Kid: What?
Mitchell: What?
Kid: What did you say?
Mitchell: What did you say?
Kid: Did you say something?
Mitchell: You say something?
Kid: You said piss off.
Mitchell: You’re lying through your teeth.
Kid: You’re lying through your teeth!
Mitchell: Piss off, huh?
Kid: Piss off!
Mitchell: PISS OFF, KID!

This is apparently too much for the kid, as he does indeed proceed to piss off. The kid never appears again, and we never find out who he is or why his mother doesn’t like Mitchell. There is some steep competition for this movie’s most superfluous scene.

Mitchell (1975) (part 6 of 8)

“Listen, kid, in ten years you’re gonna be a dope fiend anyway, so how about I just arrest you now?”

As the kid takes off, Mitchell shouts out “GO TO HELL!” as he rolls up his windows and cranks up some very weird sitcom-style music on his radio. Eventually Cummings comes down to Mitchell’s car and asks why he doesn’t just arrest him. Mitchell says he doesn’t want Cummings on an “assault charge”. Instead, he wants him, Mistretta, Gallano, and the “lousy heroin.”

He’s figured out Cummings sent those two guys to beat him up. I’m guessing he means those guys who ambushed him and dumped a trash can on his head, but with this movie it’s hard to say. Anyway, he thinks this was meant to prompt him to arrest Cummings before getting any more evidence. I do have to say, that’s a pretty transparent scheme. Cummings says it’s time they had a talk, and invites Mitchell in. Wait, so what have they been doing up until now?

Inside, Cummings wastes some time detailing the whole situation, even though we know pretty much everything he explains. Cummings again reveals that Mistretta didn’t tell him about the heroin shipment until it was already on the water. Unsurprisingly, Mitchell fails to ask why.

Cummings then mentions something that actually moves the plot forward: He says he just got an “ultimatum” from Mistretta and he has an hour to respond. What exactly will happen if he doesn’t respond is left to our imaginations.

Cummings reveals his grand scheme: He will agree to let the shipment of heroin come into his “port facilities”, thus setting everything up for Mitchell to seize the drugs and arrest Mistretta. Mitchell asks how he’s supposed to pick up the shipment, and Cummings tells him that a “rich woman in a big car” is going to pick up some luggage at his port, and Mitchell is “gonna be the chauffeur.” Then Mitchell can rendezvous with Mistretta at his house in Calabasas and arrest him there.

The catch is that Cummings himself will be allowed to go free. I’m sure Gallano will appreciate this little deal. Also, knowing Mitchell, counting on him to be able to simply pick up some drugs and arrest a guy is a very iffy proposition. Mitchell asks when the deal’s going down, and we immediately cut to the deal going down. It doesn’t quite rival Mistretta instantly arriving at Cummings’ house, but it still seems too abrupt.

Ryan Lohner

Ryan lives in Sparta, New Jersey, a quaint little burg without much for kids to do except go to the movies. Thus began a lifelong love affair, as even back then he grew to love examining why a film worked, or didn't. He is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, and currently studying for a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science. His hobbies include running, piano, and annoying people with that damn lowercase forum user name.

Multi-Part Article: Mitchell (1975)

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