Mitchell (film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Mitchell is a 1975 American action film directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, written by Ian Kennedy Martin, and starring Joe Don Baker as an abrasive police detective. The film was released in the United States on September 10, 1975 by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation.

Very much an anti-hero, Mitchell often ignores the orders of his superiors and demonstrates disdain for by-the-book development work as well as normal social graces. The film co-stars John Saxon and Martin Balsam as the banking criminals Mitchell pursues and Linda Evans and Merlin Olsen in supporting roles as a prostitute and henchman.

The film had a resurgence after being featured in a season 5 episode of the comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1993.


A trade union lawyer named Walter Deaney (John Saxon) kills a burglar in his house. Only an unorthodox plain-clothes detective named Mitchell (Joe Don Baker) believes that Deaney is guilty of something more than self-defense, but Chief of Police Albert Pallin (Robert Phillips) tells him that Deaney is wanted for "every federal law violation in the book" and is therefore "FBI property."

To keep Mitchell away from Deaney, the Chief orders him to stake out the home of James Arthur Cummins (Martin Balsam), a wealthy man with ties to the mob whose "big scene" is the import and export of stolen merchandise. Mitchell initially is unconcerned with Cummins and focuses primarily on Deaney. But he gets drawn in after Cummins discovers that Salvatore Mistretta (Morgan Paull), cousin of his mafioso benefactor Tony Gallano (Harold J. Stone), is bringing in a shipment of stolen heroin from Mexico without Cummins' approval.

Meanwhile, a high-priced escort named Greta (Linda Evans) shows up at Mitchell's apartment. Mitchell allows her to come in, and after spending two nights with her and arresting her for possession of marijuana, he discovers that Deaney is paying her $1,000 per night to entertain Mitchell. After unsuccessfully trying to bribe Mitchell with Greta's services and an offer of an illicit real estate deal, Deaney decides to work with Cummins to eliminate the annoying cop. Deaney is killed shortly thereafter during an attempt on Mitchell's life.

Cummins refuses to let Mistretta use his port facilities to bring in the shipment, causing Gallano to send thugs to harass him. Cummins decides that the only ally he still has—aside from his faithful butler and bodyguard, Benton (Merlin Olsen)—is Mitchell, because he's no good to the police dead. In exchange for his own freedom, Cummins offers to allow Mitchell to pose as a chauffeur and pick up the shipment, putting him in a position to both confiscate the drugs and arrest Mistretta. However, Cummins double-crosses Mitchell by alerting Mistretta to his real identity. He also double-crosses Mistretta by replacing the heroin with chalk. Mistretta decides to kill Mitchell and dump the body on Cummins' boat.

Mistretta is killed in the subsequent gun battle, allowing Mitchell to go after Cummins, who is attempting to flee the country by sea. Mitchell is dropped onto the boat by helicopter and kills Benton with a gaff hook. Cummins is killed by a close-range shot from an assault rifle after one final attempted double-cross fails, bringing the central plot to a close.

Mitchell returns to his apartment to find Greta awaiting him. Mitchell brushes her off, pointing out that she is no longer being paid to keep him company. Despite this, Greta wishes to spend the night with Mitchell. However, he detects the scent of marijuana on her and the film concludes on what is intended to be a humorous beat, as Mitchell prepares to haul Greta off to jail for a second possession charge.


The film's theme song, "Mitchell," was performed by country music singer Hoyt Axton.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mitchell (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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