Few actors have made looking cool seem so effortless as Robert Mitchum. Whether he was playing an ex-private eye (Out of the Past), a psychopath posing as a preacher (The Night of the Hunter), or a revenge-driven ex-con (Cape Fear), Mitchum always displayed an uncanny knack for looking through people—giving off the impression that, with one laid-back glance, he knew what they were thinking and was already one step ahead of them. Though Mitchum’s early success came from working within the Western genre, it was his work in film noir that solidified his place in Hollywood. AFI’s “Robert Mitchum Retrospective” pays particular attention to that part of his oeuvre, including a film noir double feature of William Castle’s When Strangers Marry, Mitchum’s first entry into the genre, and Edward Dmytryk’s Crossfire, an adaptation of Richard Brooks’ novel about a group of World War II soldiers suspected of murdering a Jewish man after returning home.

The series runs to Monday, May 5, at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.75. (301) 495-6700; see afi.com/silver/new/ for a complete schedule.

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