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A top 10 list of movies of a different sort

Everybody’s getting in the act. Carol Cling is handicapping the Oscars and our sport columnists, Ed Graney and Ron Kantowski, are picking their favorite sports movies of all time.

So, in the spirit of things and purely on a whim, I offer up my own version of moviedom rankings — the top 10 movies featuring classic character actor Thomas Mitchell, who coincidentally began his adult working career by following his father and brother into the profession of newspapering, before deciding to try his hand at the more respectable craft of acting.

For some unfathomable reason, Mitchell was frequently cast into the role of a hard-drinking man with an Irish brogue. In “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” he played the role of a tippling newspaper reporter, along with a bit of stereotypical dialogue.

His character Diz Moore dictates into a phone: “In protest, the whole Senate body rose and walked out.”

But the filibustering Jimmy Stewart’s love interest, Clarissa Saunders, played by Jean Arthur, tells him: “No! No, not that straight stuff. Now listen, kick it up, get on his side, fight for him! Understand?”

Diz: “You love this monkey — don’t you?”

Clarissa: “What do you think? Now listen, go to work. Do as I tell you.”

Diz says into the phone: “Throw out that last, take this. This is the most titanic battle of modern times. A David without even a slingshot rises to do battle against the mighty Goliath, the Taylor machine, allegedly crooked inside and out. Yeah, and for my money, you can cut out the ‘allegedly.’”

So in order of my preference here are Mitchell’s top 10 roles, in my not so humble opinion:

10. Pocketful of Miracles (1961) as Judge Henry G. Blake

9. The Outlaw (1943) as Pat Garrett

8. Only Angels Have Wings (1939) as Kid Dabb

7. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) as Clopin

6. Lost Horizon (1937) as [Henry] Barnard

5. Gone With the Wind (1939) as Gerald O’Hara

4. High Noon (1952) as Jonas Henderson

3. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) as Uncle Billy

2. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) as Diz Moore

1. Stagecoach (1939) as Doc [Josiah] Boone


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