best film: Gone With the Wind. It’s no better than Mitchell’s fourth best performance— OF 1939—haha- but still- I have it slightly higher than Stagecoach and It’s a Wonderful Life. I have Gone With the Wind at #69, Wonderful Life at #76 and Stagecoach at #83 the last time I updated my top 100 so they’re all clustered together. This also means Mitchell is in three of the best 83 films of all-time—even if he’s much less of an impactful part of Gone With the Wind than he is the other two.

best performance:  Stagecoach but 2-4 below are right there as close contenders. Mitchell often played the drunk (god he was good at it) and his alcoholic doctor here is as big a part of the film’s success as any other character in Ford’s ensemble film- including John Wayne’s “Ringo”.

Stylistic innovations/traits: Thomas Mitchell is Mr. 1939. He’s in five archiveable films from 1939 and is a big part of four of them that end up in 1939’s top 10. That’s insane. That means that at different parts of that year he’s slaying it in Stagecoach, Only Angels Have Wings, Mr. Smith and Gone With the Wind– with Hawks, Ford and Capra. His robust filmography also includes High Noon (another western seminal film).  He’s a scene-stealing supporting actor- one of the first actors I think of when I think of “supporting actor” and often he’s paired with big stars (Wayne, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart) and he’s so damn good you think twice about whether or not it would be Mitchell who would be the star if he looked a little bit more like a traditional leading man. He’s that talented of an actor.

directors worked with:  He worked with them all during that era. Ford (3), Capra (2), and then Hawks, Fleming and Lang once a piece.

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Stagecoach
  2. Only Angels Have Wings
  3. It’s a Wonderful Life
  4. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  5. The Hurricane

Archiveable films

1936- Theodora Goes Wild
1937- Lost Horizon
1937- Make Way For Tomorrow
1937- The Hurricane
1939- Gone With the Wind
1939- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
1939- Only Angels Have Wings
1939- Stagecoach
1939- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
1940- Our Town
1940- The Long Voyage Home
1942- The Black Swan
1944- Keys to the Kingdom
1946- Its’s a Wonderful Life
1952- High Noon
1956- While the City Sleeps