Permit's not due till January, son.
~ Cummings meeting Mitchell for the first time.

James Arthur Cummings is one of the primary antagonists of the 1975 film Mitchell. Putting on a front as a business man, Cummings was heavily involved in the import and export of stolen merchandise. His loyal henchman was Benton.

He was portrayed by the late Martin Balsam.


In the early 1960s, local Mafia officials and Cummings had a very fine meeting, in which the Mafia allowed Cummings to have power and influence in the area, in exchange for Cummings to provide them with services. Salvatore Mistretta - the cousin of Mafia boss Tony Gallano - decided to call in the favor when he had a large shipment of heroin hijacked in Mexico and sent to California via ship, and told Cummings to handle it though his contacts at the port.

At about the same time, Chief of Police Albert Pallin ordered Mitchell to conduct a stakeout on Cummings, hoping the man would crack and give them information about this drug shipment. Pallin also wanted to ship Mitchell quietly out of the way. Despite the efforts of trade union lawyer Walter Deaney to buy off Mitchell with a prostitute named Greta, and the efforts of Cummings to bribe Mitchell with a steak dinner and money Mitchell kept on the case.

After Mitchell informed Deany that he intended to get him for the killing of a burglar Deany and Cummings decided that Mitchell had to be eliminated. Deaney died a short time later while trying to kill Mitchell with his dune buggy.

Eventually Cummings told Mistretta that he would take delivery of the drug shipment. He appeared to double cross Mistretta by letting Mitchell in on the plan, but then double crossed Mitchell by informing Mistretta that the man bringing the shipment was the cop Mitchell. Then Cummings pulled another double cross on Mistretta by calling the police and asking them to tell Chief Pallin that Mitchell was driving into trouble.

Mitchell was able to escape the double cross. In the ensuing shootout Mistretta and his henchmen were killed. Mitchell then boarded a police helicopter and took off in prusuit of Cummings, who was on his boat heading for international waters. After a short chase the helicopter caught up with Cummings. Benton shot one of the helicopter officers. Mitchell was able to board the boat. In a short fight with Benton Mitchell managed to skewer Benton with a gaffe hook, and Benton fell into the water.

Cummings then attempted one final double cross, hoping to get Mitchell out in the open and shoot him. However Mitchell was ready for this and shot Cummings with a high powered rifle.

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