We devote our Monday Quiz to Dorothy Malone, who passed away last Friday in a Dallas, Texas assisted living facility where she lived for the last decade. She was 93.
Our Quiz first ran in mid-November, and considering the circumstances, is worth repeating. Malone, after all, served an apprenticeship, then attained major stardom, then faded and retreated to television. Quite a trajectory.
Nonetheless, she kept going and going, outlasting — through more than 100 film and tv credits over a half century — many if not most of her A-list contemporaries.
After our mid-November Quiz publication, regular reader Graham Hill alerted us to one of Malone’s best but unheralded screen appearances:
Guys, you might want to mention a VERY unique movie that Dorothy Malone co-starred in with Robert Stack, and that is THE LAST VOYAGE from MGM in 1960.
The movie written, produced, directed and edited by the husband and wife team of Andrew and Virginia Stone, not only predates THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, it was shot completely on a REAL ship, the ocean liner SS Ile de France. The ship was destined for the scrap yard after 30 years of cruising the Atlantic, and was leased out at $4,000 a day off the coast of Japan. On a tight budget, a good cast, and really nerve gripping scenes with a real ship starting to go under, it is well worth catching on TCM or DVD!
We caught up with a recent screening of the picture, and can attest that Malone — as a self-sacrificing mom aboard a literally sinking ship — is superb in the picture.
Malone could play outdoorsy girl types, the girls next door, devoted moms — or tipsy nymphomaniacs — with equal conviction. And she was one of the few Hollywood stars of the late classic period who managed to lend sex appeal to just about everything she did onscreen. She was one studio-bred good looker who also inspired erotic thoughts among her many fans.
One such was an adolescent Frank, who fell in love with Malone after seeing her in director Raoul Walsh’s the splashy 1955 war drama (in Cinemascope, no less), Battle Cry. Dorothy plays the mature manageress of a USO who conducts an affair with a very young Marine recruit (Tab Hunter).
Hunter later recalled that the Marine Corps. disapproved of the Battle Cry script notably because it showed the actor “as an eighteen-year-old humping a married woman twice his age.” Nontheless, the studio stood firm and “the humping stayed.” What better recruiting tool, figured Jack Warner, than “Dorothy Malone in a tight red swimsuit.”
There’s Dorothy below fending off Hunter’s Battle Cry advances. (All this, of course, took place long before Hunter declared to the world via his excellent 2005 autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential, that he is gay.)
Ok, let’s see how much you know about durable Dorothy. As usual questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: What do Dorothy Malone and Ginger Rogers have in common? a) They shared (at different times) a darkly handsome, actor-playboy French husband; b) They shared troubled early childhoods; c) They shared wholesome, good looks that could on a dime turn sexy; or d) They had nothing at all in common.
2) Question: Malone made her biggest screen splash in which one of the following titles? a) 1950’s The Killer That Stalked New York; b) Battle Cry; c) 1955’s Five Guns West; or d) 1956’s Written on the Wind.
3) Question: Malone tried to seduce Humphrey Bogart in which of the following pictures? a) The Maltese Falcon; b) Across The Pacific; c) To Have and Have Not; or d) The Big Sleep.
4) Question: Dorothy most famously made her mark in television by playing a supporting role in a successful Sixties show on ABC. Can you name the series? a) Peyton Place; b) Bewitched; c) I Dream of Jeannie; or d) Petticoat Junction.
5) Question: Did Malone really make an appearance in one of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis’ funniest comedies? a) True; or b) False.