We introduce our Quiz today with this recollection:
The late Ernest Borgnine, who so convincingly played the role of sadistic Army sergeant “Fatso” Judson — stabbed to death by Robert E. Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift, above) in 1953’s From Here To Eternity – recalled in his autobiography that Clift had in a way mentored him as a young actor.
After the completion of the movie’s startling, back-alley knife fight sequence in which Judson is killed and Prewitt is seriously wounded (a night scene that took 13 hours to shoot), Borgnine and Clift retired to his hotel room.
So Monty and me we sat there talking…and watching the sun rise. It was the most interesting, inspiring fun talk I’ve ever had with a man in my life, wrote Borgnine.
Years later, when I was told he was gay, I really was surprised…He never made a pass at me, but maybe that was just me. All I know for a fact is that he died too young at the age of forty-five.
Yes, he did. But Clift left his mark in several superb movies, one of which (The Heiress) Joe presented and discussed with a special audience last week in Tucson, Az. Was Clift the best looking leading man with talent ever? Just asking.
While we’re at it, here are 10 more questions to test your knowledge of his life and career. Let’s see just how much you know:
1) Question: Clift was born to a struggling Nebraska family forced to farm him out to foster care at an early age. a) True; or b) False.
2) Question: Given his looks it comes as no surprise that Clift as a teenager supplemented the family income by working as a Powers model. Which of these products did he NOT promote. a) Arrow shirts; b) Steinway pianos; c) Lucky Strike cigarettes; or d) Westinghouse refrigerators.
3) Question: During the making of William Wyler’s 1949 drama The Heiress, Clift fell head over heels for costar Olivia DeHavilland. a) True; or b) False.
4) Question: What was John Wayne’s response when he learned Clift would be cast as his strong-willed foster son in the 1948 Howard Hawks western, Red River? a) He was appalled, and demanded a bigger salary; b) he was thrilled; c) he was dubious but trusted Hawks; or d) he was accepting but often referred to Clift as an “arrogant little bastard.”
5) Question: On May 12, 1956, Clift famously attended a party at Elizabeth Taylor’s home high in the Hollywood Hills. Who among the following did NOT attend the soiree? a) Michael Wilding; b) Rock Hudson and Phyllis Gates; c) Kevin McCarthy; or d) James Dean.
6) Question: Why was the party mentioned above crucial to Clift’s career? a) The actor was busted for drugs; b) He was caught at an orgy which made the pages of Confidential magazine; c) The party preceded a near fatal auto accident which badly damaged Clift’s face; or d) He made contacts with studio execs assuring him of prime roles for the rest of his career.
7) Question: What was Clift’s relationship to Marlon Brando? a) They detested one another; b) They were highly competitive; 3) Clift dismissed Brando as a bad actor; or d) Clift was largely indifferent to Brando.
8) Question: Elizabeth Taylor was famously very fond of Clift, a fact that deeply upset her husband of the time. Richard Burton. a) True; or b) False?
9) Question: Clark Gable, who costarred with Clift in John Huston’s The Misfits and disliked the actor, sometimes referred to him using a sexual slur. a) True; or b) False?
10) Question: Clift was famously critical of Judy Garland’s movie acting. a) True; or b) False?