For the next three Monday Quizzes we’re going to highlight a trio of the best actresses to grace the most memorable film noir movies ever made.
We’re starting off today with perhaps the toughest of the three, Marie Windsor.
A former beauty queen (Miss Utah) with serious acting ambitions, Windsor is perhaps best remembered today for her many tv appearances from the late Fifties until the early Nineties. She died in 2000, a day before her 81st birthday.
But make no mistake, she was a formidable big screen actress. She perhaps best illustrates a fascinating aspect of noir films — that it was the women who most often ruled the roost. Men were often portrayed as the weaker sex.
This subversive premise emerged long before anyone much considered of the concept of women’s liberation. Noir dames were true femme fatales, as tough and mean as required, and were proud of it. Since they flourished largely in the Forties and early Fifties, they certainly were way ahead of their sociological times.
So, ok, here we go. Let’s see how much you know about Marie Windsor. As usual questions today, answers tomorrow.
1) Question: After winning a Utah beauty contest (she was born in the state as Emily Marie Bertelsen), Windsor headed for Hollywood in hopes of emulating which one of the following star actresses? a) Mae West; b) Bette Davis; c) Clara Bow; or d) Irene Dunne.
2) Question: The characters Windsor played loved to humiliate men, especially submissive husbands. Which one of the following come off especially badly opposite Windsor in Stanley Kubrick’s 1956 thriller, The Killers? a) Sydney Greenstreet; b) Elisha Cook Jr.; c) Joseph Calleia; or d) Wallace Ford.
3) Question: Windsor was memorably paired with noir stalwart, actor Charles McGraw, in 1952’s The Narrow Margin. But they disliked each other off camera, with Windsor complaining loudly about McGraw’s drinking. a) True; or b) False?
4) Question: Although most of her movie roles were in strictly B pictures, Windsor had A-list acting ambitions and studied acting with which of the following? a) Jeff Corey; b) Stella Adler; c) Maria Ouspenskaya; or d) Charles Laughton.
5) Question: Windsor excelled at playing tough, two-timing dames onscreen because her private life was similar to that of the characters she played. a) True; or b) False?
6) Question: Rumor has it that Windsor in reality was highly religious throughout her career. a) True; or b) False?
7) Question: Windsor stood 5-feet, 9-inches, taller than some of her leading men. Who were the most famous of the shorties?
8) Question: Windsor did a lot of tv work later in her career, and is probably best remember for her role in which of the following tube series? a) General Hospital; b) Murder, She Wrote; c) Lou Grant; or d) Fantasy Island.
9) Question: Windsor in addition to solid appearances crime melodramas was also aces in westerns. What quality contributed to her success in that genre? a) Her romantic relationship with John Wayne; b) Her height; c) Her skill as a horsewoman; or d) Her general athleticism.
10) Question: Windsor share two important qualities with Ronald Reagan. Do you know what they were?