One of our favorite classic movie anecdotes goes as follows: A post-retirement Victor Mature found himself in an elevator at a high-end New York City department store. In walked two well-dressed women of a certain age.
Isn’t that Victor Mature?, asked one woman.
The other woman responded: Victor Mature! Isn’t he dead?
From the rear of the elevator, Mature piped up: I am, and I’m not.
Yes, it’s true that most people, if they remember him at all, remember Victor Mature as Sampson in Cecil B. DeMille‘s 1949 Biblical epic Sampson and Delilah.
Mature never did take himself nor his career all that seriously. I’m no actor, he once remarked, and I’ve got 64 pictures to prove it. (Mature exaggerated a bit; he logged 56 movie and tv credits over a 45-year career.)
Still in all, he appeared in a range of pictures which included some of the biggest hits of the Forties and Fifties. And, most important to us, he made some fine film noirs for which he gets insufficient credit.
How much do you know about Victor Mature? Take our Quiz and find out. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: While Mature is sometimes dismissed as an actor, he did manage to work with some first-rate directors. Which of the following did the actor NOT work with? a) Josef von Sternberg; b) Jacques Tourneur; c) Vittorio DeSica; or d) Vincente Minnelli.
2) Question: Which of Mature’s leading ladies wrote openly and explicitly about their extra-marital affair during the making of a big MGM picture? a) Hedy Lamarr; b) Esther Williams; c) Gene Tierney; or d) Jean Simmons.
3) Question: Which one of the follow nicknames was NOT applied to Mature? a) The Hunk; b) Beautiful Hunk of Man; c) Mr. Beefcake or d) Mr. Brilliantine.
4) Question: Can you name the pictures in which Mature was a) blinded and forced to turn a gristmill; b) spreadeagled on a torture table inside a dungeon; c) flogged at least two separate times; and d) spread out and staked underneath a looming tarantula?
5) Question: Although hardly known as a funnyman, Mature began his career making comedies. a) True; or b) False?
6) Question: Mature’s solid performance in 1949’s Kiss of Death as an ex-con trying to protect his family from a madman was totally upstaged by the antics of another actor in the movie. Can you name this actor, and what exactly did he do?
7) Question: A Mature career highlight was which one of these John Ford westerns? a) My Darling Clementine; b) Stagecoach; c) Red River; or d) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.
8) Question: Despite his lusty public image, Mature was a churchgoing Christian who married just once in his life. a) True; or b) False?
9) Question: Early in his career, Mature was stung by his rejection as a prospective Tarzan. a) True; or b) False?
10) Question: Despite the macho image, Mature had his share of on-set fears and phobias, and was called “100 percent yellow” by which one of the following directors? a) Anthony Mann; b) Frank Borzage; c) John Ford; or d) Cecil B. Demille.