If you came in late, you might have missed yesterday’s announcement that this week on Classicmoviechat.com is devoted to Steve McQueen. We’ll be highlighting this gifted actor’s good and not so good. That’s a shot from The Sand Pebbles above.
Today we round out a brief Quiz just to jog memories and bring ourselves more or less up to date McQueen-wise. The guy was a towering STAR of the late 60’s and 70’s — with an oversize ego to match — and was a superb actor boot.
Two of McQueen’s film stand out for Frank. Both are directed by Sam Peckinpah, a rebellious figure in his own right who more than matched McQueen’s disdain for the fading Hollywood system. Both movies were released in 1972.
Junior Bonner is an engaging fairy tale of a picture about a bruised, over-the-hill rodeo star (McQueen in the title role) reunited with a fractious family headed by a fanciful, hard-headed former rodeo hero (played with grace and great good humor by Robert Preston). McQueen convincingly conveys the brooding loneliness and difficulty of his situation while Preston makes merry. A first-rate screen teaming.
And then there is The Getaway, the superb teaming of McQueen with Ali MacGraw in a dark story (based on a Jim Thompson novel) about a Texas bank heist involving a married couple. McQueen was never better, and is immensely bolstered here by a first-rate supporting cast. A marvelously put-together action thriller. (Forget the 1994 remake costarring Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger.)
Ok, on to our Quiz. To check up on the questions, just scroll down to the blog below. Here we go:
1) Answer: As mentioned, McQueen and MacGraw costarred in The Getaway. When she started making the picture, she was married to c) Robert Evans, then a powerful production exec at Paramount. By 1973, she dumped Evans and married McQueen. It lasted a five tempestuous years.
2) Answer: The presence of Paul Newman and McQueen in The Towering Inferno assured big box office for the 1974 disaster movie. The two actors regarded each other warily, and McQueen insisted he have c) equal script lines, even though his character doesn’t show up until the middle of the picture.
3) Answer: Of the some 44 McQueen credits, a favorite is an early one, c) 1958’s The Blob. A low budget sci-fi outing about an unwanted visitor to a small town, McQueen is miscast as a local teen in pursuit of the title character. Chalk this one up to amusingly awful.
4) Answer: d) All of the above. McQueen at the end sought abroad treatment unavailable in the U.S. for his cancer, and died of heart failure after surgery in a Mexican clinic. He was only 50 years old.
5) Answer: a) True.