He was the lovelorn sidekick in The Third Man, memorably snubbed by Alida Valli.
He was Jennifer Jones’ romantic esthete-hero in Portrait of Jennie, Teresa Wright’s serial killer uncle in Shadow of a Doubt and Ingrid Bergman’s class-bound husband in Under Capricorn.
But most of all, he played key roles in two Orson Welles masterpieces: the conscience of Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane and the philosophical inventor in The Magnificent Ambersons. In short, over a career that lasted four decades, Joseph Cotten has been a conspicuous presence in some of the very best movies ever made — ever.
We’ve written a fair amount about Cotten but usually in connection with other classic stars such as Welles himself and Deanna Durbin. So today we make for past lapses a bit by fully devoting our Monday Quiz to this superb and versatile actor.
Just how much do you know about Joseph Cotten? We challenge you to take this quiz and find out. Here we go with our questions. (Tune in tomorrow for the answers.)
1) Question — Citizen Kane was Cotten’s very first movie? True or false.
2) Question — Can you identify the title of the Orson Welles movie that Cotten had a large hand in writing? (Hint, it was early in Cotten’s career).
3) Question — Cotten once famously retaliated against a powerful Hollywood gossip columnist because of what was printed in the paper. What was the columnist’s infraction and how exactly did the actor obtain revenge?
4) Question — When they costarred in 1953’s Niagra, Marilyn Monroe drove Cotten to distraction because (a) she would show up late for work; (b) she rebuffed his romantic overtures; (c) she would lose concentration during the filming of key scenes and blow her lines; or (d) she had frequent halitosis.
5) Question — Which of these actresses was Cotten married to? a) Linda Darnell; b) Lenore La Mont; c) Patricia Medina; or d) Maria Montez.
6) Question — Among Cotten’s some 75 movie appearances, one was in perhaps the biggest box office dud in Hollywood history. Can you identify the title of this misbegotten picture?
7) Question: Cotten was occasionally referred to as Hollywood’s “Southern gentleman.” Where did he actually come from? a) Charleston, South Carolina; b) Miami, Florida; c) Tidewater, Virginia; or d) Raleigh, North Carolina.
8) Question: Which of these producers was most instrumental in propelling Cotten’s early career? a) Orson Welles; b) Sam Goldwyn; c) David Selznick; or d) Alexander Korda.
9) Question: Cotten and Ingrid Bergman had an off camera affair when both were married to others. a) True; b) false; or c) maybe.
10) Question: Despite their close professional association early in their careers, Cotten and Welles (pictured above in The Third Man) had a serious personal falling out, and didn’t speak for decades. True or false?