There he is above, with Jean Simmons, in yet another epic. Victor Mature made at least four of these elephantine Biblical spectaculars, thus appearing in some of the most popular movies of the Forties and Fifties.
We prefer in in the sprinkling of fim noirs in which his durable performances were sometimes upstaged by the wild antics of others in the cast (see #6 below). Ah, those lidded eyes, the full mouth and oddly off-kilter stare. And, standing six-feet-two, Mature proved to be a strong physical presence and occasionally, catnip to his leading ladies.
How much do you know about this solid but often overlooked actor? Let’s get to the answers to our Monday Quiz to find out. (As for the questions, just scroll down to the blog below.)
1) Answer: d) Mature did not work with director Vincente Minnelli. But he did with all the other distinguished names.
2) Answer: b) In her her extraordinarily frank 1999 autobiography Esther Williams wrote that during her second marriage to Ben Gage, she was attracted to Mature, her costar in 1952’s Million Dollar Mermaid: I knew that he wanted me, and I wanted him…One night, after doing a steamy love scene that was more than adequate foreplay, we went to my dressing room ….That first night, we made love over and over into exhaustion.
3) Answer: All choices except for d) Mr. Brilliantine, although the actor’s hair style seemed suited to the product.
4) Answer: a) 1949’s Samson and Delilah; b) 1953’s The Robe; c) 1957’s Zarak; and 1959’s Timbuktu.
5) Answer: a) True. Mature’s first movie was a Hal Roach comedy, 1939’s The Housekeeper’s Daughter. He played a gangster.
6) Answer: Mature’s performance was upstaged by that of Richard Widmark’s Tommy Udo, a deranged criminal who pushes a wheelchair-bound woman down a long flight of stairs while laughing maniacally. Poor Victure Mature, wrote critic Eddie Muller. He gave probably his best performance in ‘Kiss of Death,’ but nobody noticed.
7) Answer: a) 1946’s My Darling Clementine.
8) Answer: b) False. Mature, married five times, was not known for his religiosity.
9) Answer: b) False. Mature played a Tarzan-like creature in Hal Roach’s 1940 outing, One Million B.C. (His costar was scantily clad Carol Landis.) But he never was seriously considered for the actual Tarzan part.
10) Answer: d) Cecil B. DeMille who castigated Mature on the set of Samson and Delilah for not performing various stunts including one which called for the actor to stick his head in the mouth of a lion.