Victor Mature (1915-1999)
- George Reeves, Gone With The Wind, 1938.
- John Sutton, Ten Gentlemen From West Point, 1941. West Point - The Early Years. (Far from historically accurate). In November, Mature was selected for one of Maureen O’Hara’s beaux. By December, he found himself shooting My Gal Sal, instead.
- George Montgomery, China Girl, 1942. Or A Yank in China when the hero was due to be Tyrone Power, aka A Yank in the RAF.
- George Montgomery, The Brasher Doubloon, 1946. Mature, Dana Andrews, Fred MacMurray and John Payne were in the frame when Fox gave the case back to Philip Marlowe - having first adapted Raymond Chandler’s The High Window in 1941 as Lloyd Nolan’s seventh and final outing as Brett Halliday’s shamus, Michael Shayne. Akin to Batman borrowing a Superman story.
- Richard Conte, Cry of the City, 1947. Film noir specialist Robert Siodmak made his choice - Conte as the cop chasing cop-killer Mature. However, Fox didn’t want Mature as a crook for a third time, nor Conte as his (then) usual sympathetic type again. Both were excellent (their finest work). Conte had by far the the better role. And knew it.
- Richard Conte, House of Strangers, 1948. When the thriller changed studios, producers, writers and and directors, it seems only right that the beefed-up role of Max, should also be transposed.
- Richard Conte, Thieves’ Highway, 1948. As titles switched from The Red of My Blood (for the unpublished book) to Thieves’ Market (for the published novel), so did the hero - vengeful trucker Nick Garcos. From Mature (who did not want another hood) and Mature and Dana Andrews to Conte.
- Clifton Webb, I’ll Get By, 1949. Song writers and their gals… With a suggested cameo from Mature (as himself) instead of the (surprisingly) busier Webb. It was still a re-hash the re-hash of Tin Pan Alley, 1939.
- Torin Thatcher, Blackbeard, The Pirate, 1951. Ironically, Blackbeard’s true name was Edward Thatch… or Teach. Plan A: Robert Stevenson helming Robert Mitchum, Victor Mature, Faith Domerge and Jack Buetel. Plan B became Raoul Walsh in charge (some of the time) of an outlandishly hammy Robert Newton, with Linda Darnell, William Bendix and Keith Andes.
- Stephen McNally, Split Second, 1952. For the first of his six films as director, Dick Powell lost Mature as the escaped con holding hostages on what proves to be an A-Bomb test site. McNally well suited the typically fine RKO film noir. But Jane Russell kidnapped by escaped cons Mature and William Talman were churned into Alexis Smith, McNally, Paul Kelly. In short, a B-. (Powell helmed The Conqueror, 1978, at a real and obviously still radiaoctive 1953 atomic bomb test site in Yucca Flat, Nevada, leading to terminal cancer for 90 of the 220 cast and crew, including John Wayne, Susan Hayward and Powell, himself).
- Dale Robertson, The Farmer Takes A Wife, 1952. No farming or wife-taking for Mature, he had a date with Something for the Birds. Robertson took over Henry Fonda’s 1934 role of Dan Harrow. A dullard musical version this time from dullard director Henry Levin. Null and void.
- Robert Ryan, House of Bamboo, 1954. According to scripter Harry Kleiner- but not maverick director Samuel Fuller - Mature and Robert Stack were the first selections for the thriller shot, mainly, with hidden cameras on the streets of Tokyo. Stack stayed the course... and replaced Fuller as General Stillwell in Steven Spielberg’s 1941 some 25 years later!
- Richard Egan, Untamed, 1954. Head Fox Darryl Zanuck ran a tight studio. When Mature refused to play Kurt Hout, he was immediately put on suspension - and off the payroll. The more eager Egan took over as Tyrone Power’s rival in the African adventure.
- Joseph Cotten, The Killer Is Loose, 1955. Director Budd Boetticher sure loved Citizen Kane… He tried to get Orson Welles for the vengeful bank robber Foggy Poole - and settled for Cotton as Poole’s target, Detective Sam Wagner.
- Rock Hudson, Giant, 1955.
- Sterling Hayden, The Killing, 1955. Kubrick #2… UA wanted A Star. Such as Mature. Stanley Kubrick’s producer partner, James B Harris, tried Jack Palance and landed Hayden. Film flopped but it made Kubrick. Kirk Douglas immediately hired him to helm Paths of Glory, 1956, and Spartacus, 1959. Stanley had arrived! And called Hayden back to be General Jack D Ripper - protecting bodily fluids - in Dr Strangelove, 1964.
- Robert Ryan, The Proud Ones, 1955. Change of Marshal Cass Silver in the routine Western.Mike Lane, The Harder They Fall, 1956. Helmer Mark Robson wanted him but Mature was not keen on boxing - even if it was fake!
- Mike Lane, The Harder They Fall, 1956. Helmer Mark Robson wanted him but Mature was not keen on boxing - even if it was fake!
- Stephen Boyd, Ben-Hur, 1959. “I'm no actor and I've 64 movies to prove it.” The idea was Messala opposite Marlon Brando, Rick Hudson, Burt Lancaster or Paul Newman as... how did comic Mort Sahl put it... “loved Ben, hated Hur.”
- Kirk Douglas, Oscar, 1991. Yet another French comedy hit ruined by Hollywood “improvements.” Director John Landis' first thought for Stallone's father. "Sly is a twin of Mature." But the veteran expected Sly-like money. "Actually, I'm a golfer. I was never an actor. Ask anyone. Particularly, the critics."