Victor Mature

  1. George Reeves, Gone With The Wind,  1938.
  2. 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.
  3. George Montgomery,  China Girl, 1942.   The  hero changed from Mature, John  Payne and  Tyrone Powerwhen it was A Yank in China and a Power follow up to A Yank in the RAF.
  4. George Montgomery, Three Little Girls In Blue, 1945.  Disguised as an heiress, her secretary and maid, three sisters from Red Bank, New Jersey, take off for Atlantic City to find rich husbands…  like  Mature and Cesar Romero. Suddenly, shooting was suspended and restarted with new targets. Montgomery and Frank Latimore.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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    As titles switched from The Red of My Blood (for the unpublished book) to Thieves’ Market (for the published novel), so did the hero – vengeful trucker Nick Garcos.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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

  11. 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).
  12. William, Bendix, Blackbeard, the Pirate, 1952.   RKO’s first idea was Robert Stevenson directing a titular Robert Mitchum with Faith Domergue, Mature and Jack Buetel. Plan B was Robert Newton (stealing the entire enterprise), Linda Dartnmell, Bendix and Keith Andes.
  13. Dale Robertson, The Farmer Takes A Wife, 1952.     Time, said the Fox suits in 1944, to rekindle the big hit of 1935.   Nothing happened until until eight years later when newer suits decided on going musical with Mitzi Gaynor… er, no, Betty Grable. With Victor Mature… er no, Robertson. No wonder Grable decided one more was enough and sure enough, after How To Marry A Millionaire, she retired.
  14. Scott Brady, Bloodhounds of Broadway, 1952.   The gal with the hounds – named Nip and Tuck – was always Mitzi Gaynor. But her fella, Numbers Johnson (yes, it’s Damon Runyon country) switched from Mature to Brady. Instead of real singers. Madonna’s 1989 version was way better.
  15. 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!
  16. 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. Legend  insists alleged that Mature said he deserved  Power’s lead role! 
  17.  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.
  18. Rock Hudson, Giant, 1955.
  19. Sterling Hayden, The Killing, 1955.    Kubrick #2…  Insisting on a star, United Artists  suggested Mature but Stanley  Kubrick, making his second  feature, was adamant. No way. His producer. James B  Harris did, though, tried to interest Jack Palance. But, Hayden remained as Johnny Clay in the superb heist movie, then complained that the “unconventional structure reduced the impact of my performance.”  Fearing a lawsuit from Hayden,  Kubrick re-cut everything, lost  all the suspense, and quickly put it all  back together again. And called Hayden back to be General Jack D Ripper – protecting bodily fluids – in  Dr Strangelove, 1964. 
  20. Robert Ryan, The Proud Ones, 1955.      Apart from using CinemaScope, Fox had little idea what to do with Cass Silver, a US Marshal who hires the son of a “no-good gun slinger” he gunned down as an assistant.  First off, Gregory Peck was set for  Cass – at age 39.  Next choices? Gary Cooper,  54; Mature, 47; and Ryan,  46.  Much the same for the kid, with two Roberts, Stack and Wagner – aged 34 and 25! 

  21. Mike Lane, The Harder They Fall, 1956.        Helmer Mark Robson wanted him but Mature was not keen on boxing – even if it was fake!
  22. 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.”
  23. 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.”


 Birth year: 1915Death year: 1999Other name: Casting Calls:  23