He was a fine fit in crime thrillers like the classic Kiss of Death co-starring Richard Widmark. Then Mature could take off his tough-guy street clothes and go the sand & sandals route in epics like The Robe and Demetrius and the Gladiators. He could also be a Biblical muscleman for Cecil B. DeMille in Samson and Deliah for Paramount Pictures.
If he had received an Oscar nomination, he should've been a Best Supporting Actor contender for the 1966 comedy he stole from star Peter Sellers. Directed by Vittorio De Sica and co-written by Neil Simon, it's After the Fox. It's a heist movie involving gold. A crook played by Sellers pulls a fast one and has folks believing he's an Italian filmmaker ready to shoot a new movie on location. That's the crook's cover so he and his cohorts can smuggle the goods into a village. Victor Mature plays the lovably vain and clueless aging movie star who thinks he's meeting a famous foreign filmmaker for a lead role in his new film. Martin Balsam, one of my favorite supporting actors, complements Mature perfectly as the Hollywood actor's hyper and harried but devoted agent.
But do big stars ever listen to me? No! To see Victor Mature steal a crime caper comedy from Peter Sellers, watch After the Fox when it airs Tuesday afternoon, August 27th, on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Or you can rent the DVD. Thanks for listening.