Not Quite JAWS – but Victor Mature in THE SHARKFIGHTERS 1956


 Victor Mature was my dad s favourite actor – dont know why but he liked him particularly in The Robe I remember.

He was terrific as Samson in Samson and Delilah and this seemed to set him off into Biblical epics that became popular in the early to mid fifties.

The Robe was followed by Demetrius and the Gladiators and The Egyptian – all of them pretty good.

Mature was famously self-deprecatory about his acting skills. Once, after being rejected for membership in a country club because he was an actor, he joked, “I’m not an actor — and I’ve got sixty-four films to prove it!”  

 As regards The Sharkfighters it is not a film I have ever seen to be honest but I did always remember it and it seemed to me to underline the importance of timing as in almost any walk of life because this was a kind of ‘Jaws’ film although I wouldnt think anywhere near as good BUT the concept and fear in the film did not at that time gel with the public as it was to do 20 years later. The film was not successful – although I reckon it would have had a meagre budget compared to the Spielberg Blockbuster.

Victor Mature had also impressed as Doc Holliday in My Darling Clementine in 1946 for John Ford and then on to The Las Vegas Story with Jane Russell – a film I remember from TV,  years after it was made.

He also came to England – as many of stars of the day did – and made so-called epics such as Zarak and The Bandit of Zhobe but also a more limited budget type fim called The Long Haul about lorry drivers. 

I have a friend in the haulage business who, whilst not a film fan at all, often talks of The Long Haul because of the trucks on view ( of their time) and it is something of a curio to him.  It also featured Diana Dors who was always good. She was an underrated actress really .

His career was very varied.     In 1952 he starred opposite Esther Williams in ‘Million Dollar Mermaid’ and she has something to say about him in her colourful autobiography ( which to me seems to stretch believability to the extreme )  and then on to ‘Androcles and the Lion’ opposite Jean Simmons and Robert Newton. This was from the George Bernard Shaw play.

Back to The Sharkfighters – I chuckled at one comment on the Movie Data Base forum which went as follows:-

Victor Mature spends more time drinking beer than fighting sharks in this shamefully bad film about a U.S. military shark-fighting operation in Cuba. It looks like it was shot with only camera (which has a hard time staying in focus). The film was probably just an excuse to take a vacation in Cuba.

Mind you another of the comments gave it quite a good review – but this one made me laugh !!

He did return to the screen after five years of of retirement  and was lured back  by the prospect of parodying himself in the Peter Sellers film ‘After The Fox’ .   He gave a brilliant performance in this. 

Mature was always a self-effacing star and  had no delusions about his own work.

He was married five times so not very successful in that area of life but overall he was very likeable and very good at his job.

 I have to say,  generally speaking, I like to watch a   VICTOR MATURE FILM.

He fitted the role perfectly as A FILM STAR  !!!

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