Stephen Boyd- Censored!!!! “Imperial Venus”

Believe it or not, Stephen Boyd has the unusual honor of being the first actor to have his movie banned for male nudity. The movie was Imperial Venus, which Stephen filmed in Rome in mid-1962, right before he went over to Spain to film The Fall of the Roman Empire. The film is an epic story about Pauline Bonaparte, the sister of Napoleon. Pauline is played by Gina Lollobrigida. It is romantic and beautifully filmed (if you can find the wide-screen version, that is!) The scene in question is a farcical sequence in the movie when Stephen’s character, a solider named Canouville, returns from a long, long journey. He is so exhausted that he falls into bed and Gina cannot wake him up. He eventually gets carried into a bathtub (still nude!) where he eventually awakens.  It is a scene that can’t really be edited or the humor of the moment would be lost. Apparently the movie censors in America found the idea of Stephen lying prone on his back without any clothes on, except for a boot on his right foot and a white sheet across his pelvic area,  too much for American audiences (talk about a hot factor!).  The movie was never released in the United States in 1963, although it was released in Europe. In fact, the first time is appeared in America in theaters was very briefly in December 1972- about 10 years after it was filmed!

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1972 Ad for Imperial Venus below

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