Stephen Boyd in ‘Assignment K’, 1967

 

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The 1960’s was rife with British spy movies, starting of course with first  James Bond movie in 1962 starring Sean Connery, and later the Harry Palmer spy movies starring Michael Caine, along with endless spy caper movies. It’s hard to count how many spy movies came out in the 1960’s – which of course makes sense due to the Cold War tension at the time.  The course of spy movies – and Stephen Boyd’s life- would have been drastically different had Stephen been chosen to be the lead in “Dr. No”. Stephen was the primary choice for this role! However, due to a number of conflicts with studio contracts apparently, Stephen was not able to accept the role. For someone who preferred character parts to a leading man part, this was probably a blessing for Stephen as Sean Connery himself later found out that trying to escape the role of James Bond was a daunting task. Luckily for us, Stephen still got the chance to be a spy on-screen, and in a movie which was much more fitting to his personality. The movie, “Assignment K”,  was based on a book by Hartley Howard and it was filmed in February and March of 1967 in wintry Germany and London under the direction of Val Guest. Besides Boyd, it also featured svelte Swedish newcomer Camilla Sparv and veteran actors Leo McKern, Jeremy Kemp and Sir Michael Redgrave. Stephen’s character runs a sort of spy within a spy organization, and when one of his operatives is killed in Germany by another branch of the English spy circuit, his world begins to unravel. The highlight of the film is actually the layered romance between Stephen and Camilla Sparv. They have a sparkling chemistry together,and you end up following their romantic moments more than the intrigues of the spy story itself. It is also great to see Stephen on-screen with his early career mentor Sir Michael Redgrave.  The late 1960’s fashions are also on display with Stephen dressed in stylish slim 1960’s suits and ties, and he even gets to try his hand at some amateur skiing! Below are some pictures from the filming of “Assignment K”.

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