“Stephen Boyd’s Nude Scene holds up Film”, 1964 Interview

A very entertaining interview Stephen gave in 1964 concerning the hold up of “Imperial Venus” by the US censors. The movie never did get released in the USA (actually, it did, but only in 1972!). Stephen also talks about changing his acting style for the upcoming “Genghis Khan” and his admiration for John Wayne!

Stephen Boyd’s Nude Scene holds up Film

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July 3, 1964

By Dick Kleiner

Hollywood – (NEA)- You may have heard about nudes scenes in movies. When you think about this art form, you probably pops into your mind is a vision of a nude female.

Well, Sir (or madam), I’ll have you know that the nude male form is its way. In fact, at this very moment a motion picture called “Imperial Venus” is being held up by censors because of a 20-minute sequence which features Stephen Boyd with (theoretically) nothing on.

Boyd insists that the scene isn’t ‘naughty’. As he explains it, he plays a man who is very tired from riding hard for eight days, and when he gets to the home of his girlfriend (Gina Lollobrigida) he can’t’ stay awake. So she and her maid undress him and put him to bed.

“It’s farcical and funny, “Boyd says, “And this trouble is, it’s such an important scene and such a long scene that it can’t be cut. There would be nothing left of the movie if it were.”

Of course, all this furor about nude scenes overlooks the incontrovertible fact that Lassie has been doing them for years.

Boyd doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with them. He does divulge a trade secret – nudes in nude scenes are never nude.

“The girls,” he says, “Always wear a flesh colored something. IT’s so thin and light you can’t tell they have anything on even when you’re right next to them. I guess it makes them feel better.”

 He admits he wore something of the sort, too, but to the censors it apparently didn’t make a fig-leaf of difference. The Italian-made “Imperial Venus,” which has enjoyed a healthy run and gotten fine notices in Europe, he says, is apparently permanently stymied outside out gates.

Boyd is heading for Europe again, to play the heavy in a big costume epic, “The Golden Horde.” One of his most successful roles was as the heavy, Messala, in ‘Ben-Hur.’ But this time he is adding something new.

“I have finally learned,” he says, “that I must add IT. It is hard to define, but it’s something the top actors have.

“You see, I’ve always been taught, and practiced, that the best acting is the most truthful acting. If you’re supposed to be dejected, act dejected. But I’ve recently discovered that if you are truthful you can be dull. Real, truthful dejection just appears dull on the screen.

“What the leading actors have is something more than truth – they are always alive, never dull. If it means they must sacrifice truth, OK. I’m going to try it in “The Golden Horde.”

 “The thing an actor must do, I have concluded, is to get himself, and add a pinch of art.”

Boyd says he has learned to have great respect for some of Hollywood’s leading men who are not ordinarily considered great actors.

 “I have tremendous admiration for Duke Wayne,” he says. “He gets some of the toughest parts, parts which take the most ability.

 “To make something out of these parts, Wayne becomes Wayne. It sounds easy, but it is very difficult.”

Below, photos from “Imperial Venus”, which was not allowed to play in America in 1962

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