Stephen Boyd & Marisa Mell in “Marta”, 1971

Stephen Boyd is hoping he has better luck with “Marta,” shooting in Spain, than he did with “Imperial Venus,” which he filmed some seasons back with that Venus Gina Lollobrigida.

In Marta, Stephen ‘s playing his first nude love scene since his “Venus” endeavor, though American audiences would never know it. Venus was never released in the U.S. The Customs Service seized and held onto the print. That must have been some nude scene! (The Ithaca Journal, January 26, 1971)

In early 1971 Stephen Boyd traveled to Madrid to begin filming a production of “Marta”, a Giallo inspired Gothic romance about madness and obsession. The movie was based on a play “Estado Civil” written in 1969. The film involved love scenes with co-star and Austrian beauty Marisa Mell which required both stars take off their clothes, a situation all too familiar to Boyd! The first time Stephen encountered this was with French icon Brigitte Bardot in “The Night Heaven Fell (1958)” early on in his movie career. Miss Bardot, however, did most of the stripping down. “The Night Heaven Fell” was only shown in the USA as an “Adults Only” screening. Four years later Stephen was cast in a somewhat haphazard Italian production of “Imperial Venus (1962)” with Gina Lollobrigida. During this film it was Boyd who had to strip down to nothing under a bedroom sheet. Stephen was not pleased. Despite the sheet, “Imperial Venus” was still censored and banned from release in America. By the time “Marta” was released, the 1960’s had taken its toll on what was considered allowable on the movie screen. Nudity and rough language were no longer just exclusive to European audiences. Films had drastically changed. Still, the international version of “Marta” was initially censored, this time in Europe, in countries like Spain! “Marta” was eventually released both in Europe and in America after some extensive cuts.

“There were very serious problems…We had to make a lot of cuts. There was a specific scene that cost us a good deal. We did not realize during the … mixes because many of the scenes were positive in black and white, but the final copy in color, once finished, which the censors saw, contained a scene after all the cuts… in which Mell revealed everything under a thin nightgown. The worst thing is that we could not cut that, because it was an important scene, it was not one of those that we had more or less planned for the international version, and it was necessary to follow the story.” (José Antonio Nieves Conde (director) interview from Die Feuerblume (Marisa Mell Biography) by André Schneider, Page 335)

Below are some tactfully edited snippets from the unedited production and some very nice cast shots of Stephen Boyd and Marisa Mell on the set of “Marta” in and around Viñuelas Castle in Spain. Mell is sporting both a blonde wig and her own long dark tresses, as she played a dual role in the film. This was the beginning of a very special relationship Stephen Boyd had with actress Marisa Mell. You can certainly see the chemistry they had together both on and off the screen!

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