Stephen Boyd is asked : “What Makes a Woman Seductive?”

During a very difficult stretch in his career in early 1961, while Stephen Boyd was waiting for “Cleopatra” to get started, he gave an interview with Screenland magazine. “Even in my early and grimmest London period I was never this long without acting assignments,” Stephen bemoaned. His luck was about to change and “Lisa” (The Inspector) with Dolores Hart was coming around the corner to save him. Unfortunately for Elizabeth Taylor, she contracted double pneumonia around this time and almost died! The “Cleopatra” project was postponed once again. 

The title of the article was “What Makes a Woman Seductive?”  Stephen describes some of his favorite female movie stars and their sex appeal. It’s a fascinating account!

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“What makes a woman seductive?” he repeats my question and mulls it over. “I’m only a mere man and so I’m afraid I can’t define this mysterious substance. But every man knows it when he meets it. In  my opinion Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor are two of the most seductive women on the screen. Miss Monroe accentuates femininity by daring aggressiveness through exposure; Miss Taylor’s seductiveness is more diffused but the effect is just as alluring. Brigitte Bardot (who has the most animal in her of any woman I’ve ever known) would be third on my list and Sophia Loren fourth. And Kim Novak has an incredible pull that few men can ignore.”

“I’m certain if you asked ten men you’d get different answers, for the question of seductiveness is a highly personal one. A woman may be a packaged Cleopatra or Helen of Troy to one man and lacking in seductiveness to another. Personally, the way a woman walks–that little undulation seen from the rear– is seductive. But when it’s overdone, it’s ludicrous. How she wears her clothes adds to detracts from her ability to captivate a man. For me, petite women are more provocative than tall ones but whether they’re blonde, brunette or redheads doesn’t matter.”

“Sex appeal in a woman isn’t only a physical quality but is mental and emotional as well. A beautiful woman evokes merely admiration from men while sex appeal evokes excitement. Beauty and sex appeal don’t always go together. A plain woman can suddenly become attractive in response to a man’s unexpected attention. It changes her conception of herself, adds a feeling of power, a sense of confidence and so awakens her sex appeal. The same holds true of a man.”

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Stephen Boyd’s top five most seductive actresses: Monroe, Taylor, Bardot, Loren and Novak

Particular Praise for BB

“…when I was in Paris, I renewed my acquaintance with Brigitte Bardot. Immediately the press nominated me as the next Mr. Bardot. It was ridiculous; I don’t go around breaking up marriages. Brigitte and I had made “The Night Heaven Fell” (which I’d like to forget) and of course I wanted to see her again. Around BB you feel more alive than you normally do. She has intelligence and humor and best of all, she knows how to listen. So many women really don’t, you know. Brigitte is a remarkable woman, at times a bit exhausting, but there’s no romance between us.”

To read the entire interview, please see https://stephenboydblog.com/archives/https://stephenboydblog.com/archives/

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Stephen Boyd ‘gets his Irish up’ about stripping down for “Imperial Venus”

FOREIGN PICTURES PRODUCERS A ‘BUNCH OF AMATEURS’

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On the set of Imperial Venus in Rome

Los Angeles Times, October 28, 1962

So you think movies have gone about as far as they can go. Rape, incest, young girls with old men, abortion, dope, sadism. After low-cut necklines, came no necklines. What’s left? Reluctantly, Stephen Boyd supplies the answer – nude males.

Boyd, whose first halting stab at this was with Brigitte Bardot in “The Night Heaven Fell,” goes all the way—as they say—in “Imperial Venus” with Gina Lollobrigida. In between, he’s managed to sandwich in more wholesome roles – the memorable Messala in “Ben-Hur” and the upcoming MGM release, “Billy Rose’ Jumbo.” Also, he starts work in December in Samuel Bronston’s “Fall of the Roman Empire.”

As for being nude, Boyd does not approve. In fact he considers that he’s made the same mistake twice, the second mistake being the worst, the Italian-made “Imperial Venus.” Said Boyd:

It Was Simple

“I think it’s crude. But we were in the middle of production and I don’t think it’s professional to hold up production right in the middle of it. I knew the scene existed but from the point of view of shooting it was so simple. I’m lying in bed and I had a sheet over me. I figure when you look nude you look nude, but you don’t have to be nude. But it didn’t turn out that way.

“I haven’t seen the picture. In fact, I haven’t seen the scene. I don’t look at rushes, but those who have tell me it’s really something. Anyhow, the scene will not be shown in America. And in my opinion that makes it worse. I mean I do not believe it is necessary for me to be nude in any version, no matter where it is shown. I don’t believe this is entertainment.”

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Why, then, over Boyd’s objections, was the scene filmed?

‘Bunch of Amateurs’

“Because,” said Boyd, “they are Italians, let’s say, and they don’t know any better. The producers are the worst bunch of amateurs I’ve ever had the misfortune to work under. The producer is amateurish rather than an amateur. He’s unreasonable.

“He thinks, I believe, that this will help sell tickets. But I wonder where he will sell them. If my memory serves me right, he can’t show it in France. I did a scene with Bardot where she was nude and I was pretty much so and they wouldn’t pass that. What Frenchman wants to look at an Irish body?

“Apart from the physical contempt for the type of operation I was subjected to, I hope I never again find it necessary to make a picture for any foreign organization that is not supported by Americans. I exclude from this the English, for the English too are professionals.

“Being a professional, one forgets there are amateurs in the field. For all I know they could be perversionists. You get involved in the picture and you get to the scene and they say, ‘All right, take your clothes off.’

Foreigners Copyists

“There’s all this talk about how great the foreign pictures are. But they’re all copyists. I believe all of the great talent is in Hollywood and New York. I don’t believe there’s anybody in the world that can touch them.”

From his words, it’s easy to see that Stephen Boyd had his Irish up. He is, in fact, and Irishman, the youngest of nine children. He was born in Belfast and while he had no trace of accent, he has the Irish gift for language.

And while Boyd deplored his part in “Imperial Venus,” he was quick to praise “Jumbo.” An opposite kind of entertainment. Said Boyd at the Hollywood Brown Derby.

“In my opinion ‘Jumbo’ is the type of entertainment that has been successful since the beginning of entertainment. It is family entertainment. I believe there are more close-knit families in this world than there are individualists.

Our Worst ‘Better’

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“I honestly believe – it depends on how you view this business – that motion pictures are a form of entertainment developed for the masses. I don’t believe there is one single picture made here that doesn’t do better than pictures made in Europe – than anyplace else, for that matter. Forget the cost or anything else, the worst picture here makes at least as much as the best picture made in Europe.

“I hate like hell leaving this town. I really hate to. But at the moment pictures are being made abroad. If it looks like it’s be good entertainment, you just have to go.”

Add a personal footnote to aspiring young actors. Learn from Stephen Boyd’s experiences. Go slow, take your time and keep your pants on.

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Another scene which was snipped from even the European version of Lollobrigida and Boyd in bed together.

Watch Stephen Boyd and Linda Evans in Hunter (TV show series, 1977)

This was a rare find! Who knew that this TV show was available? I uploaded it to YouTube (unlisted) for you, my Blog Readers, to watch.

Per Wikipedia :

James Hunter worked for an unnamed United States government intelligence agency – referred to merely as “the Agency” – until 1969, when he resigned because he disapproved of the Agencys methods. He retired from the espionage business to run a rare books store in Santa Barbara, California. In 1977, General Baker is ordered to recruit six counterespionage agents to form a new covert agency – also unnamed – charged with protecting the United States from a variety of threats whether they arise domestically or abroad. Bakers first choice for the new agency is Hunter. In Bakers new agency, Hunter either works alone or is assigned someone to assist him, all the while continuing to pose as a rare books dealer.[1][2][3]

In all but two episodes, Baker assigns another of his agents, Marty Shaw, to assist Hunter. Marty lives in a different part of the United States and is also undercover – as a famous model. She also has her own assignments separate from Hunters. Marty is Hunters lover, and the two share a bed when traveling together on their assignments.[1][2][3]

As undercover couterespionage agents, they battle in locales across the United States with a wide variety of international foes, ranging from communists to organized crime to rogue American agents.[1][2]

The two “K Group” episodes differ from the rest in being flashbacks to the time when Hunter was still with “the Agency” as its chief of operations in West Berlin.[3]

After the cancellation of the series Executive Suite and its last broadcast on February 11, 1977, CBS needed a replacement to fill the void in its schedule. It had bought Hunter for just such a contingency. Hunter premiered a week later, on February 18, 1977, and aired on Fridays at 10:00 p.m. through April 22, 1977.[1] After a five-week hiatus, its last original episode was broadcast on Friday, May 27, 1977, also at 10:00 p.m.[1][2] Four additional episodes never aired.

Stephen Boyd appears in an episode called “The Costa Rican Connection”. The show aired on March 18, 1977, so it is one of the very last television or movies in which Stephen appeared, as he would pass away only 3 months later on June 2, 1977. In this episode, Stephen plays a slippery businessman names Garth Roberts who also ends up being the main villain in the episode (of course!). If he was sporting his Ulster accent Boyd would be straight out of “The Squeeze” in this. Despite being older and a little thinner, Stephen still looks very handsome sporting his immutable 1970’s mustache and flashing that devilish Irish grin.

The episode also features “2001: A Space Odyssey” veteran Gary Lockwood and model Susan Anton. The main television actors for this series were Linda Evans (soon to be of “Dynasty” fame), and James Franciscus, who took Charlton Heston’s place as the main character in the popular sequel to “The Planet of The Apes”, “Beneath The Planet of the Apes” (1970).

“Maids, Matrons Here Cheering for Steve Boyd: He Loses Chariot Race But Wins Ladies’ Hearts”

By Kasper Manahan, Pittsburgh Press, March 9, 1960

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Suddenly everybody becomes avidly interested in Stephen Boyd, wondering where he had been all their young lives. That’s especially  true of the womenfolk of Allegheny County and purlieus, judging from the many mash notes I’m receiving.

But they’re all for Stevey boy, with me in the rather undignified position of the go-between, for all the world like Juliet’s nurse. The ladies all want to know abut Stevey, even if he does lose the chariot race in every performance of “Ben-Hur” at the Warner Theater.

Somehow, Boyd has failed to make any considerable impression in about seven  or eight movies and various stage plays, TV shows and radio assignments in England and this country. His last job prior to “Ben-Hur” was “Best of Everything,” but he was all but lost in the shuffle of so many comely girls and handsome Louis Jourdan, the star.

And Charlton Heston, as the nominal star of “Ben-Hur,” doing mighty well too. But while Heston gets tops billing, it’s Boyd who gets the low cooing from the girls.

And he’s way ahead in the all important “word-of-mouth” as well he might be, for he’s strong, rugged and handsome in a bristling , masculine way. Of course that death scene – the goriest death scene in movie history, what with Boyd as Messala gasping out his last tortured breath from his mangled body, torn and broken from pounding hoofs and churning chariot wheels in the dust of the hippodrome.

Any actor will tell you that an accelerator to a stymied career nothing can match a strongly dramatic death scene. Obviously, up to now, Boyd hadn’t been getting the right roles as a show case for his vital qualities. For after a flock of pictures which did little for him he suddenly explodes as a personality plus.

Needs New Film Right Now

Somehow his current studio, 20th Century Fox, doesn’t seem to be excited about him, though. Oh, some vague plans as I hear it – a picture to be called “The Lost World” to go int production when the actors’ strike is over.

Too bad– this boy Boyd is hot stuff now. The girls of all ages are eagerly awaiting his next film when he will, without question, be given star billing, this lad who was born in Belfast, Ireland on July 4, 1928, the youngest of nine children of a laborer, James A. Miller, and his wife, Martha. Stephen took her maiden name, Boyd.

He began his stage career in Ulster, appeared in England and America in stock and repertory. Then the films took him over, but he was just another player until “Ben-Hur” catapulted him into the limelight.

Sorry though, girls – he’s married. “Ben-Hur” not only did wonders for his career, it also won him  a Roman beauty for his wife. While in Rome making the picture he met and wooed Mariella di Sarzana.

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50 years ago Stephen Boyd was filming “Shalako” in Almeria, Spain

It’s hard to believe that 1968 was 50 years ago, but yes, it’s true. During the early part of 1968 Stephen Boyd was busy filming “Shalako” with Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot, Honor Blackman and Peter Van Eyck near Almeria, Spain.  According to a newspaper article at the time, Stephen was most excited to get to work with both Brigitte and Connery. Steve and Sean were acting buddies at the very beginning of their careers in Ireland while Steve co-starred with Brigitte at the outset of her career in “The Night Heaven Fell.”  (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Nov 23, 1967)

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Stephen Boyd wines and dines with Brigitte Bardot during “Shalako”

I would very much like to thank mega-Stephen Boyd fan Emmanuel in France for kindly emailing me these amazing behind the scenes photos of Boyd and BB on one of their evenings out during the filming of “Shalako”.  This was when the rumors were flying about a possible romance between the two actors. You can see why!

I wonder what Brigitte Bardot is going to give Stephen Boyd when they finish work on the flicker they’re currently shooting. Last time the twosome co-starred in a movie Brigitte surprised Stephen with a unique and special version of the film. She gathered together all the film censors had deleted as being too sizzling and spliced it together to form her own private version of a stag movie starring Brigitte and Steve. (Hartford Courant, Jan 17, 1968)

Bardot: “As for Stephen, he and I are just old friends. The whole company usually dines together at night. I may have kissed Stephen, but I kiss everybody I like.” (News Castle News, Pennsylvania, Feb 28, 1968)

Bardot: “But I am very upset he (husband Gunther Sachs) will read this report about Stephen Boyd and think maybe there is something to it. Then we will have a row and the stupid people who started this will have achieved their purpose, anyway…Some nights Steve sits at my table, some nights he doesn’t. ”  (El Paso Herald Post, March 2, 1968)

Boyd: “I have no relationship with Miss Bardot–only in the professional sense. I am a professional actor, she is a professional actress…I know why they (rumors) started. Recently I have taken Miss Bardot out to dine on a couple of occasions in Almeria. But we were not alone- always with a bunch of friends. (El Paso Herald Post, March 2, 1968)

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Actor Cesar Lucas posts an Instagram photo with Stephen Boyd from the Shalako set, 1968 (posted April 28, 2018)

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