Stephen Boyd and Stacy Keach in “The Squeeze”, 1977

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Stephen Boyd’s last feature film, The Squeeze, directed by Michael Apted (Gorky Park, Coal Miner’s Daughter), is a gritty, 70’s British crime drama starring an impressively British-accented Stacy Keach, Edward Fox, and David Hemmings. It’s a stunning cast, and an equally entertaining crime romp through the streets and back by-ways of London. For Stephen, this was one of those rare film opportunities where he could actually use and enhance his native Ulster brogue with great affect. Boyd portrays an Irish gangster, Vic , and his performance is chilling and effective, especially when countered against the more refined (and cautiously nervous) David Hemmings as his partner. Carol White is excellent as the kidnapped woman who frets for her daughter’s safety and uses all her wiles to try to turn her captors favor. She runs into a wall, however, when confronting Vic, and the climax of a heist-gun-kidnap battle on the streets of London-town is riveting. Boyd, at this time in his career, seemed ready to take on the long coveted character parts he had always cherished. It is sad that his untimely end came at a moment when his career could have taken off in a fascinating new direction.

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Carol White confronts Stephen Boyd in The Squeeze, 1977

Many thanks to Emmanuel in France for finding the below interview of Stacy Keach about The Squeeze.

http://www.cinemadelirium.com/2015/08/stacy-keach-talks-to-cinema-delirium.html?m=1

CD: In the late 70s you obviously worked in Italy a little bit and also made a terrific British thriller called THE SQUEEZE [1977].

As Jim Naboth in Michael Apted’s THE SQUEEZE with Freddie Starr

SK: Oh I love that film. Michael Apted.

CD: It’s a film that still hits quite hard even now, nearly 40 years on. Is there a difference between working on a British set with a British crew and working on an American set.

SK: I love the tea breaks [laughs]. No, not really no. When I shot LUTHER, Freddie Young the cameraman, my God I’ll never forget, he was in his late 70s and he came bounding into the studio one morning saying “I’m going to direct my first movie”, he was so excited. He was something else, he never stopped working, he was a genius at lighting, David Lean certainly took advantage of that.

But no, British crews are great. You know I like shooting where we’re not taking breaks every half an hour, which happens in America, I like to just keep moving… keep moving and keep going forward. You know it’s good for the actors too because nothing frustrates an actor more than sitting around and getting ready to go and then being told it’s not time yet because something has to be fixed. What you learn as the years go by is that you never get everything on the first take – something’s going to be off, you just know you’re not going to hit it, but that takes years of experience.

CD: In THE SQUEEZE one of the particular strengths of that film I think is the vivid use of locations and that really gives it a grounding in reality; I imagine those location shoots were quite lively.

SK: Oh they were indeed yes. Gosh yes – you’re bringing it all back in my head. Stephen Boyd. He was so great. It was so tragic though he died so young. He was great to work with. Same with David Hemmings. And Carol White.

CD: It was another film with a superb cast: Edward Fox was also in it. And Freddie Starr of course.

SK: Freddie Starr was great. One day he’d come out and spit on my windshield, I couldn’t believe it, he thought he was being funny. He is good in the film though, he’s very good. And he was fun to work with… most of the time! As a stand-up comedian he was… always on. He was very popular then.

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THE SQUEEZE. Image shot 1977. Exact date unknown.

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Caution vs impulse…Hemmings and Boyd as uneasy crime partners in The Squeeze, 1977

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A couple more excellent blog posts about The Squeeze below, as well as my own little The Squeeze Tribute on YouTube!

https://montages.no/2016/11/flashback-the-squeeze-1977/

http://dustyvideobox.blogspot.com/2013/01/timecapsule-squeeze-1977.html

http://www.criminalelement.com/the-squeeze-michael-apted-british-crime-movie-gangster-stacey-keach-carol-white-scott-adlerberg/

Stephen Boyd and Shirley Jones in “The Lives of Jenny Dolan”, 1975

Stephen Boyd and Shirley Jones were friendly acquaintances for over 20 years in Hollywood. They also starred in a NBC Monday Night Movie Television Pilot called “The Lives of Jenny Dolan” which aired in October of 1975. Jones plays a reporter who is drawn out of her honeymoon retirement to pursue a baffling (and convoluted!) crime conspiracy. Boyd plays her handsome, demanding yet sympathetic boss. The movie also featured Farley Granger and Ian McShane. The movie was meant to be the beginning of a new television series for Jones, as the very popular “The Partridge Family” had just ended in 1974.

Shirley Jones, in an interview from 1975, explained that the concept of Jenny Dolan was comparable to the courageous Dorothy Kilgallen. Kilgallen (well known from the TV show “What’s My Line?”) had died in 1965, but her death was left open to speculation concerning her aggressive investigation of the JFK murder and the FBI. (Watch Stephen Boyd on “What’s my Line?” with Dorothy Kilgallen here!)

“I guess she would come closest to the idea of a woman reporter out in the world covering big stories.” (Oct 26, 1975, Arizona Daily Star)

Amazingly, the TV movie was filmed in just 16 days! And it does have an actual movie quality about it. Unfortunately the TV series was not picked up by NBC. It would have been a great opportunity for Stephen Boyd at the time to have been in Hollywood as a mainstay on a television series!

Shirley Jones was most notable for musicals “Oklahoma” (1955), “Carousel” (1956) and as Marian “The Librarian” in the fantastic “The Music Man” (1962) and the erstwhile mother of “The Partridge Family” in the 1970’s. Shirley is still making films!

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England. 1956. American actress Shirley Jones is pictured with actor Stephen Boyd at a press reception.
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with Shirley Jones, 1971

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Stephen Boyd Sports Cars – The Dealership!

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I came across something recently while browsing away on Newspapers.com. Stephen Boyd actually owned a car dealership in Burbank for a brief time in the early 1970’s! Now Stephen was of course always fond of cars. Cars were probably his greatest passion – next to golf, or course. But his dealership was specifically aimed at the sports cars from Europe like “the MG, Austin American and Lotus automobiles”.  Apparently Stephen purchased the dealership in 1970 right after the sale of the failing mega-studio MGM sale, when he also obtained his trusty old Messala chariot as well!

The things people are buying at the MGM auction! Still, I guess it figures that Steve Boyd’s biggest check was written to buy his “Ben-Hur” chariot.

He intends to park it as the showpiece at his newly acquired imported car dealership – Stephen Boyd’s Sports Car Center – in beautiful downtown Burbank. (The San Francisco Examiner, May 20, 1970)

Stephen Boyd introduces a new concept in foreign car automotive service called “Old English Service.” We invite you to stop in and try this new concept in personalized service….we know you’ll be glad you did. (Van Nuys News, California, June 26, 1970)

This concept meant customers could have their car serviced in a minimum amount of time while waiting the in the comfortable waiting lounge. The dealership was located at 811 South San Fernando Blvd in Burbank, which is still currently a “Tesla” car dealer. It’s located not too far from a Ralph’s grocery these days. It has been a car dealership location since the early 1950’s.

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It looks like Stephen kept this dealership until about late 1971 when the ads seems to disappear. One of Stephen’s brothers had come to California with him in the early 1960’s as a mechanic, I believe. Per a family tip on Twitter (thanks Thomas!), Stephen’s brother Alex helped run the garage. A ex-restaurant owner named Mort Katz was selected to be the manager. (Van Nuys News, June 28, 1970)

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Van Nuys News, California, June 26, 1970

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In 1970 Stephen Boyd also appeared in the Paul Newman racing documentary called Once Upon a Wheel. Newman hosts and narrates the history of auto racing. Stephen, even though a car enthusiast, doesn’t seem to be into racing himself. He is on the sidelines in the pit crew, and explains “I’m chicken” when asked why he is not partaking. Actor Kirk Douglas is seen as well.

 

Actor and motor sports enthusiast PAUL NEWMAN and professional race car driver PARNELLI JONES seated in red Porsche 914 sports coupe parked in pit alley at Ontario Motor Speedway / Paul Newman wearing white racing suit, walking toward camera in pits, packed spectator stands / Paul Newman talking with honorary pit crew that includes singer LOU RAWLS and actor STEPHEN BOYD/ OMS Celebrity Pro-Am on August 09, 1970 in Ontario, California (Footage by Getty Images) 

 

Stephen Boyd in “The Manipulator” (The African Story), 1971

“The Manipulator” (Or “The African Story”), is a quirky Italian action film which was released in October of 1971.

Stephen Boyd plays a wealthy music producer Arnold Tiller (played with Howard Hughes-like flair by Boyd) who gets involved in a wild scheme to fake the kidnapping of his star singer Rex Maynard (Michael Kirner) who has eloped to South Africa with Tiller’s daughter. Tiller’s scheming partner (the stunning Sylva Koscina, who had just starred with Boyd in “The Great Swindle”, also in 1971) tries to seduce the hapless Maynard, who uses some amazing stunt man skills to escape his kidnappers, and eventually joins forces with Tiller himself to bring down the bad guys, who are all played by familiar, rugged faces from Italian films at the time.

It is a haphazard, super fast production directed by Italian Marino Girolami and written by the Ralph Anders (“Control Factor”).  The scenes move quickly from one to the next, with random car chases and inter-spliced moments where literally Boyd’s mustache changes in the same scene from his true debonair one to an obviously fake gray mustache. Like I said – this is a quick production! Boyd seems to understand this – it’s what I would call a fairly unengaged performance from him. Nonetheless, the film seems to have a bit of a cult following just because it is a fun, ridiculous Italian action movie.

The great score by Francesco de Masi is perhaps the salvation of this project. And the fact that Sylva Koscina is super slinky and gorgeous and Stephen looks handsomely debonair (unless he is battling the fake mustache of course!). Unfortunately Koscina and Boyd have limited time on screen together. They have wonderful chemistry in “The Great Swindle”, and it’s a shame they didn’t exploit that more in this film. However, since the cast literally seem to be filming scenes miles apart from each other, it doesn’t surprise me. Nonetheless, if you haven’t seen “The Manipulator”, it is worth finding!

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CINE Revue Magazine April 1971 – Marisa Mell & Stephen Boyd back cover photo

This is a hard magazine to find! I have been searching for this for years and I finally snagged a copy of it. This is a fantastic photo by Angelo Frontoni of Austrian actress Marisa Mell embracing her co-star Stephen Boyd from behind during the filming of “Marta”.  The photo was part of a layout for the French magazine “CINE Revue” concerning the sexual ‘explosion’ in films during the early 1970’s.

Mell and Boyd became lovers soon after during the filming of their second film together, “The Great Swindle”, filmed only a few months after “Marta”. For more on Boyd’s brief but poignant relationship with Mell please see this blog, “Love and Magik in 1971“. Or just enjoy this  sexy picture of two attractive stars during the start their romantic interlude!