Obviously exploiting the lesbian-chic on-screen relationship between two gorgeous women, Marisa Mell and Sylva Koscina—with Stephen Boyd thrown in the mix!
In May of 1974, “Those Dirty Dogs” premiered at a movie houses in both Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, with Boyd attending on a mini promotional tour. Stephen was very proud of this little project which was filmed in Spain in late 1973, featuring the renowned desert ‘spaghetti western’ scenery of Southern Spain. Stephen had been a big part of the production of the film calling it a ‘serious tongue-in-cheek western spoof’ akin to the Mel Brooks film ‘Blazing Saddles’ (“Mel goes a bit far at times”, Boyd says). Obviously success-wise that comparison way off, but nonetheless “Those Dirty Dogs” a good, light-hearted spaghetti western with a truly awesome score by Italian composer Nico Fidenco, raising the bar of the film. It has its moments. Stephen certainly looks the part of the scruffy, world-weary leader, Captain Chadwell. His followers include likable muscle-head Howard Ross as Lieutenant Junger Kohl and upright solider Harry Baird as Corporal Washington Smith (who tragically he developed glaucoma shortly after this film and went completely blind!). The most surprising member of the cast is Italian actor Gianni Garko whose light sense of humor and charm as a quirky Muslim bounty-hunter who frequently quotes words of wisdom from the Koran and rides under a pink umbrella is utterly delightful. The crux of the story is Captain Chadwell and Koran’s mutual pursuit of a dangerous Mexican outlaw. Eventually they decide to work together to catch him. The damsel in distress is another Italian Giallo/Spaghetti mainstay Teresa Gimpera who plays the kidnap victim Miss Adams. In my opinion this movie would have been much better had the damsel in distress actually been rescued! For some reason they let her die in this film, which sort of defeats the purpose I think. All this action, and they can’t save the girl? Argh!
Listen for Stephen Boyd’s singing debut (officially, anyway) in the opening credits in a song he co-wrote with Nico Fidenco – “The Wind in My Face”. It’s a great song and a great way to start the movie.
Stephen Boyd, Harry Baird, Gianna Garko, Howard Ross in “Those Dirty Dogs”
Above, Stephen Boyd with Jack Lord and co-star Elayne Heilveil in “Up The Rebels”, the 10th season premiere of the original Hawaii Five-0 TV show which aired on September 15, 1977.
This will make 41 years since Stephen Boyd passed away on June 2nd, 1977. Stephen was enjoying a round of golf (his favorite pastime) with his wife Elizabeth Mills at the Porter Valley Country Club in Northridge, California when he suffered a heart attack between the 5th and 6th holes in his golf cart. By the time he received emergency aid, he was gone. Tragically he was only 45 years old.
Only three weeks prior to his death Stephen was completing the film work for an episode of Hawaii Five-0, a show which he had initially been offered to star in during the late 1960’s, but which he obviously declined. The show would air posthumously in September of that same year. Playing the villain again, Boyd gets to show off his Ulster brogue and play a ruthless Catholic rebel priest smuggling arms to Ireland (via Hawaii!). Boyd gives an excellent performance but sadly his last. In his final on-screen dialogue Boyd speaks something in Gaelic, and then says “Up The Rebels” in English with an Irish wink. It’s an eerie farewell.
Stephen did know some Gaelic and even pulled a practical trick on director John Houston once on the set of “The Bible” using it. As Boyd tells it :
“The one rib he tried to pull on my backfired…He introduced me to a chap, saying: “Steve, I want you to know this man who’ll help you more than anyone has helped you before.” He didn’t know I’d met the same fellow while making ‘Ben-Hur’ in Rome several years ago. He gives forth with the double talk so fast you think you’re an ignoramus.
“So I coached this guy in some Gaelic and told him to go back and do the double-talk in that tongue, with an occasional English word thrown in. He had Huston going for a while but he’s very hep and a good sport, too, getting a hearty laugh at me for turning the tables.” (Philadelphia Daily News, Jan 19, 1965)
Below are some nice pictures of Stephen from Hawaii-Five 0 and a short summary of events from 1977.
Star Wars opens in cinemas, first Apple II computers go on sale, TV Mini Series “Roots” is aired, First commercial flight Concord, Elvis Presley Dies at the age of 42, NASA space shuttle first test flight, UK Jubilee celebrations, Roman Polanski is arrested and Charged, Alaskan Oil Pipeline completed, New York City Blackout lasts for 25 hours Quebec adopts French as the official language. Jimmy Carter is elected as the President of United States . The precursor to the GPS system in use today is started by US Department of defense. Elvis Presley Dies from a heart attack aged 42.
|January 1||“Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)“||Rod Stewart|||
|January 8||“You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)“||Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.|||
|January 15||“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing“||Leo Sayer|||
|January 22||“I Wish“||Stevie Wonder|||
|January 29||“Car Wash“||Rose Royce|||
|February 5||“Torn Between Two Lovers“||Mary MacGregor|||
|February 19||“Blinded by the Light“||Manfred Mann’s Earth Band|||
|February 26||“New Kid in Town“||Eagles|||
|March 5||“Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)”||Barbra Streisand|||
|March 26||“Rich Girl“||Daryl Hall and John Oates|||
|April 9||“Dancing Queen“||ABBA|||
|April 16||“Don’t Give Up on Us“||David Soul|||
|April 23||“Don’t Leave Me This Way“||Thelma Houston|||
|April 30||“Southern Nights“||Glen Campbell|||
|May 7||“Hotel California“||Eagles|||
|May 14||“When I Need You“||Leo Sayer|||
|May 21||“Sir Duke“||Stevie Wonder|||
|June 11||“I’m Your Boogie Man“||KC and the Sunshine Band|||
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.
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 Agency‘s 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. Baker‘s first choice for the new agency is Hunter. In Baker‘s new agency, Hunter either works alone or is assigned someone to assist him, all the while continuing to pose as a rare books dealer.
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 Hunter‘s. Marty is Hunter‘s lover, and the two share a bed when traveling together on their assignments.
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.
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. After a five-week hiatus, its last original episode was broadcast on Friday, May 27, 1977, also at 10:00 p.m. 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).
As Stephen said in a mid-1970’s interview, “I’m a completely practical actor.” So, to stay happily employed, Stephen worked overseas on many European films and earned a decent enough salary. One of the movies he made during this time was a crime caper called “A Billion For A Blonde”, or “Mil millones para una rubia”. This was filmed in 1972 in various locations around Europe, including Madrid, Geneva and Nice, according to IMDB. It was directed and written by Pedro Lazaga, who had an extensive filmography of Spanish films. The storyline concerns the escapades of Desiree Charrier (Analía Gadé), a professional jewel thief. Stephen plays Leon Urrutia, a somewhat sleazy upscale jeweler who is conned by one of her schemes and robbed. Suave French actor Jean Sorel is the policeman who is trying to track down Gadé. Espartaco Santoni plays a quirky doctor who also gets involved in these escapades. Eventually all the characters join forces and they work together to start their own jewelry heist ring.
I really like the vibe of this movie. It’s a light-hearted, sexy, nonviolent caper with a fun sense of humor. Gadé gets to wear some incredibly fashionable early 70’s outfits along with a variety of wigs and disguises. Stephen gets to show off some nice double-breasted 70’s jackets along with his very sexy mustache. All of the actors seem to be having a wonderful time making this movie. There is is a fun sense of camaraderie between them. The cast is also very international; Stephen (Ireland); Jean Sorel (France); J.L. Lopez Vazquez (Spain); Espartaco Santoni (Venezuela), also known as a Modern Casanova, counting actress Analía Gadé as one of his eight wives ; and Analía Gadé (Argentina).
The only version out there which I have found is in Spanish without subtitles, but even without understanding Spanish proficiently, you can still make out the story. It’s well worth finding!
Stephen and Analía Gadé seem to be in a flirtatious mood during “Mil millones para una rubia” cast gathering.
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!