Rare Behind the Scenes Photos of Stephen Boyd and Brigitte Bardot from “The Night Heaven Fell” (1957)

A press writer wrote this once about Stephen:

I have always felt that Stephen Boyd deserved to do well. For did he not essay his first star part opposite Brigitte Bardot- and if that isn’t learning to swim at the deep end, I don’t know what is.

I saw a lot of him at that time in Southern Spain. He was in despair and Bardot was in what is euphemistically referred to as the altogether. The altogether what? (“She is delighted with CinemaScope,” Boyd said at the time. “It means she can start off fully clothed at one side of the screen and be nude by the time she gets to the other.”)

I told him then that things could only get better.(Roderick Mann, London Express Service, El Paso, Herald Post, Saturday Jan 26, 1967)

The film of which he describes is the Roger Vadim flick called “The Night Heaven Fell.” Stephen Boyd was chosen specifically by Brigitte Bardot to play her rugged on-screen lover. For a young actor from Belfast, this movie had to be extremely challenging. This was only Stephen’s second starring role, the first being “The Beast of Marseilles” filmed in early 1957. And here he was – an Irishman playing a Spaniard in a French movie filmed in two different languages starring a temperamental and very famous French sex symbol. Oftentimes male stars would turn down the chance to star with Bardot because she was the show and they didn’t want to be upstaged. Stephen Boyd had no such qualms and used the opportunity to make a name for himself in conjunction with the famous star. The production in Spain (near Mijas) was also plagued by bad weather and illness amongst the cast. In my opinion it was all worthwhile as Bardot and Boyd make a very sexy and riveting on-screen pairing!

Below, Stephen Boyd, Brigitte Bardot, Alida Valli and Roger Vadim during the Summer and Fall of 1957 in France and Spain while filming “The Night Heaven Fell” (Les Bijoutiers du Claire de Lune)

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Above, Boyd and Bardot prepare to do battle, with Roger Vadim directing.

Bedroom practice!
Kissing Miss Bardot is hard work! Note the leg rest Stephen is using on the bed.
Stephen Boyd discusses the flowers-in-the-hair scene with Brigitte Bardot.

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Stephen and screen legend Alida Valli

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Feb 12, 1968 : Brigitte Bardot and Stephen Boyd “Shalako” romance rumors hit the headlines of the worldwide gossip columns

50 years ago today!

“Publicists on the Sean Connery-Brigitte Bardot film Shalako described its chemical formula as 007+BB=TNT. But there was a side-effect that sent SB+BB=HEADLINES. An American news agency report from Almeria, Southern Spain, where they were filming, told the world Brigitte had found “a new love interest” in Stephen Boyd.

Both Bardot and Boyd crisply denied the report and then refused to discuss it further. How did the report come about? Was there, despite the denials, any truth in it? These were the sort of questions I set out to answer.

I can now report that I am convinced there was a romance afoot, that Brigitte and Boyd openly displayed their affection for each other, but that publication of the report on their romance cooled it. ” Raymond Palmer from Photoplay in Almeria Spain, 1968.

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https://stephenboydblog.com/stephen-boyd-and-brigitte-bardot/
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February 12, 1968, Des Moines Tribune
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The Central New Jersey Home News, February 12, 1968
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Lansing State Journal, February 12, 1968
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Philadelphia Daily News, Feb 13, 1968
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Feb 13, 1968 Arizona Republic

Boyd Likes Rough and Tumble Roles

LOOKING AT HOLLYWOOD

By Florabel Muir

Boyd Likes Rough and Tumble Roles

Stephen Boyd is one actor who is satisfied to play rough and tough characters rather than romantic leads. “Give me a part with guts in it, and I’ll be happy no matter how big an SOB the character is,” he explains.

The actor gets his wish in spades in the role of “Bosky Fulton,” villainous guide to a group of stranded European aristocrats in “Shalako,” the multi-million dollar western recently shot in Almeria, Spain. The Cinerama release, set in the America Southwest, also stars Brigitte Bardot and Sean Connery, which makes it an odd sort of western.

The fact is, Boyd has played the “bad guy” during the greater part of his career, which means that he usually is playing second fiddle to the “good guy,” the star of the film.

He essayed the role of the charming but deadly Nazi counter espionage agent in “The Man Who Never Was.” Clifton Webb starred. Boyd was prominent in the casts, but not quite starred in , “The Fall of the Roman Empire,” “Genghis Khan,” and “The Bible,” as well as “Island in the Sun,” “The Bravados,” “A Woman Possessed,” and “The Best of Everything.” He did star as the greatest heel of all time in “The Oscar,” a film that didn’t quite reach the expectations of the critics.

Then, of course, there was “Ben Hur.” Boyd’s performance was great. You may also remember, however, that Charlton Heston won the Academy Award for this work in title role.

“Shalako,” a Dimitri de Grunwald production directed by Edward Dmytryk, is Boyd’s first western. The actor, who was born in Ireland but who became an American citizen in 1963, has been eager to do a western since he began in films 15 years ago. “I know it’s strange for an Irishman to want to play in a western, but so I always did.”

The ruggedly built Boyd is delighted with learning the tricks of the cowboy acting profession. For the film he had to learn to ride horses bareback and western style.

He underwent intensive training in how to wield a trusty six-shooter. Gun coach Rod Redwing notes, “Boyd is close to the fastest pupil I’ve ever coached.”

“Shalako” also provides Boyd with the opportunity to practice his Judo and Karate techniques in several sequences. “I studied Judo and Karate several years ago because I know they would come in handy. It’s really why I worked at it. I always know I’d use the training for a part in a western if I ever got to play in one and so I am,” he says with apparent pride.

As for his personal life, Boyd has had a rough- and- tumble difficult life. He had had to push ahead with sheer will power. He had nine older brothers and sisters and that alone was enough to give him determination.

Actually, the wildly gregarious actor is half Irish and half Canadian. Interestingly enough, he was born on July 4, and now that he is am America citizen, he is quite happy about this coincidence.

Boyd, known as a swinging bachelor, had been linked romantically with a number of celebrated beauties. Indeed, the life of one great international star might have been quite different if one film had not been postponed. Because it was, Boyd was required to withdraw from the commitment “due to a conflict in schedules.”

The film was “Cleopatra.” Boyd was originally set to essay the role of Mark Anthony opposite Elizabeth Taylor, but because of her protracted illness the picture was halted for six weeks of shooting. Boyd was forced to exit the film, and was, as you remember, replaced by Richard Burton. The rest is history.

Does Stephen Boyd have any second thoughts? Hardly. “I’m an Irishman. I could hardly get my Irish up over a situation like that.”

Boyd credits Sir Michael Redgrave with his biggest boost as an actor. Steve was a doorman at a theatre in London when he was asked to assist in helping stars onto the stage at the British Film Academy Awards. Sir Michael, who was presenting the awards, noticed the professional bearing and dignity of the young doorman.

Sir Michael says,”It was just intuition. After inquiring about Stephen’s acting background, I merely gave him a letter of introduction to the Windsor Rep. He carried his success from there.”

At one time Boyd was under a long term contract to Twentieth Century Fox which gave him his first ‘starring’ role in “The Man Who Never Was.” Now older and more experienced, Stephen considers actors unwise to sign themselves to companies for long periods. “It’s a bloody bore! You lose all control of your own career and become a ‘Property.’ You can have no free will about the parts you play and this way you run the danger of becoming typed.”

Ten years after he met Brigitte Bardot for the first time, Stephen Boyd and the world’s foremost sex kitten were reunited at the same site where they made their first picture together.

But what a difference a decade made.

When B&B first traded kissed in Almeria, Spain, Steve was just two years into an acting career, barely getting underway, and Miss Bardot, at that time, was already one of the most famous screen females in the world.

The movie filmed in 1957 was called “The Night Heaven Fell.” Almost exactly ten years later, in an Almeria transformed from a sleepy vacation spa on Spain’s southern Costa Del Sol to the most popular movie location site in the world, B&B became a team again- this time in a multi-million dollar western, “Shalako.” The picture, the setting, a lot of things had changed. But some qualities remain always the same. Bardot – and Boyd.

(Copyright, 1968. By News Syndicate Co, INC.)

Did Brigitte Bardot ask Stephen Boyd to marry her?

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I thought that might grab your attention! This didn’t come as complete surprise to me when I came across this Stephen quote which is in a book called “Holy Matrimony! Better Halves and Bitter Halves: Actors, Athletes, Comedians, Directors, Divas, Philosophers, Poets, Politicians and other Celebs Talk About Marriage” by Boze Hadleigh.

Here’s the quote:

“Brigitte Bardot asked me to marry her. I don’t know if she was joking, but I said no. I did not explain that I couldn’t marry an actress who could never be faithful to me. Or at least try. Like I would at least try. for the first year or two. ” – STEPHEN BOYD (Ben-Hur)

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This sounds like something Stephen would say, and from other information I have read and researched about Bardot and Boyd during 1968, their closeness was the real deal. But so was Boyd’s distrust of the marital institution and Bardot’s abysmal lack of fidelity. Still, I like to imagine that Stephen could have possibly been a Mr. Bardot!

To read more about Stephen and Brigitte, see https://stephenboydblog.com/stephen-boyd-and-brigitte-bardot/

 

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Above, photos of Boyd and Bardot at the “Shalako” Munich premiere, October 1968

 

 

During the filming of “Shalako”, Brigitte Bardot and Stephen Boyd enjoy taking pictures–of each other!

In early 1968, Stephen Boyd and Brigitte Bardot were quite enamored with each other during the making of “Shalako”. The pair had become good friends back in 1957 while filming “The Night Heaven Fell”, and had meet at least twice since, once in 1960 in Paris and also in London during 1961. In 1969, a journalist teased Stephen that he never met up with BB between husbands! 

Steve Boyd is one of the nicest leading men in the industry. I’ve never known him to be anything but gentlemanly (darn it!) Recently, I asked him if his romance with Brigutte Bardot was real. “She is a lovely woman, but she is married. I’ve known her for many years, and she has always been married, not to the same man, however.” Steve, how come you play it safe and never meet up with her between marriages, hmmmm? (Detroit Free Press, July 27, 1969)

Nevertheless, now that the two actors were older, somehow the chemistry mix between them was just right. The vulnerable and emotional Bardot, on the brink of another divorce, this time with German millionaire Günther Sachs, was in need of a protective, friendly, warm, gentle shoulder to lean on and Stephen, of course, stepped into that role perfectly. Around the set of Shalako they became virtually inseparable. The photos below show a glimpse of their special personal chemistry and what Shalako producer Euan Lloyd called a “great friendship”.

For more about Brigitte and Stephen, see https://stephenboydblog.com/stephen-boyd-and-brigitte-bardot/

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“Bardot by Boyd….”Boyd by Bardot”

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