There seemed to be a very affectionate and protective older brother/little sister relationship between Stephen Boyd and actress Yvette Mimieux on the set of “Caper of the Golden Bulls”. Stephen would know all about having sisters at least – he had four of them! Yvette was only 24 years old when she was making this picture and Boyd was 35. The below pictures are some of my favorite of Stephen and Yvette together. Stephen looks dashingly handsome in his mid-1960’s short hair and white suitcoats, and Yvette equally alluring.
And for her part, Yvette would gush about her co-star during The Bible…In The Beginning premiere in October of 1966.
At our table was lovely Yvette Mimieux, accompanied by her manager Jim Byron, but dividing her chatting time between Ustinov [they’re good friends and may be working together in the Disney picture] and Stephen Boyd , who plays Nimrod in “The Bible.”
Yvette worked with Boyd in the Paramount picture “Caper of the Golden Bulls” [not yet released], and told me she considers him one of the most considerable and solicitous men she shows — with his costars. (Chicago Tribune, Oct 10, 1966, Norma Lee Browning)
In the current environment of Hollywood, I think Stephen Boyd would have been very popular among female activists. Stephen had a reputation of being a perfect gentleman and consummate professional on the movie set…even when the director didn’t want him to be! The below story from Florabel Muir in 1966 tells a funny tale on the set of “The Caper of the Golden Bulls”. Stephen is asked to ogle co-star Yvette Mimieux during a film scene, which he does on cue, but only after being asked to do so by the movie’s director Russell Rouse (“The Oscar”).
The Times, Shreveport, Friday August 26, 1966
HOLLYWOOD – Invariably emphasized in picture making are the mystic emanations of ionized sex between male and female – that funny thing called love. Watching Russell Rouse guiding Stephen Boyd and Yvette Mimieux thru a scene in “Caper of the Golden Bulls” at Paramount provided a primer lesson on this subtle alchemy of movie-making.
Boyd, fully clad, was ambling by as Yvette climbed out of a pool in a scanty bikini. He did not even glance in her direction. Rouse hollered, “Hey look at her, willya?” Boyd retorted, “Why, it’s not in the script!” Rouse reminded him acidly, “The script doesn’t have glands; you do. Now try it again – and if you have a lascivious expression, use it?” So Stephen put on his best leer, and Rouse ordered, “Print it!” Boyd likes working for Rouse and his partner, Clarence Green. While “Caper” is shooting, he is talking a new five-picture deal with them. This interesting Belfast Irish- American has been a bachelor for more than six years now, having been divorced from Mariella Di Sarzana in January, 1959, after a marriage that lasted less than five months. Nowadays he doesn’t go out with girls much, preferring golf day times and good books in his bachelor pad nights.
Stephen spent a good part of his movie career filming in Spain starting all the way back in 1957 with Brigitte Bardot on “The Night Heaven Fell,” then again in 1963 for “The Fall of the Roman Empire,” for “Caper of the Golden Bulls” in 1966 , and yet again in 1968 for “Shalako.” Most of the movies Boyd filmed in the 1970’s were made in Spain. He seemed to genuinely enjoy the country for its food, wine, bull-fighting, and its women. At one point he was even dating a female matador! “Steve Boyd is letting his coleta grow (that’s a bullfighter’s pigtail, son) for the femme bullfighter he met in Madrid.” (Pittsburgh Press, Feb 7, 1963)
Boyd enjoys Pamplona during the filming of “The Caper of the Golden Bulls”, 1966
“Off the set, Boyd spends much of his leisure time playing golf. But he became interested in a new hobby, bullfighting, when he acted opposite Brigitte Bardot in “The Night Heaven Fell”, most of which was filmed in Madrid. The famous Spanish matador Luis Miguel Dominguin, who fought in the bullring in the picture, awakened Boyd’s enthusiasm for the sport.
“Luis taught me how to manipulate the cape,” he says, “and I was almost ready to fight a small bull when I had to leave.” But Boyd is slated to return to Madrid to star in “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” and will thus be able to continue working with Dominguin….
“I’ll try anything once,” he says, ” Like any good Irishman.” (Longview News Journal, April 7, 1963)
Matador Luis Miguel Dominguin
Luckily for Stephen, and the poor bulls, I might add, he did not actually embark on this crazy hobby. But he did get to do a fun photo-op with lovely Spanish songstress Mikaela, who sang many rousing bull-fighting and ‘Toro’ oriented songs in the mid-late 1960’s. Here are some pictures below of the two snuggling, drinking and eating their way through the Spain in 1966 while Stephen was there filming “The Caper of the Golden Bulls”.
The Paramount Picture action/adventure movie which starred Stephen Boyd, Yvette Mimieux and Giovanna Ralli was released on May 24, 1967, which makes this month the 50th Anniversary! Talk about a movie which needs a little love. It is still waiting for its DVD release, let alone a Blu-Ray edition. Come on Paramount Pictures! So this is not the finest piece of cinema ever made – but it could be luscious a looking movie, and one can only imagine if the colors were enhanced how amazing it would be visually. As it is, the only current available version is a dull looking copy with bad sound. I dubbed a little bit of a better version from VHS tape recently, but this film needs help and restoration badly.
Joseph E. Levine produced the picture, and was so impressed with Stephen Boyd from “The Oscar” that he immediately signed him to this project, based on the action novel by William P. McGivern. Stephen Boyd definitely commands the screen in this movie with just raw charisma. Stephen is simply playing the stalwart, good-looking protagonist here (even though he is a professional bank robber!), but with his stunning handsome looks in a sexy 60’s wardrobe by Edith Head, and his perfectly taut and chiseled naked torso flashing during the climactic bank robbery, he doesn’t need to do much. Giovanna Ralli definitely steals the show with her vibrant smile, perky Natalie Wood-like charm and a thick, syrupy Italian accent. Her chemistry with Boyd seems genuine. Yvette Mimieux is also entertaining as the clever ‘dumb’ blond who actually wins out in the end by outwitting everyone else. The characters don’t really get a chance to develop too much but – its a caper movie, as the title obviously indicates. You can’t expect “Dr. Zhivago” here, folks. Several other entertaining character actors, such as Vitto Scotti, William Slezak and Arnold Moss, enhance the cast to make this a perfect summer, escape action movie. The unique part of this movie is that it involved the robbery of the Banco Nacional during the ‘Running of the Bulls’, or the ‘Feria del Toro San Fermin’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Fermín). This is an annual event which takes place in one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite towns in Spain called Pamplona. Thousands of people attend the event in July every year.
The key day of the festival is 7 July, when thousands of people accompany the 15th-century statue of Saint Fermin through the old part of Pamplona. The statue is accompanied by dancers and street entertainers, and different political and religious authorities including the city mayor. During procession a Jota (an ancient traditional dance) is performed for the saint, a rose is offered in the Saint Fernin well, and the “gigantes” (enormous wood-framed and papier-mâché puppet figures managed from inside) dance and twirl while the cathedral bell named María (Mary) peals.[13) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Fermín)
The ‘gigantes’ plays a key role in the movie during the bank robbery, as does the “Running of the Bulls”. The cast was flown to Pamplona, Spain in July of 1966 to film the action sequences involving the ‘Running of the Bulls’, and then returned to Hollywood in August to complete the picture on the back-lots and sounds stages of Paramount Studios.
Reviews of the film were lukewarm at best.
“Now comes along one of the weakest entires ever, “The Caper of the Golden Bulls” (citywide), a waste of time for all but the least discriminating audiences and a waste of the talent of its stars, Stephen Boyd, Yvette Mimieux and Italian actress Giovanna Ralli.
It seems that Boyd and some of his service buddies,feeling guilty for having bombed a French cathedral by mistake during World War II, took to robbing German banks after the war to pay for its restoration. (A more far fetched gimmick to make cross good guys would be hard to imagine)…Indeed, the real crime is perpetuated on the actors: Miss Mimieux has but a bit part as Boyd’s girl friend, Miss Ralli has been allowed to play so broadly that one would never guess that she is one of the most accomplished young European actresses and not just another Italian starlet, and Boyd, who comes out of this mess best, has been surrounded by a bunch of unfamiliar and unappealing cohorts…The excitement of the running of the bulls…has been vitiated by the murky, washed-out look of the Pathe Color print.” Kevin Thomas, 14 June 1967, Los Angeles Times.
It sounds like even when the film came out it needed a little color enhancement! Regardless, I really enjoy this movie every time I watch it. It’s just a fun film, and the more you watch it, the more you enjoy the minor characters which, perhaps during the first viewing, didn’t capture your attention. And it is also one Stephen Boyd’s most attractive roles. I am proud to say – Happy 50th Anniversary to “The Caper of the Golden Bulls”!!!!!!!!!!!!
Movie Director John Landis loves this movie (like me!), and his review of the somewhat clunky trailer is hilarious. Enjoy!
Here is the short version of The Making of the Fall of the Roman Empire, “Rome in Madrid”, 1964
Samuel Bronston and Stephen Boyd on the set of “The Fall of the Roman Empire”
Stephen Boyd had the pleasure of filming The Caper of the Golden Bulls in Pamplona, Spain in the summer of 1966. Parts of the movie were actually filmed during the famous “Running of the Bulls”in July of that year, as this event plays a key part in the movie itself. This movie is a little corny, and the plot is of course a little unbelievable (hey, it’s a caper movie, ok!). But nevertheless, Stephen and his co-stars do the best they can with the material to make this a fun, enjoyable, popcorn movie. Obviously this was probably not the best way to display Stephen’s talent as an actor, but it was a high-profile, glamorous role. The producer of “The Oscar” Joseph E. Levine was so happy with Stephen’s performance that Stephen that he immediately recruited him for this role. The movie was based on a popular 1960’s caper novel by William P. McGivern. It involves a retired WWII pilot, Peter Churchman, who is living like Spain with a hidden past. He is seeing Grace, played by Yvette Mimieux, but gets involved with a former female entanglement named Angela, played by Giovanna Ralli, who basically blackmails him and his former compatriots into robbing the Bank of Pamplona to steal jewels. Churchman and his mates had previously been ‘good’ bank robbers in Germany, robbing enemy banks to make amends for a Cathedral they had bombed by mistake during the war. After much cajoling, Boyd gives into the blackmail and heads up the caper. The bank robbery itself revolves around the ‘Running with the Bulls’ and camouflaging efforts behind the Pamplona ‘gigantes’, and the successful robbing the bank with Boyd and his mates shirtless, with Boyd clearly being the only one who should be seen shirtless in this scene! Boyd seems to been truly enjoying the bachelor life at this point in his career during the making of this film. Gossip columnist Sheila Graham wrote about a mysterious Asian beauty Stephen was seen with during the beginning stages of Caper. He also seems to have been very fond of both of his beautiful co-stars Yvette Mimieux and especially Italian lovely Giovanna Ralli. There are also pictures of Stephen during this time with Spanish singer Mikaela, out on the town! Stephen himself described his action role in this light hearted action comedy as a Cary Grant-like part. Boyd looks super handsome, sleek and stylish in this film, making you wonder how great he would have been as James Bond. Boyd also still seems to be channeling his “Oscar” character Frankie Fane a little bit as Caper hero Peter Churchman.. Considering 60’s caper movies as a whole, this one is a gem and truly deserves a dvd or blu ray release! The only version I have been able to find is from an EP vhs with terrible sound. A cleaned up version with good sound and spectacular color would be wonderful to see! The soundtrack by Vic Mizzy is also delightful.