A great review of “The Oscar” from The Daily News, 1966

Finding a positive review of “The Oscar” is a bit of a challenge, but I really like this particular review!

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Stephen Boyd, Elke Sommer

Bitter Drama Looks Inside Hollywood by Kate Cameron

March 5, 1966, Daily News, New York

There have been many “inside” film stories about Hollywood producers and stars, including the current attraction at the Music Hall, “Inside Daisy Clover.” But there has never been as bitter a pill for Hollywood to swallow as “The Oscar” which had a gala premiere Thursday night at Loew’s State with a number of the film’s stars in attendance. It opened to the public yesterday at both the State and Festival Theatres.

The Embassy Pathe Color production is being released in the nick of time as the balloting on the 1965 awards is going on right now in Hollywood. The results will be announced by the Academy April 18. As unseemly as the fight for the coveted award is shown to be, and in spite of the shockingly violent stripping of a star’s glamor during the course of the film, “The Oscar” is bound to attract attention from other than inveterate movie-goers. For anyone with a modicum of interest in the behind-the-scenes of a movie studio, “The Oscar is a must-see film.

The the first place, it gives Stephen Boyd a chance to prove that he is a fine actor, as well as a handsome profile in a wide screen colorful epic, is role, penned with acid by Harlan Ellison, Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene from Richard Sale’s novelistic expose, is a fascinating portrayal of a heel.

The sorry tale is about Frankie Fane’s rise from manager of a stripper for stag parties to a top Hollywood star to his slipping career, suddenly stopped on the slide downhill by is nomination for the Academy Award. Fane’s ruthless, despicable maneuvers to cop the Oscar and revitalize his screen career are shown in all their naked baseness on the screen. Frankie is exposed as a man without feeling and, as on of his erstwhile friends says of him, carrying the seed of rot inside himself.

The role of the Hollywood heel is played with remarkable verisimilitude by Boyd. He is surrounded bu a bevy of beauties, each one adding to the success of the production. Elke Sommer represents the beautiful and talented clothes designer who becomes the star’s wife. Eleanor Parker is the woman who gives him his first big boost towards success. Jill St. John plays the gorgeous stripper in the early part of the film and Edie Adams helps him with a battle with a blackmailer.

The surprise of the film is the excellent performance that Tony Bennett contributes in his first screen role and Milton Berle’s fine portrayal in the straight dramatic role as Fane’s agent. Joseph Cotton, Ernest Borgnine, Peter Lawford, Ed Begley, Broderick Crawford and a feminine quartet of famous people add spice to the production. The four woman are the late Hedda Hopper, Merle Oberon, Nancy Sinatra and dress-designer Edith Head. Rouse directed the film in a realistic manner.

Seeing the film on the screen is better than a conducted tour of the exterior Hollywood and its studios, as “The Oscar” gives one a real inside look at the cinema capital and its people. However, I hope that this picture of what happens to an Oscar nominee is presented more in fancy than in fact.

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Parker, Adams and Sommer with Boyd

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Stephen and the Bombshells! – Stephen Boyd talks about filming sexy scenes

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Anecdotes of Sexy Scenes

by Dorothy Manners, September 11, 1966

Stephen Boyd and I were talking about the hot love scenes, particularly in foreign films. They have become so completely accepted by American audiences there’s considerable talk about up-dating and revising the Code (Motion Picture Association of America’s Seal of Approval- in other words the guide-line of the censor) to allow for more leeway for mature sex in scripts.

“Everyone seems to be in a swivit about sex on the screen except the actors who actually play the scenes. There’s a good reason. Nine out of ten times the big, passionate kiss-and-clutch sequences are literally a pain in the neck if not downright ludicrous!” said Stephen.

He knows

He should know what he’s talking about. The good looking Irishman has wallowed around romantically with more sex sirens than almost any other actor. His list of the ‘kissed’ includes Brigitte Bardot, Joan Collins, Diane Cilento, Gina Lollobrigida, Francoise Dorleac, Eleanor Parker, Elke Sommer, Yvette Mimieaux, Sophia Loren.

Ironically, in his newest picture on display, “Fantastic Voyage,” there’s not one kiss- even a little one with the newest sex symbol, Raquel Welch! The 20th Century Fox hit is concerned with other matters.

As Steve pits it: “Our director Richard Fleischer was too busy with our cast of millions – of antibodies, the red and white corpuscles, cells, dendrites, lymph nodes, arteries – in the inner-body sequences. I guess he rightly figured there’s enough dangers and suspense in that strange, weirdly beautiful, fantastic inner-body voyage we take to food around with outer-bodies.” To know fully what Stephen’s talking about – see the picture.

But in every other film he’s starred in, Steve has done his share of osculatory research.

Never forget

Boyd chuckled, “I’ll never forget the big moment of passion between Gina Lollobrigida and myself in ‘Imperial Venus.’ I had to grab Gina, kiss her so passionately that our knees gave out from under us, and we sank gradually and gracefully to the floor- it said in the script. And that’s the way the director insisted we play it.

“What actually happened is that I’d grab Gina and she’d swoon. But as we tried to sink to the floor our knees would bump together, we’d have to fight to keep out balance and rehearsal after rehearsal we’d wind up roaring with laughter. Censors? They never crossed our mind.

In steel armour

“In ‘Fall of the Roman Empire’ with Sophia Loren, I was encased in steel armor in our big love scenes! As I’d lift my arms to embrace Sophia, the neck of the armour went up and pressed on my Adam’s apple and at the same time the helmet was being pressed downward on my head. The ensuing kiss we exchanged felt more like the survivors of an endurance contest.

“With Brigitte Bardot in ‘The Night Heaven Fell,’ we had a pip of a passionate moment. Because of the unusually beautiful camera effect the director, Roger Vadim, had us posed on a rocky cliff for the big clutch. The implication was that we were literally on the point of disaster. It proved to be right. Just as we kissed, my feet slipped and we fell Jack-and-Jill style right down the hill! We were both so bruised we couldn’t work for days.”

Steve looked at his watch because he was due at the airport to catch a plane to San Francisco for an appearance with ‘Fantastic Voyage.’ But he had time for one more anecdote of the non-sexiness of sexy scenes.

“It’s the REAL topper,” he grinned. “In ‘The Oscar,’ Elke Sommer and I were making mad love in a car speeding down the freeway to Tijuana. It was sufficiently disconcerting to be speeding and kissing at the same time into a camera mounted on the hood of our car. But driving directly behind us was her husband, Joe Hyams! And he’s JEALOUS! Try that for a romantic mood sometime,” said Steve before he sped away.

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Stephen Boyd and Elke Sommer in”The Oscar” 1966

The Irishman and the German sex-pot! Stephen Boyd and Elke Sommer make a super-sexy duo on screen in “The Oscar”, one of my favorite Stephen Boyd movies. Stephen never looked so handsome, and Elke looks ravishing as well. The movie “The Oscar” was based on a book by Richard Sale–the same Ricard Sale who wrote and directed Stephen in the 1957 movie “Abandon Ship!”with Tyrone Power, coincidentally.  It was filmed in the summer of 1965.  This movie has a strong cult following, and we all await either an official DVD or Blu-Ray Release at some point. TCM has played this movie a few years ago, but it deserves an official release!

https://stephenboydblog.wordpress.com/the-oscar-1966/

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