This is one of my favorite Stephen Boyd roles for several reasons – his quiet intensity, the post “Roman Empire” bleached locks, his superb interactions with both Diane Cilento and Pamela Franklin, and the noir atmosphere of the film.
The Third Secret by 20th Century Fox was a very intense drama which Stephen filmed in England during the later part of 1963 (after he had completed The Fall of the Roman Empire and the television movie War of Nerves). Stephen loved the script and apparently he did this movie for a very modest salary. He became well acquainted with Diane Cilento in this film (the wife of actor Sean Connery) as well as his 14 year old co-star Pamela Franklin. Pamela Franklin had nothing but praise for Stephen as he became good friends with the young actress and enjoyed playing chess with her on the set. The film also features Richard Attenborough and the great Jack Hawkins. It is essentially a British black and white, 60’s noir/psychological thriller. It is great to see Stephen as a complex character in this. He plays Alex Stedman, a world weary news reporter who is roped into investigating the death of his own doctor, the father of Pamela Franklin. Stephen is quiet, intense, brooding, but also careless of other people’s emotions as he uses them along the way to find out the information he needs. It’s one of Stephen’s best, most understated performances. His interactions with the other actors is superb, especially with Pamela Franklin. Their friendship is unusual, and at one point misconstrued by the young girls uncle. The deep friendship on screen was apparently just a reflection of how well Boyd and Franklin got along off screen.