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.


Parker, Adams and Sommer with Boyd







Stephen Boyd Blog Exclusive with Jean Hale!

I was so happy to find a fan mailing address for actress Jean Hale in California recently. Jean has a very memorable role as ‘Cheryl Barker’, an actress fighting for her preeminence in Hollywood in one of my favorite Stephen Boyd movies, The Oscar (1966). If you’ve seen The Oscar, you can’t forget Jean Hale. She’s Frankie Fane’s first arranged ‘date’ on the Hollywood scene, and it seems Fane learns whatever conniving tricks he can from her character in order to break it big in Hollywood! As his star rises, hers begins to fall. Fane turns the table on Barker quite nastily in one of The Oscar’s most famous moments: The ‘Green Goddess Salad’ dump.

So I sent Jean some questions, and she was so very kind to answer me along with a lovely autograph. Below are her responses and some great pictures of Jean Hale from The Oscar!


SBB (Stephen Boyd Blog): Do you have any stories or memories you can share about filming The Oscar with Stephen Boyd you’d like to share?

JH (Jean Hale) : He was wonderful to work with. A gentleman…a true gentleman.


SBB: I have heard your portrayal of fictional actress Cheryl Barker in The Oscar was based partly on actress Carroll Baker? Is it true?

JH: No, actually it was based a little bit on Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow.


SBB: What was it like to work with Hedda Hopper?

JH: Very interesting and fun.


SBB: Anything else you’d like to share about the filming of The Oscar and your scenes?

JH: It was one of my first big movies and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Well,  I must add, The Oscar fans enjoy every minute of you on screen as well, Jean! A huge heartfelt THANK YOU to Jean for her time! All the best to you Jean! You are a lovely actress!

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A little more about Jean Hale for Wikipedia!

Jean Hale

Jean Hale in trailer for The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967)
Born December 27, 1938 (age 79)
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1960–1991
Spouse(s) Dabney Coleman (m. 1961; div. 1984)
Children 4, including Quincy Coleman[1]

Jean Hale (born December 27, 1938) is an American actress.

Film and Television[edit]

In films, Hale played Miriam Stark in Taggart (1964), Cheryl Barker in The Oscar (1966), Myrtle in The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967) and Lisa in In Like Flint(1967). She also appeared in several television shows in the 1960s. She made two 1965 appearances on Perry Mason; in both roles she played Perry’s client: Reggie Lansfield in “The Case of the Murderous Mermaid,” (Season 8, Episode 23) and Carla Chaney in “The Case of the Laughing Lady.” Other television appearances include: The Alfred Hitchcock HourBatmanBob Hope Presents the Chrysler TheatreBonanzaThe FugitiveHawaii Five-OMcHale’s NavyMy Favorite Martian(“The Atom Misers”, air date 12/15/63), The VirginianHogan’s Heroes, and The Wild Wild West.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Jean Hale married Dabney Coleman in 1961. They have four children: Quincy (born 1972), Meghan, Randy, and Kelly Johns. They divorced in 1984.[3] Jean Hale was raised a Mormon.[4]

Before there were Razzies, there was the Harvard Lampoon Awards!

Today the annual Razzie Awards came out to celebrate the worst performances and movies for the year. These awards started in 1980. The previous association that would issue this type of award was from student humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon, based at Harvard University in Massachusetts. This award humorously began in 1939 and they would annually announce a “Movie Worst Issue” magazine.

The Worst Actress award was called The Natalie Wood Award because Natalie Wood had won this dubious prize for three consecutive years in the early 1960’s. She even went to Harvard to personally accept the award in 1966. What a good sport!

Natalie Wood at Harvard accepting her Worst Actress Award in 1966

The Worst Actor award was called The Kirk Douglas Award. I can’t seem to find which movie gave Kirk this distinction. Maybe it’s a slew of them!

And yes, for the year of 1966-1967 our Stephen got a special mention for something called “the Roscoe Award”. See below!

(George) Peppard was named for the “Kirk Douglas Award” as the year’s worst actor for his performance in “The Blue Max.”

Miss Andress was chosen for “The Natalie Wood Award” as worst actress for her part in “Casino Royale.”

The 10 worst pictures were ranked behind 1) “Is Paris Burning?” in this order: 2. Hurry Sundown; 3. The Oscar; 4. The Fortune Cookie; 5. The Bible; 6. A Countess from Hong Kong; 7. The Blue Max; 8. Fantastic Voyage; 9. Torn Curtin and 10. Penelope.

Leslie Caron was named the worst supporting actress of the year for “Is Paris Burning” and John Huston the worst supporting actor for “The Bible.”

Stephen Boyd was given the special Roscoe Award, with the notation that “This coveted trophy is awarded annually to the actor or actress who, in the past year, has most memorably displayed that certain unskilled, clumsy quality that has marked the products of Hollywood since the early days.”

It went to Boyd for “his starring roles in The Oscar and Fantastic Voyage and for his brief but significant appearance in The Bible.”

Bennington Banner, May 25, 1967


Ouch. Sorry Stephen. Frankie Fane would not agree with this assessment and neither do I. But I hope Stephen took this news as well as Natalie Wood did!

In another example of this humorous publication, here is a sample from 1966:

The Piltdown Mandible (presented annually for the lamest example of scientific improbable phenomenon): This year to the producers of Fantastic Voyage for assuming that the molecules which made up the submarine would not re-expand to normal size because said submarine had been devoured by a white corpuscle; and to the lame cow in The Bible who supplied an estimated 974,000 gallons of milk to all the animals on the Ark for 40 days and 40 nights
The Merino Award: To the two merinos on the Ark in The Bible


..and from 1964:

Worst Performance by a Cast in Toto: The entire population of Western Europe for its performance in The Fall of the Roman Empire

Stephen Boyd takes Marilyn Hanold to “The Oscar” Premiere, 1966

Stephen Boyd was known for taking some of the most stunning Hollywood starlets out on the town, or at least out to his latest premiere. In 1966 Stephen took actress and model Marilyn Hanold to the premiere of “The Oscar” and apparently became the envy of the ‘other Hollywood guys’, according to a newspaper snippet at the time.

“Stephen Boyd, star of “The Oscar,” has another reason to be happy. That bosomy beauty on his arm these nights in Hollywood is lovely Marilyn Hanold from NY who used to carry George Gobels fiddle on his TV show. Other Hollywood guys are drooling.”

Lansing State Journal, February 23, 1966


Marilyn Hanold had her career as a pin-up for men’s magazines in the mid- 1950’s and was a Playboy Centerfold in 1959. She was a minor Hollywood starlet in the 1960’s at the time she was with Stephen, but I must say, she is stunning! They make a very attractive pair out on the town.

Marilyn Hanold Boyd

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Elke on one arm, Marilyn Hanold on the other – Lucky Stephen Boyd!

Stephen Boyd talks about Eleanor Parker, his co-star from “The Oscar”


Not sure where this quote came from, but I would love to find the source!

Stephen Boyd lamented: Beats me why Eleanor Parker was through by the time she was forty. She had everything – looks, talent, character. Oscar nominations. It’s one of those situations where the only logical answer to the question: Why didn’t she become a bigger star? Must be that she refused to sleep with some mogul or top producer. Nothing else would make sense.

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