Stephen Boyd in Westerns: Those Dirty Dogs, 1974 (“Campa Carogna…La Taglia Cresce” / “Los Cuatro de Fort Apache:)

In May of 1974, “Those Dirty Dogs” premiered at a movie houses in both Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, with Boyd attending on a mini promotional tour. Stephen was very proud of this little project which was filmed in Spain in late 1973, featuring the renowned desert ‘spaghetti western’ scenery of Southern Spain. Stephen had been a big part of the production of the film calling it a ‘serious tongue-in-cheek western spoof’ akin to the Mel Brooks film ‘Blazing Saddles’ (“Mel goes a bit far at times”, Boyd says). Obviously success-wise that comparison way off, but nonetheless “Those Dirty Dogs” a good, light-hearted spaghetti western with a truly awesome score by Italian composer Nico Fidenco, raising the bar of the film. It has its moments. Stephen certainly looks the part of the scruffy, world-weary leader, Captain Chadwell. His followers include likable muscle-head Howard Ross as Lieutenant Junger Kohl and upright solider Harry Baird as Corporal Washington Smith (who tragically he developed glaucoma shortly after this film and went completely blind!). The most surprising member of the cast is Italian actor Gianni Garko whose light sense of humor and charm as a quirky Muslim bounty-hunter who frequently quotes words of wisdom from the Koran and rides under a pink umbrella is utterly delightful. The crux of the story is Captain Chadwell and Koran’s mutual pursuit of a dangerous Mexican outlaw. Eventually they decide to work together to catch him. The damsel in distress is another Italian Giallo/Spaghetti mainstay Teresa Gimpera who plays the kidnap victim Miss Adams. In my opinion this movie would have been much better had the damsel in distress actually been rescued! For some reason they let her die in this film, which sort of defeats the purpose I think. All this action, and they can’t save the girl? Argh!

Listen for Stephen Boyd’s singing debut (officially, anyway) in the opening credits in a song he co-wrote with Nico Fidenco – “The Wind in My Face”. It’s a great song and a great way to start the movie.

 

 

Stephen Boyd, Harry Baird, Gianna Garko, Howard Ross in “Those Dirty Dogs”

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Stephen Boyd in full dress uniform as Captain Chadwell, along with his cohorts Harry Baird and Howard Ross
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Stephen Boyd as Captain Chadwell plays rough with the buxom cantina servant but she quickly turns the tables in one of the movie’s funnier moments
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Gianni Garko easily steals the movie with his charm and the sayings of Mohammad

Stephen Boyd in Westerns : “Montana Trap” (Potato Fritz), 1975

Stephen Boyd started his Hollywood career in a Western (“The Bravados”) in 1958, so in a bittersweet way it is appropriate that he would close out his career (albeit far too early!) with another Western. During 1975 Stephen made a flurry of pictures that were German productions (“Lady Dracula”, “Frauenstation”) and this ‘sauerkraut’ Western called “Montana Trap”, or “Potato Fritz”, or “The Massacre at Condor Pass”. It was directed by Peter Schamoni, whose own relatives had immigrated to Montana in the 1860’s. The film was shot primarily in Almeria, Spain, the same location as “Shalako” (1968). Most of the cast was German, including it’s main star, the always delightful Hardy Krüger (“The Flight of the Phoenix”), who actually started out in movies around the same time as Stephen did. He became one of the biggest German stars of the 1960’s. For more about Hardy’s very interesting life in Germany during and before WWII, see IMDB bio here. Veteran German actor Anton Diffring also co-stars as Lieutenant Slade.

The movie starts off with a flashback to a massacre of an army unit on the march in rough Indian country transporting gold funds for both the settlers and the Indians who have been displaced. After the massacre, some rifles are stolen, but the gold disappears. A certain Captain Henry escapes the attack, unbeknownst to his attackers. However the attackers were not Indians but white men dressed up as Indians, which no one yet realizes. These men rule the isolated settlement beyond the pass (which includes some settlers alongside these ruffians), and because of their predicament (which they blame on the Indians), they are trapped here.

Along comes Bill Addison (Stephen Boyd), who rides unscathed into this settlement to the surprise of the settlers and the roughnecks in town. He’s on the hunt for this legendary cache of lost gold. He settles into the saloon to sample some of the local whiskey. Potato Fritz (Hardy Krüger) arrives next, looking for his next drink to ease the sorrow of this trampled potato crop. His small abode has just been ransacked again, this time by the real Indians. He is an pacifist farmer who lives with a baby black bear and a cow out in the wilderness. He keeps his weapons tied up on a pole to show the Indians he means them no harm. When he arrives in town, he is known by everyone there and mocked for his drinking and quirky behavior. Of course, Addison takes an interest in this character as well. Addison hints that he is looking for the aforementioned Captain Henry who is presumed dead among the massacred soldiers. Henry had a reputation for dispensing justice by shooting criminals through the wrist. Addison had been one of his unfortunate victims.

As the story develops, these two form a tumultuous bond of sorts which, after a knock-down-drag-out brawl in the dirt, becomes a cooperative understanding. They work together to help the settlers get through the pass eventually, and also dispense their own justice against of the ‘gang’ of ruffians who had been terrorizing the pass. In the end it is revealed that Potato Fritz was the long lost Captain Henry all along. Addison reveals his wound in the wrist to Captain Henry before riding off into the proverbial sunset…and so does Stephen Boyd as he exits his final Western.

Stephen wears a full beard in this movie. He looks older in this film – graying and definitely thinner – yet still handsome. His hair is as thick and curly as ever and his bright blue eyes sparkle, along with that wry, mischievous grin. He continues to wear Western clothes with a certain flair and swagger. I especially like the silk scarf he ties around his neck, one of his favorite Western fashions it seems. He wears an almost identical scarf like this in “The Man Called Noon” and “Shalako”.

I really enjoy the chemistry between Hardy and Stephen in this film. They really seem to have liked each other’s company and they certainly work great on screen together with a true mutual respect for one another. It is sobering to think that they would have been co-stars again in “The Wild Geese” had it not been for Stephen’s untimely death in 1977.

Luckily there is a fairly decent DVD version of this movie available on www.ioffer.com aand Amazon (Germany).

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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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