Marta, also known as Mata al Macho Y Lo Devora in Spanish, or Dopo di che Uccide Maschio E Lo Divora in Italian (translated as more or less to mean ‘To Kill and Devour the Male’), is one of Stephen Boyd’s most interesting roles and one of my top favorite Stephen Boyd movies. It was directed by José Antonio Nieves Conde, a Spanish director who would continue to work well with Boyd in the 1970’s on for two more films, The Great Swindle and Casa Manchada. It is based on a play by Juan Jose Alonso Millan called Estado Civil: Marta from 1969. I absolutely love the ‘Giallo’ atmosphere in this film – the Gothic setting, the Edgar Allen Poe darkness, the music, the air of madness, and the luscious erotic overtones.
This movie had a small USA release in the early 1973, and went on to become a frequently played after-dark television movie in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Although this film came after Boyd’s heyday in Hollywood, he absolutely commands the screen in this picture. Luckily he is on camera for most of the film – and when he’s missing, you can feel the momentum sag. He plays the part of Miguel, a lonely man who lives in this huge castle by himself and two servants. When Marta (played by the lovely Austrian actress Marisa Mell) shows up unexpectedly on his massive estate looking for her missing sister, he basically imprisons her in his mansion. Mell has the challenge of playing a dual role- one of Marta and also Pilar, Miguel’s wife, in flashback. Boyd shows some amazing range of acting in this movie. He is kind of a Norman Bates like character with some sort of incestuous hidden past with his dead mother, but he acts fairly normal on the outside. Naturally, he is attracted to Marta, and the love scenes played out between the two became great magazine content for the Italian and Spanish sex magazines (see below for the Big Film magazine content). Boyd had been in many a love scene before on screen, and he handles these intense scenes like a professional.
By the end of the movie, Boyd’s character begins to unravel as he struggles with impotence and horrifying memories of incest coming back to life as his love for Marta grows.Then he reveals the true depth of his insanity – he has killed and ‘buried’ his wife and mother in some old suits of armor that stand in a huge heraldry room in his mansion. The best part of this movie is the obvious sexual tension that’s going on between Mell and Boyd – both on camera and off. See https://stephenboydblog.wordpress.com/stephen-boyd-and-marisa-mell-1970-1971/ concerning the real life love affair between Boyd and Mell.
Stephen and Mell both look stunning and sexy in this movie, and the scenery, which was actually filmed at the Castle of Viñuelas outside of Madrid, adds to the Gothic, seductive atmosphere. The soundtrack by Italian composer Piero Piccioni has a perfectly dreamy quality to it as well, including the Euro-pop theme song ‘Right or Wrong.” Hopefully someday a restored Blu-ray version will be coming out!
Marta Photo Gallery