Stephen Boyd and Director Jose Antonio Nieves Conde- “Marta”, 1971

IMG-001Marta, 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 risque movie magazines.  They are some of the most beautifully filmed love scenes Boyd ever did. 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 for more about 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.”. There are two versions of this movie out there and fortunately both are in English featuring the actual voices of Boyd and Mell. There is the edited USA version, and the unedited European version with the extended sex scenes and nudity ( has both versions available for purchase), but neither have been officially released. Hopefully someday a restored Blu-ray will be coming out!





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Stephen Boyd and Director Jose Antonio Nieves Conde- “The Great Swindle”, 1972

“The Great Swindle” or “Historia de una traición” was Stephen’s second movie with both director Jose Antonio Nieves Conde and actress Marisa Mell. They had all collaborated a few months earlier on the gothic Giallo thriller “Marta” in 1970. The spectacular seaside exteriors were filmed in Asturias, on the north coast of Spain.

“The Great Swindle” has a few Giallo elements as well, but also a mix of deception and a crazy love triangle with a lesbian twist. Stephen’s screen time is more limited than either “Marta” or “Casa Manchada”, but it is a pivotal role and an interesting character. Stephen plays a con artist Arturo who preys on women to gain their trust and eventually blackmail them. Marisa Mell plays a complex character Carla who leads a seemingly double life. She initially falls for Arturo, until she discovers his scheme to blackmail her. Her wish to gain the love of another woman Nora, played by the lovely Sylva Koscina, teams her up with Stephen’s character in a double con and eventually leads to a murder. The movie definitely has the feel of high quality, Euro-trash-exploitation flick. I think it’s gorgeously filmed. There are so many different versions of this film floating around out there of varying quality. There is a Spanish version, an Italian version, and an English version with Greek subtitles. I have found a decent English version, but be-warned–it is not Stephen’s voice, nor Marisa’s voice. Apparently when it came time to dub this movie, Stephen and Marisa had left town and they had to get two other actors to fill in the dialogue, which is disappointing, since hearing them both on screen again would certainly enhance the pleasure of watching this movie. During the production of this film, Stephen and Marisa were beginning what was to be a very passionate albeit short lived love affair which would be emotionally and spiritually challenging for both of them. You can certainly tell in this film, when Stephen and Marisa are on screen together,  that there is a very highly charged, underlying element of passion between them. There is a glow about the two of them that makes you realize they are both very much in love with each other at this time. For more about Marisa and Stephen, see