Stephen Boyd and Joan Collins – Behind the Scenes of “Island in the Sun”, 1956

One of the first major movies Stephen Boyd filmed for Twentieth Century Fox was the racially charged Island In the Sun based on the popular novel by Alec Waugh. It was filmed in Barbados in the West Indies during 1956. The filmed was released in the summer of 1957. This movie made censors nervous due to the romantic interactions between blacks and whites. It starred some great actors including James Mason, Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte and Joan Fontaine. Joan Collins tells some interesting anecdotes in her autobiographies about the filming of the movie;  James Mason being terrified by the prop plane ride to the islands, she herself escaping the clutches of Fox movie mogul Darryl Zanuck and also flirting with Harry Belafonte. Joan became good friends with Stephen during the making of the film. Whether it was a romantic relationship is doubtful, although they would remain friends and even appear years later at movie premieres together. The beautiful mansion in the movie where Joan and Stephen have their romantic interlude is a place called Farley Hill in the Barbados. ‘Once the site of a beautiful mansion built by Sir Graham Briggs for the entertainment of royalty including King George V in 1879, today Farley Hill has been designated a national park by Barbadian Government. And though the mansion itself was destroyed by fire in 1965, the gutted remains still stand and provide an ideal setting for a picnic and a day of fun in the park, while offering stunning views of the island’s southern point.’ (https://www.visitbarbados.org/farley-hill-national-park).  Joan would also star in another one of Stephen Boyd’s movies, The Bravados, about 2 years later. Ironically, Joan was also one of the stars who tried out for Fox’s upcoming epic Cleopatra. She was certainly one of the runner-ups and she even did a screen test for the role. Obviously it was a role meant for Elizabeth Taylor, but since Stephen was the chosen one for Mark Antony (before later dropping out), just remember when you are watching Island in the Sun, you are seeing the two actors who could have been Mark Antony and Cleopatra, had things turned out differently!

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Cleopatra and Mark Anthony? What could have been if Joan Collins had secured the role of Cleopatra for Fox Studios. Instead, of course, the role went to Elizabeth Taylor.

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Dorothy Dandridge and Joan Collins

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