Stephen Boyd has Respect for Stars of Westerns while filming “The Fall of the Roman Empire”, 1963

HOLLYWOOD (AP) – Stephen Boyd writes from Madrid that his current role on “The Fall of the Roman Empire” has given him new respect for Western stars. Boyd is on horseback or chariot for most of the picture and says he is learning a new style of acting.

“It’s one thing to be able to act and another thing to ride a horse, ” says the rugged young actor. “But when you have to act on the back of a horse, this opens up an new field – horseback acting.”

“An actor can easily step into a close-up on the exact mark set by the cameraman but riding into a close-up or stopping the beast on the exact spot required is, no pun intended,  a horse of a different color”

Feb 17, 1963, Express and News, San Antonio

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From the Stephen Boyd Blog, Happy Birthday Audrey Hepburn!

Yes, there is a Stephen Boyd connection! Audrey of course loved the city of Rome, and while she was there she visited cast of “Ben-Hur”. Below are pictures form Getty and http://www.archivio.com showing Audrey with Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd and Haya Hayareet during a cast party in 1958. She also visited the set of “The Fall of the Roman Empire” in 1964 with her then-husband Mel Ferrer, who of course played the nefarious blind counselor Cleander in the movie.  Happy Birthday Audrey Hepburn!

Majority of photos below are from http://www.archivioluce.com/

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Stephen Boyd “Follows the Dodgers from Spain”, 1963

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Follows Dodgers from Spain- a Dodger ‘fan-atic’ 

by Herb Stein
The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 7, 1963
MADRID. – Stephen Boyd is the only actor we know working abroad who imports his own ball games. For some stars the Number One item requested from America when they’re on foreign locations is Dave Chasen’s chili. For Belfast-born Boyd, whose birthday was July 4 and who hopes to become an American citizen, baseball is more important than food.

Here he is in Las Matas, 16 miles from Madrid, on the mammoth set of the Roman Forum for Samuel Bronston’s “Fall of the Roman Empire” where from 2000 extras and players – gladiators, flagellantes, priests, trumpeters, mounted Praetorians, stilt-walkers, townsmen and townswomen, etc. – are being rehearsed for a Saturnalia celebration.
Suddenly, during a five minute break, a courier races across the set to where Boyd is sitting off-camera to watch director Tony Mann prepare and shoot the spectacle sequence.

Steve is not in this shot. The courier is not in the dress of the scene’s Second Century Roman period. He’s in sport shirt and slacks. He arrives breathlessly, clutching a newspaper as though it were his very life. He hands it to Boyd, exclaiming: “They win! They win!”

WIN ‘MAKES’ HIS DAY

The paper is the Rome Daily American, first to arrive in Madrid with the basebal results of the preceding day. Boyd grabs it, quickly scans the standings on the sports page, sees the results for himself. His day is made. The Dodgers (at that moment) are a few percentage points atop the heap.

“One of the things I miss most about California,” Steve told us, “are the Dodger games at Chavez Ravine. I’m a big Dodger fan-atic.” He said that twice a week Armed Forces Radio broadcasts games live from the States. “They don’t carry the night games. But we get the day games on Tuesday and Thursday nights. We hear them at night, of course because of the five hour difference between here and the East (eight hours ahead of the coast). You can’t get me out of my apartment those nights. I’m glued to the radio.”

The days he can’t hear the games, or misses AFRS score recaps, he must depend on the papers. He has a standing order for the first paper with the results to be rushed to him by “courier.”

TAPES OF GAMES

Boyd doesn’t confide his Dodger interest merely to results of the occasional AFRS coverage of the L.A. games. Steve’s friends frequently send him tapes of the Dodger games. “Those are the most eagerly awaited evenings, when the tapes arrive. I cancel any date. I sit backand listen to every word, hand on every pitch, hit, stricker, out, foul, cheer, boo – bell. I even enjoy the commercials. It doesn’t bother me a bit that the game is several days old or a week old – that I know the outcome. It’s as fresh live to me as though it were being played, that instant.”

He paused a moment, then asked: “Do you think the day’ll come when I’ll be able to get a kine and run the game on a screen at home? Wouldn’t that be sumpin’?”

That part is how one motion picture star, at least, spends much of his spare time during location shooting abroad. One Sundays and is rare days off, Boyd golfs.

While we sat with Boyd, Christopher Plummer (who plays Commodus in “Roman Empire”) was taking instructions from a javelin expert for a duel sequence with Boyd (Livius). Steve had taken lessons earlier.

Plummer said later: “It’s east once you learn it. You can make it as vicious as you like after you learn the basic steps.” The javelin fight expert is much like a choreographer and the staging is much similar to ballet. The javelins? The “steel” is rubber. “But in filming the fight, they won’t use synthetic rubber,” we were told,” We’re much to authentic for that – we’ll use real rubber.”

Boyd and Plummer rehearse the javelin duel in “Fall of the Roman Empire”

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Stephen Boyd on the set of “Fall of the Roman Empire” enjoying a cigarette break.

Rare “The Fall of The Roman Empire” (1964) photos 

Stephen Boyd can be seen in this collection of very interesting photos taken on the set of “The Fall of Roman Empire.” One photo shows Stephen admiring his chariot horses, with his stunt double looking on. The towering Roman Camp set in the Guadarrama Mountains looks especially impressive. Photos include Alec Guiness, Mel Ferrer, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, Stephen Boyd and Sophia Loren. 

See also this previous  blog post where Christopher Plummer tells a hilarious story about Stephen Boyd when they were filming  “The Fall of the Roman Empire” https://stephenboydblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/christopher-plummer-tells-a-story-about-filming-the-fall-of-the-roman-empire/

Stephen and the Bombshells! – Stephen Boyd talks about filming sexy scenes

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Anecdotes of Sexy Scenes

by Dorothy Manners, September 11, 1966

Stephen Boyd and I were talking about the hot love scenes, particularly in foreign films. They have become so completely accepted by American audiences there’s considerable talk about up-dating and revising the Code (Motion Picture Association of America’s Seal of Approval- in other words the guide-line of the censor) to allow for more leeway for mature sex in scripts.

“Everyone seems to be in a swivit about sex on the screen except the actors who actually play the scenes. There’s a good reason. Nine out of ten times the big, passionate kiss-and-clutch sequences are literally a pain in the neck if not downright ludicrous!” said Stephen.

He knows

He should know what he’s talking about. The good looking Irishman has wallowed around romantically with more sex sirens than almost any other actor. His list of the ‘kissed’ includes Brigitte Bardot, Joan Collins, Diane Cilento, Gina Lollobrigida, Francoise Dorleac, Eleanor Parker, Elke Sommer, Yvette Mimieaux, Sophia Loren.

Ironically, in his newest picture on display, “Fantastic Voyage,” there’s not one kiss- even a little one with the newest sex symbol, Raquel Welch! The 20th Century Fox hit is concerned with other matters.

As Steve pits it: “Our director Richard Fleischer was too busy with our cast of millions – of antibodies, the red and white corpuscles, cells, dendrites, lymph nodes, arteries – in the inner-body sequences. I guess he rightly figured there’s enough dangers and suspense in that strange, weirdly beautiful, fantastic inner-body voyage we take to food around with outer-bodies.” To know fully what Stephen’s talking about – see the picture.

But in every other film he’s starred in, Steve has done his share of osculatory research.

Never forget

Boyd chuckled, “I’ll never forget the big moment of passion between Gina Lollobrigida and myself in ‘Imperial Venus.’ I had to grab Gina, kiss her so passionately that our knees gave out from under us, and we sank gradually and gracefully to the floor- it said in the script. And that’s the way the director insisted we play it.

“What actually happened is that I’d grab Gina and she’d swoon. But as we tried to sink to the floor our knees would bump together, we’d have to fight to keep out balance and rehearsal after rehearsal we’d wind up roaring with laughter. Censors? They never crossed our mind.

In steel armour

“In ‘Fall of the Roman Empire’ with Sophia Loren, I was encased in steel armor in our big love scenes! As I’d lift my arms to embrace Sophia, the neck of the armour went up and pressed on my Adam’s apple and at the same time the helmet was being pressed downward on my head. The ensuing kiss we exchanged felt more like the survivors of an endurance contest.

“With Brigitte Bardot in ‘The Night Heaven Fell,’ we had a pip of a passionate moment. Because of the unusually beautiful camera effect the director, Roger Vadim, had us posed on a rocky cliff for the big clutch. The implication was that we were literally on the point of disaster. It proved to be right. Just as we kissed, my feet slipped and we fell Jack-and-Jill style right down the hill! We were both so bruised we couldn’t work for days.”

Steve looked at his watch because he was due at the airport to catch a plane to San Francisco for an appearance with ‘Fantastic Voyage.’ But he had time for one more anecdote of the non-sexiness of sexy scenes.

“It’s the REAL topper,” he grinned. “In ‘The Oscar,’ Elke Sommer and I were making mad love in a car speeding down the freeway to Tijuana. It was sufficiently disconcerting to be speeding and kissing at the same time into a camera mounted on the hood of our car. But driving directly behind us was her husband, Joe Hyams! And he’s JEALOUS! Try that for a romantic mood sometime,” said Steve before he sped away.

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Stephen Boyd talks about kissing Sophia Loren

“Kissing Sophia Tough When You’re In Armor”

February 16, 1964 (The Bridgeport Post)
Hollywood- – (AP)

Stephen Boyd tells the hard luck story of the year even thought it involves kissing Sophia Loren in “Fall of the Roman Empire.”

“Wouldn’t you know it?” asks the Irishman now an American citizen. “I’m wearing medieval armor. Now kissing Sophia is a rare pleasure – but in steel armor?

“As you lift up your arms, the neck of the armor goes up and presses on your Adam’s apple. At the same time, the helmet comes down on your head.

“You try to look romantic but actually you’re choking to death. The kiss becomes a gasp because you’re trying to get from air into you.

“Only Sophia makes it worthwhile.”