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STEPHEN BOYD, ELKE SOMMER AND TONY BENNETT IN 'THE OSCAR'

Stephen Boyd with Eleanor Parker or Jill St John in THE OSCAR Year: 1966 Rating: ***

One of the most gloriously uncompromising Hollywood-set melodramas, THE OSCAR stars real life semi-star Stephen Boyd, whose chiselled looks and menacing countenance — beginning as the cheating gladiator in BEN HUR — made him more a leading villain than hero, and he plays both here...

Starting as a backroom lowlife alongside passive yet equally-tough sidekick Tony Bennett and lush Jill St. John, he sneakily becomes an actor by manipulating the likes of New York stage director Eleanor Parker connected with Hollywood agent Milton Berle and studio chief Joseph Cotten...

Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR

Boyd as womanizing Frank Fane's eclectic and involving rise to fame ultimately feels short-lived since once he gets there, every surrounding character is armed with overly-written one-liners to bring him down...

Which might have been why writer Harlan Ellison infamously punched the film's producer — his dialogue's futilely channeled into expository monologues and platitudes, curbed by Fane's chance of redemption by possibly winning an Academy Award, all set within an otherwise suspenseful frame-story during OSCAR Night...

Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR

A shame since Boyd really fits the devious role while faithful buddy (and random narrator) Tony Bennett has genuine heart, and put-upon wife Elke Sommer really seems to love the unlovable creature while the audience is primed to guiltily enjoy Boyd's despicable Hollywood monster...

But because of the preachy, overly judgemental roman chorus of showbiz folk, he's left with no real bite: perhaps this 1966 two-hour cautionary-tale would've made a better four-hour anything-goes TV-miniseries a decade later, allowing enough time to love and hate this potentially worthwhile love-to-hate scoundrel — on our terms.

Tony Bennett and Jill St. John in THE OSCAR
Joseph Cotten in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
Tony Bennett in THE OSCAR
Tony Bennett in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR with Jill St. John
Elke Sommer in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR with Tony Bennett
Elke Sommer in THE OSCAR
Tony Bennett in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
Tony Bennett in THE OSCAR with Elke Sommer
Tony Bennett in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
Eleanor Parker in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR with Elke Sommer
Jack Woo as the butler in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR with Tony Bennett and Elke Sommer
A serious Milton Berle in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR with Milton Berle
Fickle Mogul JOSEPH COTTEN in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
TONY BENNETT in THE OSCAR
Eleanor Parker in THE OSCAR
Kino Blu Ray for THE OSCAR
STEPHEN BOYD from THE OSCAR
Recently deceased at 96 is Tony Bennett with Stephen Boyd inTHE OSCAR
Student plant Jean Hale suffers a date with climbing egotist Stephen Boyd as THE OSCAR
Making news with Jean Hale and one-night strategic date Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
TONY BENNETT in THE OSCAR with REX HOLMAN
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR with Jean Hale
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR with Jean Hale
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
Jean Hale in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR
Stephen Boyd in THE OSCAR with Eleanor Parker
Eleanor Parker in THE OSCAR

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