Steve Reeves

  1. Victor Mature,Samson and Delilah, 1948.
    Cinemperor Cecil B DeMIlle first planned the epic in 1935 for Henry Wilcoxon and Miriam Hopkins.   Next in line, producer David O Selznick envisaged Kirk Douglas and Marlene Dietrich… By ’48, CB got serious. So did James Mason – suggesting $250,000. (DeMille showed him  the door). He toyed with Roberts Mitchum, Ryan  and Taylor; ruled out  Lex Barker (he became a five-time Tarzan) and Burt Lancaster –  too inexperienced, a bad back and  “bad” politics. Other also-rans went from longtime CB acolyte John Bromfield, Rory Calhoun, Jim Davis (future father of JR in Dallas),  Errol Flynn, William Hopper (Hedda’s son!), John Ireland, Glen Langan, Willard Parker… to the youngest new evangelist in town, Dr Billy Graham!. Then, CB was telling 22-year-old Steve Reeves, to tone down his muscularity – while packing Mature  off to the gym to beef his up!  Here’s a review by Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man’s bust is larger than the leading lady’s!”

  2. Gordon Scott, Romolo e Remo (US: Duel of the Titans), Italy-France, 1961. Reeves refused to play the twins Romulus and Remus – and suggested his mate, Gordon Scott, for Remus.  In case the fickle US public forgot its heroes, they were billed as “Steve (Hercules) Reeves and Gordon (Tarzan) Scott.”  Scott was later Hercules in musclebound pot-boilers. And worse… .the 2001 video release of Agi Murad il diavlo (UK: The White Warrior), 1958, rightly cited Reeve as the star… over a photo of Scott.
  3. Donald O’Connor, Le meraviglie di Aladino (US: The Wonders of Aladdin, France-Italy-US, 1961.   Originally, this was to be part of Reeves’ three-picture deal with Italy’s Lux combine. (Not the soap). Instead, he became Morgan il pirata (US: Morgan, the Pirate), 1959, and Il ladro di Bagdad (US: The Thief of Baghdad, 1960.
  4. Jean Pommier, Les Petits Drames, France, 1961.    “I only did two Hercules films, but everyone seems to think I did ten.” By 1961, he wanted a change and was quite happy to test himself in clothes – and why not in a tiny French feature that no one would see. The two-week budget was a mere 6,000 Francs, everyone worked for free, and it was edited by realisateur Paul Vecchiali in the salon of his main stars, Ncole Courcel and Michel Piccoli, at 53 avenue Montaigne, in Paris. OK, said Steve. Oh no, barked his agent…”There are ten pages and six lines that Steve is not in!”
  5. Sean Connery, Dr No, 1962.
  6. Clint Eastwood, Per un pugno di dollari/ For A Fistful Of Dollars, Italy-Spain-West Germany, 1964.    
  7. Ron Ely,Doc Savage: Man of Bronze, 1975.      A decade earlier, a Doc Savage tale, The Thousand Headed Man, was rapidly churnnd  into a Chuck Connors Western (Ride Beyond Vengeance, 1965) when the producers could not cut a deal with the estate of Doc creator Lester Dent.  Producer George  Pal got the OK from Dent’s widow, Norma, for a film franchise and future TV. The fans wanted Steve. George Pal didn’t like his voice (fans had never knew it; his Italian thud ’n’ blunders were dubbed; his real voice had been heard only in  Ed Wood’s Jail Bait, 1953, and MGM’s Athena, 1954). A film was born but the the series was stillborn.writers’ strike got in  the way and once that was over, Reeves was gone.  Numerous hopefuls  were seen before Pal chose the tele-Tarzan, more wild than Savage.. Film flopped and Doc was not heard of again until  Dwayne Johnson got keen on a Doc franchise in 2018. 

 Birth year: 1926Death year: 2000Other name: Casting Calls:  7