Sunday, December 20, 2009
Duccio Tessari on Steve Reeves
Duccio Tessari: Reeves was a body-builder. He owed everything to a gentleman called Giovanni Cianfriglia, a stuntman, who seen from nearby resembled him well enough and from far away was his double. It was Cianfriglia who did everything in his films that needed strength or that might be fatiguing. Reeves, before starting a scene, would confine himself to blowing up his muscles one by one with gymnastic movements. They were, however, turgid muscles of protein, butter and honey, that had no strength. In fact, he couldn't even lift an actress between his arms. It was always Cianfriglia on whose shoulders those things were thrown. Then in a closer shot, Reeves would replace him, whilst out of shot the girl was supported by an engineer huddled like a kneeling statue (a Caryatid). Also, he didn't have much of a sense of equilibrium and at the slightest request to run, would trip up with a terrible crash to the earth. On set he was followed around like a shadow by a Polish girl who then became his wife, and who took care of him with the greatest attention. I think she even limited his sexual exertions so that he didn't tire himself too much. She was, however, completely aware of living with a momentary phenomenon from whom she felt the need to profit by taking the maximum care in order to save up for the future. In fact she was a mean and miserly bitch.