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An all star male cast can make it hard to stand out. Steve McQueen had been so desperate to appear in The Magnificent Seven (1960), he had intentionally crashed a car and used his minor injuries to temporarily get out of his television series Wanted Dead Or Alive (1958-1961). He snuck down to Mexico while he was "recuperating" to work on Magnificent. His new challenge was how not to be overshadowed by movie's star Yul Brynner. The colorful, bigger than life Brynner was actually five foot nine (same as McQueen) and concerned about his height on screen. For first scene between Chris (Brynner) and Vin (McQueen) Swiss Mongolian actor built a hill of dirt that would allow him to tower over his co-star. But Steve kept blowing his lines. Before each new take he would kick some dirt out from underneath Yul's hill. By time he got scene right Brynner was nearly standing in a hole.
Sometimes most petty arguments will break out between male stars and their leading ladies. A tender scene in Bishop's Wife (1947) was delayed because Cary Grant and Loretta Young couldn't face each other. Both insisted that their left profiles were more their more photogenic half and strongly pushed for that position in front of camera. After standoff lasted a few hours furious producer Sam Goldywn came down to set and shouted," If I photograph only half, I pay only half!" The problem was solved with Young gazing out window and Grant coming up from behind, placing his arms around her and gently resting his chin on her shoulder, so both left profiles remained in full view.
Ten years later Grant fell in love his leading lady Sophia Loren while making Pride And Passion (1957). Their co-star Frank Sinatra got extremely jealous. Trying to make friends Loren explained to Sinatra in Italian that she was worried about her English for upcoming publicity interviews. As usual devil took over Sinatra. He advised her to use foul language in every sentence. Especially "F" word which was a term of endearment to Americans. When Sophia conducted her first press conference shocked reporters asked her where she learned to speak like that. After a few good belly laughs, she was advised to make Cary Grant her new English teacher.
Stephen Schochet is the author and narrator of the audiobooks "Fascinating Walt Disney" and "Tales Of Hollywood". The Saint Louis Post Dispatch says," these two elaborate productions are exceptionally entertaining." Hear realaudio samples of these great, unique gifts at www.hollywoodstories.com.