08 March, 2010

RICHARD WYLER (1923-2010)

As Jeff Sutton in THE GIRL FROM RIO

As Secret Agent FX 18 in COPLAN CASSE TOUT

Wyler appeared as the title character in Leon Klimovsky's THE RATTLER KID

Richard Wyler (1923-2010) : Real name: Richard Stapley. The UK born actor moved to the US after appearing on stage in England. He appeared in a number of Hollywood films from the late 1940s onward, including THE STRANGE DOOR (1951) and Hitchcock's FRENZY (1972), playing an unbilled role in the latter. He eventually changed his name to Richard Wyler and returned to Europe in the 1960s, appearing as THE MAN FROM INTERPOL in the UK lensed TV series. He also played the male lead in Riccardo Freda's FX 18 COPLAN CASSE TOUT (1965), Eugenio Martin's THE BOUNTY KILLER and Jess Franco's THE GIRL FROM RIO (1968), among others. He reportedly died of kidney failure last Friday in Palm Springs CA, according to the obit on Tom Bett's WESTERNS ALL'ITALIANA blog. I interviewed Richard in 1994 for my Riccardo Freda SE of ETC magazine. He was refreshingly candid and had a tart sense of humor about his experiences with old time Hollywood directors, Tomas Milian, George Sanders, Jess Franco and Alfred Hitchcock (both of whom he disliked).

He told me that he thought THE GIRL FROM RIO was a "terrible film" and that Franco didn't seem to know what he was doing. He also criticized Jess for consulting adult magazines for his imagery and he also complained that producer Harry Alan Towers didn't pay him his full promised salary. According to Wyler, Franco took him to a "sleazy bar" in Spain and tried to convince him to do an upcoming nude scene. Wyler became indignant and refused. When I reported that Franco went on to do a number of explicit hardcore films in the 70s and 80s he said that it didn't surprise him. He also spoke of how George Sanders was very depressed during the shoot due to financial problems.

He said that he thought THE BOUNTY KILLER was his best European film because of the "chemistry" between the character he played and the outlaw played by Milian. He didn't like Milian personally, finding him "obnoxious" but conceded he was a good actor. Wyler was a classically trained actor with a restrained approach and still seemed put out that the Method-trained Milian managed to steal the film with his over-the-top acting style.

Wyler was also a novelist, producer and race car driver at various points in his life.


Olias Of Sunhillow said...

I don't know where, but I've read that Wyler was not the kind of person you could get on easily with during shooting. I understand his hard feelings concerning THE GIRL FROM RIO (getting less money than promised), but I think he should not have criticise it so unjustly. It's a great flick, the work of a competent director. I think the actor did not understand what Franco tried to achieve.
Anyway, now I have a blog (in Hungarian)and I'll review THE GIRL FROM RIO next month. I'd also like to interview some Franco-related personalities (or even the Maestro himself!), so I would be most grateful if Robert helped me to succeed. Here's my blog: http://filmzenepszichedelia.blogspot.com/

Olias Of Sunhillow said...

Oh... I forgot to mention: I used the name "Revelator" before...

Robert Monell said...

than promised), but I think he should not have criticise it so unjustly. It's a great flick, the work of a competent director. I think the actor did not understand what Franco tried to achieve.

When I interviewed him I was surprised at how much contempt he had for Jess Franco and even Alfred Hitchcock. I don't think he approved of the erotic content in GIRL or FRENZY and he seemed to resent the directors personally. I think because he was a writer he may have wanted to be more involved on the production end. He was also a producer and writer of plays. He didn't seem that happy acting and you can tell it if you watch his performances closely. He always seems slightly uncomfortable. But he was a professional. I think he was frustrated with his career.