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The Rock-itt : November 2011
This month: 60s and 70s super star, Steve McQueen To me Steve McQueen epitomized the complete film star package. Lean and mean yet capable of displaying a soft side that made audiences end ear him into th eir hearts. The film stu dios whom Steve worked for must have had it so easy, as with a great deal of actors an image must be created, yet with Steve McQueen the imag e that emblazoned th e Silver Sc reen was the real thing and a picture window of the man h imself. I first saw Steve McQueen in a television cowboy series in the late 50s called “Wanted Dead Alive”. It was about a bounty hunter tracking down outlaw s and along with Gunsmoke, Palladin, Wagon Train, Bonanza and a whole swag of other cowboy serials which were the genre of their time, a fresh faced Steve made a good fist of playing th e part. The next time Steve bobbed up was in a (B rated mo vie) Blob (1958) wh ich I saw at a midnight show at the local flicks when I was about 10 years of age. Fin ally in 1960, he was cast a long side Yul Brynner in the cult western classic, The Magnificen t Seven. Here Steve shone out as cool, calm and collected, and suddenly Steve caught the imagination not only of cinema audiences but also Hollywood directors. Now McQueen was ready to strut his stuff and as offerings of high class film production s began finding their way to h im, his popularity also began to rise. The next one of Steve’s films to grab my interest was the World War 11 classic, The G reat Escape (1963). Here Steve played an Am erican pilot incarcerated in a German prisoner of war camp. McQueen really made a splash with this on e and the critics loved it, Steve McQueen was becoming a household name and film directors began lining up for his services. From 1963 to 1966 Steve made quite a few excellent films but it was The Sand Pebbles (1966) which h e