Thursday, October 17, 2013

Actor profile: Benito Stefanelli

Continuing with profiling relatively unknown supporting actors of Italian/Euro PEPLUM films. Today it's Benito Stefanelli who was always a supporting actor, never a leading actor, but also acted as Weapons Master/Fencer/Stuntman in many films as well, PEPLUM or not, including classics such as DUEL OF THE TITANS, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY and ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA.

According to IMDb, his first film was ULYSSES (1954) the Kirk Douglas vehicle. I tried to find him in it but there are so many actors and shot at a distance that I could't find him. I had the same problem in finding him in SON OF SPARTACUS, DUEL OF THE TITANS and A QUEEN FOR CAESAR. He's also in THE TROJAN HORSE even though he's not credited for it, at IMDb or in the film, which is odd as it's one of Benito's biggest and best roles. IMDb is filled with mistakes so I'm certain there are more roles of Benito missing from this profile.  His other big roles were in THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS, WAR OF THE TROJANS and REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS. If you look at him quickly he can be mistaken for Claudio Scarchilli, which I already profiled here. In fact, Benito is credited to be in MESSALINA (1960) but I can't find him in it but Claudio Scarchilli is in it and he's not credited for that film.

Benito died in 1999 at the age of 71.

Benito in a brief role in TERROR OF THE RED MASK.

Benito in THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS costarring George Ardisson (below). Benito's role is substantial in this great film.

Benito's best role was probably in THE TROJAN HORSE, which he's not even listed at IMDb or the film's opening credit. His duel with Steve Reeves is the highlight of his career (below) and one of the best scenes in this movie. He plays John Drew Barrymore's right-hand man (above). Because he was a stuntman/weapons expert, he's doing the stunts during the duel.

Benito went on to appear in WAR OF THE TROJANS (aka The Avenger), the sequel to THE TROJAN HORSE, again starring Steve Reeves and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart (above). He's a good guy in this film.

One of Benito's last PEPLUM films was REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS, starring Mickey Hargitay (above). Benito played a gladiator and was part of a team called The Invincible 6 (below).


Richard Svensson said...

Thank you for all this info! I always find your career summaries very enlightening.
Unlike most modern Hollywood offerings, the Italien peplums of the golden age have no bland or unengaging actors. Every man and woman seem handpicked and placed just where they're supposed to be, no matter the size of the role.

PEPLUM TV said...

Thanks. Your observation is correct.

Joe said...

I'm glad you made this page. Even though his role was quite small in TROJAN HORSE, while watching it last night he jumped off the screen and grabbed my attention. It took me awhile of "Googling" to figure out just who he was. I agree with the sentiments of the previous poster, that no matter how small the part, these movies seemed to pick great actors.