Steve Reeves, Morgan the Pirate, 1960

Built Report Morgan the Pirate Steve Reeves
Steve Reeves Morgan the Pirate mural on Gold's Gym building

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Director Andr√© De Toth was born in 1913 in what is now the Republic of Hungary. He started making movies in Hungary in 1939 and moved to Los Angeles in 1942 to make American movies. After directing movies like House of Wax(1953) and television shows like Maverick he was offered to direct Morgan the Pirate(1960) in Italy. He looked at it as an opportunity to see Italy and get paid for it. He accepted the offer and ended up staying to directing two additional Italian movies, The Mongols(1961) and Gold for the Caesars(1963). Italy required an Italian director in order for movies to qualify for government subsidies so De Toth ended up sharing credits with an Italian director even though he was the actual director. In his 1994 biography Fragments Andr√© De Toth wrote “With the enormous world-wide success of Hercules with Steve Reeves, a legion of steroid pumped-up American strong men invaded Italy and roamed the jungle led by a new breed, the so called ‘fly-by-night’ producers who sneaked onto and pirated other productions’ sets at night and – if they weren’t caught and chased off in a few hours – actually finished their epics. Tatars met the Vikings, chasing girls, and if it was nudey enough, they were successful. Blood covered the incredibility…Rome became the film capitol of the world and Italy the international tax dodgers’ heaven, where tax evasion always had been considered an honorable sport.”

When¬†Andr√© De Toth¬†wrote “a¬†legion of steroid pumped-up American strong men invaded Italy” he was referring to actors like Steve Reeves, Reg Park, Gordon Scott, Mark Forest, Brad Harris, Dan Vadis, and Alan Steel. Steroids may be synonymous with muscle but since all anabolic steroids are currently classified as schedule III controlled substances in the United States and there is no direct evidence that all of these actors took steroids, it is unfair to label them steroid users. Steve Reeves claimed to have never used steroids and was against them but there are some that argue that since steroids were available during Reeves era he most likely took them as every competitor is looking for an edge. That may or may not be true but if you look at photos of Reeves when he was 15 years old he looked a lot like he did later on so its not too naive to suggest that there is a possibility that he did not take them.


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