Yakima Canutt - Tap Canutt - Jack Williams

The legendary Stuntman Yakima Canutt was the leading authority for the great Action Scenes in the Samuel Bronston Epic 'El Cid'. 
The very successful Production was filmed in Spain (1961) under the direction of Anthony Mann.
Yak staged the action scenes for 'Son of Captain Blood' (1962) in Spain before the Samuel Bronston Company 
in Madrid (Spain) wanted to make a deal with him again.
Tony Mann asked for him as second unit Director for the Action Highlights in the colossal Production 
'The Fall of the Roman Empire' (1963).
Yakima arrived in Spain and started immediately with a rigorous training course for over 1500 horses, 
teaching them how to fall for the big battle scenes.
Numerous elaborate action scenes have to be prepared.
The memorable Chariot Race scene is one of the most exciting ones of the movie, thanks to the fine second unit work of Yakima Canutt.

Director Anthony Mann and Assistant Director José López Rodero - Pinares de Valsain (Spain).
Tony shot the close-ups of Stephen Boyd and Christopher Plummer and Yak staged the chariot Action.
All filmed in Ultra Panavision 70.

Christopher Plummer and Stephen Boyd - Puente de la Cantina.
Puente de la Cantina. 
The high canyon bridge is pretty close to the CL-601 between Puerto de Navacerrada and Valsain on a small side street. 
The towers and walls were designed by Veniero Colasanti and John Moore. 
Various construction crews worked for the show, for example the famous crew of Francisco Prosper Zaragoza.
Prosper worked for the Sam Bronston company, Lawrence of Arabia, Battle of the Bulge, Custer of the West, Shalako, 
Battle of Britain, The Wind and the Lion and and many many more.
Stephen Boyd and Christopher Plummer in their Chariots. Powerful Spotlights illuminate the boys. 
The Spotlights and the Camera equipment are on a small car. The car drives ahead ...but how do they get electricity?
Close-Up of Christopher Plummer - Tony Mann.
Tony Mann riding on the Camera/Spotlight car leading the column.
Director Anthony Mann and Assistant Director José López Rodero.
A truck is leading the column...
Inside of the 'Bauscher' truck is a power supply, a portable watercooled diesel generator, of the german 
company Bauscher. 'Bauscher' was a company from my hometown Hamburg and existed only until 1967. 
The 'Bauscher' generators were of indestructible quality. Many are still in circulation and actively in use today.
I wonder how they got this unusual Job in Spain for Sam Bronston!?
A portable BAUSCHER diesel generator. 
Shooting 'Fall of the Roman Empire' on the small side streets of the CL-601 between Puerto de Navacerrada and Valsain.
Many supporting actors watch the filming - The finnish beauty Lena von Martens.
Lena played the barbarian Girl Helva. After her movie career was over, she ended up working for a luxury escort in service in Italy.
Assistant Director José López Rodero is barking commands in the bullhorn.
Many extras were needed for these scenes.
Sam Bronston Company contract for Jesus Jimenez Herrero, a proud Extra on 'Fall of the Roman Empire'.
A great Job for many spanish locals.
On a Roman Chariot into bankruptcy. Movie Mogul Samuel Bronston.
Christopher Plummer is Commodus. Stephen Boyd is Livius.
Livius and Commodus battle it out in Chariots - The Chariot Race.
Yakima Canutt was in charge of the sequence. 
His eldest son Tap Canutt was doubling Stephen Boyd (left ) and Jack Williams was doubling Christopher Plummer (right).
Yak was a famous Rodeo Cowboy, a Stuntman legend, Actor and Director. 
He has worked for hundreds of film productions, including many Western movies.
Yak had a very good flair for extraordinary action scenes and was a great second unit 'Action' director for 
Sam Bronston's 'El Cid' and 'Fall of the Roman Empire'. 
He staged the famous cable car action in Brian G. Huttons 'Where Eagles Dare' (1968).
Yakima Canutt died on May 24, 1986.
The boys did a walk-through (ride-through) to see how it was going to work and everything looked safe.
Jack Williams was a highly experienced Stuntman when he got the Job for the Bronston Company.
He often worked with Yakima Canutt and did many Western productions.
Jack worked for El Cid, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Wild Bunch, The Omega Man, Soylent Green and Remo Williams.
His last movie was Wild Wild West, 1999. Jack Williams died on April 10, 2007.
A belt ensures that the teams remain closely during the fighting scenes.
Tap and Jack hitting each other with their whips.
Close to each other in a furious pace...
The chariots are well padded and specially reinforced (metal plates).
Jack has a small blank attached to the bottom of his chariot for a secure footing.
Popping the whips.
Attention, here comes a curve!
Special Effects Supervisor Alex Weldon had a great crew of young spanish FX boys for 'Fall of the Roman Empire'.
Antonio Bueno, Antonio Parra, Fernando Perez, Antonio Baladin, Manuel Gomez and Basilio Cortijo are the experts 
that will lead the spanish Special Effects in the coming years (60ths-80ths).
The boys use their chariots as weapons.
They slam the heavy chariots against each other trying to crowd each other off the road.
A specially prepared pine tree limb hit Tap and he fell to the floor of his chariot.
Jack Williams crowded Tap's Team to the edge of the road. 
Tap's chariot has only dummy reins to hang onto for security reasons.
Jack is actually driving both teams in these scenes.
Awesome scene! - Tap's wheel went off the road, skimming and bouncing along.
The metal plates on the underside of his chariot operate like skis.
Yakima Canutt: 'In stunts like these everything must be right or someone gets hurt...However, 
I had it as near foolproof as you could make it.'
('Stunt Man - The Autobiography of Yakima Canutt')
The teams are connected to each other, Jack has control over both teams.
Tap is enjoying the wild ride doubling and playing an uneasy Livius (Stephen Boyd).
Oh, oh, that could be a problem ...
That looks uncomfortable ...but small ramps help a bit. Any connection between the teams would now far too dangerous.
Tap Canutt on a practice round. Everything has to be tested and clearly discussed.
They shot such scenes only when both Stuntman were happy with the preparations.
Tap Canutt on location in Almeria, Spain, for the 'El Condor' production (1969). 
From left to right: Stuntman Romano Puppo, Special Effects technician Peter Dawson, Stunt coordinator Tap Canutt 
and Special Effects Supervisor Kit West. 
Tap worked for different Western Productions from Only the Valiant (1951) to the Wild Bunch (1969) and he was 
there when epic movie Stars got into trouble. 
Ben Hur (1959), Spartacus (1960) or El Cid (1961) were just a few. 
He often worked with his father Yakima Canutt ...and Jack Williams.  Tap died in 2014.
For 'El Condor' he staged several great stunt and action scenes as Stunt Coordinator and second unit director. 
Look here: El Condor.
Robert Krasker (DOP), John Harris and Cecilio Paniagua captured some great shots of the superior cast and 
the spectacular landscapes and Sets on celluloid.
The cold and isolated Roman Fortress in the wilderness (La Perdiguera, Valsain, Spain).
Designed by Veniero Colasanti and John Moore and built by spanish Set Construction crews.
A scene with many Extras in the freezing mountains of Valsain - Montes de Valsain, Spain.
Associate Producer Jaime Prades explains a model of the Roman Forum set to the press - Estudios de Chamartin.
The mighty Roman Forum - A colossal three-dimensional Set (Plains of Las Matas, Madrid).
An outstanding cast down to the smallest supporting role - Lena von Martens.
'Fall of the Roman Empire' was Samuel Bronston's second to last epic production before he went out of business.