A Grazer lives dangerously
Horst Stelzl takes over the stunts in the movie "Our Man in Istanbul" for Horst Buchholz.
Press release by H.A. Michl (1965)
A movie star is precious. That can be measured by his salary. Five million schillings that Horst Buchholz receives for his latest film "The Man from Istanbul" is no small sum. Buchholz "makes money" and others make money with him. That's why Horst Buchholz also has to do things that make the audience shiver. For example, he has to jump from a twenty-meter high bridge into the Bosporus or deal with unfriendly men on the slender tower of a 40-meter high minaret using his strong fists. To be precise, he doesn't even have to pretend. In these cases, he only needs to watch, because the concerned film producer has hired a double, a stand-in, who fights and jumps into the water for Buchholz.
Horst Buchholz's double is the 26-year-old Grazer Horst Stelzl. He is many things, including a reporter, and that's how he once met Buchholz. They became friends. And when Buchholz received the role of a playboy with the beautiful nickname "The Man from Istanbul" from Spanish director Antonio Isasi, one Horst remembered the other Horst. Since then, Horst Stelzl has been doing daring and dangerous things for Horst Buchholz in films, which are still dangerous even if the special effects artist helps a little at the camera. It's called undercranking or overcranking.
For example: Buchholz gets into the car, smiling maliciously at the wheel. Close-up. The script says: Buchholz speeds with his sports car at sixty miles per hour around a curve. Buchholz doesn't think about it. He gets out. The blonde Horst Stelzl has a dark wig over his head. He sits at the wheel. Races away. Buchholz watches. The audience in the cinema says, "This Buchholz is a daredevil!"
Christiane Maybach (left), Horst Buchholz (middle), Horst Stelzl (right)
Filmtrailer by ARTE
Stelzl, who has been riding since he was four years old, was hired by producer Horst Wendland for his Winnetou films. In these films, he replaced Pierre Brice and Lex Parker. He also risked his life for other stars such as Ken Clark, James Coburn, Giuliano Gemma, and Sean Flynn.
He also worked as a "dangerous cameraman" in six of his 31 films, attaching cameras to cars, airplane wings, and wagon roofs.
Stelzl obtained his pilot's license while serving in the Austrian army. As a cameraman, he often had to step in for injured doubles. "Then I just jumped in," Stelzl said. He claims to have learned the final touches of his craft from Mexican stuntman Ricardo Rodriguez, whom he considers his biggest influence.
Stelzl's permanent residence, if it can even be called that, is in Istanbul. He was driven out of Austria by taxes. He, who puts his skin on the line for film actors, especially admired for their bravery, and even occasionally dresses up as a woman for actresses, has essentially tasted blood. "You can make a lot of money doing this, but it's not particularly exciting!"
Currently, there are five people in Europe who have made this work their profession. Four of them are Italian, and one is Austrian...
In this film, Horst Stelzl was featured as a stuntman and, together with his friend and brother-in-law Alexander "Xandl" Posch, also as a cameraman.
You can watch the entire film for free on YouTube: