James bond in Review: Thunderball Part II

 

Bond’s suspicions about the tattoo have him call Moneypenny, who confirms it’s a gang symbol. Bond then further investigates Lippe’s room, which is nearby a mysterious bandaged man, the mysterious “Mr. Angelo”. He also helps himself to some grapes (Which Bond does in another clinic in Die Another Day), but he’s being watched…..

 

Lippe isn’t too pleased at this, and while Bond is being treated with the nurse (who he kind of flirts with a bit, somewhat inappropriately), she puts him in a stretching machine, which Lippe of course turns up the power to full blast. ( A similar scene later happens in “Moonraker” where Bond’s in a zero-G machine). Although instead of a near death experience, Bond mainly passes out. It’s a bit of a goofy, if tense scene.

 

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Although Bond’s OK, he does use it as an excuse to seduce the nurse…(In the remake, Never Say Never Again, he does it in a somewhat more subtle and more appropriate way with fancy food and champagne)

 

Bond then gets his revenge on Lippe by messing around with his steam machine. Well, he didn’t kill him, so I guess he just does this to not kill him either.

However, Lippe’s plan goes ahead unheeded. Another SPECTRE agent, Fiona Vulpe-is keeping an RAF pilot-Francois Duval-occupied. Volpe’s pretty much the first really ‘evil’ Bond girl. Taro and Freelance weren’t much of a threat, Klebb wasn’t really a Bond girl by any means (and Tataina was simply following her orders reluctantly) Pussy Galore of course turned ‘good’ in the end, but Volpe’s pretty much evil through and through, and a capable killer-both of which we’ll see later on. Looks can kill, I suppose….

 

When suddenly he opens the door to find-himself!

Turns out the bandaged man from earlier-Mr. Angelou-was undergoing surgery to become Francois’s double. In both the original novel and Never Say Never Again, there’s actually no double-it’s the original pilot. In the novel he’s mainly bribed; in Never Say Never Again, he’s sort of bribed by heroin and blackmailed by threats to his sister Domino; here, he’s unaware of what the hell is going on as we see here (Another example of so-so “bluescreen” effects in Bond).

Not sure why they made this change, maybe they didn’t want to make the RAF look bad? Anyway, Francois is killed, and Angelo is set up at his replacement, although he wants more money due to the costly surgery-something that’s kind of a big no-no for SPECTRE, but ‘settled’ by Volpe saying it’s “Just a down payment” so Angelo doesn’t leave the operation or Lippe shoots him. He’ll get the rest of his “payment” later…as will Lippe for getting a guy who was a bit too mercenary.

As Angelou heads to the RAF base,  Lippe wheels Durval’s corpse (now in Angelo’s plastic surgery clothes) back to the clinic, but Bond notices this and unwraps his bandages….and also takes care of a SPECTRE guy who nearly ambushes him (Lippe however stays out of sight). Bond then for some reason sets off the fire alarm (It’s not really made clear why-so they’d discover the body or something?)

Meanwhile, SPECTRE’s plan unfolds, as “Durval” gets to fly the nuclear-equipped RAF plane, and then poison-gases his squadmates. He then lands the plane near Largo’s ship. Largo then gives the pilot his ‘payment’-cutting his air supply and having him drown, and they secure the nukes and cover the plane with camo netting. It’s a bit of a slow sequence, one of the common criticisms of the movie, that these sequences-and their methodical music-somehow hurt the film’s pace. As well as much of the film being devoted to just the nukes being stolen, with Bond not really putting all the pieces together at first. Then again, maybe that’s just the director (Terrence Young’s) style, as “From Russia With Love” spent a lot of time on the villains and their plot being set up before even getting to Bond himself-here at least we get Bond right away.

We’re also introduced to Dr. Kutze, another one of those “He made me do it!” nuclear scientists working for the villains, like the later Dr. Metz in “Diamonds Are Forever” (and kind of subverted in Goldeneye with Boris).

 

 

Meanwhile, back at the clinic, it’s discovered “Mr. Angelou” is dead from a heart attack as Bond leaves.  Bond then finds himself chased by Lippe, who wants to kill him, but Lippe-who SPECTRE feels is unreliable because his choice of Angelou was unreliable-has already decided his death sentence, actually sparing Bond.

His killer, Fiona-with a missile-launching bike which we don’t see again, as she just dumps it in a river to cover her tracks.

 

Meanwhile, Bond is called into a high-level meeting, although he’s a little late due to the inciddent on the road (Which he doesn’t seem to report on, at least right away, nor at the shenanigans at the clinic). We get a cool set/possible matte painting of the 00’s assembled-as a tape recording from Blofeld details that SPECTRE has posession of nuclear weapons, and is holding NATO to ransom for their return, or else they’ll get used on two cities.

 

 

It should be noted that we get our first “kind of” look at 006 here, who of course would be revealed to be Alec Trevalyn, the main villain of  1995’s Goldeneye-here either the guy with the beard or the guy resting his head on his hand. Of course this could simply be another 006, as we see some other 00s get killed and replaced in the series (002 and 009 mainly)

M gives them all dossiers and the codename of the operation: “Thunderball”.

 

 

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