Bond in Review: Thunderball part IV

Some sad news, unfortunately Molly Peters-one of the stars of Thunderball as Nurse Patricia Fearing-died today.


Moving on with the review, Bond, Felix, and Patricia-along with local ally Pinter, running a station in his shop-learn that the clock is ticking-literally-as Big Ben rings seven times-a note to SPECTRE that the British will pay their ransom, although Bond thinks it’s stalling for time. But hey, Q’s here! This is his first time equipping Bond in the field apart from his lab, although he’d also do so the next film, You Only Live Twice, and several other of the films. He’d have his ultimate field experience in Licence To Kill, which like this film, is partially set in the Caribbean.


Q’s arsenal this time includes a geiger counter watch, an extra geiger counter in the form of a camera that can also take pictures underwater (and of course is also waterproof) a rebreather (which, like the jetpack, would reappear more or less in Die Another Day) and a radioactive pill. Also shown-but not really showcased until the finale-is a massive dive rig that Bond messes around with.

Back in London, things aren’t quite good as Blofeld asks for some diamonds as ransom….and then we get Bond utilizing some of his new toys to try to photograph the Disco Volante-but also having to deal with getting noticed by Largo, leading to a brief underwater struggle. Bond then heads onshore-but is picked up by Fiona Volpe-who of course also has a SPECTRE ring prominently on her fingers-and then takes Bond for a fast ride back to the hotel in her mustang. Bond of course drives quite fast himself at times, but is as he notes, a “nervous passenger”


I wonder if that’s an intentional callback to a similar line in Dr.No? I guess “Nervous passenger” didn’t quite catch on as much as “Bond, James Bond” “Shaken, not stirred” ….

They of course both arrive at the same hotel (Fiona of course has been placed there by SPECTRE). Developing the prints, Bond discovers an underwater hatch on the Disco, guessing that the operation must have been conducted underwater using it, and not on land…and so Felix and Bond start their quest, but don’t find anything…yet.


They look around at Largo’s estate too, where Largo and Fiona are having a discussing shooting clay pigeons. Fiona’s a bit worried of course that Largo’s jealousy over Bond’s wooing of Domino has made him clumsy, and showing SPECTRE’s hand too early (apart from of course the obvious rings on said hands). So she volunteers to do the job herself. It’s really the only time we see these two interact, and there’s a slightly similar scene in “Never Say Never Again” with Fiona’s remade version, Fatima Blush (Who seems to be a bit into the younger Largo herself, but Largo shrugs off her advances).



Next Bond stops at Largo’s estate, and his observation about Largo’s gun is that it’s more fitting for a woman. Largo also introduces his two remaining henchmen (unless you count Viona) , Vargas and Janni.


Although Vargas isn’t exactly as strong a presence as Grant or Oddjob, playing more of a cold detached killer, as Largo notes.

Of course! Vargas does not drink. Does not smoke. Does not make love. What do you do, Vargas?


It doesn’t take a genius to fill in the blank here. It’s kind of a fun scene, although both Bond and the villain know the other’s real motivations. There’s a particularly great moment where Bond shoots a clay pigeon, almost without looking, and Largo then shows off his sharks.


He even allows Bond to take Domino as a date to the “Junkanoo”, a sort of carnival. But Fiona of course uses Bond’s absence to drug and capture poor Paula.

Which of course has Bond attempt a rescue mission, visiting Largo’s estate on less, formal grounds-and with the power cut. Unfortunately, Paula takes a cyanide capsule to resist interrogation,  and dies, with a short sad glance from Bond.


Then we get our first real shark scene, as Bond accidentally drops his gun, causing it to misfire and alerting the villains, causing him to crash into the pool-and then trapping him in it. Sure, we saw them earlier, devouring mr. Kitch, but this is the first time Bond is put in mortal peril with them. Thankfully, he’s able to get the other guy to bleed, luring the sharks to the other guy, and allowing him to escape through a hatch into the other, more open pool. “Sorry old chap, better luck next time” he quips.


Bond tells Pinder he wants Leiter to stay with Domino, and that Paula’s dead. Pinder’s reaction is sort of a bland “OK”, which seems a little tone-deaf, at least to me.

Bond then walks on Fiona in her bath, and there’s of course some goofy one-liners here as they flirt and then make love.

However, as soon as that’s over Bond prepares to head back to the Junkanoo, but Largo’s goons are in the way. Here we have an interesting scene that perhaps’ meant to contrast to Goldfinger; after Pussy Galore was won over by Bond’s charms, she switched over to his side and helped save the day. However, Fiona isn’t having any of it:

“But of course! I forgot your ego, Mr Bond. James Bond, who only has to make love to a woman and she starts to hear heavenly choirs singing. She repents and immediately returns to the side of right and virtue. But not this one. What a blow it must have been, you having a failure.”

to which Bond quips: “Well, can’t win them all”.

Capturing Bond, they’re a bit delayed by the ongoing junkanoo. Seeing an opening when a drunk peddles his alcohol close to the car and igniting it with Fiona’s cigarette, Bond makes a run for it, to the tune of the “007” secondary theme. It’s quite a tense, chaotic scene, and Bond even gets shot in the leg, causing him to limp.


He eventually makes his way to the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang club, where he treats his wound, and once again we hear the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang instrumental song as Bond tries to blend in as Volpe and the others close in. She then asks for a dance, as the bad guys ready their shot to take Bond out. However, Bond makes a swift turn, and the bullet-it’s sound covered by the heavy drum music-hits Fiona instead, killing her, and Largo’s men get the hell out of dodge. Bond quickly covers up her back and lays her on a chair next to the couple, saying “Okay if my partner sits this one out? She’s just dead!”

It’s a funny line, although I outta imagine that couple probably would’ve been horrified to be sitting next to a dead woman. Although maybe it’s like Weekend at Bernie’s, (a fairly Carribieanish movie itself) where everybody seems oblivious to that kind of thing.






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