Bond in Review: Never Say Never Again Part II

Fatima then sends Lippe to take care of Bond. While in the original movie, Lippe was more or less the mastermind of phase one of SPECTRE’s plan, Lippe here is more of a heavy, played by a guy who pretty much is skilled at this kind of thing: Pat Roach, who fought Indiana Jones three times in the Indiana Jones series (a fourth time was cut)

 

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Here, after a fight with Connery that destroys a good chunk of the clinic, Bond finally manages to defeat Lippe with his urine sample(!) which blinds him and causes him to back into a wall of syringes, killing him. Not quite as graphic as his demises in the Indiana Jones films, but ‘death by pee joke’ is kind of a weird way to go out.

M of course is kind of pissed (heh) at this, (whereas Bernard Lee’s M actually was kind of proud of the intelligence Bond picked up at Shrublands in the original film-

“If 007 says he saw Derval last night at Shrublands and he was dead,

that’s enough for me to initiate inquiries.”

Although to be fair, this is before the whole nuke-stealing plot unfolds, whereas in Thunderball, it was after.

Which of course, unfolds now, with Jack actually launching the nukes using his false eye to gain clearance, instead of them being stolen via plane like in Thunderball.

 

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This replaces dummy warheads with real ones, and launches them, but to land safely on Largo’s yacht, the Flying Saucer, the Disco Volante. We get some fairly cringey blue-screen work here as the missiles fly over beaches and countryside, sort of reminding me of some of the lesser flying effects in the Superman films. (Such as when Superman has to stop two nukes on his own).

A bit of a word on the Flying Saucer, in real life it’s called the Kingdom 5KR, with a few different names.

However, shortly after this film was released, it was sold to a certain billionaire who seems to be in the news a lot lately….

and that’s all I’m going to say about that!

Anyway, in a slightly similar fashion to Fiona taking out Count Lippe in the original film, but a little more twisted, Fatima takes care of Jack by throwing a snake into his car, causing it to crash. She then recovers her poor snake before destroying the rest of Jack’s car.

Blofeld then gives his ultimatum, similar to Thunderball, although this time he’s got a camera inside a silver skull, instead of the usual Octopus images the organization are associated with. He demands oil money this time.

Of course alarmed at this, the secretary tells M to reactivate the 00s (I guess they were sort of ‘inactive’ or something? It’s not really made clear, apart from Bond saying earlier that he had “little use” for the section, and that Bond for some reason was teaching?)

We get a second scene from Moneypenny, as Bond is investigating a matchbox he found on Jack’s bed at Shrublands which features Largo’s flag symbol. Once again, M largely ignores 007’s idea about the eye and Petachi.

We then come back to the FS, where Largo is watching Jack’s sister, Domino (played by future megastar Kim Basinger in an early role), do some aerobics to some very funky music. It’s all so very goofy and so 80’s, even Largo can’t help laughing a bit at it.

 

He then gives her a necklace, which of course will become very important to the plot later (and sort of a critical error on Largo’s part) . He also warns her, that if she ever leaves him, he’ll cut her throat (he also strikes a bad note on the piano nearby when he hears it). The Thunderball Largo has nothing on this guy’s level of utter creepiness, even when he was torturing her at the end of that film. For all the film’s other problems, Largo is an effective villain.

Although we haven’t seen M technically order him to go to the Bahamas or anything, Bond’s going there anyway simply because Largo’s boat is docked there, at the moment, and I guess to incorporate a little bit of the flavor of the original Thunderball, which was set almost entirely at Nassau in the second half of the film.

But before we do that, we’ve got the “Q scene”.  Although this Q is certainly not Desmond Llewylnn’s Major Boothryd, but a guy named Algeron, whose lab, attire, and attitude is certainly less refined then either of his official counterparts (Boothryd and the new Whishaw version).

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This is clearly defined by his attitude to Bond, the polar opposite of the EON Q’s attitude to Bond’s lifestyle (and somewhat sort of defines Bond movies in general):

 

“Now you’re on this, I hope we’re going to

have some gratuitous sex and violence.”

A bit of a note here, it’s interesting that the gadgets in this film (apart from the motorcycle) in someway anticipate Goldeneye’s. Although it’s a pen weapon it fires rocket projectiles instead of functioning like a grenade like Goldeneyes (Plus it’s a vastly different pen).

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There’s also a laser watch, which also of course would be used in Goldeneye .

There’s even the gag of Bond mistaking something ordinary for one of Q’s gadgets-in this case it’s an inhaler for Q’s sinuses, instead of a submarine sandwich.

Finally, we’re capped off with Bond telling him he’s going to the bahamas, to which Q responds “Lucky bloody you!”

 

 

 

Bond in Review: Live and Let Die Part IV

Bond, Felix, and Quarrel Jr. take the fight back to San Monique to destroy Kananga’s operation and rescue Solitaire. Bond trades his usual PPK for a Smith and wesson magnum revolver, and decides to be a bit stealthy, wearing  an all-black suit. Among it’s many callbacks to other Bond films, Bond’s suit in this movie seems to be reference in the SPECTRE poster (although the outfit he wears in the film is a bit different)

 

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Here, Solitarire is bound and about to be sacrificed to a poisonous snake like Baines earlier in the film, in a scene you’d probably expect to see in a King Kong film, not in a Bond film.

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However, Bond withdraws his shot when the snake ritual abruptly switches to another thing, Baron Semedi, rising from his “grave”. What follows is pretty weird, as Bond opens fire on Samedi and the revelers; killing the snake man and apparently hitting Samedi too, but it turns out to be perhaps a wooden dummy. However, before it collapses, it’s eyes roll up, which is kind of weird.

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After Bond saves Solitare, Semedi (the real one?) emerges from his grave again, and challenges Bond to a machete fight, as Bond has just used up his ammo already.Related image

Quess he didn’t follow his own advice years before…”That’s a smith and wesson, and you’ve had your six.”

 

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Bond manages to knock Semedi into a casket of snakes, where they bite and poison him to death…or do they? and uses the Baron’s grave to gain access to Kananga’s underground base. Kananga seems a bit more genial here, much more upbeat and less angry than his earlier appearances in the film. Here, he takes Bond’s other weapon-a shark gun that shoots compressed air bullets (presumably if Bond needed to swim his way out?) which he then gleefully uses on a couch.

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Kananga says that the explosives which have now destroyed the poppy fields have only damaged part of his operations, and that he can rebuild easily with Bond out of the way. As Felix makes another ironic quote about Bond getting ‘tied up’, Bond in fact does get tied up, over a pool of sharks-and with Kananga cutting his arm so it’ll attract sharks.

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Parodied of course later on in “Austin Powers…”

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But like Austin later on with his floss, Bond’s got a little dues ex machina of his own. Not only does his watch of course function as a magnet-which he uses to get one of the bullets-but the watch also doubles as a small saw!

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Escaping and facing Kananga in a brief stand off, Bond manages to overpower him and they both go into the water, where Bond feeds him the bullet. And we’re given perhaps the most ridiculous (and fairly grainy, for some reason) death in the series, as he pretty much turns into a balloon and bursts (although it’s totally bloodless).

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But, like Diamonds Are Forever and the next film, we’re given a post-villain scene where the henchman tries to get revenge. Bond tries to teach Solitare a game of cards (in this case, Gin rummy).

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But it turns out Tee-Hee has gotten a ride and wants vengeance for his boss, and so we’re given one of those Bond cliches, the train fight. There’s a brief fight here but Bond quickly manages to damage and jam Tee-Hee’s arm, throwing him-and then his mechanical arm-off the train. We get a kind of double joke here-Solitaire saying “That wasn’t very funny!” since she was stuck in her bed for most of the fight (an unintentional joke to Tee-Hee’s constant giggling) and Bond saying “Just being disarming, darling).

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But that’s not it, yet-the final shot of the movie is Baron Semedi on the very front of the train, laughing!

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It’s not ever followed up on, of course, unless you count the Goldeneye 64 mission.

 

Although it’s a bit bizzare in going for the more supernatural than the fantastic, Live and Let Die I feel is a far more polished, good looking, fast-paced and entertaining film than “Diamonds Are Forever”, and easily the strongest of the “Guy Hamilton trilogy” of early 70’s Bond films. Sure, it’s got some silly moments like it’s predecessor, but somehow with Moore it works far better than the usually more serious Connery. It also doesn’t really hit you over the head with it’s location the way “Diamonds” did, and unlike Diamonds-which was mainly stuck in Vegas-feels like more of a globe-trotting adventure, leading perhaps to Bond locations being somewhat more varied in later films (Especially The Spy Who Loved Me, for instance). Although Moore hasn’t quite fit perfectly into the role yet, he comes across far more friendly here than his somewhat more mean-spirited performance in his next film. In addition to the supernatural angle, it also departs in a few other ways from formula, perhaps to distinguish itself more from the Connery films-Bond’s intro for instance quickly getting the briefing out of the way, and in a different setting than M’s office; and of course the total absence of Q.

This kind of ends the “Bond in Review” of the regular Bond films, but at some point I’ll post a review of Connery’s return to the role, in the interesting 1983 Thunderball remake, Never Say Never Again.

 

 

Bond in Review: Live and Let Die Part III

Bond’s trip to New Orleans is unfortunately almost cut short when he ends up in the same cab with Mr. Big’s taxi driver from New York, and is taken back to the airport. It’s here we meet Adam, who has probably the most normal-sounding name of any Bond henchman ever….and this is in a film with henchmen named Tee-Hee, Whisper, and Baron Semedi.

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Adam and the cab driver inform Bond he’s going “skydiving” over the bayou-without a parachute. (although Bond would later do so in Moonraker, pictured below fortunately there was a villain with a parachute nearby and Bond somehow steers with his butt. Still a great stunt though).

 

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However, Solitare quickly improvises a false betrayal of Bond, pretending to hit him with his handbag, allowing a distraction to sucker punch Adam and quickly escape to a nearby plane, where he proceeds to-like the earlier scene with the bus-drive around-and generally damage-the plane while the villains crash trying to keep up with him, with the bewildered Mrs. Bell as his passenger, who just wanted to get a flying lesson. I find it kind of funny that the shot that introduces her, and the shot that closes the scene are exactly the same.

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After Felix handles the complaints of the actual flight instructor, Bond and Felix head to another Filet of soul restaurant, although Bond decides to *not* sit next to the wall this time. Meanwhile, Bond’s other ally Strutter suffers the same fate as the New Orleans agent in the opening sequence, and we get an unintentional joke from Felix: “I hope he isn’t laying down on the job”.

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Here we get a lounge singer singing the title tune, although with a female voice instead of Paul McCartney. It’s one of the few times in the films we hear the film’s song as something other than an instrumental soundtrack, and it helps that the lyrics don’t really have much to do with the film itself. I couldn’t see somebody say, in “Goldfinger” singing the theme song at Goldfinger’s ranch or something like that.

Although Bond doesn’t get flipped through the wall this time, his chair does descend to another of Mr. Big’s hideouts (which I’m sure is pretty much the same set from earlier.) With the recaptured Solitaire, Mr.Big quizzes Bond if whether Bond “messed” with Solitaire, and cost her powers. Bond, being a gentleman, refuses to answer, but if he must he’d rather speak to Kananga. Mr. Big, to the suprise of no one, rips off his fake hair and mask and reveals he was really Kananga the whole time, and we get your Bond villain monologue.  His villainous plot is strictly small potatoes. He’s using the dual identities-and Samedi scaring people away from the fields-as a pipeline to distribute his drugs, giving it away for free so that there will be a monopoly. It’s not exactly starting World War III so people can migrate into underwater cities, or even Goldfinger’s elaborate fort knox plan. Still, it’s in keeping with the more realistic schemes in the novels, and actually is a bit of an improvement on the original novel, where Mr. Big was mainly concerned with Gold pirate coins to help finance the Soviets in the cold war(The name “Kananga” is actually an invention for the film, which I’ll explain shortly). Dalton’s films would also feature somewhat scaled down drug-smuggling plots-and indeed, elements of the “Live and Let Die” novel would make their way into Dalton’s second film as well.

 

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We get a tense scene where Kananga takes Bond’s watch, and asks Solitare to tell him if the numbers he reads are correct-and he’ll have Tee-Hee start snipping Bond’s fingers off with every wrong answer. None of them are right, but he spares Bond for the moment just so he can get really angry at Solitare-and then leaves her to Semedi, who lets out this great laugh as he burns her cards. Then she pretty much vanishes for the next half hour of film.

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Bond is taken to a crocodile farm. In reality, this place was owned by an actual man named Kananga, so that’s where the name in the movie comes from (I’m guessing they scouted out this location before writing the final script). After an ill-fated attempt to use his magnetic watch to escape using a nearby boat, Bond then uses the crocs as stepping stones.

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40 years later, a different Bond would make a similar approach in Skyfall, although with CG Komodo dragons.

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Bond escapes in another boat-this time a speedboat, and we get the film’s famous speedboat chase. Or infamous, since it introduces J.W Pepper.

 

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While “Diamonds are Forever” of course had a “Keystone cop” sequence-and so would Roger Moore’s swan song, View To A Kill-Live and Let Die-Sheriff J.W Pepper is a whole other level, sort of a stereotype “redneck” character. This movie came out a few years before “Smokey and the Bandit”, so it’s not really them taking off another genre with a similar antagonist. The chase itself is pretty good, with a nice number of stunts including this one:

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Bond’s own chase isn’t as related to Pepper, it’s mainly collateral damage, especially when his car-destroyed by one of Kananga’s boats-and later his brother-in law Billy Bob who gets knocked out by Adam.

 

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The chase also gets one of Kananga’s men stuck in a swimming pool, but also ruins a wedding as well. Right at the “If any man…” part via a boat ramming into a wedding cake. oops. Weddings in James Bond films rarely seem to go well-not only for Bond and Felix, but for the bystanders.

 

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Before he left, Bond would again ruin another wedding in “View to a Kill”. Between the cop comedy and this, I’ve got to wonder if these were somewhat deliberate nods to this film.

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Finally, Bond is able to blind Adam, and push him into a nearby open tanker, causing an explosive collision. After all the havoc, we get this pretty funny exchange when Bond pops up to reunite with Felix.

Pepper:What are you?Some kind of doomsday machine, boy?Well, we’ve got a cage strong enough to hold an animal like you here!

Felix:Captain, enlighten the sheriff, please.

Captain:Yes, sir.JW, let me have a word with you. now this fella’s from London, England.

He’s an Englishman workin’ in cooperation with our boys.A sort of secret agent.

Pepper: Secret agent?!On whose side?!

Next: Back to San Monique!

 

James Bond in Review:On Her Majesty’s Secret Service part III

We next go see Tracy attend her father’s birthday, to the tune of “We have all the time in the world” but a bit lighter. Of course, Bond is there, and Tracy is immediately wise to her father being up to something.

She puts an ultimatum to father: Give him the information about Blofeld, or never see her again-Draco reveals that Blofeld might have a lawyer in Sweden, but Tracy is still upset that she was used as a pawn. Bond apologizes, and the two seem to reconcile and we get a nice montage set to the lyrical version of Louis Armstrong’s “We have all the time in the world”, with the two horse-riding, walking through a fancy garden, running on the beach etc. It’s a little sappy but pretty effective at the same time. It ends with them looking at each other happily in the car with Draco in-between, who seems a bit uncomfortable, and even a bit worried the two are in love. Hey, it was your idea!

We next get a nice, tense scene where Bond breaks into the lawyer’s office to crack his safe and copy some documents about the Blofeld connection (He also enjoys some nice newspapers and magazines while doing so). We’re shown scenes of the lawyer nearly returning to amp up the tension a bit.

The safe cracker is one of the few gadgets in the film, along with the reprises ones in the opening (and I suppose Q’s lint) and Bond’s office, as well as Blofeld’s later deadly makeup kit. Bond then chucks the gadget into a barrel operated by crane from Draco’s construction crew, where Campbell-played by British actor Bernard Horsfall, known for many guest roles in Doctor Who-among others-collects it nearby.

It’s not quite made clear if Campbell is one of  Draco’s men or a fellow secret service guy, although it’s made clear in the novel that he’s the latter (Although Bond is “on leave”). Then again, sometimes MI6 would go over M’s head to help James if he’s in a pickle (As we see in License to Kill and Spectre).

We see Bond visit M at his mansion, something we haven’t seen at the film yet, looking over his butterfly collection (M butterfly? Sorry, bad pun) with Bond showing off that he knows a bit about the study of butterflys as well, in addition to alcohol, weapons and women (Although he doesn’t know much about diamonds as we learn in the next film).

He manages to convince M to let him back on Operation Bedlam, and we learns that Blofeld-using the alias de Bleucham (Which is french for Blofeld)-wants to become a count and has asked the college of arms to look into it. Bond takes the opportunity to learn about his own past as well, including his family crest.

 

Orbis non suffict-AKA The World Is Not Enough….hey, that sounds like a good title….

Bond meets with-and intends to impersonate-Sir Hilary Bray, played by George Baker here (Baker would return to Bond to play a different character in “The Spy Who Loved Me”, but is otherwise perhaps best known as the troubled Emperor Tiberius in the I, Claidius series. )  so that he can get close to Blofeld, find out what he’s up to, and finally capture him (He’s given a hint by Bond that “Bleauchamp” has no earlobes). Funny thing is, Bond’s impersonation includes his *voice* as well, which means for pretty much the next 45 minutes, Bond sounds exactly like him with a few exceptions. In a sense, George Baker “plays” James Bond!

And so the deception begins, with Bond wearing a hat, glasses and trenchcoat. Not exactly the most convincing disguise (The hat’s somewhat similar to the one’s he worn before, even)….and Bond set off to Switzerland.

 

Bond in Review: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service part two

Still in the area, Bond stops by a local hotel and casino, where the woman’s car is also parked. Inquiring as to the owner, he learns that she’s Count Tesera De  Vicenzo. As the night closes, Bond settles down for some baccarat in a nice casino. I’m drawing another Goldeneye connection here….first a small race with a red car, now baccarat in a fancy hotel.

However, instead of the innuendo and subtle interrogation of the later game, Teresa-who wishes to be called Tracey, as “Theresa was a saint”-makes a dumb move, and what’s worse, she has no money on her at all! So Bond bails her out, rescuing her for a second time, although perhaps from jail rather than drowning. During their little table chat, he flirts with her a bit, and the chemistry of Lazenby and Rigg here is very, very good.

Going to meet Tracey for a late night rendezvous, Bond instead meets Che-Che. He’s one of the few fights in Bond films in which Bond later becomes buddies with his opponent (The other being Quarrel/Pussfellow and I suppose Pussy Galore.) After knocking him out-with a gate no less (With Bond quipping about him being a “Gatecrasher”) Bond samples some caviar (originally intended for him and Tracey), and is able to figure out exactly what fish they came from (A Royal beluga sturgeon from the caspian sea). Maybe it’s from Valentine’s stock.

Cavier Torture

 

Bond returns to his own room, where Teresa is pointing a gun at him, but he quickly disarms her and wonders what her deal is. I kind of like how Lazenby’s able to play a mix of toughness and utter confusion here at the same time. After trying to figure her out, the two just give in.

Bond awakens to find her gone, but on the way out, Cheche and a few other guys show up, and direct Bond to a car which then takes him to some facility, and we get an instrumental version Listen closely to the janitor here as they take Bond in-he’s whistling “Goldfinger”.

Bond’s able to fight them off and enter the office-and then we get this great shot of Bond about to throw his knife-which hits the calander behind….

Marc-Ange Draco.  Draco fits the sort of “Kerim Bey” or “Columbo” role here, as Bond’s ally who has a bit of a rap sheet, but one that works with Bond regardless. In this case, Draco is the fictional head of the (actually real life group) Unione Course, as well as his own construction company as a front.

However, his meeting with Bond is not really about that-he’s actually Tracy’s father…it turns out he spoiled her too much, she became rebellious and now is pretty much just depressed. The men Bond fought earlier (and probably killed at least one!) were actually just keeping an eye on her, more or less. However, he think’s Bond’s rescues are starting to make her feel better-and he actually wants Bond to get engaged and married to her-but Bond wants to live the bachelor lifestyle and doesn’t have too much faith in his own ability to help Teresa (Maybe his failures with Fiona and Helga blew his ego a bit). However, Bond knows that Draco has connections, and might know where Blofeld is hiding….and he might consider it.

Next we get a more typical Bond scene, of sorts, as Bond stops into M’s offices, with the usual Moneypenny flirting (Lois Maxwell looks a bit older here, especially next to Lazenby, who was 30 at the time. However her aging worked a bit better with Roger since they were pretty much the same age anyway). However, the meeting with M is unusual-it’s not a mission briefing, but a bit of a scolding-M wants Bond off of Operation Bedlam since he can’t seem to find Blofeld yet. Bond isn’t too happy about this, and tells Moneypenny to tell M that he wants to quit.

Along with the opening credits and the guy whistling Goldfinger, we get another reminder to the audience of the legacy of the older films,  as Bond goes through various gadgets and mementos from the previous films, complete with their associated themes (with “Underneath the mango tree” for Dr.No and Honey’s knife). Funny that the film most often associated for beginning the whole “Bond is simply a code name” thing is also the one that hits the audience on the head over and over again with the whole “This is the same guy!!!!” thing. While Bond films do of course reference the past films-most notably in the anniversary films Die Another Day and Skyfall-it’s still fairly early days here, and mainly to establish Lazenby as a legit 007. Other Bond debut films wouldn’t quite do this-“Live and Let Die” in many ways did it’s best to distance Roger Moore from Connery (Roger, for instance, smokes cigars while Connery smokes cigarettes) as did “The Living Daylights”, “Goldeneye” (Especially with Judi Dench’s M) and most of all, “Casino Royale”. But here it’s pretty much part of the sell.

However, Bond doesn’t have to quit, as Moneypenny reworks his request into simply asking for leave. Which also is sort of James Bond movie doublespeak for “You can still do your mission, but just be discreet about it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Bond in Review: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Part One

In 1967, Sean Connery left the series, due to being typecast and also the strain of too much publicity and paparazzi. In an unexpected move, the producers then cast George Lazenby, an Australian model and commercial actor, in a controversial choice, which only became more controversial with rumors of trouble on the set and then Lazenby bowing out of the role as the film premiered (While the film didn’t do as well as the Connery films, Lazenby still had a chance to do six more films-but declined. He wasn’t fired).

 

OHMSS starts with an interesting gunbarrel, which, like the Dr.No Gunbarrel, pauses to briefly bring up the producers. The theme has changed a bit-it’s certainly a bit less grand, and the spanish guitar is pretty much gone (although it would show up again in the next film).

 

We open on Q and M, oddly enough, with Q showing off some new magnetic lint that can be used as a tracking device…. (Q by the way, doesn’t do too much in this film, as it’s fairly light on the gadgets) but M wishes he could put a tracker on 007, who seems to not be up to much. Turns out, since the events of You Only Live Twice, MI6 has put into effect “Operation Bedlam”-an attempt to track down and capture the SPECTRE leader before he strikes again. But the trail’s gone cold.

We cut to Bond on some beachfront somewhere, driving a new Aston Martin DBS (Which bears some cosmetic resemblance to the later Valante used in The Living Daylights). He’s wearing Bond’s trademark hat, what appear to be sunglasses and smoking a cigar, but he’s mainly obscured in semi-darkness (Dalton and Brosnan would have similar slow reveals)

A woman in a red car cuts him off. Wouldn’t be the last time, as “Goldeneye” proved…(although Xenia Onatopp was far, far more nefarious than Tracy here)

 

Although instead of a race, she just wants to get to the ocean. Bond, intrigued, uses his scope to check her out-until he realizes’s she is in fact trying to drown herself. The gallant Bond saves her, although it’s a reluctant rescue for her-and Bond does his trademark name catchphrase-revealing Lazenby for the first time in full.

 

…and of course, this being a Bond pre-credits sequence, there’s got to be action…and in this case, Bond and the woman are quickly surrounded by armed men, who seem to want to take her away. Bond quickly gets free though, and we’re given a fairly chaotic fight on the beach and in the waves, a bit hampered by the dark early morning setting (You can’t really make out too much going on). There’s a lot of fast cuts and sped-up shots-Peter Hunt, the director, after all edited a lot of the other films and seems to have pretty much been given more free reign here, although if I’m not sure the edits are to show Lazenby’s weaknesses as a fighter or what (He’s certainly better than Moore at it though). This Bond seems to use a lot of judo as well.

In all the chaos, the woman slips away, using Bond’s car to drive up to her own and then escape, but leaving her slippers behind. Picking them up, he remarks “This never happened to the other fellow!”

 

 

It’s sort of a meta-joke about Sean Connery, although in the context of the movie, it’s probably intended as a reference to Prince Charming from Cinderella (hence the slippers). Although it’s certainly spawned about a gazillion “Bond is really just a code name!” theories to explain the change in actors throughout the series.

We then come to the title sequence, which is really brilliant. A martini glass also functions as a bit of an hourglass, and Bond hanging from a clock arm also deals with the concept of time. One of the themes of the movie is “We have all the time in the world”-but it’s kind of clear that time may not be on Bond’s side with the draining of the hourglass/martini.

The opening credits also use various stock footage from the first five films, in part perhaps to sell that this is the same Bond we’ve known for the past decade-there’s villains, girls, actions and some other elements. Of course there’s also shots of the union jack, the crown (Given the movie’s title after all!), and of course the silhouetted  girls.

 

…..and then there’s the theme, which has no lyrics and is pretty much the best non-Bond theme instrumental theme in the series. It’s influence can certainly be felt in the score for the (Far inferior IMO) View To A Kill, and one of the trailers for SPECTRE likewise used a version of the tune. It was also memorably used in the 2003 teaser trailer for the Disney/Pixar film the Incredibles:

 

 

 

 

Bond in Review: You Only Live Twice Part III

 

Bond is taken aboard the Ning-Po to be interrogated by Helga-Spectre’s No.11 (One number less than 12, which would be the designation for another Fiona Vulpeish character-Fatima Blush-in Never Say Never Again). Bond confesses he’s a spy, but simply an industrial one instead of a government one-and hence still “Mr. Fisher”. He manages to avoid getting interrogated by bribing and seducing her.

 

….But just like Volpe before her, she doesn’t get redeemed like Pussy Galore did, and instead tries to kill Bond in a plane by locking him in and jumping out, allowing the plane to crash and catch fire. It’s a bit over elaborate, and of course Bond lands and gets out just in time. You’d figure he would’ve learned his lesson about SPECTRE women from Fiona Vulpe….but nope.

Getting back to Tanaka, Bond learns the identity of the island the Ning-Po’s been to-and of course wants to do some aerial reconnaissance. Enter Q, who gives him “Little Nellie”-a small gyrocopter that Tanaka thinks looks like a silly toy, but she’s quite formidable, with rocket launchers, SAM missiles, flame throwers, smoke jets *and* aerial mines!

We soon get a demonstration as Bond goes on the island, which seems to have nothing but a volcano-but then SPECTRE choppers move to intercept, so there’s obviously *something* there. We then get a cool sequence with Little Nellie, with the 007 “action” theme playing in the background at first, but then just the Dr.No stock version of the Bond theme. It’s certainly more fitting here than the Bond checking into the hotel scene in FWRL, but it might’ve been interesting for a fresh tune. While there aerial shots of the helicopters are of course great, some of the close ups of Connery don’t have great blue screen, he looks kind of silly in the helmet, and the helicopter explosions are obviously models (and possibly the same shot recycled). Oh well.

 

Meanwhile, the Russians make their space shot, and of course the SPECTRE rocket comes and steals it, making it of course look like the USA did it-making World War III imminent, and the United States even more skeptical of the Japan claim. This time, we see the rocket land-in the volcano-in reality, a huge SPECTRE base, and probably the main thing people remember about this movie apart from Donald Pleasence’s Blofeld. At the time, it was one of the largest sets ever constructed, although it would be later topped by the LIPARUS in Spy Who Loved Me, directed by the same guy and with a somewhat similar plot.

Speaking of Blofeld, he’s got a nice underground lounge that’s somewhat reminiscent of Dr.No’s.

Although instead of a glass aquarium magnifying mostly harmless fish, he’s got an open pool of deadly piranhas. He intimidates some men-possibly Chinese who would benefit from the upcoming World War between the United States and Russia-and they call him on it, saying it’s extortion-but of course, that’s what the E in Spectre stands for, as Blofeld notes.

He then brings in Helga and Osato, and shows him the X-ray of Bond’s gun taken in Osato’s office-noting that only one man they know carries such a weapon (seriously? As noted in-universe in Dr.No, there’s a lot of CIA guys who use it, for one) James Bond.

I wonder if Valentine’s recognition of the gun in “Goldeneye” is a bit of a callback to this-it even has similar dialogue.

They both use the excuse of Bond’s “death” in order to deflect responsibility, but Blofeld isn’t buying it. Much like Kronsteen, Count Lippe, and SPECTRE No.9, he decides to make an example of a henchman-this time, Helga, by dropping her into the pool.

Although pretty much free of gore, it’s still a pretty disturbing Bond girl death, one of the more shocking in the series along with Corrine in Moonraker and Della in License to Kill. And those were good Bond girls!

Blofeld-whose voice is now a lot less deeper than his previous incarnations-barks an order: “KILL BOND! NOW!”

 

Next: Ninjas, Bond goes native, and Kissy is introduced.