The James Bond 007 Dossier

Bond, James Bond.

9. January 2013 04:09
by m

The big Bond bonanza.

9. January 2013 04:09 by m | 0 Comments

Thought I'd take a break from all the SkyfallSkyfall and 50th anniversary articles to post this gem from 1965. Enjoy!

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The big Bond bonanza.

By William K. Zinsser

Is James Bond really a product of our times? This 'anti-hero' who lives by no civilized code? This lover and killer of beauty?

Whatever produced the spectacular success of Agent 007, it was there on the ThunderballThunderball set girls, good guys, baddies, the gadgets, the dream merchants and the live sharks.

There was a photographer from Italy with assignments to shoot a cover for 14 different European magazines. There was a French writer photographer team from Paris Match and another from Elle and France-Soir. There were Germans from Bildzeitung and Stern and Neue Illustrierte, and Englishmen from the Daily Mail and The News of the World, Swedes from Expressen and Se, an Austrian from Revue. and a varied assortment of Australians and Canadians.

There were reporters and photographers from Life, Time. Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Look, True, Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, This Week, The New York Times Magazine, a dozen Southern newspapers, the UPI and several smaller syndicates. There were TV units making films for NBC and ABC and the BBC. There was Ed Sullivan. There was—calling on the phone from Tokyo—the editor of Japan's biggest magazine.

Oh, it was a big story, all right. The biggest story I’ve ever been on. and it wasn’t any mere Dominican uprising or Cuba blockade, ft was even bigger than that -the new James Bond movie was being filmed in the Bahamas! The men who made Dr. NoDr. No and From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love and GoldfingerGoldfinger were back in action, stirring up a new epic, this one more colossal than ever. ThunderballThunderball! Guns and girls! Danger and sex! All this and Sean Connery too- and in Technicolor and Panavision! How could the press stay away?

For the world wants to know all that there is to know about Bond (Secret Agent 007) and about the actor who plays Bond (Sean Connery) and about the special environment in which he moves, where Martinis must be stirred and not shaken and where attache cases will explode if opened the wrong way. And between now and next Christmastime, when ThunderballThunderball opens, the world will be sure to have its wish.

To enter Bondsviile is to escape into the life of a man who always wins In the elaborate mythology of a suave British spy, with his miraculous gadgets that rub out bad guys, and miraculous girls who sleep with good guys, modern man has found a perfect security blanket for the nervous 1960's.

Crazes come and crazes go, but the "Bond phenomenon." as it is now reverently called, is hard to match. It all started, of course, with lan Fleming, the English author who created the character of James Bond. Between 1953 and his death last summer, Fleming wrote 12 Bond thrillers which have now sold almost 60 million copies in 11 languages, and a final book, The Man With The Golden GunThe Man With The Golden Gun, will be on the stands next month.

Next came the movies, bringing to life all the ingredients that had titillated readers of the books. The infallible Bond was incarnated in the infallible Connery, his face sensual, faintly amused, and with just the proper hint of cruelty. Compliant blondes sprang off the flat pages of Fleming's prose into such rounded forms as Ursula Andress in Dr. NoDr. No, and Honor Blackman in GoldfingerGoldfinger. Now it was actually possible to hear the gentle plop of a silent Walther PPK 7.65 mm., and see its victim slump to the floor, or to hear a man fry as Bond punched him into a full bathtub and threw an electric heater in after him.

All in all, it was good, dirty, entertainment and just what the public had been waiting for. GoldfingerGoldfinger, the most recent of the movies, is expected to become the all-time box-office champion, grossing $20 million here and $25 million abroad. Dr. NoDr. No and From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love are now being revived as a double bill and doing even better than they did the first time around.

Such financial feats are never lost on the movie industry, and it is no coincidence that Hollywood has announced
more than 20 "spy comedies" of a similar type. On television a spy series. The Man From U.N.C.L.E., has been a big hit of the past season, and another one, Secret Agent, has recently been launched. Even the commercials are feeling the magic presence. Bond Bread had a commercial involving an agent, James Bread ("I'm James Bread from Bond"), who foils an evil plot to put loaves of spurious Bond bread on supermarket shelves. Prince Macaroni has a radio commercial in which a villain named Goldnoodle is caught infiltrating the stores with inferior noodles.

There is no joke, however, about the business being done all over the globe by products that bear the 007 label. Seventy countries are now in on the act. Last spring 6,000 stores in France sold three million dollars' worth of Bond-identified items, including gold-bordered handkerchiefs, trench coats with 007 printed in the silk lining, attache cases, and gold underwear which the ladies were entreated to buy to "become fit for James Bond." In England merchants expect to sell $14 million worth of 007 products this year, mostly of a masculine nature, as befits the British sporting and spying tradition: golf equipment, shoes, suits and vodka.

But it is in America, land of the great tie-in, that sales are biggest of all. Jay Emmett, chairman of the Licensing Corporation of America, which dispenses the Western Hemisphere rights, estimates that $40 million worth of 007 items will be sold by Christmas. He says he has been approached by 250 manufacturers eager to climb on "the Bondwagon." But he maintains that he exercises "quality control." and has limited the number

of companies along on the ride.

Some of their products, like sweatshirts and quilts, have 007 blazoned across them or worked into the pattern. Some, like Colgate-Palmolive's line of 007 toiletries that "make any man dangerous," use the triple numeral on the bottle. Some have secret pockets, like Weldon's his-and-hers pajamas. Some are "executive gifts" cuff links with 007, or a gold ticktacktoe game played with zeroes, and sevens. A lady’s nightgown ("Go to bed dressed to kill") has 007 sewed onto its hem.

There are also toys and board games, for Bond appeals - as Jay Emmett avidly points out - to "two distinct markets: grown-ups and youngsters," Toy manufacturer Marvin Glass is producing an exclusive line of 007 toys and spy gadgets. Other toy makers, though not permitted on the Bond-wagon, are puffing along behind it. Mattel, for instance, says that it will stress cloak-and-dagger toys in its Christmas line, notably a transistor "radio" which, at the push of a switch, turns into a rifle.

The intensity of the lad's grip, in fact, has sent countless intellectuals scurrying to their typewriters—and to their manuals of psychiatry—to explain what it means. French critic Claude Mauriac points out that of all the myths found by Jung in "the collective unconscious," the oldest is that of the hero—the all-powerful strong man "who triumphs over evil incarnate in the shape of dragons and monsters." Bond does this job for us. Mauriac says, the only difference being that today's dragons carry nuclear bombs.

Kingsley Amis, the British author, has written an entire book, The James Bond Dossier, analyzing 007 and his habits. He points out that Bond is a dull man, with no interest in the arts or literature. "His mind is a completely utilitarian organ." Amis writes. "We don't want to have Bond to dinner or talk to Bond, We want to be Bond," American historian Jacques Barzun writes that we identify with Bond because "there is always a larger reason" that justifies his worst actions, "The spy story permits us not to choose: We know that in exchange for a few dirty tricks there is power and luxury, cash and free sex."

In a new rock-'n'-roll record, a boy complains that his "baby went and fell in love with Double-O-Seven." The writer of the song may well think that that's really what his baby went and did, but she'd better not expect any love in return. James Bond is no bloody romantic. In film after film he ushers his girls to bed and that's where it ends. Except that the villains are in a hidden panel behind the bed taking movies. Or they come around later and paint the girl gold from head to toe. Whatever it is, it's a little dirty in one way or another. Life is cheap, girls are expendable, death is cruel. Bond fans argue that it's all tongue in cheek. Nobody, they say, could take it seriously.

Maybe. In their broad shape the movies are as guileless as a comic hook. But in their detail—in the gratuitous brutality, the reveling in guns, the callous sex—they lose their innncence, and the spoofing loses its savor.

"But don't you see. Bond is the antihero," the argument goes. "He doesn't have a code like the Western hero. He wouldn't hesitate to shoot somebody in the back. He expresses the times."

The proprietors of this international craze are two London-based Americans, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, who have produced all four of the Bond movies, and will make at least three more. Broccoli and Saltzman have put their stamp on the movies in several basic ways. Mainly they found Connery. They also never hesitated to spend money, filling the films with complicated gadgets too fantastic to be true. The most famous of these adult playthings is the Aston-Martin car, driven by Bond in GoldfingerGoldfinger, which had a variety of secret weapons that crippled any car pursuing it.

Probably no other element in the Bond films has caused such pure delight, and with each new movie the producers feel compelled to outdo their earlier tricks. ThunderballThunderball is costing $5.5 million, almost twice as much as GoldfingerGoldfinger, and of this amount $2.5 million has gone into the sets and props, including a yacht that sheds its outer shell and becomes a 95-mph hydrofoil.

The props are even more complex than usual because one quarter of the movie takes place underwater. ThunderballThunderball is the story of a crime syndicate called SpectreSpectre that hijacks a NATO plane containing two atomic bombs. The plane ts taken to the Bahamas, where the bombs are put aboard the hydrofoil yacht of Largo, the villain. SpectreSpectre'S plan is to blackmail the Western World for £100 million in diamonds, and, as the deadline approaches, Largo and his henchmen take the bombs on two-man submarines toward Miami and Cape Kennedy. They are intercepted by James Bond and a troop of "aquaparas" who float down from the sky for a gigantic underwater battle waged with underwater scooters carbon-dioxide guns and Aqua-Lungs fitted with spearguns.

This is what the world press came to see: The rich kids playing with their toys. There they all were—Broccoli, Saltzman. Connery, director Terence Young and production designer Ken Adam— reunited for another game and surrounded by the latest baubles, in eluding a French bonbon named Claudine Auger whose measurements of 36-23-37 put her in the mainstream of Bond's leading ladies.

Unfortunately the members of the press outnumbered the people they had come to cover. Despite Miss Auger's ample gifts, there wasn't enough of her to go around. One day, for instance, clad in a bathing suit that was by no means too big, she went off down the beach with a photographer from

Playboy. Then she changed into something less comfortable and went off with a photographer from a sedate ladies' magazine. Both had been waiting a week for the opportunity.

(Photo) The three dazzling female stars of ThunderballThunderball look amazingly alike and will be new to American audiences.
From the left: Claudius Auger {France), Martine Beswick (Jamaica) and Luciannna Paluzzi (Italy)

(photo) Hijacked by SpectreSpectre, aircraft carrying two unclear bombs in brought to rest below surface for clandestine unloading.

(photo) Huge sea turtle is foil for actress Claudine Auger, who uses a double for her more perilous underwater escapades.

(photo) Soaring over the rooftops in his latest gadget, a jump-jet pack, James Bond, again eludes the villains and makes the world safer for the dry Martini.

(photo) Before the good guys get there, the baddies tune up a two-man submarine to deliver H-bombs to the Cape Kennedy coast.

And of course everyone wanted to talk to Connery and take pictures of him, which was the last thing that he wanted, unless they were eager to hear about his latest movie, The Hill, in which he doesn't play James Bond. Connery has a horror of being typed in the role of 007. The whole world wants to be James Bond except Connery. That's his identity crisis. So the world journalists sat in press headquarters, knee deep in acrimony and press releases. A typical release described the "hysteria" accorded Connery by a visiting group of American college students:

While doing a a motorboat...Connery was amazed to see mure than 200 young fans treading water, just out of camera range, around his boat. "Speak to us." one of the bold ones shouted. "You're our leader and we're your people."

"These pictures are tremendous fun." said Terence Young, director of all the movies except GoldfingerGoldfinger. "Connery has a very good sense of humor," Young said. "We laugh a good deal while making the pictures. Even the brutality is a little far-fetched — Bond gets a beating that would kill four men, and the next minute he shinnies up a pole. He's indestructible."

Young, a Cambridge honors graduate, is a consciously unruffled man. I got the feeling that if he were not Terence Young, he would like most of all to be James Bond, "I coined a word, 'Bond-manship,'" he said, "which should be our axiom. While we were making Dr. NoDr. No. we wondered if we'd get away with it, because if the audience didn't understand that it was all a joke, we'd be lost. Fleming's books, after all, are almost devoid of humor.

"Luckily the audience loved it, and now when we start a film, I go through the final script adding 'Bondisms.'" A typical Bondism is the scene in Dr. NoDr. No where three thugs, chasing Bond in a hearse, plunge over a cliff to a fiery death. A bystander asks how it happened, and Bond says, "I think they were on their way to a funeral."

"Children especially loved the push-buttonry of GoldfingerGoldfinger" Young said. "They're quite cynical, I suppose, because they've seen so much ordinary violence on TV. I think the brutality of these pictures is increasingly a response to what children want."

The man behind the machines in ThunderballThunderball and two earlier Bond films is production designer Ken Adam. A gentle man who does not want to be Bond, he is the unsung star of the troupe. His job is to create the unique environment in which James Bond moves: A world of fact that verges on fantasy. "For me," said Adam, whom I found checking an orange two-man submarine, "a Bond movie is an opportunity to go bigger than life, but not so big that it's unacceptable to the public. In GoldfingerGoldfinger the interior of Fort Knox was completely stylized I made it up. But everyone said they thought that's exactly how it looks.

"The idea for these gimmicks is often a collective process, quite spontaneous. In ThunderballThunderball the script called for a hydrofoil yacht, but nobody had ever built one big enough. So we bought a 60-foot hydrofoil and built a cocoon around it with a painted superstructure that looked like a yacht. But then it was so heavy that it wouldn't take off. So I thought of having the boat shed its cocoon.

"Everyone said it wouldn't work, so you commit yourself anyway, and then when it does, everyone says, ‘We knew it would.' Then somebody said. 'Why couldn't we arm the cocoon so that it becomes a floating bastion?' So that's what we're doing."

As for the Aston-Martin car, Adam said it was created out of his own frustration. "I have a sports car that gets bumped every time I park it in London," he recalled, "and. I began to think 'What if I had a car that would hit the other fellow back or shoot him in the behind?'

"But there's very little trickery in these pictures. We're shooting all our underwater stuff in the open sea, and we've got a whole armory of underwater projectiles from all over the world, In the old days Hollywood would build a shark out of rubber and piano wire and put an engine in it. We're using real sharks."

The most excited of all about the toys is co-producer Kevin McClory. A skin-diving enthusiast who came to the Bahamas in 1957, after serving as associate producer of Around the World in 80 Days. McClory wanted to make an "underwater epic" and went through the five Fleming books that had then been published.

"I didn't think the books were very cinematic," he recalled. "I met Fleming and told him 1 thought the character of Bond would be tremendous box office, but that I'd like to surround him with special ingredients, mainly the underwater world.

Ian agreed, and we worked together on a story to be set in the Bahamas.

"Then I came back and wrote a screenplay with Jack Whittingham, whose form was very much like the one we're using now, gradually adding certain elements from the headlines and from my own experience. A bomber disappeared over the Atlantic, for instance, with some atomic devices, and I remembered seeing two-man submarines during the war. and I knew of an underwater cave here in the Bahamas—things like that. Ian agreed that these should be in the screenplay. Then he came out with his own book, ThunderballThunderball. which incorporated all these ideas. That's when I sued him."

The suit took three years to come to trial, and when after 10 days it was settled. at the end of 1963, Fleming agreed to assign the screen rights of ThunderballThunderball to McClory and acknowledged its origin in future copies of the book. Meanwhile Fleming had sold to Broccoli and Saltzman the rights to all his other books, except Casino RoyaleCasino Royale.

Albert R. Broccoli, who says his uncle introduced the family vegetable to America, is a worried-looking man of 54 who has been in the movie industry since 1936, beginning as a mail boy for 20th Century-Fox. During most of those years he was known professionally as Cubby Broccoli—"he dropped Cubby when he made his first million," the press agent explained tartly—and he is now rather wistful about the loss.

"I miss it," he said. "My old friends see 'Albert Broccoli' on these pictures, and they say, 'I wonder if that's any relation to Cubby?'"

The career of Cubby Broccoli took its first turn for the Albert in 1952, when he left Hollywood and began making movies in England. "I've always wanted to do what we've done with these Bond pictures—take good actors who were unknown and use them to tell a good story, I felt that the Fleming books had all the elements. They had action, they had sex. and they had wonderful characters.

"I discarded the idea of doing them with a box-office star, but the studios were wary of the risk. To me, though, it seemed less risk to spend a million dollars on an unknown star and a good story than to spend twenty-three million dollars on a name star, not men-
tioning any names. But I kept hearing that 'the banks want a star.' I said, 'OK. you can give the banks a star Mr. Ian Fleming.'

"I guess we've been lucky, but we've also been rather clever in putting the pictures together. Harry Saltzman and I are not just producers of the kind that provides the financing. We're artistic producers. We keep thinking of different things to do, like that ridiculous car in GoldfingerGoldfinger. We're not afraid to be a little ridiculous."

"There's no baddie as bad as the baddie in a James Bond movie," said Michael Brennan, who was playing one of the villains in the SpectreSpectre mob.

"We baddies all wear black suits," Brennan said. "Even our Aqua-Lung tanks are black. The goodies wear orange suits and have white air tanks. Belief is suspended because of the sincerity with which it's all done. The only people who can achieve tongue in cheek are Connery and Terence Young. We baddies are dead serious."

Brennan, a square and muscular man whose face suggests a life of pugilism, was relishing his role of Janni, one of Largo's bodyguards. At leisure he was all amiability. In action, however, he snapped to do his master's evil bidding with terrible solemnity, and so did the other baddies. One reason for savoring the moment was that there wouldn't be any return engagement.

"No baddie in a Bond movie can ever play again in another one." he explained. "We go to one magnificent death, and that's it."

Brennan went to that magnificent death a few days later. It was the week of shooting the scene in which Bond is thrown into Largo's shark-filled swimming pool, and a metal cover slides over the top, a sticky situation.

Everyone was nervous because of the sharks. They made an eerie sight, circling endlessly around the pool. The house belonged to a Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan, who rented the place to ThunderballThunderball but chose not to move out, much to the surprise of the producers, and even invited houseguests to watch the fun. Everyone had his little toy, and this was theirs.

Most of the shooting was done at night, and the area around the pool, with its impeccable shrubbery and chic patio chairs, was blanketed in the glamorous clutter of movie making. Heavy cables ran in all directions. Tall lights and scaffolds rose everywhere; cameras and booms were shoved back and forth; technicians with earphones sat twirling mysterious dials. Stuntman Bill Cummings made practice jumps into the swimming pool and scurried back out. Occasionally one of the "shark wranglers" climbed into the pool and jabbed the sharks—the change of water was making them drowsy —to make sure that they would be wide awake when Bond arrived among them. Producers bustled about, conferring. Assistant directors shouted through megaphones. Baddies tried judo holds and karate blows on one another. Connery waited. And at one edge of the crowd the Sullivans sat in evening clothes, sipping drinks.

The drinks were real, the sharks were real. Connery was real, Young’s voice was real as it told the black-garbed baddies in the calm tone of a Cambridge honors graduate how to send Bond to his gruesome death. But none of it looked real. It looked . . . you know, sort of tongue in cheek.

"It's Superman and the lot." said Michael Brennan, his narrow baddie eyes, widening in mirth. "It's all the comic strips rolled into one."


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