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31. March 2014 05:25
by m
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Enterprise Incidents James Bond Dossier Part 2

31. March 2014 05:25 by m | 0 Comments

Part 2 of a four part exploration of The James Bond films, published 1983-1984 in Enterprise Incidents magazine , walks us through GoldfingerGoldfinger, ThunderballThunderball and Casino RoyaleCasino Royale (1967)

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001 James Bond Dossier Cover   011 Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang   012 Goldfinger   013 Goldfinger   014 Goldfinger Thunderball   015 Thunderball  
016 Casino Royale 1967   017 Casino Royale 1967   018  

James Bond Movies - PART TWO: MR. KISS KISS BANG BANG

By John Peel

Continuing our series on the James Bond movies we next come to 1964s GoldfingerGoldfinger.

GoldfingerGoldfinger (1964)

CAST

James Bond................Sean Connery
Pussy Galore...........Honor Blackman
GoldfingerGoldfinger.....................Gert Frobe
Jill Masterson............Shirley Eaton
Tilly Masterson............Tania Mallet
Oddjob...................Harold Sakata
M.............................Bernard Lee
Solo.........................Martin Benson
Felix Leiter...................Cec Linder
Simmons.....................Austin Willis
Miss Moneypenny........Lois Maxwell
Midnight.........................Bill Nagy
Capungo..........................Alf Joint
Old Lady................Varley Thomas
Bonita.........................Nadja Regin
Sierra.....................Raymond Young
Smithers..................Richard Vernon
Brunskill....................Denis Cowles
Kisch....................Michael Mellinger
Mr. Ling.......................Bert Kwouk
Strap.............................Hal Galili
Henchman....................Lenny Rabin
Q......................Desmond Llewelyn

CREW

Producers................Harry Saltzman, Albert R. Broccoli (EON Productions)
Director....................Guy Hamilton
Screenplay............Richard Maibaum, Paul Dehn
Production Design...........Ken Adam
Director of Photography..Ted Moore B.S.C.
Editor..........................Peter Hunt
Art Director................Peter Murton
Title Song................Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley Music Composed & Conducted..John Barry
Title Song Vocalist......Shirley Bassey
Asst Director................Frank Ernst
Action Sequences........Bob Simmons
Special Effects................John Stears, Frank George
Titles Design...........Robert Bornjohn

109 minutes. Distributed by United Artists

Considered by many to be the best of the Bond movies, GoldfingerGoldfinger followed fairly swiftly after From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love. Connery was getting very easy in the role of Bond, and this time around, everything seemed to gel to create a blockbuster of a movie. The first of the Bond booms came in the wake of this film, and for very good reason: an exciting story, the film was technically excellent, and the whole production was flawless.

Terence Young, director of the previous two films, was unavailable for the third, and so a newcomer to the series made his impact: Guy Hamilton. Hamilton had learnt his craft under the tutorship of the renowned director Carol Reed, and had made his first movie in 1952, The Ringer (a thriller from an Edgar Wallace story, with a small role for TV's Doctor Who, William Hartnell). He went on to work with Harry Saltzman on Funeral In Berlin (1966) and Battle Of Britain (1967) after Saltzman and Broccoli split.

Veterans of the film series included designer Ken Adam and cameraman Ted Moore. Richard Maibaum, who had co-written earlier scripts, this time teamed with Paul Dehn, a former film critic who knew what he was looking for in a movie. Their script, firmly tongue-in-cheek, brought together all of the elements of the Bond movies— gadgets, girls and thrills.

GoldfingerGoldfinger (Fleming loved unlikely names, but Auric GoldfingerGoldfinger must rank amongst the worst—or best—of them all) is a millionaire eccentric, who aims to rob Fort Knox with the aid of an assorted set of American gangsters. In the film, GoldfingerGoldfinger takes a more interesting idea, planning to explode a small atomic device in Fort Knox to render all of America's gold reserve radioactive and thus unusable. That way, his own store of gold will become far more valuable. Naturally, Bond manages to foil the scheme, though not without problems.

GoldfingerGoldfinger's trademark is gold— which leads to one of the best sequences in the movie. Bond, with the aid of Jill Masterson, has managed to stop GoldfingerGoldfinger from cheating in a card game, and forced him to lose money and face. Jill, played by light comedienne Shirley Eaton (whose other movies include Carry On Sergeant (1959) with William Hartnell and Around The World Under The Sea (1967) with David McCallum), is the victim of GoldfingerGoldfinger's nasty revenge: she is painted with gold paint all over, which causes her to suffocate to a glistening death. Ian Fleming had gotten the idea for this novel way of killing when he had heard of a dancer who had died when accidentally painted all over. The pores in the skin suffocate, leading to a fast death. The image of the golden girl is one that long lingers in the mind, and was cleverly chosen to be the focus of the advertising for the film. (Amusingly, Jill is shown face-down and obviously topless, but has a pair of panties on to give the film a general rating... One wonders why Oddjob bothered to replace them after painting her, though.)

Oddjob was probably the nastiest henchman ever to be faced by James Bond. Tough, nasty and a proficient master of the martial arts, the speechless assassin is a stunning villain. Dressed very incongruously in an ill-fitting suit, it is Oddjob's steel-rimmed bowler that provides both his most lethal weapon (as poor Tilly discovers) and his ultimate fate. Bond manages to neatly dispose of Oddjob by electrifying the bowler... Shocking! (Actually, Oddjob is the second villain Bond electrifies in this movie, as he manages to finish off a would-be assassin in this way in the pre-credit sequence.)

Photo: (Above) Bond with his appreciation society. (Above right) the beautiful but deadly Fiona (Luciana Pallazi). (Right) Underwater action. All scenes from ThunderballThunderball, courtesy United Artists.

Also introduced in this film was the silver Aston Martin DB5 that was to be a trademark of Bond (though it appeared only briefly in ThunderballThunderball, and then never again). The machine was invented by the Q branch (epitomised by Desmond Llewelyn, as in From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love), and had a lot of fascinating additions to the standard production models, including rotating number plates, machine guns, oil sprayers, knives in the hub-caps... In short, a mechanical equivalent of Bond himself, with many surprises up its sleeves.

Technology also appeared on the side of the villains. One of the best and most suspenseful moments in the movie is when GoldfingerGoldfinger has Bond strapped to a table, and turns a laser on him. The laser beam cuts through the table, heading towards Bond's crotch (nasty! what would Bond be without that vital piece of equipment?), as Bond tries to get out of it.

"You won't make me talk," Bond informs GoldfingerGoldfinger, leading to my favorite line from any of the Bond movies. GoldfingerGoldfinger turns in surprise to Bond and replies:

"I don't expect you to talk, Mr. Bond; I expect you to die."

Perfect! Naturally, Bond does talk his way out of it, and survives the problem, but the image of the laser beam (then fairly new) was tarnished forever—to millions, the laser is still a death beam. Advocates of the use of laser in surgery and other benevolent places all have to counter the effects of GoldfingerGoldfinger... Still, I have to admit that the sequence is incredibly effective, one of the best of the death-traps that the writers have dreamed up for the super spy.

Bond is not without help in this film, of course. Apart from Q and his secret service friends like Moneypenny, Bond has a chance to renew his contact with an old friend from Dr. NoDr. No—CIA agent Felix Leiter. Unfortunately, Jack Lord, who had played Leiter in the first film, was not chosen for this time around, and Canadian actor Cec Linder took on the role. (He had appeared in the TV version of Quatermass And The Pit (1959).) In fact, in no two was Leiter to ever be played by the same actor, making his changes of face even more puzzling than those of Bond himself. I can only assume that none of the actors ever wanted to return to the role of straight man for Bond, as Leiter never did get as good a role in the films as in the novels. Cec Linder was a particularly bad choice for the role, as he didn't really have the build of an agent. Jack Lord and Rik Van Nutter (from ThunderballThunderball) were both far more convincing in the part.

Bond's biggest ally, the leader of the flying circus that would spray the knockout gas on Fort Knox, Pussy Galore, is not won without problems.

Playing the role of Pussy (another of Fleming's awful names) was Honor Blackman. In the novel, Pussy is a lesbian gang leader, and very tough. For the film, the lesbian aspect was dropped, but she retained her tough image. Honor Blackman had just finished two years on the TV series The Avengers as tough girl Cathy Gale, and so seemed like the perfect choice for the role of the hard-hitting Pussy Galore. Unfortunately, she had none of the sex-appeal of the other Bond girls, though she had plenty of acting ability. Thankfully, she appeared for a short duration in the final movie, sharing Bond's attention with Jill and Tilly Masterson (Tilly was another lesbian in the book, but this was also dropped from the film).

Coming together, all of this made the movie the first real block-buster of the Bond series. From then on, GoldfingerGoldfinger formed the basis for most of the plotting and filming of the future Bond films. Gadgets became more prevalent, the girls more transient, the action sequences more pronounced. The cerebral qualities of From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love were abandoned for thrills, adventures and action.

For the first time, too, John Barry wrote the complete soundtrack for the movie, after his success with the previous film. And this included the title song. GoldfingerGoldfinger was sung by Shirley Bassey, and proved to be a huge grossing single. It is still probably the best-known of all the songs from the film, as well as the most frequently recorded. Shirley Bassey's "Greatest Hits" albums invariably carry the track, and she still includes it in her repertoire today. The rest of the score matched the power and vitality of the title track, and still ranks as one of the best of all the Bond scores, in fact one of the better motion picture scores of all time. It is certainly one of the bestselling, having been rereleased twice since the first pressing.

The film was a phenomenal success world-wide, breaking box-office records in the U.S. and Britain for its first run. Quite obviously, there had to be a fourth film, and it would have been On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceOn Her Majesty
had Ian Fleming not faced a court case concerning one of his novels____

ThunderballThunderball (1965)

CAST

James Bond...............Sean Connery
Domino...................Claudine Auger
Emilio Largo.................Adolfo Celi
Fiona....................Luciana Paluzzi
Felix Leiter...............Rik Van Nutter
M..............................Bernard Lee
Paula....................Martine Beswick
Count Lippe...............Guy Doleman
Patricia......................Molly Peters
Q....................Desmond Llewelyn
Miss Moneypenny.......Lois Maxwell
Foreign Secretary.......Roland Culver
Pinder......................Earl Cameron
Palazzi......................Paul Stassino
Madame Boiter................Rose Alba
Vargas......................Philip Locke
Kutee.......................George Pravda
Janni.....................Michael Brennan
Group Captain...........Leonard Sachs
Air Vice Marshall..Edward Underdown
Kenniston...........Reginald Beckwith
Hydrofoil Captain...Harold Sanderson

CREW

Producer..................Kevin McClory
Director....................Terence Young
Executive Producers...Harry Saltzman Albert R. Broccoli
Screenplay.............Richard Maibaum, John Hopkins
Production Design...........Ken Adam
Director of Photography...Ted Moore B.S.C.
Supervising Editor...........Peter Hunt
Music Composed & Conducted...John Barry
Lyrics...........................Don Black
Vocalist.........................Tom Jones
Art Director...............Peter Murton
Asst Director..................Gus Agosti
Action Sequences.........Bob Simmons
Special Effects...............John Stears
Main Title Design.......Maurice Binder
Underwater Sequences........Ivan Tors, Underwater Studios Ltd.
Underwater Director.. .Ricou Browning
Underwater Cameraman..Lamar Boren
Underwater Engineer.......Jordan Klein

125 minutes. Distributed by United Artists

Ian Fleming had been involved in numerous attempts to transfer his secret agent to the cinema screen (see the first part of this series), but before Eon Productions, none of these had really produced any results. One of the attempts had been tentatively called James Bond Of The Secret Service and had been drafted for filmmaker Kevin McClory. This, too, had fallen through, and so Fleming reused a number of the ideas that they had worked out in his next Bond novel, ThunderballThunderball (1961). Fleming had done this with both Dr. NoDr. No and For Your Eyes OnlyFor Your Eyes Only when similar projects had fallen through.

McClory sued. He claimed that the novel was directly taken from a screen treatment co-written by himself, Fleming and Jack Whittingham. Rather than try and prove otherwise in court, Fleming settled early—he had a small note to this effect placed in the novel, and the screen rights to the story were assigned to McClory. This seemed to settle matters to everyone's satisfaction, and matters stopped there until the films began production. With the success of the Connery Bond movies, McClory tried to work out a way to film his option on ThunderballThunderball, but eventually offered the project to Eon Productions, provided that he could produce it. Though Broccoli and Saltzman were far from happy with the thought of another producer stepping in on the film, they realised that the alternative was to have a second company produce the film, and so they agreed to the arrangement. In a move that was to prove of vital importance recently, McClory signed over his rights for only ten years, after which they would revert to him, to remake if he chose. In 1983, this remake of ThunderballThunderball finally appeared—amidst more court action and controversy— as Never Say Never AgainNever Say Never Again.

McClory's screen treatment had been written by John Hopkins, and was now reworked by old-timer Richard Maibaum to bring it into line with the previous Eon films. Again, Ken Adam did the production design, this time manufacturing the beautiful Disco Volante (Italian for "flying saucer")— a large yacht that becomes a smaller hydrofoil at the climax of the movie. Back also was Ted Moore as photographer.

A vast portion of the film was shot underwater, giving Sean Connery his easiest role yet, since his stunt-man, Frank Cousins, did most of the underwater sequences, which Connery dubbed in later. To do the underwater filming, the unit was set up in the Bahamas, and the experienced Ivan Tors Underwater Studios did the work. Director of the underwater sequences was Ricou Browning, better known for his underwater work on The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954). The sequences filmed for the movie were spectacular, including a grand finale of SpectreSpectre agents fighting marine troops. Some truly beautiful as well as exciting shots made this one of the best-filmed of all of the Bond movies.

Another portion of the film called for a Mardi Gras performance on the island of Nassau. Unfortunately, this was not the time of year for that, but the islanders happily helped out by staging another simply for the benefit of the film, which shot a number of action sequences around the carnival.

There was strong Italian presence in the movie. Largo (Number 2 in SpectreSpectre —the again-unseen Blofeld being Number 1) was Italian, and present to play the man was Adolfo Celi. Celi's other films include That Man From Rio (1964) and Von Ryan's Express (1965). To add to his distinctiveness, he was adorned with an eyepatch. The idea was to make him look more piratical, a Twentieth Century Blackbeard. Largo, however, was not the strong character that Auric GoldfingerGoldfinger had been, and tends to suffer in comparison, despite the excellent acting of Celi. Next to the mania of the gold-crazed millionaire, Largo seems almost normal. A far better adversary was the superb Fiona (Luciana Paluzzi), SpectreSpectre's top assassin. She had debuted in Three Coins In The Fountain (1954), but was in top form as the crazed killer who almost outmatched Bond. (Interestingly, one of the other killers is called Palazzi...) She is perhaps the strongest supporting character in the film, and a worthy successor to Oddjob. He had brute force, but Fiona has brains and sex-appeal on her side—and uses both of these to her best advantage. After a bedroom scene with Bond, she betrays him, mockingly referring to his earlier conquests (Tatiana in From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love and Pussy Galore in GoldfingerGoldfinger): "The great James Bond— all he has to do is to make love to a woman for her to come over to the side of good... well, not this woman!" To which Connery replies: "Well, you can't win them all___"

Another (unseen) Italian presence is in the alternative theme for the movie. After the success of the song GoldfingerGoldfinger, composer John Barry again collaborated with Leslie Bricusse on a theme called "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang". This was the nickname given to Bond in Italy (for obvious reasons). Though this was retained as an instrumental in the film, generally used as Fiona's theme, the title track was written by Don Black, coming together with John Barry for the first time. They were later to co-write the theme to Bom Free (1967), for which they won an Academy Award, and the beautiful songs from Alice's Adventures In Wonderland (1972). Don Black also wrote lyrics for other movies without Barry, including True Grit (1969) and Doc Savage—Man of Bronze (1975). The ThunderballThunderball song was belted out by relative newcomer Tom Jones, who later went on to international stardom. The song proved to be fairly popular, despite the incredibly stupid lyrics (one line has: "Any woman he wants, he gets", notably untrue in the same movie—as Fiona proves). Barry's score for the film is good, though the selection for the record favored the slower tracks, and missed the superb track that accompanied the underwater battle, a very neat variation on the 007 Theme last heard in From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love.

Bond's old friend Felix Leiter was back, in probably his best incarnation. Rik Van Nutter at least looked the part, even if he wasn't allowed much action in the film. Assisting Bond in Nassau was Paula, played by Martine Beswick, in her second Bond role. She had previously appeared in From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love as one of the fighting gypsy girls, and had impressed the producers enough for her to be cast in this second role. (So, despite the hype given Maude Adams for her return in OctopussyOctopussy after The Man With The Golden GunThe Man With The Golden Gun Martine was the first Bond girl to return in a different alias.) All of the old favorites in the Secret Service were back, too—Bernard Lee as M, Desmond Llewelyn as Q and Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny.

The film did well, making a handsome profit for the company, despite the fact that it was a lot less enthusiastically received than GoldfingerGoldfinger had been. Claudine Auger's Domino was almost as forgettable as Tatiana had been in From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love, and without a strong villain, the film is best watched for the stunning underwater photography. Naturally, there would be another Bond movie, though in some ways this would be the most problem-ridden of all. Sean Connery had had enough of playing the famous spy and vowed that You Only Live TwiceYou Only Live Twice would be his final excursion into the role....

But first, there was a strange, small interlude....

Casino RoyaleCasino Royale (1967)

CAST

Sir James Bond..............David Niven
Evelyn Tremble.............Peter Sellers
Vesper Lynd..............Ursula Andress
Le Chiffre....................Orson Welles
Mata Bond..................Joanna Pettet
The Detainer..................Daliah Lavi
Jimmy Bond.................Woody Allen
Agent Mimi..............Deborah Kerr
Ransome................William Holden
Le Grand....................Charles Boyer
McTarry................;...John Huston
Smernov......................Kurt Kasner
George Raft........................Himself
French Legionaire..Jean-Paul Belmondc
Cooper....................Terence Cooper
Moneypenny............Barbara Bouchet
Buttercup..................Angela Scoular
Eliza.......................Gabriella Licudi
Heather......................Tracey Crisp
Peg............................Elaine Taylor
Miss Goodthighs.......Jaqueline Bisset

with

Ronny Corbett, Alexandra Bastedo, Vladek Sheybal

CREW

Producers..........Charles K. Feldman, Jerry Bresler
Directors.....................John Huston, Ken Hughes, Val Guest, Robert Parrish, Joe McGrath
Screenplay..............Wolf Mankowitz, John Law, Michael Sayers
Music Composed & Conducted...Burt Bacharach
Lyrics.............................Hal David

"Casino RoyaleCasino Royale theme"....Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
"The Look Of Love" Vocalist...Dusty Springfield

130 minutes. Distributed by Columbia Pictures

After solving the problem of a rival company producing ThunderballThunderball, Eon Productions found themselves with another competitor—who was producing an old title. Casino RoyaleCasino Royale had been the first James Bond novel, and the first production, albeit for television (see the first part of this series). The rights had passed, in a rather odd fashion, to Charles K. Feldman. Realising that the public would probably not take to another Bond after Connery had so ably caught their imagination, he hit upon the idea of making the film version of Casino RoyaleCasino Royale as a comedy spoof of the series, as well as of other films of the same genre, who had proliferated after the lead of the Bond films.

This in itself was not a bad idea. Wolf Mankowitz, who had written various British films, including the David Niven film, Where The Spies Are (1965), was one of three writers working on the script. Unfortunately, this proliferation of talent was carried over into other areas, including that of directing. No less than five directors (presumably going in five different directions) worked on the film, and the end result was a total bomb. The film lacked wit, skill and any semblance of real plot. Attempting to fit in too many guest stars, it fragmented, and allowed viewers no satisfaction whatsoever. Costing $8 million, almost all of it was lost at the box-office.

Basically, the plot concerns a secret organisation (SMERSH or FANG) headed by the sinister Dr. Noah, killing off secret agents. Sir James Bond (David Niven) is called out of retirement by M (John Huston) to deal with this. Bond recruits proper agents (not like that other fella, who's always womanising...), and calls them all James Bond to confuse the enemy (and the viewers). Amongst these is his nephew Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen) who turns out to be the villainous Dr. Noah too. In a fierce climax, Casino RoyaleCasino Royale is raided by everyone (including Indians who parachute in using teepees and yelling "Geronimo!") and explodes when Woody Allen swallows an atomic pill.

What can be said? There are a few good sequences, but mostly the film is dreadfully boring and not at all funny. One script blunder has Bond having a child by Mata Hari (the famous spy died in 1917—so Bond must have slept with her in early 1916 to have a child... making him about 66 in the film. Niven was 57 at the time, and acted younger... Oh well). Really, the only good part of the movie is an excellent score by Burt Bacharach, very fast and strange. His other scores have been very disappointing, but Casino RoyaleCasino Royale had all the flavor of a Bond movie, slightly warped. The theme was gentle, the love song even made sense, and the battle theme at Casino RoyaleCasino Royale very cleverly matched with the action.

Peter Sellers was in poor form in a very bad role, and Ursula Andress, who had made her name in Dr. NoDr. No, was even worse as a triple-crossing spy. Orson Welles was wasted, leaving Woody Allen the only real light on the acting scene, though with the script he had, even he couldn't salvage much. Jaqueline Bisset, in a very small role (she was billed as "Jacky Bisset"), thankfully overcame this embarrassment and went on to better things. Alexandra Bastedo would turn up again in the spy series The Champions (1967) far more profitably. Vladek Sheybal (who appeared in From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love) had a small but nice cameo, as did comedian Ron-ny Corbett.

Casino RoyaleCasino Royale was an experiment to spoof a series that refused to take itself seriously anyway. (The best spoof of the Bond movies was the little-known French film How To Destroy The Reputation Of The Greatest Secret Agent (1975), but this had very limited distribution in England. A pity, because it was what Casino RoyaleCasino Royale wasn't—funny.) As a result, the film had bad reviews and even worse returns. It occasionally turns up on television, but is generally never included in any consideration of the Bond saga. Though this neglect is understandable (and probably deserved), it is included here for the sake of completeness. Like it or not, the film was "suggested by" Ian Fleming's book., May it rest in peace.

Photo: Peter Sellers as Evelyn Tremble, the world's greatest gambler. (Below) Woody Allen gets knocked about as Jimmy Bond. Both from Casino RoyaleCasino Royale, courtesy Columbia Pictures.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

James Bond in the Cinema by John Brosnan (Tantivy Press/Barnes). Though this only goes up to Diamonds Are ForeverDiamonds Are Forever (1971), it is the best written on the subject.

The James Bond Films by Steven Jay Rubin (Arlington House). This contains a little material on OctopussyOctopussy and Never Say Never AgainNever Say Never Again. Mainly of use for behind the scenes stories.

[Source: Enterprise Incidents Presents The James Bond Dossier, P. 11-18. © 1984 New Media Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.]

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