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Bond, James Bond.

11. July 2017 07:10
by m
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Seeing Double 007

11. July 2017 07:10 by m | 0 Comments

Another 35mm film recently scanned for us by Q-branch is a trailer for a James Bond double Bill - You Only Live TwiceYou Only Live Twice and ThunderballThunderball dated 1968. It's not in the best condition, fading with lots of dirt and damage, but this is not the first double bill trailer we've scanned, and that had us wondering - exactly how many of these double bills were there, when were they available, and why don't they still run them today?

I began by looking through my archive of James Bond posters (all digital, sadly) and I started picking out all of the double bills. Home video wasn't something most households had access to until the early 1980s. The technology existed in the late 1970s, but it was all very expensive. James Bond wasn't available to rent or buy on Video cassette, CED or laserdisc until 1982 and at that time a single film would have cost upwards of $70. 16mm films were (and still are) available. but they too were expensive, and the FBI and MPAA were cracking down heavily on the collectors in the 1970s. I'm currently reading a book called "A Thousand Cuts", which goes into some detail about the crack down and subsequent arrest of film collectors like actor Roddy McDowall who was famously arrested by the FBI, so it's doubtful that many people would have had those either.

After the unprecedented box office success of GoldfingerGoldfinger, United Artists reissued Dr. NoDr. No and From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love on a double bill in the spring of 1965, but get this: They charged cinemas the same booking fees as if they were new releases. This combo, doubled the films' initial earnings and ensured James Bond double bills would not be a one off event. Cinemas could rent posters, lobby cards and stills (also for a fee from places like National Screen Services in the UK) and were expected to return them. This was rarely done, however, and the NSS did not enforce this policy, which is probably why so many of these double bill posters still exist today in the hands of private collectors.

1965 Quad Poster:

First James Bond double Bill quad poster

US one-sheet poster, 1965:

1965 Lobby Card:

In 1966 GoldfingerGoldfinger was paired with Dr. NoDr. No (a campaign that was repeated in 1969):

In 1968 there was the "Fantastic Bond Sale" campaign, which paired ThunderballThunderball with From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love.

Download the 1080p version (119 MB).

Bond Sale one-sheets:

Bond Sale Double Bill One sheet James Bond Poster From Russia With Love and Thunderball

Bond Sale Double Bill 007 Poster From Russia With Love and Thunderball

Lobby Cards:

Bond Sale Double Bill Lobby Cards

and Press Kit materials:

Bond Sale Double Bill Press Book Page 1

Bond Sale Double Bill Press Book Page 2

1969 saw Dr. NoDr. No, From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love and You Only Live TwiceYou Only Live Twice paired in various combinations:

From this point on, things only get more confusing, as many of these "combos" as they were known in the USA were reissued several times (and no doubt at different times on both sides of the pond), so while the following 35mm trailer has a copyright date of 1968, the "GP" rating (predating "PG") suggests this one is most likely from (or at least reused) in 1971. (I found posters dated 1971, while Allen Eyles' 'Odeon Cinemas 2: From J. Arthur Rank to the Multiplex' (CTA/BFI, 2005) lists this double bill as a 1974 reissue in the UK... 

One Sheet:

Quad:

Lobby Cards:

Some of the James Bond films were starting to be broadcast on television in the early 1970s - GoldfingerGoldfinger was the first to debut in America on ABC in 1972, but it was shown edited for sex and violence, and of course very few people could have recorded it at the time, so the cinematic double bills continued. Perhaps to up the ante, in 1972 there was even a triple bill:

Diamonds Are ForeverDiamonds Are Forever was paired with From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love in 1973:

On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceOn Her Majesty with Live And Let DieLive And Let Die in 1974:

Live And Let DieLive And Let Die and The Man With The Golden GunThe Man With The Golden Gun in 1975:

In 1979, MoonrakerMoonraker was paired with both The Man With The Golden GunThe Man With The Golden Gun...

... and The Spy Who Loved MeThe Spy Who Loved Me:

Original James Bond Moonraker / Spy Who Loved Me double bill Poster

The newest posters I could find featuring James Bond combos were from 1983-1984. The first is an OctopussyOctopussy/For Your Eyes OnlyFor Your Eyes Only Double Bill...

... And the second is another triple bill - this time featuring  OctopussyOctopussy, For Your Eyes OnlyFor Your Eyes Only and ThunderballThunderball:

Soon after that, you could rent or buy all the James Bond films on home video, and watch them all back to back in any order you wanted, so I guess it makes sense that the studios stopped promoting James Bond combos. No doubt some theaters still rented the films and created their own double bills and James Bond film festivals, but the era of official James Bond double bills had come to an end - just as I was finally old enough to start going to them... It's kind of sad - I think a Casino RoyaleCasino Royale/SkyfallSkyfall would hit the spot right about now as we wait for the next Bond film to start shooting.

But wait - there's more! While researching this article I came across a number of additional double bill posters where Bond films were paired with other (non 007) movies too. In 1968, From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love was paired with Clint Eastwood's Hang 'em High:

A combination which must have worked because Connery and Eastwood were re-teamed at least twice more in 1971, first with You Only Live TwiceYou Only Live Twice and A Fistful of Dollars:

and again with GoldfingerGoldfinger and For a Few Dollars More:

Sean Connery and Roger Moore shared the ticket at last in 1976 with Gold and Diamonds:

I saw Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo paired with The Spy Who Loved MeThe Spy Who Loved Me at a drive in theater in California in 1977, but, evidently, there was an even better pairing that year:

Bond double-bill reissues in the UK, 1965-79:

1965: Dr. NoDr. No+ From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love 

1968: GoldfingerGoldfinger + ThunderballThunderball

1969: Dr. NoDr. No, From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love and You Only Live TwiceYou Only Live Twice in various combinations 

1971: You Only Live TwiceYou Only Live Twice + A Fistful of Dollars 

1971: GoldfingerGoldfinger + For A Few Dollars More 

1972: Dr. NoDr. No + ThunderballThunderball

1973: From Russia With LoveFrom Russia With Love + Diamonds Are ForeverDiamonds Are Forever 

1974: ThunderballThunderball + You Only Live TwiceYou Only Live Twice 

1974: Dr. NoDr. No + GoldfingerGoldfinger

1974: On Her Majesty's Secret ServiceOn Her Majesty + Live And Let DieLive And Let Die 

1975: Live And Let DieLive And Let Die and The Man With The Golden GunThe Man With The Golden Gun 

1976: Diamonds Are ForeverDiamonds Are Forever + Gold

1978: Live And Let DieLive And Let Die + The Man With The Golden GunThe Man With The Golden Gun

Source: Allen Eyles, Odeon Cinemas 2: From J Arthur Rank to the Multiplex' (CTA/BFI, 2005)

High resolution versions of most of these posters can now be found in our James Bond poster archives.

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