Posts Tagged ‘sean connery’

James Bond gunbarrel poses

Diamonds Are ForeverSean Connery returns in Diamonds Are Forever to test drive a new-style of 007 opus for the next heir to his kingdom.

At the beginning of the 1970s the James Bond franchise was in a chaotic state. The bold experiment of returning to basics with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service had failed and EON Productions decided a new direction for a new decade was required. Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman concluded that audiences were not interested in flocking to the adventures of a human and emotionally vulnerable Bond. For Diamonds Are Forever the producers settled upon a return to the larger-than-life glory days of Goldfinger. To that end Guy Hamilton was recruited to helm the new film Ken Adam returned with his grandiose visions, and Shirley Bassey belted out the theme tune.

There was just one small problem: George Lazenby’s resignation during the fraught production of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service had left Broccoli and Saltzman without a 007. After the failure of financial overtures to lure Lazenby back the producers finally accepted the inevitable: once again a new James Bond was required – the third in as many films. (more…)

You Only Live Twice007 confronts Blofeld face-to-face for the first time in You Only Live Twice but Ian Fleming’s original story is sacrificed to make the most epic and visually appealing Bond film to date.

Readers of Ian Fleming’s 1964 book You Only Live Twice would have been exceedingly surprised upon seeing the film adaptation in the summer of 1967. Gone was Fleming’s hauntingly atmospheric tale of 007’s vengeance upon Ernst Stavro Blofeld for the murder of Tracey who died on their wedding day at the conclusion of the previous novel On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Instead came an outlandish adventure featuring the machinations of Blofeld and SPECTRE to start a worldwide conflict from their secret base within an extinct Japanese volcano by stealing American and Russian spacecraft from Earth orbit.

For the first time producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman discarded Fleming’s source material, bar for a few characters, and created their own narrative. Richard Maibum, the chief writer on the previous films and who had repeatedly demonstrated a feel for adapting Fleming’s material, was unavailable so a new scriptwriter had to be found. Initially Harold Jack Bloom was chosen to write the script but the producers rejected most of his material and hired novelist Roald Dahl to write the final version of You Only Live Twice. A friend of Ian Fleming, Dahl was a truly bizarre choice for such a major production given that he’d never written a script before. In the end much of his writing was done in conjunction with director Lewis Gilbert. Dahl subsequently wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the only non-Bond film that Broccoli produced after the inception of the James Bond series, and featured Bond notables such as Ken Adam, Gert Frobe and Desmond Llewelyn. (more…)

ThunderballOriginally conceived as the first James Bond film in the late 1950s, Thunderball remains at the centre of ongoing legal disputes that affect Eon Production’s usage of SPECTRE and Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Early prints of Goldfinger announced that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service would be the next installment in the series but before the film was released the opportunity arose for Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to make the project that they had intended as the debut for the cinematic 007: Thunderball.

In the summer of 1958 Ian Fleming began a collaboration with Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham to develop ideas for a James Bond film adventure. Until the abandonment of the project in January 1960 there were there were around ten outlines, treatments and scripts variously entitled SPECTRE, James Bond of the Secret Service and Longitude 78 West. Elements included an aeroplane of celebrities in the Atlantic, ships with underwater trapdoor in their hulls, a climatic underwater battle scene, and the theft of nuclear weapons. In early drafts the villains were the Russians, but Fleming later changed to the international organised criminal organisation, SPECTRE. Though McClory made claim to having originated the concept of SPECTRE there is a memo from Fleming to Whittingham and McClory that indicates otherwise.

My suggestion on (b) is that SPECTRE, short for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion, is an immensely powerful organisation armed by ex-members of SMERSH, the Gestapo, the Mafia, and the Black Tong of Peking, which is placing these bombs in N.A.T.O. bases with the objective of then blackmailing the Western powers for £100 million or else.” (more…)

Goldfinger48 years after its release Goldfinger continues to be hailed as the quintessential James Bond film.

Goldfinger. He’s the man, the man with the Midas touch.

With the release of Goldfinger James Bond truly became the man with the midas touch. Produced on a budget on £3 million (as much as Dr. No and From Russia With Love combined) the third film in the series recouped its costs within two weeks of release and would eventually go onto gross nearly £125 million at the box office worldwide. It was the first Bond film to be a genuine blockbuster. Ironically, given the vast sums of money involved in production and profit, Goldfinger was the subject of several fee disputes that lead to changes both in front of and behind the camera.

After his exemplary work on the first two films it was no surprise that Terence Young was signed up to helm Goldfinger. However Young left during the early stages of pre-production as the result of a pay dispute with Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. The director attempted to negotiate a share of the box office profits as part of his contract but the producers were not willing to entertain such a request. To replace Young the producers brought in Guy Hamilton, who would up the tongue-in-cheek possibilities presented by the Bond universe and gave Goldfinger a more humorous approach than Young’s grittiness. Although Young and Connery had injected dark humour into the first two films it was with Hamilton that the era of the Bond one liners truly began. Unfortunately the approach descended into excessive camp humour, poor puns and self-parody in the 1970s. (more…)

From Russia With LoveBuoyed by the success of Dr No and with an increased budget from United Artists, Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman reassembled their production team to start work on the second James Bond film. The result was the film widely regarded as the jewel in the crown of the series: From Russia With Love.

Based upon Ian Fleming’s best book, the film is the acknowledged favourite of Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. Together with Goldfinger and The Spy Who Loved Me Cubby Broccoli included it in his top three and to this day the seduction scene between James Bond and Tatiana Romanova is used to screen test prospective 007s and Bond Girls.

Fleming’s original novel was a Cold War thriller that saw Bond travelling to Istanbul to escort a beautiful cipher clerk Tatiana Romanova and a Soviet decoding machine back to England, whilst being unaware that SMERSH were planning to assassinate him in such a manner as to bring discredit on him and the MI6. To avoid political overtones the film adaptation used SPECTRE as the villains of the piece. The British and the Russian secret services are manipulated and pitted against each other by the unseen Blofeld as part of his plan to obtain the decoding device and gain revenge upon Bond for the death of Dr No. (more…)

Dr NoAs the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise and the release of the 23rd entry Skyfall approaches let’s celebrate by taking a look at each of the preceding 22 films. Beginning with the film that gave birth to the cinematic legend: Dr. No.

So iconic is Sean Connery’s association with the role of James Bond it’s incredible to think that he was not even close to being the first choice to play agent 007 on the big screen. Indeed when producers Albert R “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman told United Artists that they had their leading man they were advised that they could “do better”. Other candidates considered before Connery were Roger Moore (who was not approached as he was busy with The Saint TV series), Patrick McGoohan (who as a devout Catholic turned the role down on moral grounds); and director Terence Young’s preferred choice Richard Johnson (who turned the offer down as he did not want to be tied to a multi-film contract). (more…)

50 Years of James Bond