All posts by

Who Played Blofeld In The Films?

We assume you mean “who were the faceless actors” to play Blofeld, but for the sake of completeness we`ll list *all* the actors. The decision not to show Blofeld`s face, and just have him pet the white cat, was clever, even brilliant. Oddly, nobody has ever claimed credit for this idea.

“From Russia With Love” (no face) Eric Pohlmann (voice)Anthony Dawson (body; Dawson played Professor Dent in *Doctor No*)
“Thunderball” (no face) Joseph Wiseman (voice; Wiseman played Doctor No in the film of the same name) Anthony Dawson (body)

“You Only Live Twice” Donald Pleasance(face) Note: Jan Werich had been cast to play the part, but fell ill. Donald Pleasance was a last minute replacement.

“On Her Majesty`s Secret Service” Telly Savalas (face)

“Diamonds Are Forever” (Charles Gray (face) (he also played Dikko Henderson in *You Only Live Twice*)

“For Your Eyes Only” John Hollis (no face)

“Never Say Never Again” Max Von Sydow (face)

who Owns Blofeld?

People often claim that “EON can`t use Blofeld or Spectre because they don`t own the rights to them.” It`s more likely that EON doesn`t want to waste money on litigation over one character and one organization – they probably weighed the pros and cons and decided that it wasn`t worth the hassle. If EON had no right to Blofeld, then the FYEO pre-credit sequence would have been a copyright violation. The films FRWL, TB, YOLT, OHMSS, DAF, might either have to be edited or pulled from distribution (this might be a reason why EON doesn`t want to fight McClory in court over who owns the character).

There are enough details in the FYEO pre-credit sequence to prove that the bald man in the wheelchair is Blofeld. He`s bald, we never see his face, he has an Eastern European accent and he pets a white cat. Who else would it be? Would people who`ve seen all the Bond films have to be told that it was Blofeld? (Since people do realize that it`s Blofeld, this only prejudices EON. To prove his case, McClory, theoretically, only has to produce the newsgroup postings where people refer to the character not as that unidentified bald guy, but overwhelmingly as Blofeld.)

Consider the context of the pre-credit sequence. It begins as Bond puts flowers on his late wife Tracy`s grave. This refers to the Bond film On Her Majesty`s Secret Service. In that film, the villain partly responsible for Tracy`s death, was bald and petted a white cat. It`s largely irrelevant that the FYEO pre-credit sequence doesn`t use the name Blofeld. In some countries, such as Canada and probably the United States and the UK, copying certain characteristics is sufficient to claim copyright infringement. If EON had no right to Blofeld, then they would have known that McClory could sue them in those countries under their respective copyright laws. FYEO would then either have to be edited, or risk being pulled from distribution. (Note that EON has sued and threatened to sue the makers of commercials who use a James Bond like character, even though the name James Bond is never used.)

EON presumably decided that there would be less chance of litigation if they were somewhat vague. EON could probably get an American Judge to rule that they also have the right to use Blofeld and Spectre, if they didn`t mind spending money on litigation. One last point. It seems dubious to claim that only McClory owns Blofeld, when the character also appears in the Fleming novels On Her Majesty`s Secret Service and You Only Live Twice. EON owns the rights to these novels. The 1963 settlement was arranged before You Only Live Twice was published.

Who Has Directed The Bond Films?

Nine directors over the course of twenty Bond films (if you count Never Say Never Again) have been involved. John Glen holds the record for most Bond films directed with 5. Guy Hamilton comes in second with 4 films. Lewis Gilbert and Terrence Young tie for 3rd with 3 films each. Peter Hunt, Irvin Kershner, Martin Campbell, Roger Spottiswoode and Michael Apted are all members of the One Time Only Club (though Apted may return to direct the next Bond film).

Give each of these directors enough time and enough opportunity and they will inevitably direct a disappointing Bond film. Ironically enough, Guy Hamilton directed what is widely considered to be the best Bond film ever: Goldfinger. Ten years later he would direct what would widely be considered the worst Bond film ever: The Man with the Golden Gun.

Lewis Gilbert directed Roger Moore`s highs and lows. He directed Moore to his finest performance in The Spy Who Loved Me, only to turn around and direct Moore in his lowest point as Bond: Moonraker.

John Glen directed every Bond film of the 1980s. He book marked his tenure as Director with a fine effort in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, and a woeful effort in LICENSE TO KILL.

Irvin Kershner directed the uneven Never Say Never Again amidst script problems and clashes with Connery (he wanted to tell Connery how to portray James Bond). Peter Hunt did an admirable job directing George Lazenby in the box office underperformer ON HER MAJESTY`S SECRET SERVICE but was never asked back.

Dr. No – Terrence Young
From Russia, With Love – Terrence Young
Goldfinger – Guy Hamilton
Thunderball – Terrence Young
You Only Live Twice – Lewis Gilbert
On Her Majesty`s Secret Service – Peter Hunt
Diamonds Are Forever – Guy Hamilton
Live and Let Die – Guy Hamilton
The Man With the Golden Gun – Guy Hamilton
The Spy Who Loved Me – Lewis Gilbert
Moonraker – Lewis Gilbert For Your Eyes Only – John Glen
Octopussy – John Glen
Never Say Never Again – Irvin Kershner
A View to a Kill – John Glen
The Living Daylights – John Glen
License to Kill – John Glen
Goldeneye – Martin Campbell
Tomorrow Never Dies – Roger Spottiswoode
The World Is Not Enough – Michael Apted

Which Foreign Land Has Bond Visited Most?

Well, let’s break it down into two categories: the first category are locations that exist in reality in which James Bond has visited i.e. San Francisco, Venice…. The second category are actual locations that substitute for fictional locations i.e. Jamaica for San Monique or secondary locations that substitute for real locations i.e. The Bahamas substituting for The Mediterranean in The Spy Who Loved Me.

The United States [8 cities over the course of 6 films]takes top honors for the most visits. Bond has been to Los Angeles in Moonraker, New York City and New Orleans in Live and Let Die, San Francisco in A View To A Kill, Key West in License to Kill, Miami and Kentucky in Goldfinger, and Las Vegas in Diamonds Are Forever. Los Angeles qualifies as a location in Moonraker since actual film crews went to Los Angeles International airport and did some shooting.

Italy [4] is the second most visited country. It was used in From Russia With Love, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, and For Your Eyes Only. Venice was used in ‘Russia’ and Moonraker, Cortina was used in For Your Eyes Only and Sardinia, off the coast of Italy, was used in ‘Spy’.

France [3] is the third most visited country both in the first and second categories. It was used in Thunderball and A View to A Kill; Bond visited Monaco in Goldeneye. [see SECOND CATEGORY for more visits]

Other multiple locations:
The Bahamas [2] Thunderball and Never Say Never Again

Germany [2] Bond visited Berlin in Octopussy and Hamburg in Tomorrow Never Dies.

Spain [2] Bond visited Gonzalez’s villa outside of Madrid in For Your Eyes Only (even though technically this scene was filmed in Italy) and Balboa in The World Is Not Enough.

Jamaica [1] Bond goes to Jamaica in Dr.No.

Turkey [2] Bond visits Turkey in From Russia, With Love and The World Is Not Enough.

Switzerland [2] Bond visits this country in Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Thailand [1] Bond visits Bangkok in The Man With The Golden Gun.

England [3] Bond sees action at the Shrublands Health Clinic in Thunderball, Never Say Never Again; gets involved in a boat chase down the Thames in The World Is Not Enough.

China [2] Bond visits Hong Kong in You Only Live Twice and The Man with the Golden Gun.

Other locations Bond has visited include Portugal, Holland, Egypt, Brazil, Greece, India, Gibraltar; Austria; Morocco, St. Petersburg (Russia).

France [3]…doubles for parts of California in Moonraker (the Drax estate was filmed outside of Paris), Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough (in both TND and TWINE, mountainous ski resorts such as Chamoix doubled for Afghanistan and Khazikstan respectively).

The Bahamas [2] substituted for Sardinia’s underwater shots in The Spy Who Loved Me as well as underwater shots in For Your Eyes Only.

Spain [1] Substituted for the Azerbhijan desert in The World Is Not Enough.

United States …Gainesville, Florida’s swamps and lakes doubled for the Brazilian jungle during the riverboat chase in Moonraker. The mountainous region of Utah doubled for Cuba in Octopussy.

Jamaica [1] doubles as San Monique in Live and Let Die.

Thailand [1] Doubles as Vietnam in The World Is Not Enough.

Austria doubled for Czechoslovakia in The Living Daylights.

Quarzazate (Morocco) doubled for Afghanistan.

Switzerland doubled for Russia in the pre-credits sequence of Goldeneye.

Lebanon was doubled on the Pinewood Soundstage; Canada doubled for Austria in The Spy Who Loved Me and Siberia in A View to A Kill.

Acapulco doubled for Isthmus City, while the waters off Isla Mujeres, Mexico doubled for underwater shots off Key West. Rosarito, Mexico doubled for the underwater shots in Tomorrow Never Dies.

Puerto Rico doubled for Cuba in Goldeneye.

**Bond has traveled to five of the world’s seven continents. The only two he has visited are: Antarctica and Australia. He’s been all over Asia and primarily the United States when he has come to North America (curiously he’s never been to Toronto or Vancouver-Canada). He has traveled only once to South America (Isthmus does not count since it is fictional) and has been to nearly every country in Europe at least once. He’s been to parts of North Africa and South Africa, but never anywhere in between (thus missing beautiful locations such as Kenya, The Congo or Zaire).

Which Bond Stars Liked Which Films The Best?

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only
Mandatory Credit: Photo by SNAP/REX/Shutterstock (390894le)
Albert R “Cubby” Broccoli said that “From Russia With Love”, “Goldfinger”, and “The Spy Who Loved Me” were his favourite Bond films. He hedged when asked his least favourite but admitted that he`d like to change parts of “The Man With The Golden Gun”. In interviews he claimed that “Moonraker” and “A View To A Kill” were tops among his output, though this might have been good PR since this was immediately prior to those films`s release.

Sean Connery said that Thunderball” and “From Russia With Love” were his favourites, while Roger Moore chose from amongst his own “The Spy Who Loved Me” and, as runner-up, “Octopussy” (Sean Connery praised the action sequences in that particular film). Timothy Dalton said that of his two, he preferred his first “The Living Daylights”, but admitted that his second, “Licence To Kill” had a better story. Pierce Brosnan`s favourite Bond film is “Goldfinger”, but “You Only Live Twice” has his favourite scene: the men scaling down into the mountain.

Bond director Terence Young considered “Thunderball” to be his weakest Bond film, while fellow Bond director Lewis Gilbert apparently once said that “OHMSS” was the worst Bond film.

Bond screenwriter Richard Maibaum considered “Moonraker” to be the worst (he once told an interviewer point blank that he “didn`t like” screenwriter and Bond novelizer Christopher Wood`s writing). He wasn`t much kinder to either “Live And Let Die” or “The Spy Who Loved Me”. He considers “OHMSS” to be his best Bond screenplay, and “A View To A Kill” his worst (he jokingly said that even Shakespeare had written “Two Gentlemen From Verona” by way of explanation). He considered “For Your Eyes Only” a failure, but a step in the right direction and liked both Dalton Bond films (though felt that the tanker chase at the end of “Licence To Kill” was overdone; he said that sometimes less is more). He considered “OHMSS” Fleming`s best novel, and “The Spy Who Loved Me” Fleming`s worst.

Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny until the mid 80`s) chose “From Russia With Love” as the best, and “Moonraker” as the worst. She was also less than complimentary about the “slash and cut” approach of “Licence To Kill”.

Guy Hamilton regrets the Bond films he directed with Roger Moore (“Live And Let Die”, “The Man With The Golden Gun”).

Kim Basinger hated “Never Say Never Again”. In an interview she did with Adam Pirani in July 1989 to promote BATMAN, she said: “The worst experience I`ve ever had, except I got to live in Europe for a year. But that was it. It was absolutely horrible. Even Sean`ll tell you that. It was terrible and if it hadn`t been for Sean Connery, the film would never have happened. He had people telling him how to play James Bond. It was just pathetic.”

Lorenzo Semple, Jr. wrote Never Say Never Again, but lived to regret it. “I remember the panic that was starting just as I was leaving, so i`m very happy not to be further involved in Never Say Never Again. If I seem to be blaming Kersh (the Director, Irvin Kershner), I am. I think he`s extremely undisciplined. The script problems wouldn`t have occurred if we had a director who was a craftsman.” Kershner had directed Sean Connery in 1966`s A Fine Madness but even Connery didn’t trust Kershner or his sense of humor.

Which Bond Girl Underwent a Sex Change?

Caroline Cossey, other wise known as Tula, was a woman and working runway model by the time she had a small role in “For Your Eyes Only”. In the film, she had no speaking part, and was simply a pool girl enjoying the sun at the villa of Hector Gonzalez. Her claim to fame has been widely exaggerated by the press and entertainment media.

Caroline, or rather Barry, in her teen years physically matured as any other young man. Barry had the normal amount of facial/body hair for a 16 year old and functioning genitalia. Barry most likely had less testoserone and more estrogen then average but this is not abnormal.

Caroline`s being born a man was certainly a mistake by nature but the exact cause of transexuality is still not known by medicine – only theories. What is known is that it causes extreme emotional pain in the affected person. It`s not any different from many diseases where the cause is not known but the treatment relieves the suffering.

Caroline`s offical position is that she has a genetic abnormality called Mosaicism (also known as Klienfelders Syndrome). She has had genetic testing which has proven she indeed has this abnormality.

What happens is occassionaly extra `X` chromosones get pasted on. Some of her sex chromosones are `XY` but others are `XXY` and XXXY`. This syndrome, in more severe forms, can cause mental retardation. The medical community is not convinced that this necessarily causes transexuality and many people live life as normal males.

This is NOT the same as being a 100% `XXY` she-male(such as several athletes in the Olympics have been). It is not the same as being a hermaphrodite either (both sets of sex organs).

The reason Caroline is so attractive is because she is a `first wave` transitioner. First Wave transitioners are transexuals who start female hormones in their school years(age 15-25). These tend to be the beautiful transexuals because the harsher male characteristics(facial hair, thick skin, thick big nose, thinning hair, prominent browbone, etc) have not happened. Yet, they tend to have the positive male characteristics of being tall and slender (think of how Super Models look). They also age very gracefully.

Transexualism falls in the realm of an actual medical syndrome which is why it is eventually treated surgically. It sharply differs from being gay, which is a preference, or transvestism, which is a fetish or hobby.

Caroline is not making any public appearances or giving interviews currently. She still models and runs a business in Atlanta. The early 1990s were so tramatic for her that she is enjoying her life with her husband. She is 45 years old now (her handsome husband is 35 years old).

The “mayor`s office” of Atlanta gave Caroline Cossey the key to the city. The mayor later recieved some protests and he reponded by saying the office gave her the key without his authority. In reality he wanted to appease the gay community by giving her the key but still wanted an escape hatch in case the conservative community complained. And they did.

At one point Caroline wanted to open a night club in Atlanta similar to the Lido in Paris. This never happened. She is a private person and gets tired of the exposure.

Which Actors Appear Frequently In Recurring Roles?

Desmond Llewelyn has what may stand always as the most appearances. As “Q”, he appeared in 17 films.

In descending order: Lois Maxwell (13)
Bernard Lee (11)
Roger Moore (7)
Sean Connery (7)
Geoffrey Keen (6)
Walter Gotell (6)
Robert Brown (5)
Judi Dench (3)
Samantha Bond (3)
Caroline Bliss (2)
Albert Moses (2)
Jeremy Bulloch (2)
Martine Beswick (2)
Maud Adams (2)
Colin Salmon (2)
Michael Kitchens (2)
Robbie Coltrane (2)
Valerie Leon (2)

Valerie Leon appeared in two Bond films. In The Spy Who Loved Me she played the bizarre hotel desk clerk in the Sardinia hotel that Bond and XXX stay in. Never Say Never Again found Valerie as a fisherwoman who `catches Bond later`.

Albert Moses played both Sadruddin in OCTOPUSSY and a bartender at the Mojave Club in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME.

Colin Salmon played Charles Robinson in TOMORROW NEVER DIES and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, while Michael Kitchens plays Tanner in GOLDENEYE and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH.

Maud Adams was in both THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN and OCTOPUSSY. She also made a “blink-if-you-miss-her” appearance on the trolley car in A VIEW TO A KILL.

Jeremy Bulloch played Smithers, Q`s demolition assistant in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY and OCTOPUSSY. Rumor has it that two different Jeremy Bullochs played the same role, but we fail to see it.

Martine Beswick played a gypsy woman in FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE and Paula in THUNDERBALL.

There are others if you watch very closely…!

Where Was “Q” In Live And Let Die?

One of the reasons many have given for Desmond`s disappearing act in Live and Let Die is that the producers had wished to downplay the ever increasing reliance on gadgets in the films, and thus kept Llewelyn from appearing. Logically, that does not make very much sense, considering Bond uses an inflatable pellet gun and a buzzsaw/magnetic wrist watch.

Desmond answered the question in the July 1983 issue of Starlog Magazine: “Since I first appeared as Q, I`ve worked in all of the Bond films except Live and Let Die. When that film unit went to New Orleans on location, I was contractually involved in a weekly TV series and couldn`t leave England.”

When Has Bond Been Spoofed On “The Simpsons”?

Nearly a dozen and a half times at last count. Many Bond fans have wondered exactly who is it on THE SIMPSONS creative team that is the big fan and the answer, it would appear, is none other than the producer himself, Matt Groening. Both of his shows, THE SIMPSONS & FUTURAMA have paid tribute to the Bond series in their own unique, warped way.

In episode 3F23 “YOU ONLY MOVE TWICE”, Homer goes to work for the Globex Corporation, run by Hank Scorpio. Hank relocates the Simpson family to the Cypress Creek planned community, where it seems everyone who lives there also works for Globex. Hank`s office is actually at the base of a hollowed out volcano. Homer doesn`t realize what he`s gotten himself into when he decides to come work for Globex. The company aims to conquer the world with “the doomsday device” unless a ransom is paid. “James Bont” infiltrates Globex but only manages to get caught, strapped to a table spread eagle, and left for dead. He is nearly castrated by a laser but manages to deflect the laser beams with a quarter he tosses into the air.

Bont runs for his life but Homer tackles him, thinking he`s an employess loafing around on the job. Scorpio thanks Homer for a job well done and together they walk away. When Homer is out of sight, four armed guards with machine guns mow “Bont” down in a hail of bullets. Scorpio`s office is then overrun by military forces who invade the volcano by rapelling down through the crater. A bikini clad femme fatale squeezes the life out of a soldier between her legs. The episode even ends with a song called “Scorpio”, which is curiously similar to the tune of “Goldfinger”, sung by Shirley Bassey. Movies spoofed: Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice and Goldeneye. Characters spoofed: Blofeld, James Bond and Xenia Onatopp. For more biographical information on Hank Scorpio, be sure to visit The Globex Corporation.

In episode 5F08 “BART CARNY”, Homer and Bart become Carnies (carnival workers) to pay off a debt. Homer and Bart befriend and eventually take in a carnival worker and his son, Cooter. The two carnies eventually trick the Simpsons out of their home and begin rummaging through Homer and Barts belongings. At one point, Cooter`s dad (voiced by Jim Varney) tries on some of Homers clothing. Cooter is so impressed by his dad`s new look he says: “Gee Dad, you look just like James Bond”.

In episode AABF01 “Treehouse of Horror IX,” (annual Halloween special) Homer gets a hair transplant from Snake, Springfield`s chief hoodlum, who has just been executed via the electric chair. He shows Marge his new hairdo. Marge is impressed and replies: “If your fly was up you`d look just like Roger Moore”.

In episode 2F10 “And Maggie Makes Three”, the show opens with the familiar white dot known to millions of Bond fans skipping across the screen. The dot then opens to reveal a portly gentleman walking right to left across the tv. At the halfway point, he turns and fires at the viewer. It is Homer Simpson.

In episode 9F03 – “Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie” Bart (as Blofeld) places a James Bond action figure in the microwave, bids him farewell, and begins the melting process.

In episode AABF23 “Beyond Blunderdome” The Simpson family rents a white car and drives it into and out of the water just like the Lotus Turbo Esprit in The Spy Who Loved Me. Additionally, Homer and guest star Mel Gibson steal a car just like the AMC Hornet in The Man With The Golden Gun.

In episode AABF13 “Maximum Homerdrive” Homer changes his name to max power and sings “Max Power” to the tune of Shirley Bassey`s “Goldfinger”. “Goldfinger” also served as the tune for “Scorpio” in “YOU ONLY MOVE TWICE”.

In episode 2F15 “LISA`S WEDDING”, Lisa consults a fortune teller, who predicts in the future she will marry someone from England. When Homer meets his son-in-law`s parents, he says: “You know what I love about the British? Octopussy”.

In episode 5F15 “GIRLY EDITION”, Lisa and Bart compete for a job as television anchors for an all-kids news show. Lisa comes up behind Bart on the set. He swivels around in his chair like Blofeld. Lisa tries to speak. Bart: “So, we meet again Mr. Bond”. Lisa tries to get him to get serious but Bart will have none of it. Bart: “Silence, Octopussy!”

In episode 3F31 “THE SIMPSONS 138th EPISODE SPECTACULAR” Bond henchmen Oddjob and Jaws make an appearance in a casino. The clip is actually a “previously unaired outtake” from “$pringfield (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)” that was included as a bonus in 138th episode. The “lost scence” from Episode 1F08 – $pringfield featured James Bond in the casino.

Blofeld: 20. Your move, Mr. Bond

Bond: I`ll take a hit, dealer. [Homer gives him a card] Joker! You were supposed to take those out of the deck.

Homer: Oh, sorry. Here`s another one.

Bond: What`s this card? “Rules for Draw and Stud Poker?”

Blofeld: What a pity, Mr. Bond. [Odd Job and Jaws grab Bond and drag him out]

Bond: But…but it`s Homer`s fault! I didn`t lose. I never lose! …Well, at least tell me the details of your plot for world domination.

Blofeld: Ho ho ho, I`m not going to fall for that one again!

In episode 4F21 “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson” – Bart and Lisa are at military school and learning how to fire a grenade launcher. Bart fires his launcher and appears to miss the target. The instructor: “You missed.” Bart replies:”Did I?” and the camera pans over to show a school building in ruins. Movie spoofed: MOONRAKER

In episode 8F05 “Like Father, Like Clown” Krusty`s secretary is named Lois Pennycandy (Mrs.Moneypenny was played by Lois Maxwell). Krusty walks by a porn theater playing “For Your Thighs Only”.

In episode 3F18 “22 Short Films About Springfield” the comic book guy has a photo of Sean Connery signed by Roger Moore.

In episode 9F14 “Duffless” Lisa tries to prove that Bart is dumber than a hampster for the school science fair. Bart strokes the hampster like Blofeld stroked his pussy cat (Bart, being the mischievous one in the series, often plays Blofeld in the spoofs).

In episode 3F12 “Bart the Fink”- Krusty has three nipples like Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun.

In episode 9F22 “Cape Feare” Bart watches an episode of “Itchy and Scratchy” where Scratchy finds himself mounted to a table with a laser aimed at his crotch. Movie spoofed: GODLFINGER

In episode 8F04 – “Homer Defined” – Homer saves the nuclear plant from meltdown with 007 seconds left. Movie spoofed: GOLDFINGER

In episode 1ACV03 – “I, ROOMATE” of FUTURAMA, Bender and the gang decide to check out a movie at the local theater. They decide to see ALL MY CIRCUITS (a big screen version of the popular daytime drama ALL MY CIRCUITS). The credits open, only to reveal a bevy of scantily clad female robots in silhouette writhing and dancing around large laser guns. In one sequence, a female robot cartwheels over the barrel of a laser gun before jumping off the end. Movie spoofed: THE SPY WHO LOVED ME.

Possible connections:

In episode BABF09 “Saddlesore Galactica” Bart is racing a horse and jockeys start hitting Bart like Bond in A View To A Kill.

In episode 3F19 – “Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in `The Curse of the Flying Hellfish“” Grandpa Simpson fires a harpoon gun which latches onto Mr.Burn`s boat just like in License To Kill.

In episode 5F23 “The Joy of Sect” Marge attempts to flee a religious cult by jumping across alligator backs as in Live and Let Die.

If you know of any SIMSPONS or FUTURAMA spoofs of 007 not listed here, please email Icebreaker of 007Forever or John Fiedler of The Simpsons Sourcebook.

What Is The Plot of The Third Dalton-Bond’s Script?

“Bond removes his parachute harness and turns to find the decidedly unpleasant barrel of a pistol thrust against his temple. Mi Wai tells him to keep his hands in sight as she speaks into a small hand held radio. In a few moments Bond hears the distinctive beat of a helicopter…Mi Wai prods Bond forward…he sees the insignia of the Chinese Red Army on the side of the helicopter.”

What`s this? An old Bond story? In the present tense? At first glance, these excerpts sound like sentences from Colonel Sun but they actually form part of a treatment that nearly became the script for a third Timothy Dalton Bond film. Yes, it nearly did happen, and it`s a fascinating but underexplored aspect of the world`s most famous secret agent.

Not many fans realize how advanced the plans were for Bond 17 in 1989-90. We can pick up some really good clues on how the film would have taken shape from a little known outline treatment written by Michael G. Wilson and Alfonse Ruggiero. This was completed in May 1990 and, although it is not a full script, it contained a detailed outline story with descriptions of locations, key characters and plot concepts.

In August 1990, Broccoli decided to make some changes. Variety called it a “bloodless coup”, but this “bloodless coup” resulted in John Glen and Richard Maibaum being fired. Maibaum was the Roger Moore of the writing team; too old for the job and had over extended his stay. However, the loyalty of Cubby Broccoli is the stuff of legend, so the pressure from MGM/UA must have been extreme for him to take such drastic measures. Insult to injury was added when an “unnamed” spin-doctor inside EON implied to Variety that Maibaum was a “has-been”.

The London Daily Express reported that Broccoli was looking at Ted Kotcheff and John Landis as possible directors for the film. Kotcheff directed Rambo: First Blood and John Landis had filmed, among many projects, Animal House and the ill-fated 1982 Twilight Zone: The Movie, which resulted in the death of actor Vic Morrow and two children.

At times, word leaked out about the status of the script and depending upon when you heard it, the details were slightly different, though the essence remained the same. Early indications were that “the plot involved terrorists who want to stage a nuclear meltdown and industrialists who want to keep Hong Kong a capitalist stronghold” according to Tom Soter`s 1993 book Bond and Beyond. The treatment also brings in an ally for Bond: Denholm Crisp, an agent only 5 years from retirement (shades of Lethal Weapon?).

At one point in late 1990 Broccoli claimed that the next Bond film would be shooting in Hong Kong in early 1991 for a fall `91 release. Broccoli wanted to revise the treatment and considered writer-director John Byrum and screenwriters William and Gloria Huyck for the position. The thought that Broccoli even considered the Huyck`s sends shivers down the spine. They wrote Howard the Duck. Need we say more?

As envisaged in 1990, Dalton`s third outing, as 007 would have entailed a film moving in the realistic LTK direction but brimming over with ambitious high-tech concepts. Wilson and Ruggiero set out an outline using robotic designs and advanced electronic apparatus to give the film a scientific backdrop similar to some of the Connery and Moore films. At the beginning of the treatment there was an intriguing preface saying that the “robotic devices” referred to in the outline were “complex and exotic machines designed for specific tasks” and they would be designed “especially for the film for maximum and dramatic and visual impact.”

The opening sequence was set in a chemical weapons laboratory in Scotland and involved technicians performing tests with robotic devices. Suddenly one of the robotic machines would run amok and the building would explode. After a “bitter debate” in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister would be seen being questioned about the explosion and he would assure the House that the “full resources” of the Government were being used to investigate the incident. Enter 007 who, in the treatment, is summoned to HQ and M`s office. He meets his boss and Michael Yupland (also referred to as Nigel Yupland in a different draft), “a rising star in the Ministry of Defence”. Yupland has “no love for the double o section” and wanted to close the section down because of the end of the Cold War. A briefing for 007 follows:

A week earlier, a letter was received, threatening destruction of a chemical weapons testing plant in Scotland. It seemed like a prank, but only the previous day the laboratory had been destroyed (i.e. the opening sequence in Wilson and Ruggiero`s treatment). A second letter received that very morning threatened a serious incident in seventy-two hours at a Government base in Hong Kong (remember, this is 1990!). The only clue is that over the last six months there has been a rash of break-ins to high-tech government facilities. Bond is shown a blurred picture from a videotape at the Scottish plant, and he recruits Q to start work on reconstructing the image. The figure is revealed as Connie Webb, “a beautiful American adventuress in her early 30s.” The treatment gives some background about Webb. She was the only daughter of a master cat burglar and was recruited by the CIA to penetrate high security buildings to plant bugs and gather intelligence. Surprise, surprise, Bond is given the task of putting her under surveillance to find out whom she is working for. Interestingly, the treatment describes Q as allowing Bond to have his old Aston Martin DB5 back after Yupland ordered him (Q) to destory it. Yupland proclaimed: “The cowboy days are over”. The Aston would later feature in an action scene where Bond goes over a cliff but parachutes to safety by using the Martin`s ejector seat.

The rest of the treatment fleshes out the remaining story. Connie Webb has been breaking into various facilities to alter the controls on robotic apparatus and one scene involves her breaking into Kohoni Industries in Tokyo. She alters a robot in a crate that is destined for Nanking, China. She is discovered by the Kohoni Brothers, “two enormous Japanese brothers”, who are the heads of Kohoni Industrial Empire. She manages to escape; showing the skills handed down by her father.

While in Tokyo, Bond makes contact with Webb by booking into the same Japanese ski resort she is staying at. One scene envisaged by Wilson and Ruggiero describes Webb skiing down a mountain and Bond dropping from a helicopter to ski after her (sound familiar?). They challenge each other on the slopes with heart stopping stunts. After overstretching herself, Webb has an accident and is buried under a wall of snow. Naturally, our hero rescues her (shades of Bond and Elektra in The World Is Not Enough?)

There then follows a series of adventures involving Webb, Bond and the Kohoni Brothers. We are also introduced to the main villain, Sir Henry Lee Ching, “a brilliant and handsome thirty year old British Chinese entrepreneur” who, in traditional Bond sense, is a dab hand at science and electronic circuits and is also nicely demented. Sir Henry has a habit of arranging accidents at nuclear plants and demonstrates this by having a robotic device run amok at a Chinese atomic plant in Nanking. Using a combination of locations in Japan, Hong Kong and China, the treatment goes on to describe a tale of cross and double cross, involving microchips and robotic technology.

The main point to Wilson and Ruggiero`s treatment for Bond 17 is that Sir Henry wants Britain to withdraw from Hong Kong; his high tech empire has manufactured critical components for all navigation, communication, weapon and missile guidance systems in the world. With his expertise in electronics, Sir Henry plots to unleash a computer virus that can paralyze every military and commercial unit in the world. This power will be directed against Britain if his demands are not met. The climax of the treatment involves Bond putting a stop to this evil plan. Bond is led to Sir Henry`s base of operations through the sewer system under Hong Kong and gains access to the building via a waste pipe. There follows a classic confrontation between Bond and Sir Henry. Sir Henry is eventually killed when Bond turns a welding torch in his face.

Had MGM/UA not gone into financial trouble, and had EON not had to fight a legal battle of their own, Dalton would have gone on to film this as his third Bond movie in 1990 for a summer 1991 release.

Here are some more factors known about the proposed film:

The title was alleged to be The Property Of A Lady (a Fleming title but this is highly doubtful)
Locations included Hong Kong and perhaps Vancouver, British Columbia (depending upon which outline you read)
It was Disney`s IMAGINEERING division that was developing the robots.
Variety had reported that Anthony Hopkins was in talks to play the villain (yes, his name did come up again for GE and TND, but remember that Hopkins and Dalton have a relationship, they both debuted in THE LION IN WINTER)
Whoopi Goldberg was interested in playing a villainness (She was dating Dalton at the time).
It`s tough to make a critical assessment of a movie that`s never been made, but in retrospect, perhaps the fact that this film never got made is not such a bad thing. It doesn`t read particularly well and seems like a strong departure from the style of Bond film making that Dalton seemed comfortable with. Had this movie come out and bombed, it could have branded Dalton`s tenure a failure, rather than allowing a big question mark to hang over his reign as it still does today.

007Forever would like to thank Kenny Smith and Steve Woodbridge of Universal Exports Magazine for contributing to this article. Parts of Missing In Action were first printed in Universal Exports Magazine Issue Eight. Additional research provided by Nicholas Kincaid, Richard Ashton and Tom Soter of the 1993 book Bond and Beyond.

What Is The “Curse Of The Bond Girls”?

“My agent told me, ‘If you take that role you’ll never work again’. But what movie could you do that they’d still be interviewing you for 20 years later?”—Lynn-Holly Johnson on her role as Bibi Dahl in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY. (TV GUIDE 11/13-19/1999)

“I’ve always said that if I never work again because I played a Bond girl, then I probably was never going to work again anyway.”—Denise Richards on taking the role of Dr. Christmas Jones in THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (Entertainment Weekly 11/19/99)

They have been socialites, assassins, pilots, mistresses, secret agents, smugglers, tarot-card readers, geologists, cellists, computer programmers, nuclear physicists and in some cases: unemployed. They are Bond Girls. For decades they have been admired, elevated, loved, sometimes scorned but in every case misunderstood. Why is it that the women who portray them seem to disappear off the face of the earth? Are Bond Girls doomed to a post-007 life of ignominy? Or is the myth that Bond Girls are cursed really just a myth and nothing more?

For decades the Bond Girls have gained a reputation as being chronically unemployable. For some, being a Bond Girl was considered the “kiss of death”, and many an agent warned his client not to take the role. Over time Bond Girls were considered to be cursed, as it seemed no actress went on to become a major star after being prominently featured alongside 007. How could this be? How could some of the most beautiful actresses on the planet not catapult to stardom after starring in such a high profile project as the James Bond films? To be fair, a number of Bond actresses have gone the low-budget, straight-to-video/cable movie route, but it hasn’t always been by choice. In her column “Bond Girls: Only Diamonds Are Forever” at, writer Moira Macdonald reopened the debate, but missed several major reasons why Bond Girls have it so tough. And with some Girls, there is more than one reason why sustained, big screen success has eluded them.

To be blunt, the number one reason why many of the Bond Girls have not gone on to have major careers in Hollywood is because so many of them aren’t English/American. Mie Hama, Karen Dor, Papillon Soo-Soo, Daniela Bianchi and Claudine Auger, to name just a few, have all run up against the ethnic brick wall. Hama was a Japanese actress, Dor was German, Soo-Soo and Auger were French, and Bianchi is Italian. American actresses find it tough enough to break into Hollywood. Why would foreign actresses find it any easier?

That is assuming, of course, that becoming a Bond Girl automatically means the actress wants to become a huge star or even a Hollywood celebrity. It’s very narrow-minded thinking to automatically assume that an actress isn’t a success simply because she’s not doing Hollywood blockbuster films. Many of the Bond Girls have gone on to have successful careers in their native countries (Carole Bouquet-France), while others chose not to pursue an acting career at all(Daniela Bianchi-Italy, her role in “Operation Kid Brother” notwithstanding). Some were models who only wanted the temporary spotlight, quite happy to fade into the background once their movie had premiered. Just because you aren’t working in Hollywood doesn’t mean you aren’t successful. Believe it or not, the entertainment industry does reach beyond Southern California.

Izabella Scorupco (Natalya-Goldeneye) is only the latest example of a Bond Girl hitting the ethnic brick wall, yet she’s part survivor, part victim. Scorupco is not only an exotic beauty (she has both Polish and Italian blood in her) but she’s an extremely talented actress. If the theory goes that Bond Girls simply can’t act and therefore are never able to get good work post-Bond, a theory Ms. Macdonald herself supports, then why has Scorupco found it so difficult to find work? Think I’m making too much out of this? Consider the following: Izabella’s new movie, “Vertical Limit” (which co-starts Chris O’Donnell and Bill Paxton), is her first big budget action film since 1995’s GOLDENEYE; it should be her second. Director Martin Campbell specifically requested Scorupco for the role of Elena Montero in his 1998 hit film MASK OF ZORRO. Campbell was overruled by studio execs and told to use Catherine Zeta-Jones, another relatively unknown actress at the time. Don’t let the name Zeta-Jones fool you. Catherine is a Welsh actress. She was no more suited for the part than Izabella was, yet Zeta-Jones was “English” and therefore got the greater consideration for the role (which was, ironically, that of a Mexican woman).

Then there is Michelle Yeoh. While critical reaction to TOMORROW NEVER DIES was mixed, there was almost universal praise for her role as secret agent Wai Lin. Immediately after the release of `Dies`, MGM/UA began developing a comedy/action film to star Yeoh and there was even talk of the Wai Lin character being spun off into her own series of films. So what happened? In typical American fashion, Yeoh got left behind so that studios could concentrate on other “Asian Invasion” stars such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Sammo Hung and Chow Yung-Fat. In other words, MEN.

Yeoh has had plenty of work since `Dies`, but it hasn`t all been film work. She`s been digitized for the Tomorrow Never Dies videogame for PlayStation, endorsed L`Oreal make up products and modeled Anne Klein`s fall line of clothing. Her next film, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON is her first big film since TOMORROW NEVER DIES, yet look who is in it: Chow Yung-Fat, with Ang Lee directing. It took a male co-star and a male director, both of whom are Asian, to get the film off the ground. If Yeoh ever waits for Hollywood to find the right vehicle to showcase her talents, she`ll always be waiting. Hollywood can barely figure out what to do with American actresses i.e. white actresses, so to expect them to think globally is almost an illusion.

But even if you are American, that’s still no guarantee you’ll get your foot in the door to other film projects, especially if you are black. Trina Parks (Thumper-Diamonds Are Forever) and Gloria Hendry (Rosie Carver-Live and Let Die) represented the first appearance of any black actresses in the Bond series. Parks starred opposite Connery in 1971, and while Connery’s Bond acknowledged what a tasty treat Thumper would make, there was no kiss or other physical romantic interaction between the two. Bond wouldn’t get physical with a black woman until the next film, Live and Let Die (1973). After Mrs. Hendry’s performance, there would be a dearth of black actresses in Bond films until 1985’s A VIEW TO A KILL. For Parks and Hendry, they simply came of age as actresses in an era that still had yet to figure out how to use black talent. ‘Diamonds’ and ‘Let Die’ came out at the end of the Cultural Revolution and civil rights movements that marked the 60’s, but the 70’s would not be much of an improvement. It would take another decade or more before black talent would be able to command leading or supporting roles in mainstream Hollywood fare. Today, the casting of Halle Berry as Kurt Russell’s love interest in EXECUTIVE DECISION or Thandie Newton as Tom Cruise’s love interest in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 barely raises an eyebrow, but it took actresses like Mrs. Hendry to break the racial barrier in a Bond film during a time when the world might still have not felt ready for it.

When you think about big, A-list female movie stars that are known all over the world, only a few come to mind. Right now that list would include Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Meg Ryan, Sigourney Weaver and Catherine Zeta-Jones to name just a few. In the past that list included Sophia Loren, Faye Dunaway, Racquel Welch, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor and of course Marilyn Monroe. Notice that most, if not all, the biggest actresses in show business are American women. The world loves them. We export them to other countries and the men go wild. But how willing are Americans to embrace the women of other countries? When Pamela Anderson washed up on the shores of Cannes five years ago to promote BARB WIRE, she created a media firestorm by doing little more than wearing a tight black bustier and leather pants. Conversely, when French actress Sophie Marceau, extremely talented and equally as beautiful, came to America to promote LOST AND FOUND and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, she landed not with a bang, but a whimper. American studio heads love to sell and exploit American women to other countries, but are unwilling to take a chance on a similarly beautiful, talented, foreign actress.

The four most visible Bond Girls at the moment are Kim Basinger, Jane Seymour, Tanya Roberts and Carey Lowell. What do they all have in common? They are American/English. Ms. Macdonald, in her column, discounts Basinger as a legitimate Bond Girl since her film, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, wasn’t produced by MGM/UA and is therefore not “official”. If you discount Mrs. Basinger, you also discount her 1998 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Jane Seymour found post-Bond success in such films as LASSITTER and SOMEWHERE IN TIME, and television work such as BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and DR.QUINN: MEDICINE WOMAN. Tanya Roberts has made her comeback in the hit television series THAT 70’S SHOW (and audiences are laughing with her, not at her, as opposed to her work in A VIEW TO A KILL). Carey Lowell followed up LICENSE TO KILL with THE GUARDIAN, a turn as a spokeswoman/model for L`Oreal and later, a two year stint on the highly acclaimed NBC show LAW AND ORDER (a show she chose to leave in order to raise a family with Richard Gere).

Lowell wasn’t the only one to take a break from acting in order to take care of a family. Barbara Bach (Anya-The Spy Who Loved Me) retired from acting in order to help herself maintain sobriety from drugs and alcohol and to support her husband’s road to recovery as well (she’s married to ex-Beatles Ringo Starr). Teri Hatcher (Paris-Tomorrow Never Dies) took time off from acting to raise a new son with husband Jon Tenney. In other words, not every actress who has played a Bond Girl feels the need to be a superstar. Some things in life are more important, and these actresses are showing what their priorities are.

The second biggest reason why Bond Girl careers have not shot off at a clip comparable to their contemporaries is because for the longest time Hollywood simply didn’t care about womens roles. Not that they care much now, but it hasn’t been until the past five years or less that actresses’ salary rates caught up with men. An A-list star such as Julia Roberts can now routinely command $20 million dollars a picture. Yet in the 60’s, 70’s and even the 80’s, Bond Girls as well as your normal, routine actress could never dream of earning that much money. Men always made the higher salaries because it was expected that the actors were what the audience came to see, not the actresses.

And let’s not forget the kind of attitudes that the Bond Girls had to put up with from the men. Despite the Cultural Revolution of the 60’s, women were still regarded as little more than sex objects (and though that hasn’t changed much even in the 90’s, women now have greater control over their image and can choose to or not to exploit their sexuality). They weren’t expected to have successful careers. Their identities were supposed to be formulated and cemented through their relationships with men. The 60’s were the height of hedonistic lifestyles, perfectly personified by the literary and film versions of James Bond, as well as the pages of Playboy Magazine. Women weren’t expected to be studio CEO’s, directors or even producers. No, the 60’s were a shagadellic era of free love, free sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll baby! The women were just supposed to come along for the ride. They weren’t taken very seriously.

Those perceptions have changed somewhat, as women break out from the traditional “chick flick” genre and move into more male dominated categories such as action. But even though women have tried to break into big budget, mainstream action flicks, the results have been less than enthralling. POINT OF NO RETURN, ALIEN RESURRECTION and THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT failed to motivate moviegoers because women generally prefer drama over action and most men, though loathe to admit it, are intimidated by women with a gun. For all the talk about how women are getting more control over their careers, the most talked about female roles in the 90`s were Sharon Stone`s Catherine Trammell in BASIC INSTINCT, Demi Moore in STRIPTEASE and Elizabeth Berkley in SHOWGIRLS. Michelle Pfeiffer won critical praise for her role as Catwoman in BATMAN RETURNS; an entire series of Catwoman films was in development. And yet even with Michelle Pfeiffer`s considerable star power, she was unable to get the project through. If an established Hollywood veteran finds it difficult to get a series made out of a popular character, what chance does an outsider, a foreign actress, have of getting a break in Hollywood?

Even as things have gotten better for actresses in general, there are still complaints that “there aren’t enough good roles written for women” these days. In 1993, The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences found it extremely difficult to put together a list of five nominations for Best Actress in what was dubbed as a year in which the Academy paid tribute to women in film. Bond Girl roles are an entirely different breed of role, yet they are unfairly held up to the same standards as other actresses who themselves find it difficult getting “real work”. If actresses find it tough today to get good roles, just imagine what it was like in 1963, when no one expected much more out of you than to stand over an air duct and let your dress fly up over your platinum blonde wig. Hollywood didn`t reward women for being tough like men, smart like men or brave like men.

It’s the press that created the “Curse of the Bond Girls” and it’s the press that keeps it going. It’s become such an urban legend that every new Bond Girl, while doing publicity for her film, feels the need to explain why her character is not just some bimbo on Bond’s arm. It’s not enough anymore for an actress to simply explain her role in relationship to the rest of the film. She has to distinguish and differentiate herself from the Bond Girls that have come before her.

Look at the way the role of the Bond Girl has evolved over the years. DR.NO gave us Honey Ryder, a naïve island local who lived off the land. The film also gave us Sylvia Trench, the social climbing casino trawler who ingratiates herself into Bond’s presence by wearing his pajama top. Fast-forward 37 years. THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH gives us two very different portrayals of Bond Girls. One is an International Nuclear Physicist while the other heads up the world’s largest oil company (though she killed her father to get that position). As the role of women changed in modern day society, so did the portrayal of the Bond Girls.

The BatWomen, Kim Basinger, Michelle Pfeiffer, Nicole Kidman and Uma Thurman, have all found steady work since their respective films. Why? Because they were cast as already established actresses. Not so with Bond Girls. Many get picked out of virtual anonymity and then thrust into the spotlight of a guaranteed blockbuster. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to replicate that kind of feat?

Still, the perception that all Bond Girls were failures is unfortunate; as many went on to do a wide variety of work.

Lois Chiles (Holly-Moonraker) followed up MOONRAKER with a two year stint on DALLAS, playing J.R. Ewing’s nemesis Holly Harwood, as well as a southern belle in the Alan Alda comedy SWEET LIBERTY. Barbara Carerra (Fatima Blush-Never Say Never Again) also followed up her role as Bond Girl with a one year stint on DALLAS, playing the devious Angelica Nero.

Maryam D’abo (Kara-The Living Daylights) went straight from starring in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS to starring in the very successful television mini-series SOMETHING IS OUT THERE. When NBC tried to turn the miniseries into a regular television series, it tanked. D’abo has continued to work in small budget pictures and on LIFETIME-TV movies of the week.

Diana Rigg (Tracy-On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) went on to do a variety of stage and screen work, including hosting PBS’ Mystery Theater Series.

Jill St. John (Tiffany-Diamonds Are Forever) went on to become a correspondent for the ABC-TV show GOOD MORNING AMERICA, as well as a celebrated cook book author. She retired from acting to be with her husband, Robert Wagner.

But to hear the press tell it, these women were failures who fell off the earth after doing Bond. Jane Seymour told TV Guide: “I would lose roles. Right after I was a Bond Girl, I went back to what I loved, theater. I did all the classics. Got some very good reviews. But the press made out like I was a failure because I was earning no money. I chose to do it because I did not want to run three paces behind the man with the gun anymore.”

Lois Chiles had a similar experience: “I went off afterward to do ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ and there was an article in the L.A. Times basically saying “Poor pitiful her.” But now it’s OK to be a Bond Girl.”

But does anyone have the same expectations for the actresses of other high profile movie series? Does anyone ponder why RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK didn’t make a bigger star out of Karen Allen? Why ‘TEMPLE OF DOOM’ didn’t do more for Kate Capshaw (other than help her marry Hollywood’s most powerful director, thus securing her a lifetime of work?)? Why INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE didn’t make Allison Doody a household name? Does anyone stop to ask why neither Margo Kidder nor Annette O’Toole became superstars after appearing in the SUPERMAN films? Does anyone question why Carrie Fisher never parlayed the success of the STAR WARS films into a bigger career in front of the camera?

The fact is, the type of actress that wins an Oscar is usually the type of actress that would never qualify to play a Bond Girl in the first place. Most people will forget who won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1993, but you mention the name Pussy Galore and people instantly know who you are talking about.

Today’s modern Bond Girl doesn’t necessarily carry the same baggage as her “sisters” did many films before. Feminists don’t criticize Bond like they used to, the Catholic Church doesn’t condemn Bond to hell like they once did, and women are taken a bit more seriously in Hollywood these days.

Famke Janssen is leading the pack of post-modern Bond Girls refusing to give in to some silly myth. She’s starred in a number of films after GOLDENEYE, such as DEEP RISING, ROUNDERS, and now the X-MEN. If she was supposed to crawl up in a hole somewhere and be ignored by Hollywood, someone forgot to tell her.

Izabella Scorupco returns to theaters December 8th, 2000 in the action thriller VERTICAL LIMIT. Denise Richards stars with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in the comedy THE THIRD WHEEL, and then appears opposite David Boreanz in VALENTINE. Michelle Yeoh will soon be seen with Chow Yun-Fat in CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. Sophie Marceau has chosen to work mostly in French cinema since doing THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, while Teri Hatcher has come back into acting, this time to be the spokeswoman for Radio Shack as well as a co-starring role opposite Tom Selleck in RUNNING MATE.

Failure is all a matter of perception. Not every Bond Girl has had the successful career that Jane Seymour or Kim Basinger have had. But then again, not every Bond Girl has wanted that. Some have valued personal privacy and fulfillment with family to be more important than trying to top the role of a lifetime. Being a Bond Girl doesn’t automatically make you a big star. It can open doors, it can familiarize people with your name, but ultimately it is the actress that makes or breaks her own career. Being a Bond Girl won’t automatically send your career down the toilet either (regardless of how bad your performance is). The fact is, being a Bond Girl is a lot like being crowned Miss Universe. You get a lot of perks, recognition, publicity, fame, money (sometimes) as well as the thrill of living your life in a Bond adventure for 6 months of filming. You hold the title of current reigning Bond Girl until the next actress is cast for a new film and you hand over your crown and you get back on with life. Being a Bond Girl isn’t a make or break proposition, but it’s good work if you can get it.

What Are The Nationalities Of The Bond Directors?

All the official Bond film directors were essentially British until recent years. However, Terence Young was born in Shanghai, Guy Hamilton in Paris, France, Martin Campbell in New Zealand, and Roger Spottiswoode in Canada. Irvin Kersher (“Never Say Never Again”) and John Huston (*Casino Royale*) are Americans. All the other “Casino Royale” directors were British.

Richard Maibaum, who wrote most of the Bond films, was American. So too are Tom Mankiewicz, Lorenzo Semple, Michael France, Bruce Feirstein, and Kevin Wade (an uncredited writer on “Goldeneye”).

The following are British: Roald Dahl, Christopher Wood, George MacDonald Fraser, Jeffrey Caine, Neil Purvis and Robert Wade. Among the minor writers, Johanna Harwood, Berkley Mather, Wolf Mankowitz, Paul Dehn, John Hopkins, Simon Raven, Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais are also British.

Wasn`t An Ian Fleming Biography Filmed Over 40 Years Ago?

The January 5th, 1968 issue of the “London Times” reported that a film bio of Ian Fleming`s life was in the works. Producer [and presumably director] Michael Truman intended to show “the seemingly schizophrenic split in Fleming`s mind: Fleming was goaded on by James Bond, who finally killed him.” One actor (not yet cast) would play Fleming and Bond. Fleming would age from 30 to 56.

Screenwriter Jack Whittingham, who adapted John Pearson`s book “The Life Of Ian Fleming”, visualized split screen technique with two characters doing scenes together. Fleming`s former secretary Beryl Griffie-Williams acted as adviser while Whittingham wrote the first draft at his home in Malta which is strange because Whittingham was Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory`s writing partner on the ill-fated Thunderball project; Whittingham issued his own writ for copyright infringement after McClory won, but Fleming died shortly after.

Was On Her Majesty`s Secret Service Narrated?

Yes. For North American viewers in the mid-1970`s, ABC aired a heavily re-edited version of the movie that featured George Lazenby relating the whole adventure in narrative flashback.

Additionally, ABC-TV usually aired the movie in two parts: the first half on Monday followed by the second half the following Monday. Fight scenes and sexuality were edited not only for content, but were also rearranged in sequence to better fit the story narration.

Tomorrow Never Dies’ Soundtrack Is Reminiscent Of Other Films…Why?

There are many allusions to other soundtracks, both Bond and non-Bond. Those with sharp ears can hear cues from “Cape Fear” (Bernard Hermann), “The Russia House” (Jerry Goldsmith), “F/X” (Bill Conti), and even from “The Godfather, Part III”. Oddly, you can hear parts of the “Surrender” theme in Sheryl Crow`s song “If It Makes You Happy”. Listen closely to the segment approximately three minutes into (about 70% of the way through) the song.

Allusions to other Bond soundtracks (by John Barry, Michael Kamen and Bill Conti) are numerous and almost pointless to list. Those who`ve heard Arnold’s Godzilla score should recognize the “march” cue from Octopussy”.

Is That Really Bond In Certain Title Songs’ Credits?

Surprisingly enough, out of six different Bonds, only three have had their face shown in the credits. Those three are: Roger Moore, Daniel Craig and Timothy Dalton.

Connery never specifically posed for any shots to be used in any of the title sequences, though images of him as 007 in GOLDFINGER were projected on several different women. George Lazenby, the one-time wonder of ON HER MAJESTY`S SECRET SERVICE, did not have his face shown either, possibly to avoid prematurely branding him as Bond.

It wasn`t until THE SPY WHO LOVED ME that Binder decided to feature a Bond in the credits. He told BONDAGE Magazine #10: “We put Roger in the titles of THE SPY WHO LOVED ME because the song was “Nobody Does It Better”, and it wasn`t a title song, like “Moonraker” or “Diamonds Are Forever”. I thought, why not put Roger in and show him doing all his tricks and show that he does it better than somebody else? That`s how it happened. He liked the idea. We worked a couple of days on the stage and did all of it.” The idea worked, and Roger then became a part of every title sequence from THE SPY WHO LOVED ME all the way through A VIEW TO A KILL.

Timothy Dalton showed up in the titles to LICENCE TO KILL, his sophmore effort. Why the trend that started with THE SPY WHO LOVED ME stopped with THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, only to start up again with LICENCE TO KILL, is unclear.

Maurice Binder died in 1991, having been the chief architect of all the title sequences up to that point.

In 1995, Daniel Kleinmann got the nod to succeed Binder as the title designer for the Brosnan films. Kleinmann was already well known by the producers; he did the video for Gladys Knight`s song LICENCE TO KILL. Daniel infused the title sequences to GOLDENEYE, TOMORROW NEVER DIES and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH with vibrant, colorful high tech gloss and three dimensional computer graphics but no Pierce Brosnan….except where he slides “inside” the Millennium Dome for the last film’s credits as they start.

Is It True Ian Fleming And Bond Filmmakers Make Cameos?

Albert Broccoli and Lewis Gilbert can supposedly be seen on the piazza during the Gondola chase in “Moonraker”. Peter Hunt has a brief cameo in the “OHMSS” pre-credit sequence. John Barry plays the conductor in “The Living Daylights”.

However, Michael G Wilson holds the record for the most cameos: he plays a soldier in “Goldfinger”, a priest in “For Your Eyes Only”, an opera patron in “The Living Daylights” (he looks straight at the camera and Bond`s box), a Russian government official in “Goldeneye”, and can be seen on a monitor in the conference scene in “Tomorrow Never Dies”. And those are just the ones he`s visible in. Wilson claims to have been in every Bond film since his “debut” in “Goldfinger”.

Ian Fleming may have had a cameo in “From Russia With Love”. Look closely when the train doesn`t stop for Kerim Bey`s son.

How Can I Get Working Copies Of Certain Bond DVDs Now Missing Footage?

Here is a step by step breakdown of what you need to do:

#1 Email MGM’s customer service department at Give them your name, phone number, email address, home address and the titles of the discs that you need remastered.

#2 MGM’s customer service department will then respond to your email with an email of their own. Attached to their email is a UPS tracking label that has MGM’s address on it.

#3 Print out the UPS tracking label and affix it to a box that contains the discs that you need remastering *and* their keepcases. Send them to MGM using the UPS tracking label. If you use their tracking label, you do not have to pay for shipping.

#4 Wait. MGM expects a 4 to 6 week turnaround on remastering the discs. Newly remastered discs are not currently planned for store shelves, so if you want NSNA on dvd, you’ll have to buy it and then have MGM remaster it.

The Living Daylights and Octopussy both have problems with missing subtitles. Never Say Never Again is missing about 3 to 4 minutes of casino footage. If you have further questions, you can call 1-877-MGM-4YOU.

The process for returning defective DVDs is a bit different for Canadians. They should e-mail: Warner Bros. send the replacement DVDs out to the customer first. Included with the replacements is a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) for the customer to return the defectives.

Did Tim Dalton Plan A Third Bond Film?

Initially, after LICENSE TO KILL, no. The writing was on the wall well before 1994, when he officially “resigned” from the role. Then head of film development, John Calley, let it be known that he would not green light another Bond film with Dalton as the lead. This is unfair, as Dalton was garnering a disproportionate amount of the blame for the perceived failures of the last two films. Nonetheless, it was no secret that both The Living Daylights and License To Kill were both specifically tailored to take advantage of Dalton`s more ruthless approach to the character.

Perhaps Dalton thought that with Cubby Broccoli becoming increasingly ill or the lack of anymore Fleming titles and material to use (License to Kill became the first Bond film that did not use a Fleming book or short story as its title) would spell the end of the series. Perhaps he failed to see that Barbara and Michael would carry on the series. Whatever was going through his mind, he made this one very telling observation to BONDAGE (Issue 16, Winter 1989):”My feeling is this will be the last one. I don`t mean my last one, I mean the end of the whole lot. I don`t speak with any real authority, but it`s sort of a feeling I have. Sorry!”

Dalton made it clear he would continue to go on and act in more films, but that there would probably be no more Bond films. He may have seen the inevitable legal action that was eventually taken by EON and decided that that probably would spell the end of the series. But by late 1992 and early 1993, with the legal action over, he made some comments to the press that suggested he was waiting for a script to be written. Even EON issued a statement saying that Dalton was “the Bond of record”. In any event, there was a time when even Dalton wasn`t sure if he, or the series, would ever come back.

Did Roger Moore Wear A Colostomy Bag As James Bond?

If you`ve ever asked yourself this question, you probably have too much time on your hands. In any event, this ridiculous rumor alleges that Roger Moore wore a colostomy bag from The Spy Who Loved Me through A View To A Kill and that it caused slowness and awkwardness in his action scenes. While we can`t say for an absolute certainty that he never wore one, it seems extremely unlikely. Let`s consider the evidence:

Moore had several love scenes or scenes where his shirt was off during and after The Spy Who Loved Me. It would be difficult to hide a colostomy bag or scar tissue on his waist that would indicate where the colostomy bag would go. Remember, this was several years before CGI; the producers couldn`t have just digitally altered Roger`s body.

As regards his “slow” or “awkward” action scenes…well, that`s all in the eyes of the beholder. It`s no secret that most of his stunt work was handled by a double anyway. So if someone thought they detected an awkwardness in the way Moore walked or carried himself in a fight, it`s possible they weren`t even seeing Moore but actually his stunt double.

So, where did this rumor get started? Well, Moore *did* have a serious accident while filming The Spy Who Loved Me and was very open about it, but he never mentioned anything about a colostomy bag (not that he would). At a news conference to discuss his Happy 25th Anniversary special for ABC-TV in 1987, Moore discussed the situation.

Journalist: “What was the most serious injury you ever had doing one of these movies?”

Roger Moore: I fell off my wallet once (laughter). Well, they were all uncomfortable. The most – I couldn`t sit here like I am now, on THE SPY WHO LOVED ME because in one of the scenes, a chair blew up before I got out of it and put a couple of holes where most of us only have one. That was very uncomfortable. I had a month of going and having my dressings changed twice a day by the Sister at the studio. I never saw her! (laughter)”.

Did Desmond Llewelyn Plan Another Bond After TWINE?

There seemed to be some confusion among the fans as to whether Desmond Llewelyn would be returning as Q for another Bond film after “The World Is Not Enough”. Many felt as though his exit scene in `World` was his goodbye. Although that indeed did become his final performance due to his tragic death in an auto accident, he was fully expecting to come back.

Desmond stated point blank about his “retirement”: “No, I`m not going to retire. No, I`m there as long as the producers want me and God doesn`t.” Additionally, in a promotional spot made available to Forever, Desmond makes a passing reference to hoping to do more work with John Cleese in the next film.

So now that Desmond is gone, what will happen to the character of Q? More than likely, the character will be retired and John Cleese will assume the general role of equipment manager and simply be known as “R”. That John Cleese will be back is not in dispute. John Cleese confesses in a promotional spot made for “The World Is Not Enough” that he was signed to do “2 or 3 more” films. You can also view that video by following the link at the bottom of this page.

So, it is quite clear that Desmond had every intention of returning to his role of “Q” providing he had his mental faculties and could do the job. Sadly, that chance will never take place, but we always have his other movies to remember him by, and a worthy successor to him in John Cleese.

Did Albert Broccoli Make Non-Bond Films After “Dr. No”?

He co-produced “Call Me Bwana” with Harry Saltzman. He produced “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (based on the Ian Fleming children`s stories) by himself. Broccoli apparently said during an interview with the New York Times that he`d like to make a western and like to work with Michael Cimino (“The Deer Hunter”, “Heaven`s Gate”), whom he considered a talented young man.

In the early nineties, Broccoli bought the rights to David Mason`s novel “Storm Over Babylon”. His autobiography “When The Snow Melts” has just been published.

Can Kevin McClory Make Renegade Bonds Like “Never Say Never”…Again?

This is answered, in part, in the WARHEAD 2001 A.D. section, but here we go into more detail. One knowledgeable person has mentioned that McClory may have a loophole because his original settlement entitled him to “James Bond of the Secret Service”. A wide, liberal interpretation of that phrase could have a dire impact on EON`s franchise. The court has several issues to determine:

Does Sony have the right to make a Bond film?
Do they have the right to make more than one Bond film?
Are they limited to using only material in the “collaboration” scripts, or can they improvise (i.e. the original Warhead script from the 1970s?
Did McClory forfeit his right to make any further Bond films when NSNA was made?
Is Kevin McClory entitled to a percentage of the series` profits?
Does MGM-UA have a legitimate breach-of-trust case against John Calley?
Does Eon`s 1965 agreement with McClory damage their case?
Is the 1983 British Court ruling applicable?
Nobody can say for sure without seeing both sides` pleadings and supplementary material. The quality of legal representation and who tries the case are also crucial factors.

For Kevin McClory`s “percentage” claim to succeed, he would have to prove that his contributions directly helped the series, i.e. that the films prior to Thunderball were unsuccessful, and that the series flourished only by using Thunderball elements. If McClory does own Blofeld and SPECTRE, he could theoretically claim a percentage of profits from, or damages against any EON Bond film (including FYEO) featuring either Blofeld or Spectre. However, several sources make a compelling claim that Kevin McClory did not create Spectre or Blofeld. Given Fleming`s failing health, could EON et al reargue this aspect of the case?

EON/MGM-UA`s lawyers have called the “percentage” claim a novel issue pursued too late (“the law of laches”) and statute barred. “You waited 35 years to pursue this claim?” Such a delay is indefensible.

McClory`s lawyers might be better to argue that EON used plot points and ideas from the collaboration scripts (i.e. stolen weapons in TND; SWLM, FYEO, and GE also have Thunderball related material) and thereby devalued them. McClory might be able to argue that EON incurred the delay by tying his hands and preventing him from getting his own Bond projects off the ground. The three Justice panel in the 1983 British Court decision said as much: “The plaintiffs, the Trustees of the will of Ian Fleming, have been financially aided by Cubby Broccoli since 1978 in their bid to stop the film. The film can not be stopped because the trustees have no right to argue against the original 1963 assignment of the copyright that gave Kevin McClory the film and TV rights to Ian Fleming`s novel Thunderball. There can be no appeal to a higher court – the House of Lords will not hear this case.” Mr Justice Goilding called the continued litigation harassment, and ordered the plaintiffs to pay McClory`s court costs.

I assume that MGM-UA bought NSNA to bolster their claim that all Thunderball related material is now EON`s. There are at least three stumbling blocks. One: The Sony Bond film doesn`t seem to be a remake of NSNA. It`s probably a free adaptation of the original Warhead scripts. Two: the original settlement gave McClory control of the collaboration scripts; EON`s ignominious 1983 defeat in the British courts probably closes this issue. Kevin McClory arguably got a “sweetheart” settlement in 1963. However, because of the 1965 agreement between EON and McClory, the British 1983 ruling was correct. Three: in exchange for the right to make Thunderball under the EON banner, EON only insisted on a 10 year non-exploitation clause (let`s call it the 1965 agreement, even though it was probably done in 1964). EON wrongly assumed that the series would have run its course by the 1970s – this decision more than anything else is to blame for the ongoing EON-McClory saga. Kevin McClory and Sony`s lawyers could argue that EON`s claim is a closed issue, for contractual reasons and because the courts subsequently adjudicated it. To avoid this pitfall, there would have to be an express provision in either California or US civil law that supports EON`s claims. I don`t think an argument that these were British decisions and therefore don`t apply would sway the California courts. The courts generally prefer to avoid jurisdictional conflict.

EON`s lawyers have also argued that any rival series will damage the viability of their own series. I believe they argued this point when they contested NSNA; that film may have subsequently hurt Octopussy`s international box office since both films were released at approximately the same time. Provided that Sony has the right to make Bond films, the courts will not care if they cut into EON`s profits. Such is the fate of the free-market. Nevertheless, I believe that the 1965 agreement specifies that any rival Bond producer who uses McClory property must pay a gratuity to Glidrose and EON.

I`m not sure that a judge would accept the argument that any rival film would be of such sub-standard quality as to damage the credibility and viability of the EON series. He might however rule that Kevin McClory already exercised his right to make his own Bond film with NSNA (even though he had nothing to do with the film, despite his Executive Producer credit), and that any further “remakes” would be unreasonable and unfair to EON, especially if Sony and McClory can`t diverge from the collaboration scripts. To keep remaking the same basic story might damage public interest in James Bond films and would therefore be unfair competition.

It`s unclear if Sony and McClory can diverge from the collaboration scripts. If the collaboration scripts are sufficiently different, McClory et al can argue that they can diverge and make multiple films. The court may rule that Sony has the right to diverge from the scripts, but cannot intrude on anything that EON owns.

Several factors would be examined. Did any past contracts (i.e. the EON-McClory 1965 agreement) or decisions (the 1983 British Court ruling) leave the door open for multiple “remakes”, or did they (directly or implicitly) limit McClory to only one film? Did the 1965 agreement only allow McClory the right to remake Thunderball, or did he keep his existing rights from the 1963 settlement? Last October MGM spokesman Craig Parson conceded that Sony may “have the rights to remake Thunderball and our executives would probably tell Sony to be our guests on that one. But as far as them planning a series, it is our asset and we will not be shy when it comes to planning legal actions to defend it.”

Yet a news article reported that, “MGM claims that a 28-year U.S. copyright term on Fleming`s work had expired and that a renewal of those Oct. 30 brought all of Fleming`s U.S. copyrights — including Thunderball — under the MGM/Danjaq banner.” This seems to be a creative interpretation of copyright law, especially since US copyright on the Fleming novels had already been renewed (i.e. OHMSS in 1991). Copyright cannot be renewed a second time. I`m not aware of anything in US copyright law that supports this argument. Copyright on the books affects only the books, not the films. If true, it would only bar Sony from showing the film in the US.

EON/MGM-UA filed a breach of trust claim against John Calley. For this to succeed, EON et al would have to show that John Calley was privy to confidential material and, I believe, disclosed it to Sony. The confidential material would have to be concrete, not abstract (i.e. dump Dalton, get higher-grade directors, etc). Moreover it would have to be something, that if disclosed, would put EON at a disadvantage and create unfair competition. It seems that MGM-UA may have a stronger case against SONY for the timing of their announcement (when MGM-UA went up for sale) if a judge decides that SONY knew that they had no right to make their own series of Bond films.

One note on the legal system. In Canada, for example, under the Highway Traffic Act, the owner, and not the driver of a car is liable for certain mishaps. In one case, a man`s daughter was involved in a traffic fatality. She was the driver. Her mother – his wife – had been in the passenger seat and was killed. Since he was the owner of the car, he had to sue himself (under Part V of the Family Law Act). The insurance company would have to pay whatever he won. This makes perfect sense. Most laymen would think it ludicrous.

You Only Live Twice

You Only Live Twice (1967)

The Cast Sean Connery (James Bond), Mie Hama (Kissy Suzuki), Akiki Wakabayashi (Aki), Tetsuro Tamba (Tiger Tanaka), Donald Pleasance (Ernst Staavros Blofeld)

The Supporting Cast Bernard Lee (“M”), Desmond Llewelyn (“Q”), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Karen Dor (Helga Brandt), Teru Shimada (Mr. Osato)

Credits Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman; Directed by Lewis Gilbert; Screenplay by Roald Dahl; Music by John Barry; Title Song performed by Nancy Sinatra; Lyrics by Hal David and Leslie Briscusse; Titles by Maurice Binder; Edited by Thelma Connell;

Mission: Bond must stop the capture of American and Russian manned spacecraft before WW3 ignites, and prove to the world that SPECTRE, and it`s leader, Ernst Stavros Blofeld is behind the whole matter.

Locations covered:Hong Kong; Tokyo, Japan

Villain`s Idiosyncrasy:Love of white cat with diamond necklace

Box office:$116 million worldwide ($569,947,339.41 in 1998 dollars)

Notable notes:

Best line: Bond to Helga Brandt, as he takes her dress off: “Oh, the things I do for England.”

Review by Michael Kersey

The film picks up with Bond relaxing in Hong Kong, and as usual, he`s not alone. Bond is in the throws of passion with another beautiful woman when gun toting assassins ambush Bond and shoot him dead. Or do they? In reality , Bond has faked his death in the hopes that some of Bond`s big name opponents will get sloppy, lazy and too cocky with 007 not on the scene anymore. As “M” puts it, this is “the big one” and Bond will need to be undercover more than ever.l

Bond`s “corpse” is buried at sea, jettisoned out of the M1 submarine off the coast of Japan. Bond then attends a sumo wrestling match where he meets up with Japanese SIS Agent Aki. She leads him to his first contact, Dikko Henderson, who is about to tell Bond who he really believes is behind the theft of the spacecraft when a knife wielding assassin puts Dikko out for good.

Bond kills the asssasin and pretends to be him. He runs back to the waiting car and is driven to Osato Chemicals. As it will later be discovered, Osato Chemicals is supplying SPECTRE with liquid nitrogen, a neccessary component in the making of rocket fuel. The very same rocket used to capture American and Soviet spacecraft.

You Only Live Twice is a bigger picture than Goldfinger and Thunderball combined in terms of budget. But bigger isn`t always better, and You Only Live Twice sometimes crumples under the weight of it`s own outlandishness. It`s plot is questionablle, and what there is of it is somewhat formulaic. You feel as if you`ve been there and done that before. Nancy Sinatra turns in one of the more forgetable title songs on record. Another mistake made was the killing off of Aki and replacing her with Kissy Suzuki. While Mrs. Wakabayashi is somewhat wooden in her role as Aki, she`s in the film far longer than Kissy, and is killed off in the film too late for us to get emotionally attached to her replacement.

The best Bond girl in the film by far is Helga Brandt, played by German actress Karen Dor. Her lips and voice drip with a sensual evilness that`s completely captivating. She steals practically every scene she`s in and makes for an excellent successor to Lucianna Paluzzi (Fiona-Thunderball) in the femme fatale department.

There are some truly spectacular action sequences including an elaborate helicopter/car sequence, and the Little Nellie chase. But the film, albeit perhaps unintentionally, relies too much on big explosions and gunfire to cover up the lack of a meaty storyline. And at this point, Connery had had enough of the role. Throughout the filming, he was hounded to death by the press as to whether or not he would return to the role after this film ws complete. As a result, this outing shows Bond a little more wearisome, a little more tired, and a little lackluster. Audiences seemed to agree, as U.S admissions fell nearly 50% compared to Thunderball.

TWINE Scores Big

Pierce Brosnan (James Bond); Sophie Marceau (Elektra King); Robert Carlyle (Renard); Denise Richards (Christmas Jones); Judi Dench (M); Desmond Llewelyn (“Q”); Samantha Bond (Moneypenny); John Cleese (R); Robbie Coltrane (Valentin Zukhovsky) Claude-Oliver Rudolph (Colonel Akakievich) Maria Grazia Cuccinotta (Cigar Girl)Serena Scott-Thomas (Dr. Molly Warmflash); Ulrich Thomsen (Davidov)

Director (Michael Apted); Musical Composer (David Arnold); Screenplay (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Bruce Fierstein); Story (Neal Purvis and Robert Wade); The Producers: Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli through Albert R Broccoli`s EON Productions.

The nineteenth official James Bond film from EON closes out the 20th century in style, opting for more drama and humanity over less gunfire and explosions. To be sure, the action is still there, whether it`s a dizzying high speed race through an oil pipeline or the implosion of a nuclear submarine. But `World` builds upon the foundation set by Goldeneye: to make Bond more human, less automatonic.

This is done first and foremost by hammering out a script that makes Bond more vulnerable. Here we see Bond can get hurt (his left shoulder is injured during the precredit seqeunce), Bond feel Elektra`s pain (notice his fingers touch her face on the computer monitor as if to comfort her) and he can be fooled by Renard (by taking the wired money back to Sir Robert King). Humanizing the story gives the viewers more to emotionally invest in.

Bringing on Michael Apted to direct was an oustanding choice and he`s surrounded by a first rate cast. The standout of this group is, without question, Sophie Marceau. Her relationship with Bond makes or breaks this film and fortunately, both Marceau and Brosnan pull it off convincingly. Marceau plays the character just right. You believe that Elektra can`t believe Bond would shoot her in cold blood. You *believe* that Elektra has never been turned down by men, and can`t understand Bond telling her he never loved her. Watch the scene again where M tells Renard that `her people will finish the job`. Elektra steps into the conversation, and in a scene of complete bewilderment, says: `Your people? Your people will leave you to rot. Like you left me.` Elektra looks almost as if she`s out of her senses, unable to grasp the concept that she might be fallible.

Right beside Marceau is Robert Carlyle, playing Bosnian terrorist and kidnaper Victor Zokas, otherwise known as Renard. A bullet to the brain has caused Renard to lose his sense of pain. Although the injury will ultimately prove fatal, he can push himself harder, faster, longer until the day he dies. This kind of idiosyncrasy is pure Bond; like Jaws having steel teeth or Oddjob having a razor edged bowler. But Carlyle doesn`t allow this to overshadow his portrayal of the character and reduce it to a caricature. Instead, he downplays the inability to feel pain (we only see three examples of this in the film) and plays Renard as a soulless, depraved animal. The scene where he is initially captured by Bond is pure gold. The look in Carlyle`s face, the tone of his voice, the smug attitude as he humiliates Bond with a question regarding Elektra: `So young…so innocent. How does it feel to know that I broke her in?` Carlyle makes you just want to reach out and strangle Renard. It`s a credit to Carlyle that he makes us care at all about his character. He even puts the Bond audience in an unfamiliar position: feeling some small amount of sympathy for Renard. Just look at the scene again where Renard looks forlornly at Elektra`s naked body in bed, unable to feel even the most basic emotion known to man. The wounded look in his face; the scar; the drooping eye. Lesser actors would have played the roles of Renard and Elektra over the top, shrieking and giving into fits of theatrics and overdramatization. Instead, both actors give excelling, standout performances in a low key, subtle manner filled with detail and nuance.

Of course you can`t forget about Judi Dench and Robbie Coltrane, both playing their largest role to date yet in a Bond film. Dench is so wonderful in her role, as an agonizing mother and also head of MI6, that it makes you wonder how she managed to be so underutilized up to this point. Coltrane provides the movie`s comic relief, providing one of the films best lines: “Can`t you just say hello…like a normal person?” Even without dialogue, Apted squeezes out fine performances. Witness the eye contact between Zukhovsky and Bond at the film`s climax. No words are spoken, yet a message is conveyed, hope for Bond is restored, and it sends chills down the viewers spine just knowing what Bond is about to do.

The rest of the MI6 staff get expanded duties as well. Moneypenny and Bond`s exchanges are less vulgar this time around, and more appropriate. The look Moneypenny shoots Dr. Molly Warmflash is Samantha Bond`s best work to date in the Bond series. We get Tanner back, along with more of Charles, the MI6 Chief of Staff. And now we have John Cleese, perfectly cast, in the role of Q`s bumbling assistant, tenatively referred to as “R”. Cleese is a worthy successor to Desmond Llewelyn, and shows that he`ll retain some of the chemistry between Q and Bond, while maintaining some differences. You can already see the irritation boiling up inside “R” as he probes 007: `I thought you were on some sort of leave.`

Denise Richards plays against type by portraying nuclear weapons expert Christmas Jones, with mixed results. The character comes on to 007 very strong and filled with attitude, the result of pent up anger from being leered and ogled at in a male dominated work facility. We get what we hope will be a glimpse of some good back and forth bantering between Bond and Christmas when she informs Bond `that if he needs protection from anything, it`s from me.` Sadly, the ensuing scenes don`t help establish the role of Christmas, or her centrality to the plot. This becomes painfully obvious when the setting shifts to Zukhovsky`s caviar factory, and Christmas is reduced to wearing a denim jacket and a lavendar miniskirt to attract Valentin`s attention. There is clearly little for the character to do once she has defused the bomb with 007 in the pipeline, and it shows. For this, the writers must be blamed. Early drafts showed a weakly conceived character that eventually got better through rewrites, but this is clearly one case where not enough rewrites were administered. For example, Christmas declares she has to get that bomb back or someone`s going to have her butt. Who? Why? In an early draft of the script, Christmas is concerned that if she doesn`t get the bomb back, her nuclear decommisioning program will be handed back over to the military, which means there will never be an end to the nuclear weapons. Richards could`ve used this kind of help to assist her in shaping the character. Still, Richards does an amiable job working through a sorely underwritten part, while having to work in the shadows of actors such as Judi Dench, Sophie Marceau and Robert Carlyle.

Michael Apted gets all the credit for the serious direction the film takes, whether it`s all his to take or not. One of the things that makes this film stand out from the other Bond films are the changes it`s been willing to make. Outside of this film, “M” rarely has left his/her office. The scenes are perfunctory. But in `World`, Apted wisely makes use of one of the most talented actresses on screen today, not only expanding her role, but making M`s history with Robert King central to Elektra`s plans; providing Elektra with the motivation for her scheme.

Or just take a look at the painting behind M at MI6`s headquaters in Scotland. It`s a portait of Bernard Lee, the film series` first M. It`s a nice touch that says a lot about the attention to detail paid to this film. Allowing a woman to be the lead villian in a Bond film has been a welcome change.

The cinematography was excellent. Particular praise for the sequence where Bond and Elekta jump off the helicopter and ski down the mountain. Accompanied by David Arnold`s lush score, this sequence is one of the highlights of the film, and says “Bond” in a way that nothing else can.

For the next film, it would be nice to see Michael Apted return as Director. His work on this film, actually, everyone`s work on this film, from Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, to Pierce Brosnan and Sophie Marceau, has been more than fantastic. The World Is Not Enough has set the tone and direction for the next film. Now let`s just make sure to maintain the course and Bond will thrive into the next century.

“TWINE” Risks, Dazzles, Edges and Glitters…An “A” for Effort!

Some Mild Spoilers inside our review of the Latest 007’s Style

The World Is Not Enough takes chances and works new combinations for James Bond. Like Star Wars: Episode I, hardcore franchise fans have plenty to applaud. Pleasant surprises, espionage intrigue and plot twists fill TWINE. A Brosnan film that echoes O.H.M.S.S. and License To Kill is a wild idea! From inside EON’s goodie bag come freshened ideas to churn up even hardened devotees to feel stirred if not shaken. TWINE works on many levels as a psychological thriller with more of Bond’s brains and heart in evidence than gadgets.

The teaser sequence is masterful through M’s office scene, taut and reminiscent of the very best GoldenEye to offer. The following boat chase goes a tiny bit over-the-top, somewhat long but extremely well filmed, funny and suspenseful and with a radically satisfying segue into Daniel Kleinman’s gorgeous credits. Luckily, not much else goes overboard for the next two hours, we are glad to report, and though Bond flies through the air and water like Superman, (“You were expecting someone else?”) TWINE’s Bond is a genuine human being as well.

Speaking of humankind, the villains are quite human in scope, right for the self-indulgent feelings-not-facts of the late 1990’s but different from the typical Bond-level pitch. Goldfinger, Mr. Kidd and Emilio Largo loved to torture Bond, just because they were evil bad guys, while Trevelyan, Carver and Renard have pasts and motivations, for goodness’ sake. Renard finds far less concern from the bullet in his brain than from his case of existentialist angst. In a risky move that often works, head write Bruce Feirstein and crew respond to the fans who have noticed that never again will there be a villain as juicy as Ian Fleming’s megalomaniacs or Richard Kiel’s Jaws, by avoiding them entirely. A hulking henchman of Elektra King’s who looks just right for five solid minutes of hand-to-hand combat in an elevator or train with 007 is dropped fast off-screen—a poke at 007’s being some kind of amazing martial artist!

The nagging feeling longtime franchise fans encounter watching this movie may also be because not one bad guy gets chopped into pieces, eaten by piranhas or drowned in steaming mud or bird guano. They are mowed down with bullets, and often by Bond’s point blank use of his license. Bond, of course, for the 21st movie in a row, folks, including Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again, is captured by his enemies at least once, which along with the fact that everyone knows his name and number at the grocery store, helps make him the world’s most unlikely secret agent to love, God bless him. (“007 is my best agent. But I will never tell him that because he gets captured on every mission.”)

Having said all that, dear readers, we affirm the vivid suspense and tension in this one. Bond is danger in the nuke scene with Renard and in the teaser with the venomous “Gulietta” is solid in intensity and top stuff. Plus you get great in-jokes in both scenes! Anyone who does not like “What’s your name?” “My name is Bond, (long pause, rockets up and away like Connery in Thunderball) James Bond” isn’t breathing!

Speaking of nagging feelings in a good way, Brosnan’s Bond is “living on the edge” in a solid way. As Brosnan said in a recent TV Guide issue, “I do work here!” He echoes Timothy Dalton with pain etching his face when the Mrs. is alluded to, and snarls, grimaces and mugs for the camera, much to the delight of all, for two hours and eight minutes straight. Bond is cheated on and lied to and Bond makes mistakes (“We count two, cars and cards…Q is going to be mad.”). Bond gets mad himself, Bond gets bloodthirsty, Bond exacts revenge, Bond is in smokin’ hot pursuit. Brosnan wisely fingers the facial scar he earned filming Tomorrow Never Dies while contemplating his moves, he looks like Bond, a touch of gray at the temples.

Even the trend since For Your Eyes Only towards building a better Bond girl is moved along rather nicely with this series entry. Unlike GoldenEye, where Natalya Simonova’s character develops complexity by showing temerity and skill in a 15-minute Severnaya subplot, Elektra King and Dr. Christmas Jones need even closer watching when Bond moves off-screen, specifically because what they are doing or might not be doing does not revolve around a space satellite but around Mr. Bond himself, as it should be. Feirstein’s final script holds more crosses and double-crosses, and M has more hidden agendas, than in a John Gardner novel, and it all works, every last drop of it.

We can’t say enough about Sophie Marceau’s work, and glowing comments are being made about her portrayal worldwide, so we will restrict ourselves to saying she is the best thing since Maud Adams as Octopussy, maybe even Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore! It was an ultra-clever inside move to see her use ice twice, once to send Bond on a mission and once to bring to mind the fire and ice Largo uses in Thunderball for “heat and cool, pain and pleasure”. Robert Carlyle does a fantastic job with non-verbal emoting and facial expressions when he cannot feel or achieve pleasure in the ice scene. Marceau’s first–rate psychotic who is “too beautiful to die” was a fans’ dream character made real. Denise Richards’ screen presence does not loom very large, but before everyone pans her as Dr. Christmas Jones, we must affirm that her acting was fine and that she is far more delectable for Bond to spend an evening with than, say, her first cousin, Indiana.

Henchman, M’s staff, (including “Charles Robinson” and “Bill Tanner” in the same movie!) gals and minor characters keep Bond hustling on his mission as he runs through more people’s lives than exotic locales. It is nice to watch a James Bond film so replete with characters and plot lines. Added grist hits Bond’s mill since Renard, King, Jones, Moneypenny, M, Q, R and every other letter of the alphabet have one thing in common–they are not happy to see Bond at first, or even at second, because he has a nasty habit of doing whatever he pleases to do. Following his 007-ly nose, Bond steals Q’s boat, ditches M’s mission, yanks plot devices out of nuclear bombs and guns down his enemies…he knows how to save the world when he has to!

Director Michael Apted (“Gorky Park”, “Gorillas in the Mist”) rates superior marks all around, as he obviously knows Ian Fleming’s Bond travelogue. He abandons Roger Spottiswoode’s MTV-editing (sorry, nobody does it better, quick editing that is, than Bond’s hero, John Glen) and Martin Campbell’s moody, brooding interiors, for wide vistas. A sunny London day (!) looks like Moonraker’s Venice but with prettier waterways, Istanbul is open and glittering and Apted’s breathtaking snowy mountains evoke Peter Hunt’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Apted also delivers the delighted audience Dr. No-like claustrophobia inside a pipeline tunnel (“I was just out walking my rat!”) and in a close-quarters submarine adventure (“I preshent thish Red October on behalf of the Shoviet people.”).

One of Apted’s greatest triumphs may be that the real “army” of Bondian bad dudes, the EON stuntmen, usually more in number than Blofeld can fit inside a volcano, are little noticed on screen. Quality filmmaking is in evidence throughout, in fact, though the pacing suffers slightly since both kinds of fans are cultivated in an attempt to combine the impossible–wall-to-wall action with an introspective film. Bond is the world’s expert in the impossible, however, and it all gels as Brosnan works with Apted to keep a consistent “I’m Bond and I’m cool, check me out!” character throughout, without being too self-indulgent. Another way of looking at the lighter moments is that they slow the film down enough for us to catch our breath. We get to laugh heartily, not just at Bond, but with Bond, this time out. Bond’s sartorial splendor is better than ever, and like Connery’s Bond or Moore’s Bond, he looks good, he knows it, and he knows we in the audience know it. We want to exercise, buy Calvin Klein glasses and killer skis, and get better haircuts, too.

Apted delivers plenty more visual interest for us. Television and computer monitors, henchmen, barbed wire, gorgeous casino gaming and more press the edges of the screen–don’t buy this one in pan-and-scan or you will miss subtle touches. There is also less gunplay for those of us fans obsessive enough to count the machine gun bullets Bond dodges, another nice response to complaints about the negative aspects of “True Dies.”

Production values rate very high in each Bondian setting in this film. Do we expect anything less from Mr. Bond these days? 007 films are no “Blair Witch Project!” Peter Lamont’s MI-6 headquarters in Scotland, for example, is a haughty, gorgeous fantasy castle of British imperialism. Just when we think Dr. Jones’ nuke is held in a living room of a set, for another instance, we are swept along through a huge, exciting maze of tunnels, blast doors and machinery. (“Ms. Jones, I am Klaus Hergerscheimer, checking radiation levels. G Section.”) Even more than in previous Bond runs, Lamont has wisely spent every penny of his budget as lavish onscreen candy. The trucks in the nuke scene outside the blast facility receive just five seconds of screen time before they blow up spectacularly, unlike the five minutes given to the same gang in the TND teaser. Cool!

The plotting for the first Bond film whose acronym is actually a word in English (“…And if you should run into a large ball of TWINE, 007, I don’t want you stringing matters into your own hands…”) comes thick and fast and the subplots are suitably delicious. Can James Bond trust Elektra King and Dr. Christmas Jones? How is Valentin Zukovsky mixed up in all this? Will Bond cover his mistakes or fall prey to them? Even Q and M get fine subplots and are too busy mothering and fathering their top agent to do the usual foreshadowing of the whole movie in exact order (“Now, 007, first you use this gadget, then you confront the villain, then steal his girlfriend, then you…”). The producers have responded nicely to fan concerns here, winding a wonderful web with this ball of TWINE!

What hurts just a little is there is no memorable, over-the-top stunt piece except a slowed-down 360-move, as in The Man With The Golden Gun. (At least we get some golden gums this time.) Also, Valentin Zukovsky gets a little too much screen time, more the fault of a lengthy factory sequence than anything else. (“Never enough toast when you need it, Valentin.”) We would have loved a few less minutes with the “helichoppers” and another moment or two of plot development, and most fans will agree. Here again, though, was marvelous, thrilling stunt work, chase and gunplay, and automobile fun as Bond shines. (Michael France brought these cutting copters back nicely from his GoldenEye draft and they were foreshadowed well too. Speaking as Bond memorabilia collectors, we regret, incidentally, buying the new model Z8s that come pre-split in two parts.) Valentin makes a much more complex and interesting “buddy character” than Jack Wade, who had his GoldenEye gardening subplot trimmed from an early draft.

In his third and best Bond outing of fixing other writers’ mistakes, Bruce Feirstein finally puts all the good lines in Bond’s mouth instead of the villains or M’s dialogue. (Like when Alec Trevelyan said, “You know something, James? I was always better!” and Bond said nothing juicy in retort.) Feirstein is smart enough to again homage the early films by combining very dark humor with lighter guffaws. One sole regret, there were far too many sex jokes, rather than subtler innuendo, like the cute “Shadow from behind or ahead, never on top.” This Bond’s lechery makes Sean Connery look like he needs a Viagra prescription–but Feirstein’s Bond gets away with most of it as his Bond is also a human compelled by genuine regret and motive.

Composer David Arnold also takes chances, though one he took we can still hardly believe is his movie theme, aptly sung by a band named Garbage. The tune sounds far more like “Tomorrow Never Dies” (which we now like more than before we heard this corker!) than “Surrender.” While the TWINE theme is catchy, it is just a bit too similar to TND’s theme work for our comfort. In very underrated moments for his first Bond, Arnold used “Surrender” as an introspective melody for his score, while this movie’s tracks are a lot more “Bond, Beat & Bass” than Barry.

There are music cues that definitely work, though, and Arnold rescues himself by utilizing the best Bond song ever written as his closer. In his defense, it looks like Arnold, who trumpeted the Bond theme at every moment to make TND more fun (remember the early films, when they played the Bond theme at every opportunity, even when Bond went to the bathroom?) has brought his TWINE score wisely to the background of the film’s heavy visuals, a move that absolutely works well in the mood-evoking ski scene, for example. We hope his third time with Bond will be fully magic, as was Pierce Brosnan’s.

In sum, Brosnan, Apted, Feirstein and company take many chances with this one–perhaps too many, purists will point out. Yet they have more than succeeded in giving Bond fans what they have been missing for a decade now–something to talk about unceasingly until James Bond again returns. Fans will need to see this film three or four times (once for “World” is not enough!) to enjoy all the moments, big and small. We look forward to going again to view it, with the rest of the world, with relish. If things stay grounded on the character portrayal level rather than the gadgets, for the first time we can wholeheartedly endorse Pierce Brosnan for a fourth film, which we now do with relief and gratitude. Thanks, EON!

–Matt Sherman is Forever’s Co-Editor and Steve Kulakoski is a Forever contributor, which means they keep clicking refresh on their web browsers so our hit numbers will again pass one million this month.

TWINE Reviewed By 007Forever Fans

More Fan Reviews (Spoilers Inside!) for Bond’s Latest
Kees Boer and Friends Square off to the New 007-ly Film

I was lucky to see the 19th Eon production James Bond installment entitled “The World Is Not Enough” at a local early premiere night. I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It is amazing, but the third Bond movie that Bond actors have done thus far, has always been their best. Goldfinger was Connery’s third 007 movie; “The Spy Who Loved Me” was Moore’s third and this is Brosnan’s third, of course, and they all hit the emotional and financial jackpot at the third one. (Devotees still argue about Dalton’s possible third movie, whose script “Property of a Lady” is reviewed on the 007Forever pages in Behind The Scenes/The Eye That Never Sleeps.)

Pierce Brosnan did a great job as Bond. He played it “very believable.” His portrayal of Bond is as a man in touch with his personal feelings, who at the same time wouldn’t think twice about killing a villainess, an unarmed woman, whom he has recently made love to. Bond actually gets hurt in this movie, and gets tortured (Oh, goodie!) as well. In this sense, this movie is a lot more Fleming-like. It was also good to see Bond on snow skis again. One interesting thing was that Bond seems to kill a villain, says a witty line, and finds out that the “kill” wasn’t successful in TWINE. “The Broz” himself also lost some weight since “Tomorrow Never Dies.”

007’s Teammates: Bond’s regular teammates are in this movie, Ms. Moneypenny played by Samantha Bond, M played by Ms. Judy Dench, and Q played by Desmond Llewelyn. I liked that Ms. Moneypenny is flirtatious with Bond once again. I felt that in the last few movies, Penny was too p.c., almost ice cold, toward Bond. When Moneypenny hoped for a diamond ring from Bond, it reminded me more of the old Moneypenny ala Diamonds Are Forever. Dame Judy Dench was a delight, playing “crusty old” M. It is clear that more of an appreciation is growing between Bond and M. Instead of just giving the assignment at the beginning of the movie, M actually becomes part of the plot, when she gets captured and imprisoned. This reminds readers of Kinsgley Amis’ Colonel Sun novel, where M gets captured.

007’s Story: Overall I found the plot to be fairly complicated in nature. Part of this is that several characters switched sides, (and so did several scriptwriters) which reminded me on the whole of a John Gardner book. The film even hints that Sir Robert King was M’s former love interest, which reminds me of Raymond Benson’s recent opus “The Facts of Death”. Electra’s father also dies at the beginning of the movie, moving the whole plot, as in “Facts”. The teaser sequence was quite different, having several lengthy scenes crammed into it. As a matter of fact, while watching it I started to wonder if the usual credits and theme song were going to be part of Bond XIX at all!

In this sense the pre-title sequences was very different from any Bond movie, in all its elements, “chit-chat” with M, and surprises, which one would normally expect following the credits proper and theme song.

007’s Musical Score: I must admit that when I first heard the soundtrack before seeing the film, I was hardly impressed. It reminded me a lot of the soundtrack of “Tomorrow Never Dies.” Not that this is bad in itself, as David Arnold made certain strides over GoldenEye, but TWINE didn’t ring as an original and didn’t do much for me.

When I heard the soundtrack together with the movie, however, I found it fit the celluloid perfectly, and I loved it. Even the Garbage song sounded good, seeing it in conjunction with the title sequence. I absolutely loved the Bond music playing during the closing titles!

007’s Locations: The locations are in various places in Europe and Asia, with the vast majority in Europe. I always liked Bond in Europe, this might be because I’m from Europe myself, but I always felt that home provided the perfect setting for any Bond movie. I will say, that it would benefit the viewer greatly to have a good topographical knowledge of Southeastern Europe to view this movie.

007’s Women: Both Sophie Marceau as Elektra King and Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones did a great job. My first impression was that one was the “good gal” and one the “bad egg” but as the movie progresses the roles reverse. It was dramatic to see Ms. King torture Bond, and then later seeing him kill her in cold blood.

Bond ends up with Dr. Jones at the end of the film, much like he ended with Dr. Goodhead in Moonraker, and with the same retorts.

007’s Gadgets: Bond drives a BMW Z8. He has a “standard” rocket launcher, which he uses toward the end of the movie. In the beginning of the film, he also speeds with a special jet boat, with which he chases a femme fatale. This boat is like the opposite version of the Lotus Espirit from the “The Spy, Who Loves Me” as it is a boat driven on land rather than a car driven at sea! The villains also have some interesting gadgets. There is a helicopter with giant vertically suspended circular saws. This idea was first going to be used in the movie “GoldenEye.” They also have small helicopters much like the little Nellie of “You Only Live Twice,” with which they chase Bond. The snow ski scene especially reminded me much of that movie.

I felt overall that TWINE maintains an excellent balance between Bond’s gadgets and his wits. He didn’t overly rely on the gadgets for his rescues, but did use them to the delight of the audience.

007’s Adversaries: Robert Carlyle did a good job as the villain. He didn’t seem a traditional villain though–he actually looked like a criminal! Whereas someone like Goldfinger looks like a respectable individual in society, (European society!) Renard looks like a guy getting arrested in the television show COPS!

The redoubtable Ms. King was very likeable, making it all the more surprising to see her turn out bad, and I don’t just mean a “bad girl” like Bond’s typical shameful slatterns!

Unlike the other Bond movies, this movie actually seemed to have two main villains instead of just one major villain, a henchman, and their army of bad guys.

007’s Success: This is definitely one of the best Bond movies made yet. I am looking forward (and many friends are also) to seeing Bond XIX many times over. Two of my thumbs (If I had more I would use them too) up!

Other fans chime in from around the globe:

“Saw TWINE–It was big letdown. Too much comedy. When the older movies had 3 to 5 great quips–this was non-stop. John Cleese as the new Q? This movie reflects the new poor quality of movies in general–What a major disappointment.”

“If the theater I went to in Manhattan, Friday night around Union Square, is any indication, the new Bond is going to do terrific business. At 5:30 all showings on a hourly basis at $9.50 a ticket were sold out to midnight. A friend just told me that a theater she went by in San Diego had all showings sold out. I DID get to see it, just not there, not that night, but the next afternoon, in Brooklyn, by the skin of our teeth.”

“Yes, it is a good movie. I pretty much knew on Sunday afternoon that it would come in #1 at the box office. I’d taken my son back to see the Pokemon movie for a second time. I asked the girl at the box office about it. She had a display there with how all the films were doing at their theater. Since it was clearly #1 there, I was sure that it would be #1 everywhere else, as well.”

“Hello. I assume you’ve seen TWINE by now. My thoughts: Brosnan was excellent; loved the use of the Bond theme as the close credits; the parahawk chase was a little on the lame side; the boat chase had remnants of the Moore era; was that a continuity problem for the yellow tennis shoes on Christmas in the caviar factory?; Desmond is looking pretty tired but Cleese was good; this movie was more like the early era of Bond flicks; overall, the movie was one of the best yet.”

“I saw TWINE a couple of weeks back at a junket at MGM and didn’t think it worked. Parts were okay–Pierce was GREAT. But, overall, the action scenes were totally incoherent, and the main plot wasn’t well defined. Like TND, there’s no relationship between Bond and Jones to make the romantic payoff work. The end joke was very Moonrakerish, I thought. But the biggest offender was Arnold’s techno action cues. They were so uninspired and just droned on. Could have been a better film with a Barry score. So, it gets a 6 of 10 (nahhh, give it a 7 of 10 because it was much better than TND–but not nearly as stylish as GoldenEye).”

“I saw the Dutch premiere at the famous Tuschinski Theatre in Amsterdam, arriving right on time, I enjoyed some free coffee, together with some hundred people of the Dutch writing press. I felt extremely privileged–I will tell you about the film. IT IS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!!!

Pierce Brosnan is amazing, and is fitting the role better each time he plays it. Another A+ feature is Sophie Marceau as Elektra King…Isn’t she one of the world’s most gorgeous women? I think so!

Although the plot is once again a bit vague (a lot of story lines emerge in the big story) it is definitely much better than the last one, “Tomorrow Never Dies”–This one will earn its millions!

There has been much doubt about the listing of ‘Istanbul, Turkey’ as a filming location, but I can tell you from experience–They were there for certain! All I can say now is, spread the word that this film ROCKS!”

“Personally, I was disappointed, thought it was dingy, rhythm-less. Reminded me too much of the John Glen directed 80’s Bond films, especially LTK. It had the same washed out look. It was reasonably well-paced though. I’d give it a 5.5 out of 10. How does everybody else feel?”

Answer: We would love to know!–007Forever Editors

–Kees Boer is famous for sharing his Christian faith in God live on stage with Pierce Brosnan. He is has been a Bond fan since he received a Corgi Goldfinger car 30 years ago (when they were affordable).

TWINE Means The World Is Not Enough

In his 19th screen outing, Ian Fleming’s superspy is once again caught in the crosshairs of a self-created dilemma: as the longest-running feature-film franchise, James Bond is an annuity his producers want to protect, yet the series’ consciously formulaic approach frustrates any real element of surprise beyond the rote application of plot twists or jump cuts to shake up the audience. This time out, credit 007’s caretakers for making some visible attempts to invest their principal characters with darker motives–and blame them for squandering The World Is Not Enough’s initial promise by the final reel.

By now, Bond pictures are as elegantly formal as a Bach chorale, and this one opens on an unusually powerful note. A stunning pre-title sequence reaches beyond mere pyrotechnics to introduce key plot elements as the action leaps from Bilbao to London. Bond 5.0, Pierce Brosnan, undercuts his usually suave persona with a darker, more brutal edge largely absent since Sean Connery departed. Equally tantalizing are our initial glimpses of Bond’s nemesis du jour, Renard (Robert Carlyle), and imminent love interest, Elektra King (Sophie Marceau), both atypically complex characters cast with seemingly shrewd choices, and directed by the capable Michael Apted.

The story’s focus on post-Soviet geopolitics likewise starts off on a savvy note, before being overtaken by increasingly Byzantine plot twists, hidden motives, and reversals of loyalty superheated by relentless (if intermittently perfunctory) action sequences.

Indeed, the procession of perils plays like a greatest hits medley, save for a nifty sequence involving airborne buzz saws that’s as enjoyable as it is preposterous. Bond’s grimmer demeanor, while preferable to the smirk that eventually swallowed Roger Moore whole, proves wearying, unrelieved by any true wit. The underlying psychoses that propel Renard and Elektra eventually unravel into unconvincing melodrama, while Bond is supplied with a secondary love object, Denise Richards, who’s even more improbable as a nuclear physicist.

Ultimately, this World is not enough despite its better intentions.

–Sam Sutherland

TWINE Hits The Middle Of The Road

The James Bond films haven`t been “films” since FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. Or, to put it more precisely, they have become “James Bond films,” a sort of genre unto itself with a well-established formula and a level of audience expectation that cannot be ignored without peril. Elements like credibility and drama take a back seat to exotic locations, beautiful women, clever quips, fast-paced action, exciting stunts, lavish sets, and elaborate effects. While movie audiences eat this up with each new entry in the series, the Bond purists, those who remember the character as he appeared in Ian Fleming`s novels, yearn for a return to a more serious Bond. Not that the novels were without their outrageous elements (come on, 007 fought a giant squid in the novel of DR. NO), but Fleming captured a sense of gritty reality amidst all the glamour. In fact, it was this sense of continual danger that was at the core of the books. As Timothy Dalton was fond of pointing out, Bond`s vices (smoking, drinking, women) were an oasis from his everyday reality. This was a man who could die any day, at any moment, so he took his pleasures where he found them.

In the films, these elements, which had been for Bond a mere respite, became instead the true focus of attention. Especially during the Roger Moore era, Bond became a fantasy of what a secret agent would be: an infallible, good-looking superhero who never got his hair mussed, always won the fights, and never seemed in real danger (although Moore did perfect a comic grimace he used whenever faced with a supposedly imposing enemy, such as Richard Kiel`s Jaws).

Of course, Sean Connery had shown that it was possible to play this character as if it were the real thing. Maybe the actor wasn`t exactly what Fleming had in mind, but he did sell the character to the audience. Although he was ever ready with a quip, his sense of humor somehow never attacked the integrity of the film itself: while you were watching, you were in that world, and your suspension of disbelief remained in place.

With Dalton, fans got a return to a hard-edged, serious Bond. Unfortunately, the actor was ill-served by his film, especially LICENCE TO KILL, which was, theoretically, designed as a showcase for his interpretation of the character. What emerged from that debacle, however, was an abject lesson in how resistant the series had become to change. While we were supposed to take the film seriously, the same outrageous stunts and action intruded at regular intervals (in the film`s low point, the incredibility of Bond`s actions actually becomes a plot point, making the villain distrust the henchman relating the events). While we are supposed to be thrilled by the personal vendetta between Bond and Sanchez (an excellent Robert Davi), that element is all but eclipsed by a closing chase scene that replaces the actors with stunt men and abandons drama for action.

Sadly, Dalton never got another chance to make the role his own. Instead, after a six year gap, we got Pierce Brosnan as a new Bond for the `90s. What immediately became apparent in GOLDENEYE was that Brosnan, despite his REMINGTON STEELE background, was not going to play the lethal secret agent like a walking self-parody. Unlike Dalton, he imbued his Bond with humor, but unlike Moore, he wasn`t reluctant to explore the serious side of the character. In effect, he tried to combine the best elements of Moore and Dalton, creating a new version of 007 that in some ways harkened back to Connery.
TOMORROW NEVER DIES was a considerable improvement over GOLDENEYE. Somehow, the Bond elements clicked into place: great villain, great women, great action, great Bond. Yet somehow, in the build up to the release of THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, the previous film has become the whipping boy-dismissed as all action and no story-and WORLD has been presented as the antidote, a film that alters the traditional Bond formula by infusing it with greater drama and characterization.

Well, I`m here to tell you that it just ain`t so. The film tries very hard, and sometimes the effort pays off, but overall this is a compromised effort that recalls LICENCE TO KILL in the wrong way: it`s a film that tries to be different but lapses back into the same old, obligatory set pieces. This is really too bad. After all, both Connery and Moore hit their stride with their third outing as Bond (GOLDFINGER and THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, respectively), Maria Grazia Cucinotta as the murderous Cigar Girl in the film`s stunning precredit sequence and we had every reason to hope that the same would be true of Brosnan. As he has aged with each subsequent appearance, he has grown into the role: he has lost some of that boyish charm that threatened to make his Bond appear lightweight, and replaced it with a more seasoned sense of experience; in short, he`s starting to project the image of a man who`s been around the block a few times and knows where the bodies are buried.

Alas, this was not to be. THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH begins with an excellent pre-credits sequence that works because it undermines our comfortable expectations. After an initial adventure and narrow escape, the film doesn`t cut to the credits but goes to the headquarters of MI6, which are violated with a deadly explosion that precipitates an exciting boat chase down the Thames. The assault on a setting we are used to seeing used only as a means for exposition (to set up the plot) creates a genuine surprise, and the boat chase works with only a few gimmicks, instead opting for visceral impact. The whole sequence is over-the-top in the best Bond manner: thrilling in a fun kind of way but not so absurd as to render its hero in cartoon superhero terms.

Things proceed well with the opening credits and theme song–a fine tune composed by David Arnold and performed by Garbage that recalls the classic Bond themes like “Goldfinger.” But then the movie proper starts, and the plot kicks in. The big mistake that follows is that the filmmakers obviously want to render a film with more dramatic impact, but they are afraid to sacrifice the traditional elements in order to achieve this. The result alternates between slow dialogue scenes and intrusive action scenes; worse, the two elements are often not well integrated. The worst example of this is the helicopter attack on the caviar factory. At a time when the films should be barreling headlong toward the rescue of M (Judi Dench), instead it stops for a set piece that in no way advances the story. Far more damning, it`s not such a great scene that it justifies its own existence. There are lots of shots of damage being inflicted, lots of shots of people running, but no sense of danger or suspense, no sense of narrative–of people gaining or losing the upper hand, or turning the tide against their attackers. The sequence might have been just tolerable if it had ended when Bond`s car launches a rocket that explodes the copter, but no–there is a second helicopter, allowing the sequence to drag on even further, to no real advantage.

The problem, clearly, is that Michael Apted is no action director, so he apparently lavished his attention on the character scenes and left the second-unit people to do what they wanted, whether or not it meshed with his work. What was really needed was an approach like that of James Cameron or John Woo, who know that action is character-how a character behaves under duress or in danger is as much a part of storytelling as what he says when alone with another person.

With the attempt at drama thus undercut, the film`s pace drags woefully in the middle. The attempt to play Electra King (Sophie Marceau) as a believable love interest (rather than just a sex object) is partially successful, but it never generates as much heat at Teri Hatcher`s role in TOMORROW NEVER DIES-and she had much less screen time, to boot. The film`s twist, that Electra is the real villain of the story, does work fairly well (at least it`s not obviously telegraphed), but we never understand her conviction that Bond won`t have the nerve to kill her. Certainly, we in the audience never believe he will hesitate, and when the big moment finally comes, Apted throws it away with a reaction shot to M, instead of focusing his camera in on the faces we want to see in this critical moment of life and death: Bond and Electra.

At least, Marceau is more than just beautiful; her accent and European looks are appropriately exotic for a Bond movie. The same cannot be said for Denise Richards. Sure, she is gorgeous enough to be a Bond woman, but in the middle of a film striving for greater characterization, her Dr. Christmas Jones is an underwritten tag-along character with little to distinguish her. Worse, she is saddled with unspeakable techno-babbble dialogue that recalls a bad episode of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. The result, sadly, provokes laughter in all the wrong places. Again, using TOMORROW NEVER DIES as a point of comparison, Michelle Yeoh managed to present herself as a worthy colleague to Bond, and her martial arts skills gave an added punch to the film. With Dr. Jones, we wonder why Bond is even dragging her along. (Yeah, I know, she`s supposed to diffuse the atomic bomb, but Bond knows how to do that himself-or at least, he had learned by the time of OCTOPUSSY.)

Robert Carlyle pulls a few worthwhile moments of unexpected vulnerability out of the villainous Renard, but the character does not rank among Bond`s most memorable foes. Carlyle projects far more danger as the volatile barroom brawler in TRAINSPOTTING. Here, is almost subdued. This supposedly more realistic opponent simply lacks the larger-than-life flare that Jonathan Pryce brought to TOMORROW NEVER DIES.

The script has some good points. The dialogue is often witty, but for every clever line, there is at least one howler (like the film`s closing pun about Christmas coming more than once a year). At least Desmond Llewelyn and John Cleese make the most of the traditional gadget scene. Llewelyn is in fine form, finally with someone else to play off of rather than just Bond; in fact, it`s fun to see Q and 007 have a third party as the target for jibes so that at last they can stop sparring with each other. The hints of surrogate father-son loyalty actually fill the screen with some genuine warmth. And Cleese, of course, is a scream as Q`s apprentice. He gets more laughs in a few minutes than are to be had in the rest of the film.

Okay, so THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH aims to achieve something more than its predecessor and trips up on its own ambition. Does that make it a bad Bond movie? No, despite the lags in pacing, the film does deliver the goods. There are delightful moments, some good set pieces, occasionally surprising plot twists; Maria Grazia Cucinotta is so good as the lethal lady in the opening sequence that we miss her presence throughout the rest of the film, and Brosnan giving a more mature performance as Bond. There is even an effective torture sequence that recalls the grueling sense of pain and fear that Fleming put into his books. But in every way, the film is inferior to its immediate predecessor. It may be good p.r. to present the new Bond film as a dramatic antidote to the all-action formula of previous Bonds, but the truth is that some of those action packed movies (including TOMORROW NEVER DIES) did generate genuine emotional responses, often much more effectively than the current film. More than anything, a Bond film should be fun, movie-going entertainment. This film indeed delivers the goods; it`s just bogged down in an attempt to do more that ultimately delivers less.

–Steve Biodrowski