Category Archives: Movies

Theodore Bikel, The Richest man in the world

Harry Saltzman originally wanted Bikel to play Auric Goldfinger. Gert Frobe got the role.

Bikel, an internationally beloved actor and singer, was a true renaissance man of the arts. He is best known to the world-at-large for his starring Broadway roles in “The Sound of Music” and most famously as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”, and in films like “The African Queen,” “My Fair Lady” and “The Defiant Ones.”

GoldenEye: The Skatalites

The Skatelites covered well The Original James Bond Theme on their Ball Of Fire 1997 release.

A Skatalites spokesman said the ska band were requested to turn in their work for 1995’s GoldenEye at EON’s request before releasing the theme cover along with their tune s”Latin Goes Ska” and “Swing Easy”.

The Skatalites’ James Bond Theme version is 6 minutes and 59 seconds of drums, sax, guitar and trumpet glory. Available from Island Records under their Island Jamaica Jazz label.

The Stones, And The Astley-Nator

The Rolling Stones: Were asked to write/perform the theme song to GoldenEye. They declined. There hasn`t been any official reason given, but they were about to go on tour at the time so that may have been a factor.

Rick Astley: Was considered for the title song to Licence To Kill but how seriously he was considered is unknown. He has an incredible voice and range and could give even Tom Jones’ Thunderball classic a run for its money, still, TODAY.

Mel “Double Oh” Gibson

The story about Gibson becoming the next James Bond got a lot of play in 1992, when mega-Hollywood producer Joel Silver attempted to buy the rights to James Bond. At one time they were up for sale. Silver has gone on record as saying he would have cast long time friend Mel Gibson as 007.

Major media outlets such as Entertainment Weekly and Newsweek claimed that Albert R. Broccoli, then producer of the Bond films, waved an unconditional $20 Million U.S. paycheck in front of Gibson`s face to star as 007 in GoldenEye. According to the story, Gibson replied about the role: “Too frivolous”.

Was he really ever offered the role? EON and it`s publicists have denied it to this day. Others have stood by their story that he had. So it depends upon who you ask, or who you want to believe.

Greg Wise, JB!

The Sense and Sensibility star was talked about as a replacement for Pierce Brosnan when he was to finally give up the role.

Wise told The Express that he was flattered. “It would be great to do it. The producers saw me after Timothy Dalton left but I had these very unsexy sideburns for some period thing, which spoilt my chances.” He was an odds on favorite to take over after Pierce Brosnan is finished.

Eva Herzigová Simonova, Russian Minister of Transportation

Eva is a world reknowned supermodel and former Guess? Girl, but what you may not know is that she was also auditioning for the role of Natalya in Goldeneye. Her agent confirmed she screen tested three times for the role so it would seem like the producers were very interested in her. But apparently they were looking for that “certain something” that Eva didn`t quite have. The role went to Izzabella Scorupco instead.

The name’s wells, Colin Wells

Colin Wells was born in London in 1964. He became an actor after working in a bank and quickly found success in theatre. He worked extensively at the prestigious Glasgow Citizen`s Theatre ( alma mater of Sean Bean, Pierce Brosnan and others). Someone from EON saw Wells performance there and saw Colin receive a Best Actor award. His strong resemblance to the Bond character led to him being auditioned.

Colin worked steadily in TV with appearances in acclaimed mini-series such as AN INDEPENDENT MAN and smash hits like BIRDS OF A FEATHER. He was the romantic lead in THE HELLO GIRLS- a BBC drama set in the 50`s. Wells` character of Dick Mandeville, a wealthy womanizer who worked as an engineer for Rolls-Royce, was very similar to Bond.

Wells` first love remains theatre where, like Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton, he has often sought out challenging and intense roles. To most Bond fans however, Wells proved his credentials for the role of Bond with his portrayal of Sam Curtis in the modern remake of The Professionals- a lavish 13 part series filmed in Britain, the USA and South Africa. The series, sold to over 50 countries world wide and the spectacular action series (arranged by former 007 stuntman Peter Brayham and edited by 007 movie editor John Grover), called upon the actors to drive speedboats, Lotus sports cars, abseil down buildings, dogfight in helicopters and engage in some of the most vicious punch-ups and shootouts ever committed to celluloid.

Some sources claim that Wells is used by EON to read as Bond when other actors are screen tested, although this has not been confirmed. Wells auditioned for the role of Bond in 1994.

The Name’s Rickman . . . Alan Rickman . . . MISTER Potter . . .

Alan Rickman, of Die Hard fame, originally tested as James Bond in 1993, and by 1994, was reportedly offered the role of Alec Trevelyan. He was ready to do it, but changed his mind at the thought of being typecast as a megalomaniac, (Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) The role eventually went to Sean Bean, who in turn also screen tested a few times for the role of Bond.

Changing James Bond’s World of Espionage

Recently, the smartphone game James Bond: World of Espionage was taken down. The servers closed and players, including the author, lost their game progress. I played the game often and would like to put down some thoughts for future Bond gaming.

  1. James Bond WOE did receive careful thought. The game was better than most pundits wrote. The graphics and music were top notch and looked and felt splendid on phones. The game dropped with the then-new Bond movie, Spectre, and game characters included not only the flight of Spectre folks but characters from the original Ian Fleming novels!
  2. A slightly different game engine would have worked wonders. If JBWOE used the engine from Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, a similar card matching fighting game, people would still be playing it now. SWGOH uses more complex thinking about character building and promotion, strategy and tactics. JBWOE fell into routines more often.
  3. Better daily rewards would have encouraged more gameplay. I toughed it out some with JBWOE and the free play rewards were stinting.
  4. More 007, 007! It was costly and difficult to acquire James Bond as a character. Multiple Bonds, Ms and Qs in their different iterations would have been fun.
  5. The critics didn’t dig deep. Critics have the game helped kill it. The reviews came so quickly I knew the critics didn’t play the game for any length of time. A few days of avid play brought players into guilds where there was great conversation and group strategy and tactics. I’m not an avid smartphone gamer but I liked JBWOE and it gave a fix of 007’s world after Spectre left theatres.

Blondie’s Pass At Bond

80`s punk band Blondie submitted a theme song for `For Your Eyes Only`. When the producers weren`t satisfied with the song and asked Blondie to record it again, they declined, so Sheena Easton recorded another version of the song. They put it on their album `The Hunter`. The lyrics are listed below.

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY – (Harry/Stein)
Don`t look over my shoulder I`m trying to read
Remember these intimate moments; don`t forget my privacy
We both have our orders and a trick up the sleeve
There`s no use pretending you`re asleep
The subject was roses quine geology
Deliberate notice you`re taking of me
Caution and danger are not family
Don`t try turning the tables on me!
Too long and too lonely
For your eyes only secretly

Enjoy the paradox: you thinking I`m the fox
Can`t ya see you personally?
So many people know who you are
and they know you`ve been looking for your counterpart
We`re chasing an echo in sonic 3-D
and if I laugh without joking make believe
Too long and too lonely
For your eyes only totally
I like what you`re showing
For your eyes only secretly
For your eyes only

More Folks Who Almost Were 007

PLEASE NOTE: list includes numerous producers’ candidates…many of these were not considered worthy of a screen test!

1962: Richard Johnson, Patrick McGoohan, Roger Moore, William Franklyn, Patrick Allen, Ian Hendry, Richard Burton

1967: (Casino Royale) Laurence Harvey, William Holden, Peter O`Toole, Stanley Baker

1968: Robert Campbell, Anthony Rogers, Hans De Vries, John Richardson, Roy Thinnes, Adam West (finally confirmed by Dana Broccoli on the DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER Special Edition DVD)

1971: John Gavin, Simon Oates, John Ronane, Mike McStay, Michael Billington

1978: David Warbeck, Oliver Tobias, Gordon Williams, Michael Billington, Gary Myers, Michael Petrovitch

1980: Lewis Collins, David Warbeck, Michael Billington, David Robb,Michael Jayston, Ian Ogilvy, Nicholas Clay

1982: James Brolin, Dave Warbeck

1984: Lewis Collins, Anthony Andrews

1986: Pierce Brosnan, Lewis Collins, Lambert Wilson, Sam Neill, Finlay Light, Andrew Clarke, Oliver Tobias, Simon McCorkindale, John James, Mel Gibson, Michael Praed, Mark Greenstreet, Neil Dickson, Anthony Andrews, Bryan Brown, Steve Adler, Ben Cross, Charles Dance, Tom Selleck, Michael Nader, Marcus Gilbert

1984: (McClory`s SPECTRE) Lewis Collins, Sam Neill

1989: (McClory`s Warhead 1989) Pierce Brosnan, Lewis Collins, Christian Burgess, Jason Connery

1994: Clive owen, Jeremy Northam, Greg Wise, Colin Wells, Ralph Fiennes, Mark Frankel, Jason Isaacs, Sean Bean, James Purefoy, Nathaniel Parker, Adrian Paul,Hugh Grant,

1999: (Warhead) Liam Neeson, George Clooney.

1999: EON (Ioan Grofudd, Jonathan Cake, Linus Roache, Paul McGann).

See viable Bond candidates on our Almost Acted and Sung posts under “almost Bond”.

Patrick Mower, Michael Gambon On Bond

Sir Michael Gambon is a well respected star of stage and screen who has worked under the Artistic Directorship of Sir Laurence Olivier. and is considered to be one of the British theatre`s “leading lights”. In an interview recorded on 7/11/2000, Sir Michael Gambon revealed that he had tested for the role of 007 in 1970.

Here is his account: “I had coffee and bagels in this house in Mayfair, then I had a nice chat with Cubby. He asked me to do various scenes and after each one he said `be more romantic`, `be more assertive` or whatever.

Eventually I said: “Y`know Cubby, it would help if I knew which part I was auditioning for”. Cubby looked aghast and said “Bond of course”. (gasps of disbelief from audience) I couldn`t believe it. It was ridiculous.

“But Cubby I`m bald!” “Doesn`t matter, so was Sean. We`ll just slap a wig on you”. “But Cubby, I`ve got terrible teeth! My teeth are like a horses.” “Doesn`t matter. We`ll take you to Harley Street…you`ll have a perfect smile by Friday”. “But Cubby, I`m in terrible shape. I`ve got tits like a woman!” “Doesn`t matter. So had Sean. We used to wrap him in ice packs before every love scene.”

Anyway Cubby talked for a while and eventually I was completely convinced that I had the part. I went bounding downstairs only to find 19 other actors there to audition as well.”

Eventually Sir Michael revealed that Cubby`s first choice for the role was Patrick Mower, a young British actor. Patrick was 6`0″ with black hair and blue eyes. Unfortunately after what Sir Michael described as “the George Lazenby fiasco”, UA were opposed to hiring an unknown and went with John Gavin who was eventually replaced when Connery returned. Patrick Mower went on to huge success in Britain in the 70`s. He starred in several horror films (including the classic THE DEVIL RIDES OUT) where his suave yet sinister air was put to good use. When ITV had huge success with the tv series THE PROFESSIONALS, the BBC responded with TARGET which starred Mower as Steve Hackett of the Regional Crime Squad and his sidekick played by Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett).The series was a huge hit but was cancelled after 2 seasons when the BBC were criticised for its graphic depiction of violence.

Mower worked extensively and was recently starring as suave superspy Jason Dane in CI5:THE NEW PROFESSIONALS. He currently has a starring role in the British prime time soap EMMERDALE. I had the pleasure of seeing Patrick Mower on stage in WHO KILLED AGATHA CHRISTIE. Ironically his co-star was Lewis Collins who was also a frontrunner for Bond and is alleged to have been offered the role in AVTAK when Moore`s pay disputes appeared to have ground to a halt. Both men gave excellent performances and it is fascinating to note how the two stars reflected the direction that the Bond filmes were moving in: the dashing and urbane Mower was a sophisticated actor who would have been in the mould of The Saint and the witty 70`s movies while Collins was a tough brooding actor with a dry wit, which is surely similar to the Bond of the late 80`s.

As James Harris exclusively revealed a while ago at 007Forever….The Friday, June 22nd, 2001 edition of The Mirror reveals that he (Patrick Mower) lost out on the chance to play Bond 5 times:

Pat’s comment: “…now we live in Lincolnshire where Anya keeps her horses. I have quite a lot of land, a tennis court, a snooker room and a river. To be honest I lead a pretty idyllic life. So bugger Bond.

John Frankenheimer Flirts With Directing Bond

John Frankenheimer, the director of such films as `Reindeer Games`, `The Manchurian Candidate` and `Ronin` has his own connection to the Bond world. He spoke with Oregon-based journalist Shawn Levy on a promotional tour for `Reindeer Games` and the subject of 007 came up.

SL: Here`s a crazy thought. Back in the `60s, were you ever approached to do a Bond movie?

JF: You know what? I was offered the role of James Bond in 1962. I was at a nightclub in London, and (Bond producer) Cubby Broccoli saw me. And I looked just like what Ian Fleming had written, and he asked me would I do it? And I turned him down. But I wouldn`t direct one. Those action sequences are bigger than life, and I don`t do action sequences that are bigger than life. You have to sublimate yourself to the style of the movie, and I can`t do that.

Ironically, his 1976 film BLACK SUNDAY appears to have inspired Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum when writing LICENSE TO KILL. BLACK SUNDAY ends with Robert Shaw being lowered from a helicopter onto a blimp that is being piloted by terrorists. Shaw hooks the blimp to a cargo line and the blimp is pulled up and away from a stadium packed with Super Bowl attendees. In LICENSE TO KILL, Bond is lowered onto the back of a light airplane piloted by a drug czar, where he then hooks the plane to a fishing cable and the plane is pulled up and away to be reeled in like a fish.

John Gavin As James Bond?

In 1970 Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman found themselves with the daunting task of having to re-cast the role of 007 yet again. Lazenby had made it clear he wasn`t coming back and Connery`s antipathy towards the role was well known by this time. After numerous screen tests of lesser-known actors, Broccoli and Saltzman agreed upon one promising man: John Gavin.

Gavin was a former American naval intelligence officer whose film resume included work with Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho) and Stanley Kubrick (Spartacus), as well as a role in the French/Italian knockoff thriller OSS 117 DOUBLE AGENT (1967), where he co-starred alongside future Bond villain Curt Jurgens. After a successful screen test, Gavin was given a holding contract.

With one Bond waiting in the wings, United Artists executive David Picker made a personal, last-ditch effort to get Connery back by making an offer too good to resist. Connery accepted the offer and Gavin, though he never got the role, was paid $50,000.00 to compensate him for his trouble.

A View To A Kill: Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck was one star name casually thrown about for the “new 007”. How serious he was looked at is unknown. He was originally approached for the role of Indiana Jones in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK but could not take the role because of his commitment to MAGNUM P.I.

People who would discount Selleck as a legitimate contender because he is American need to remember that James Brolin was screen tested opposite Maud Adams for Octopussy before Roger Moore finally settled his contract dispute and played the role for the sixth time.

Sting, David Bowie, Bond

Bowie was the strongest contender at the time to play the villain Max Zorin in A VIEW TO A KILL. He reportedly declined the role on the basis that he didn`t care for the script. Bowie told Rolling Stone Magazine: “I think for an actor, it`s probably an interesting thing to do, but for somebody from rock, it`s more of a clown performance. And I didn`t want to spend five months watching my double fall off mountains.” And yet he inexplicably went on to torture Jennifer Connolly and audiences as the villain in the 1986 fantasy flick LABRYINTH.

World rocker “Sting” was another shock-blonde rock star/actor who was in contention for the role of Zorin. He was one of the few people to emerge from the 1984 fiasco called DUNE relatively unscathed. It may have been upon the basis of that performance that he was approached to play Zorin, but whatever the reasons that led up to it were, he flatly turned it down. He did, however, make amends to his fans as well as Bond fans who would have loved to seem him play Zorin by playing another villain of sorts in BULLETS AREN`T CHEAP. In this 1991 Saturday Night Live spoof/sketch, which is still fondly recalled by Bond fans to this day, Sting played the villainous “Goldsting”, who dresses like Blofeld and has a pet rabitt that he dotes on. In the sketch, Bond is played by Steve Martin and is shown to be quite thrifty when it`s his own money at stake. Bond shows up at Goldsting`s casino because the “beer and pretzels are complimentary.”

Hauer, Rutger Hauer

I was able to personally speak to Rutger Hauer once about his James Bond experiences. It was fascinating to say the least (we talked about him testing for Bond, too!):

The star of LadyHawke and other assorted films confirmed to the press back in 1983 he`d been asked three times to play a Bond villain, but he didn`t specify which role(s). With his blond hair perhaps he was asked to play Erich Kriegler or Max Zorin?

Hauer said: “I heard those rumors, too (that he was in consideration to play James Bond). I don`t know about James Bond, but they asked me three times to play Bond`s bad guy. At one point, I said I think it would be interesting if you really threaten Bond and what is the way to do that? Have a bad guy who has the same spirit, the same sense of humor and the same skill and let Bond face this guy and really be endangered. But the villains are sidekicks, they aren`t really strong. They wouldn`t change it for me.” Ironically, the same type villain he describes would come along some 12 years later in the form of Alec Trevelyan in the 1995 film GoldenEye.

Priscilla Presley: Opposite Roger Moore?

When it comes down to casting, it`s often a matter of who is available that makes the difference in getting a job. For Priscilla Presley, it made all the difference. In 1984 she was starring on the hit CBS-Television show DALLAS as Jenna Wade, but she also had an avid interest in moving her career to the big screen. Then, reportedly, EON came calling.

They were looking to cast the role of Stacy Sutton and were looking at several actresses. Presley may have had the inside track, but according to one New York based journalist who spoke to 007Forever, Presley was not interested in playing the role and the search to fill the role continued elsewhere.

Lewis Collins – Run With Bond

From the Thursday, August 26th, 1982 edition of The Daily Star (reprinted with permission): Tough guy Lewis Collins is a wanted man – film fans are clamouring for him to play secret agent James Bond on the big screen. But Lewis fears he will never land the plum 007 role. He reckons the man behind the money-spinning Bond movies -Albert “Cubby” Broccoli – doesn`t like him. And that means his chances are extremely remote “unless we get together and smoke a pipe of peace.”

Lewis, who stars as an undercover SAS officer in the blockbuster movie `Who Dares Wins`, believes he fits the Bond bill. And he isn`t the only one! He was voted tops to take over as Bond in a newspaper poll, but he says: “No one from the Bond stable has approached me so they obviously don`t want me.”

Lewis certainly has the right pedigree for the job. The man who made his name as THE television toughie – Bodie of The Professionals – has already signed for a 25 million pound programme of three films with top action producer Euan Lloyd. It has been suggested that these films, which include Wild Geese 2 and Battle of the South Atlantic – based on the Falklands campaign – could net Collins a cool million pounds. But it is Bond that really captures his imagination. “It would be nice to get back to the original Bond, not the character created by Sean Connery – but the one from the books,” he says. “He is not over-handsome, overtall. He is about my age (Collins is 36) and has got my attitudes.”

The trouble with Lewis`s ideas is that big wheel Cubby doesn`t like them. Lewis revealed that he went to see Cubby two years ago. “I was in his office for five minutes, but it was really over for me in seconds. I have heard since that he doesn`t like me. That is unfair. He is expecting another Connery to walk through the door and there are few of them around. I think he has really shut the door on me. He found me too aggressive. I knew it all – that kind of attitude. Two or three years ago that would be the case, purely because I was nervous and defensive. I felt they were playing the producer bit with fat cigars. When someone walks into their office for the most popular film job in the worlds, a little actor is bound to put on a few airs. If Cubby couldn`t see I was being self-protective I don`t have faith in his judgement. Euan saw through that. You have three minutes to sell yourself but if you go on that line you fail. You have to be yourself – and you have a better chance if you are the right person.” “I didn`t have that confidence then. I am just acquiring it now. The number of people who have suggested me as a candidate amazes me – and Cubby hasn`t given me another shot. I would even screen test and all that.”

Debra Sue Sutton?

9/29/1982 Photo Op with Miss America Debra Sue Maffett in oval office

One name you probably haven`t heard too much of in connection to the auditions for the role of Stacy Sutton is Debra Sue Maffett. Her name is one of the more obscure ones in the history of Bond casting. Her website lists her credits as: Host of The Nashville Network`s Country News The syndicated news/magazine show Hot, Hip, & Country, A singer with a CD called Die Trying. A producer of a pilot show titled Real Life Angel Stories.

She was a former Miss Beaumont University, Miss California and reigned as Miss America 1983. After her reign, Maffett continued to reside in California where she embarked on a successful television career that included an Emmy nominated stint as hostess for PM Magazine in Los Angeles and television appearances on Matlock, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Good Morning America, Bob Hope`s Specials and Hollywood Squares. In between all of this she found time to audition for the role of Stacy Sutton.

How seriously was she taken? Hard to tell. But to hear her tell it, the choice had come down to herself and Tanya Roberts. She told Cathy Dunphy, in her column for STARWEEK (the Toronto Star tv guide) “The only reason they chose Tanya over me is because Tanya has acted before and they couldn`t wait to see Prisoners.” PRISONERS OF THE SEA was a film she had just finished or was about to wrap up, but it couldn`t wrap up soon enough for Cubby Broccoli. Anxious to get the project moving along, he cast Roberts. Cathy Dunphy`s article appeared in the August 11th to August 18th, 1984 issue.

A Look Back: Live and Let Die with Robert Baum

maxresdefaultFollowing Sean Connery’s return to British intelligence in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Roger Moore is the new Bond, James Bond in Live and Let Die. Note to trivia buffs: this is film number eight based on Ian Fleming’s second Bond novel and Moore is the third James Bond–following Connery, George Lazenby, and Connery again.

The man who once essayed the title role in the tv series based on Leslie Charteris’ The Saint books imbues agent 007 with a lighter touch than Connery. Moore brings a charm to the role and shows more ease in his first Bond outing than Lazenby displayed in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).

When Moore is first seen (following the pre-credit sequence), he is at home in the company of a gorgeous woman. The tryst is interrupted by the early morning arrival of Bond’s boss M (Bernard Lee) and his secretary Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell). They send 007 on his way to New York for his mission. One which will involve voodoo, heroin, and a lovely fortune teller named Solitaire (Jane Seymour).

It has been noted that the producers were hoping Connery would return to the series–and not for his 1971 mission. One can only imagine how certain moments of the film might have turned out had that happened. Like a sequence in Harlem when Bond enters a restaurant which serves as a front for his adversary’s illicit operations. And everyone in the place is black. An approach which an undercover operative calls a “clever disguise.”

“Voyage to the bottom of the Sea” regular David Hedison becomes the fifth actor to play 007’s longtime ally CIA agent Felix Leiter. His rendering of the role is a far cry from the most recent Leiter (Norman Burton in Diamonds Are Forever, who seemed more like light comic relief) and makes for probably the best Leiter since Jack Lord played the agent in the first Bond adventure Dr. No (1962).

Yaphet Kotto makes for an OK villain but his claw-handed henchman Tee Hee (Julius Harris) makes for a delightful scene-stealer. Clifton James is amusing as a redneck sheriff though he comes off as being too much of a buffoon. Former Beatle Paul McCartney’s title tune certainly makes for the liveliest Bond theme song ever. Seymour is quite a stunning presence despite the fact that her accent makes her sound like a fairy tale princess. However, she does establish herself in a pantheon of such Bond beauties as Ursula Andress, Honor Blackman, Claudine Auger, and Diana Rigg.

While the film is a bit chatty, director Guy Hamilton–who also helmed 1964s Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever–keeps the narrative going at a slightly brisk pace. But hey, this is a new Bond; Hamilton is breaking Moore in, presumably saving the heavy stunt extravaganzas (though there is a jaw-dropping boat chase which includes a moment which made the Guiness Book of World Records) for later entries in the series–hopefully. Moore relies primarily on being witty and charming to get himself out of trouble than the fisticuffs frequently employed by Connery (when there was no available gadget or PPK around to do so). to extricate himself from sticky situations.

A Look Back: The Spy Who Loved Me with Robert Baum

v1Following a near three-year absence from the screen, James Bond returns to cinematic service for the Queen. The Spy Who Loved Me firmly establishes Roger Moore as the suave operative and pits him against a malevolent marine magnate (Curt Jurgens) with designs on destroying the world. This entry marks a first in the series as producer Albert R. Broccoli has parted ways with partner Harry Saltzman. Which accounts for the approach to Bond who, in Moore’s first two efforts seemed more like Michael Caine in Get Carter (1971)–which Saltzman produced. Caine’s Jack Carter was influenced by Sean Connery’s 007. Here Moore gets to show his knack for humor while on his new mission.

Two submarines–one British, one Russian–somehow disappear. MI6 recalls Bond from Austria to search for their country’s vessel. Shortly thereafter, the KGB contacts one of their own (Barbara Bach) to get their boat back to the USSR. They both wind up meeting, unexpectedly, in Cairo. As both the UK and the USSR are each a craft short, an Anglo/ Soviet partnership is formed by 007 and Major Anya Amasova (Bach) and their respective superiors: M (Bernard Lee) and General Gogol (Walter Gotell, who previously appeared in the second Bond film–albeit in a different role–From Russia with Love). They head to Italy by train to investigate the operations of Karl Stromberg (Jurgens) but the mission is nearly derailed due to the unwelcome visit by an assassin in Stromberg’s employ: a steel-toothed giant named Jaws (Richard Kiel, last seen making travel tough for Gene Wilder in Silver Streak).

Later the pair are received by Stromberg aboard his impressive aquatic citadel and later utilize the latest marvel created by Q (Desmond Llewelyn): a Lotus capable of traveling the roads and underwater. The car also sports an array of options which Bond employs to escape pursuit by Jaws, Stromberg’s pilot (alluring Brit genre actress Caroline Munro), along with a few unnamed henchmen. Then comes a bit of news which threatens to put a chill on the relationship between Bond and Amasova both personally and professionally.

Lewis Gilbert, director of Connery’s next-to-last Bond appearance You Only Live Twice (1967), returns with a recycling of that film. The screenplay exchanges the hijacked rockets for shanghaied submarines and a secret base inside a volcano for an underwater one. Jurgens makes for an uncharismatic nemesis for Moore. He almost seems to be like an adversary which David Hedison and Richard Basehart might have encountered on the old series “Voyage to the bottom of the Sea.”

Marvin Hamlisch, substituting for usual 007 composer John Barry, crafts a score which lacks the excitement of prior Bond film scores. “The James Bond Theme” sounds rather dull and unimpressive when heard in the pre-credit sequence. Such an amazing feat performed by Rick Sylvester certainly deserves better. It’s really a shame that Barry didn’t compose a work to complement the efforts of John Glen’s second unit work. The score and Jurgens are about the only flaws in an otherwise solid adventure that should hopefully get the series back on its feet. Hopefully the next installment–the end credits note the upcoming one will be For Your Eyes Only–will be here sooner than the nearly three year gap between Guy Hamilton’s lackluster The Man with the Golden Gun and Gilbert’s The Spy Who Loved Me.

Roger Moore’s humor helps him put his own stamp on Bond’s passport to adventure. After starting up with Hamilton putting him through his paces on his first two cinematic missions for British Intelligence (Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun), Moore and Gilbert click and the third time is the charm for the actor’s presence to completely differentiate his 007 from Connery’s hard-edged approach.

Real Strategies & Hints For Bond: World Of Espionage

us-android-1-james-bond-world-of-espionage

 

Ready To Bond, Mister Bond?

Are you ready for Bond: World Of Espionage, a free, fun mobile game?

Why should you play Bond: WOE? It’s enjoyable without having to spend money on gold or extras. Collect and assemble weapons and vehicles, fight  legendary book and movie villains, build your team of agents, and battle with individual agents and alliances.

Daniel Craig (left) and Berenice Marlohe star in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SKYFALL. stars as James Bond in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SKYFALL.

“Mother Has Been Bad, Or Is It Good?”

Take a mentor to show you the ropes. Mentors and mentees earn rewards inside BWOE. I’ll be happy to serve as your mentor. Just shoot me a note.

maxresdefault“If The Collars And Cuffs Match”

The graphics of BWOE are as good as that of any mobile game online. And the villains you’ll encounter are taken from the EON film franchise and from Ian Fleming’s novels and short stories.

Wint and Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever are truer to the books than the films, but Moneypenny, Q and others are taken straight from Spectre and Skyfall. The dozens and dozens of agents like Honey Ryder, Silva and James Bond himself are sharp looking and carry deadly weapons and gadgets.

Agents you know and new creations, all each have a glossy dossier describing their strengths and bonus abilities for matching to conflicts, missions and alliance wars.

And the gorgeous mission scenes are beautiful. It’s worth the effort to get all the way up to Spectre, to see the beautiful Day of the Dead and other artwork in-game.

Hint: Just shoot me a note if you want free mentoring in the game, to get better, fast. There are rewards in it for us both!

f-3444-9c4f2d049d“Take These Points Outside And Waste ‘Em”

Players earn attribute points for completing special missions and going up in level, which happens fast in the early stages of the game. Hint: Don’t add points to your Offense, Defense or HP stats, ever. You may not even need to add them to your Stamina rating.

Hint: You should add them to your Stamina rating, at least up front, as Stamina for conflicts and villain battles and Energy for missions auto-reset on timers. And Stamina hits on a villain count for double leveling-up points, and for certain hits one-on-one, triple, even quadruple points! Regardless, come away from the BWOE for some hours and you will have 2x as many points to “spend” to level up, faster, if you build both Stamina and Energy points. But as you grow stronger, you will want lots of points for missions! You can even buy facilities for millions of cash dollars in the game to upgrade your energy levels, permanently.

Completing missions gives you cred, money to spend and advances you in level. Developing the level of your agency and your individual agents gives you bonus Stamina, Energy, Offense and Defense, so you need not earmark points for those categories. Hint: Save the big push for the end. If you have 100 points left in both energy and stamina, and are on the edge of a new level, (where both refresh to full) instead of doing a mission, for say, 17 points, or a villain hit for 20 points, play one of the “spin to win missions” for 100 points–you’ll be 98 points closer to the next level plus you might win a cool prize or even a new agent.

Hint: Save a big burst of points for the end of an agency level. Say you have 200 points in Stamina and Energy but are approaching an experience rating to take your energy next level, where both Stamina and Energy will fully recharge, meaning you cannot use all of those 400 points. Use points precisely until you are 1 or 2 shy of the next level, then spin for a free agent, say, in Russia, for 145 points. You will start the next level with 143 or 144 experience!

Conflict is a fun way to earn dollars in the game, but you can also earn dollars from redoing missions you’ve completed, plus after completing secret missions you earn spins for free new agents. Don’t waste your points. Put most of them for Energy toward missions. Hint: Conflict gets fast cash, especially against high-level agencies. $25,000 to $100,000 or more per punch or kick! Good times.

Hint: Speaking of conflict, watch out for battles with members of strong alliances. It’s better to fight some dude or chick with a Level 210 Agency, allied with 21 other playing pals, than it is to take on a Level 150 Agency, allied with 35 other bad-mamma-jammas.

Hint: Know thy enemies. If a level 200 cannot take out a level 100 in a straight-up duel, it’s because of the level 100’s alliance. If you’re in a alliance, use espionage instead of dueling.

Hint: Be judicious in fighting villains and henchmen. “Choose your next enemy carefully, Mister Bond, he may be your last.” Don’t just plunge into a villain confrontation but 1) see if this battle was begun by an alliance teammate and 2) see which villains are close to 100% defeated already, so you can put the killing moves on and get the swag.

Super mean and nasty hint: We all need friends. Add players you can beat easily to your friends list, then make “friendly visits” whenever you need some quick conflict points or cash. You did not read that here!

aston-martin1“One Million Dollars… You Were Wondering What It Cost”

You’ll want plenty of gold in BWOE to advance your agenda. There’s plenty of free gold, with more to spare, from completing in-game achievements at early agency levels. Once you are strong enough, you make your own agents by spinning for new ones, without gold. Don’t buy anything–just enjoy the free ride.

Be patient, as free-play timers take a while to load. If you play a bit in the morning, then again in the afternoon, and one more time near bedtime, you will gain a level or two a day, and have fun exploring Bond’s world.

There are free offers you can complete for gold in the game–but take screenshots to document your progress, in case the offers don’t hit your account properly. There is also plenty of enjoyable gaming without the free offers and without making any in-game purchases.

Hint: Get to detonate faster, free. You need not acquire all six conflict powers to have the power of detonating (exploding) your enemies. Just run the three along the top of the powers (Shoot, Strangle, Defenestrate) then straight to Detonate! And now you know.

Damien-Lewis-as-James-Bond-main“Spend The Money Quickly, Mr Bond”

Enhancers are used to combine agents to make super-agents. Go to the right location to get the bang for your game bucks, where you get not only enhancers but gamble for new agents:

  • Skyfall: Gold
  • Thunderball: Purple
  • From Russia With Love: Two Greens and a Blue, for 145 points
  • Slow Down Faster: Gold and Green
  • Diamonds Are Forever: White
  • Dr. No: White and Green

com_glu_espionage-screen-16“I’m A Member Of S.P.E.C.T.R.E.”

Join an alliance as soon as you are able. Alliances protect you from losing too much money during in-game conflicts. But choose your next alliance carefully, Mr. Bond–it may be your last.

A weak alliance is just kind of there to protect one another from losing too many dollars in conflicts.

A strong BWOE alliance enjoys fellowship during in-game chat. They also band together to fight alliance wars effectively, sending teams of  spies, commandos and other agents to time attacks and defense. You’ll know the better alliances immediately by their leaderboard status.

Hint: See if you can get accepted to an alliance above your level rating. If you send a message letting them know you are active in alliance wars and serious about play, they’ll sign you on in most cases. Top alliances receive free gold and status badges to wear in-game, every few months.

11-JamesBond-Connery“I Can Think Of No Better Arrangement”

Much game fun ensues when you not only collect Bondian swag, but build it, using components in Q’s Lab. Hint: When you get an e-mail, “Hey, you can build a PPK!” wait on your pleasure, saving up for bigger and better things. (I held wheels, an antenna, leather, etc. and that lovely ejection seat, so that when my self-destruct timer comes in, I get an Aston Martin DB5!)

Hint: You can also collect cool stats. Example, if you never retreat from a conflict battle by hitting the “Leave” button, but rather back out of the screen using the back button or another button, you will have a 0 in your “You Have Been Finished” battle statistic. And that’s something only Bond himself can say otherwise.

Aidan-Turner-next-James-Bond-376342“This Is No Time To Be Rescued”

Just shoot me a note if you need any assistance in the game, a mentor to lean on, or have questions. See you online inside Bond: World Of Espionage!

Review: For Your Eyes Only (1981) – Robert Baum

For-Your-Eyes-Only-m02

       Following his out-of-this-world adventure Moonraker (1979), James Bond is back on Earth to keep the world safe from subversives yet again. Roger Moore returns for his fifth 007 outing in the twelfth cinematic mission of Ian Fleming’s fictional agent. Based on a pair of Fleming short stories (“For Your Eyes Only” and “Risico”), For Your Eyes Only marks the directorial debut of John Glen who has worked an editor and helmed second units on prior Bond films On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), and Moonraker.

     In the exciting opening sequence–as they almost always are–Bond (Moore) pays a visit to the grave of his wife. Getting back to the office is anything but routine; Bond boards a chopper and is taken for a ride, literally, as the helicopter is remote controlled by a madman. The flight might be his last but not before 007 manages to extricate himself from the unnamed fiend’s (though given he has a white cat, it’s more than likely to be Blofeld) diabolical deed which leaves him shaken and stirred.
     A British naval vessel disguised as a fishing trawler sinks in the Ionian Sea, thanks to a lethal mine. It turns out the vessel had a sophisticated device aboard her which can be used to launch missiles from British submarines. Whoever is in possession of the device, needless to say, will be able to neutralize Her Majesty’s Navy. Bond’s mission, of course, is to retrieve the device and keep it from falling into enemy hands.
     Bond’s first stop: Madrid, where he seeks a hitman who killed a pair of operatives looking to locate the sunken ship. Bond winds up being taken captive by the hitman’s associates. He does manage to escape in great part due to the lovely Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) whose crossbow delivers vengeful bolts into the man responsible for her parents’ demise and a few of his cronies.
     Having not gotten any info from the now-deceased killer doesn’t exactly please 007’s superiors. Thanks to gadget guru Q (Desmond Llewelyn), the MI6 operative does manage to get back on the trail, courtesy of one of his high tech toys–the only device developed by Q which the agent employs on his mission, in fact–and he heads to snowy Cortina.
     There Bond’s contact introduces him to Kristatos (Julian Glover), a charismatic Greek shipping magnate who is keeping watch on his kewpie doll cute–though probably less intelligent than one–ice skating niece Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson, last seen melting the heart of Robby Benson in Ice Castles). Bond manages to mix pleasure with business and explores the slopes with Bibi, though he rejects her advances. Bond manages to wind up facing assassins riding customized motorcycles through the streets and slopes of the resort town.
     Bond’s next stop is Greece, where he meets up again with the lovely Melina who has been continuing her father’s archaeological endeavors knowing nothing about the vessel her pa was seeking or its contents. Bond later heads to a casino where he again meets with Kristatos. The agent wins big at the tables (naturally) and gains a tryst with the girlfriend (Cassandra Harris) of Kristatos’ rival, a smuggler named Columbo (Topol, last seen like Moore, in space–last year’s remake of Flash Gordon to be exact).
     This was scheduled to be the follow-up to 1977s The Spy Who Loved Me, however, the success of George Lucas’ space opus Star Wars that year prompted producer Albert Broccoli to reach for the stars. For Your Eyes Only marks not only a return to Earth but also a return to the basics in a leaner, terrestrial thrill ride very much in the vein of Bond’s second cinematic undertaking, From Russia With Love. It could almost be considered something of a carbon copy. The gorgeous Bouquet makes for a great romantic partner for Moore as the fiery Greek beauty. She can more than handle her own with looks and brains to boot. Johnson is cute but annoying which she is supposed to be. Sonja Henie she isn’t.
     Without giving much else away, Topol is gruffly winsome as the Greek smuggler (arguably better or at least as good as the late Pedro Armendariz was as Kerim Bey in From Russia With Love). Glover is polished and impeccably mannered; though it’s bound to induce groans or laughs, perhaps both, to find that the Greek tycoon’s name is Ari. Obviously a tongue-in-cheek joke in a toned-down script courtesy of long-time 007 screen scribe Richard Maibaum and first time scenarist–and longtime Eon employee and Broccoli stepson, executive producer Michael Wilson. Here plot and locales are key and Bond too has a harder edge relying more on his fists and ingenuity rather than the marvels of Q branch to gain an advantage in sticky situations. The collection of exotic locales and amazing stunts make for a lively entry which Bond enthusiasts will no doubt savor. Surely Glen’s efforts are welcome given that Moore isn’t exactly getting any younger and his box office competition this time (Superman II and the Spielberg/ Lucas effort Raiders of the Lost Ark) looks pretty fierce.

ffolkes – Robert Baum

ffolkes11Review: ffolkes (1980)
     Taking a respite from the British Secret Service, Roger Moore commands his own counter-terrorist operatives. Sporting a beard, a fondness for felines, and extremely lacking in tact, Moore isn’t 007 but an eccentric, unorthodox man-of-action in a tongue-in-cheek Bondian thriller. Moore is Rufus Excalibur ffolkes, an adaptation of Jack Davies’ Esther, Ruth, and Jennifer. Veteran director Andrew V. McLaglen, who recently worked with Moore on another action thriller, The Wild Geese (1978), is at the helm.
     As the film opens ffolkes is putting his men through their paces on a training exercise. He runs them through a gauntlet insisting upon clockwork precision. He’s tough on his men but has a soft spot for cats as quite a number of them dwell in the castle where ffolkes and his fusiliers reside.
     In Norway, the supply ship Esther takes on a team of reporters. Upon heading out to sea, the newsmen turn out to be terrorists. As the madman Kramer, Anthony Perkins leads the subversives. He demands a virtual king’s ransom; and if his demands are not met,  Esther, the refinery Ruth, and the drilling platform named Jennifer will wind up making an unplanned voyage to the bottom of the North Sea. Kramer issues his demands to Robert King (former small screen submariner David Hedison), operations manager of Jennifer. Needless to say, King isn’t keen on finding that he might be seeing Davy Jones’s locker.
     The demands are forwarded to 10 Downing Street where the prime minister refuses to pay the ransom, as the British government is the prime shareholder in the petrol operation. British officials get a look at ffolkes’ men in action and it’s suggested he might be the ideal man for the job. Admiral Brinsden (a wonderfully cast James Mason) meets the colorful ffolkes and despite finding him to be a bit of an odd man, believes he might just have what it takes to save the day.
     Director McLaglen delightfully skewers 1970s disaster thrillers balancing camp and suspense. Perkins doesn’t get to do much but appear menacing which has served him well over the years; one might guess that Bruce Dern was elsewhere when the film needed a madman. The presence of Moore, Hedison, and George Baker might give the impression of the Bond films as the premise seems reminiscent of the early 007 adventures when Connery essayed the role of the Ian Fleming created spy. Moore’s performance at times seems more like a parody of Connery’s efforts than his own.
     Having appeared with Richard Burton and Richard Harris in McLaglen’s The Wild Geese, Moore working with acting notable Mason makes for some solid company he has been fortunate to appear with as of late. Some might dismiss ffolkes as a Bondian efforts that falls short. Despite a score that is so unimpressive it almost sounds like a rejected score for a telefilm, that doesn’t detract from an otherwise enjoyable time killer. While no one does things better than Bond, ffolkes is worth a look.

The Naked Face – Robert Baum

NakedFace2Review: The Naked Face (1984)
     Roger Moore exchanges his services as an agent for her majesty for a psychiatric practice in the Windy City. As Dr. Judd Stevens, Moore is losing his patients in an adaptation of Sidney Sheldon’s The Naked Face, written for the screen and directed by Bryan Forbes (International Velvet, The Stepford Wives), is a decent mystery-thriller from Cannon Films.
     Following the murder of a patient who happened to be clad in Stevens’ windbreaker, the doctor is met by two policemen. It’s something of a reunion as one of them, Lt. McGreavy (Rod Steiger) was the victim of a killer who the doctor testified on behalf of. The killer was spared from a death sentence thanks to Stevens and McGreavy doesn’t let him forget it. Detective Angeli (Elliot Gould), McGreavy’s partner, is a bit more even tempered than him. Shaken by the news of the death, Stevens is stirred by McGreavy’s treating him as his mortal foe.
     Stevens later meets with his brother-in-law Dr. Hadley (David Hedison, who previously appeared with Moore in Live and Let Die and ffolkes) to talk about his meeting with the police. Stevens returns home to find the police snooping around which pains him. Stevens is even more horrified to find his office ransacked and his secretary murdered. The police are nowhere near to finding the killer and Stevens is later nearly retired permanently when he has a close call with a maniacal motorcyclist.
     Thanks to Hadley, Stevens has a new–albeit temporary–place to practice. The killer is still at large with the doctor having few options. The police are all but forcing Stevens to turn over his patients’ files to them though he has no interest in doing so.
     Moore offers a credible performance which all but makes one forget about 007, more so than his recent non-Bond roles. Steiger, too, is impressive as the embittered McGreavy proving that he is still something of a formidable presence in a role which like most of his recent efforts offers little more than a paycheck, sadly.
     As for the likes of the supporting players like Hedison and Anne Archer, their roles seem whittled down by the editing. Still, given that the producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus primarily offer up movies with martial artisans and breakdancers, The Naked Face is a welcome change of pace and is worth a look.

A View On Bond Reviews James Bond’s Cuisine

sdfdsfA research feat second to none, The Man with the Hawk-like Culinary Eye!

2014, CreateSpace, 128 pages. (Review posted 9 August 2015.)

Perhaps not second to none, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s not too far off! Credit where credit is due: this is a truly exhaustive overview of Bond’s cuisine, which spans the Fleming novels, the official spin-off novels, and the films. ANY type of culinary reference is captured by Matt Sherman’s sharp eye – and then is often embellished by his very dry wit – and this includes food or drink-oriented product placement and/or any sort of unintended devouring that has occurred in the series (e.g. Die Another Day at 46 minutes and 8 seconds: “Bond spits out water from a fire sprinkler that douses him”).

Thus, the level of research detail is hugely impressive – and the breadth of detail is also where a great deal of humour is mined: James Bond’s Cuisine manages to traverse that seemingly contradictory line of serious scholarship delivered with the enjoyably relaxed and accessible quality of a “coffee table” book.

Furthermore, you come away from the text with a firmer-than-firm sense of the place of cuisine in the highly sumptuous Bondian atmosphere – and the book manages to genuinely surprise one in its highlighting of the sheer extent of references to food and drink, and munching and consuming, found within the series. Mr Sherman also includes some practical indexes such as “signature meal cuisines” and “real world Bond eateries”.

Admittedly, I’m not really a “foodist”. The principal attraction in purchasing this book was based on my enjoyment of Mr Sherman’s knowledgeable and personable presence within James Bond fan communities. I can certainly see, however, that a by-product of a great interest in James Bond is that one is served a strong knowledge base in culinary pursuits. I feel well equipped to wing it through dinner party conversation.

Furthermore, I found that this book – in the process of pinpointing all the culinary references – kept reminding me of all the engrossing Bondian moments and scenarios I have enjoyed over the years. That constitutes a bonus in what is a tremendous reference work.

Last but not least, I particularly liked the capsule summaries for each and every Bond novel and film, where references to mastication have been employed to describe the central conspiracies and action. To wit, 1984’s Role of Honour (“Ending superpower supremacy will devour the economy unless James Bond crashes S.P.E.C.T.R.E.’s flight of fancy”), 1960’s The Spy who Loved Me (“James Bond sustains a woman after other men wolf down her vulnerability”), and 1974’s film version of The Man with the Golden Gun (“An assassin with a penchant for Cordon Bleu cooking creates crises for James Bond”).

To be enjoyed and admired!