Tag Archives: diamonds are forever

Charles Gray (1928-2000)

LONDON (Reuters) – Charles Gray, the British actor best known for his portrayal of the cat-loving but otherwise villainous Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever,“ died on Tuesday, his agent said on Wednesday.

Gray, who was 71, specialized in smooth, unsympathetic roles and played Blofeld to perfection. Of the four actors who have played Blofeld, which include Max Von Sydow, Donald Pleasance, Charles Gray and Telly Savalas, only Von Sydow remains alive today.

Blofeld was the head of SPECTRE, the Special Executive for Counter Espionage, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, a shadowy private organization which specialized in holding the world to ransom and devising increasingly more intricate ways of trying to kill Bond. Gray also played Dikko Hendeson in the 1967 Bond film “You Only Live Twice”.

Gray, who died in hospital, also starred in “The Mirror Crack`d“ an Agatha Christie adaptation, and the wartime drama “Night of the Generals.“

He also gained a curious type of fame when he provided a voice for actor Jack Hawkins, who had his larynx removed in an operation for throat cancer.

His death follows that of veteran actor Desmond Llewelyn, who played the gadgetry expert known as Q in a series of Bond films. Llewelyn, 85, died shortly after appearing in his last Bond film — “The World is Not Enough.“

Fall Brings New Bond Playthings

Now that the days are getting shorter, the nights longer and the temperatures cooler, Bond fans need new playthings to keep them occupied. October finds Johnny Lightning releasing Wave 2 of their signature James Bond series of racing cars while MGM gives us the final wave of Special Edition James Bond DVDs.

The new series of Johnny Lightning cars include the Corvette from A VIEW TO A KILL, the 1957 Chevy Convertible from DR.NO, the Aston-Martin from GOLDFINGER, the Ford-Mustang from THUNDERBALL and both BMWs from GOLDENEYE and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. www.fullgrid.com is just one on-line outlet that is selling the JL cars.

Meanwhile…the Special Edition DVD of THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS answers one lingering question: Who was the third solid contender for the role of James Bond in 1986? Michael Wilson mentioned in several interviews at the time that they had narrowed down the list to three: Brosnan and Dalton would seem obvious, so who was the other pick? Wilson refused to elaborate any further, but names thrown around included Finlay Light and Antony Hamilton. Now the documentary that goes into the making of THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS reveals Sam Neill`s test footage. It would seem that Sam Neill was the third contender for the role that Wilson had refused to name. Additionally, Mr. Neill probably gave permission for this test footage to be used, since generally the studios do not own it, but the actual star does.

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER has five deleted, or “lost” scenes. Included is the infamous “Sammy Davis, Jr. scene” (see THE EYE THAT NEVER SLEEPS for more details on all “lost scenes”), Bond having dinner with Plenty, Plenty returning to Bond`s room after being dumped in the pool (she reads Tiffany`s drivers license to see where she lives, thus answering the age old question of why Plenty ended up in Tiffany`s pool), the correct version of the Mustang on two wheels and an alternate ending of Wint and Kidd killing the dentist with the scorpion. Incidentally, Bruce Glover still owns the scorpion used in that scene. By the way, as it was mentioned among fans at the Bond Collectors Weekend…does anyone wonder if Wint and Kidd ever knew who they were working for? They never crossed paths with Blofeld or anyone associated with him.

Nintendo64 has pushed up the release date on THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH to October 17th, possibly to coincide with the release of the 3rd wave of DVDs. The Gameboy, Playstation and Playstation2 versions of THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH are all slated to debut in retail and on-line stores throughout November.

–Craig Chenery and Ad2Music assisted with this article.

Diamonds Are Forever

The Hero: James Bond; The Bond Girl: Tiffany Case; The Villain: Jack Spang; Supporting Characters: Shady Tree, Moneypenny, “M”, Felix Leiter, Ernie Cureo, Bill Tanner, Commissioner Vallance; Locations Covered: London, Dakar, New York, Las Vegas; First Published: 1956

Diamonds Are Forever is Ian Fleming`s fourth Bond novel. Following on the heels of the excellent thrillers Casino Royale, Live And Let Die, and Moonraker, it was natural for Ian Fleming to be due for a fall. With Diamonds, that fall takes place.

It`s not a bad book. It`s just not particularly great either. It lacks a lot of the elements that made the first three novels so interesting. First, it lacks any real atmosphere. There seems to be no, for lack of a better word, aura, or feel that you get from the novel. Also, there was a lack of decidedly good villians in this book, and there was`nt much action until about page 142.

Another problem with `Diamonds` is that the plot isn`t really all that engaging. It concerns itself with England losing 2 million pounds per year in smuggled gems, but that`s about it. No other nefarious purposes are used for the diamonds except to get rich.

On the plus side, Tiffany Case makes for a much better Bond girl, than say Solitaire, from Live and Let Die. Tiffany is intregal to the case, and actually shows up quite often in the book. She gets some excellent dialogue and her interplay and relationship with Bond was very convincing. Tiffany led a rough life, being gang raped by hoods when she was 16. Fleming writes Tiffany pretty well. Her tragic past is her confusing present, as she tends to have a drinking problem to hide all her pain. She`s been in with the wrong crowd since the day she was born, and her vulnerability makes her more endearing to 007.

There`s also the duo of Wint and Kidd, two ruthless killers from Detroit hired to do the Spangled gangs dirty work.

The book has some good and funny moments.

Tiffany on where Bond intends to hide the diamonds he`s about to smuggle:
She changed the subject. “Got a wooden leg? False teeth?”
“No. Everything`s real.”
She frowned. “I keep telling them to find me a man with a wooden leg.”

Tiffany on how ruthless this mob is that Bond`s going into deep cover with:

“If I were you, i`d think a long time before joining our little group.Don`t go and get in wrong with the mob. If you`re planning anything cosy you`d better start taking harp lessons.”

Ernie Cureo on Mr. Spang`s wealth:

“That guy`s so loaded, he don`t wear glasses when he drives. Has the windshields of his Cadillacs ground to his prescription.”

The book also has some rich and deep dialogue between Tiffany and Bond. On the subject of marriage:

Bond: “Most marriages don`t add two people together. They subtract one from the other.”
Tiffany: “But it depends what you want it to add up to. Something human or somthing inhuman. You can`t be complete by yourself.”

The plot is slowgoing, and at times confusing. A lot of material is covered on diamonds and gambling procedures. It`s not really spelled out in laymans terms, so it`s hard to follow. At least for me it was.

There is no real action until about page 142, and then it becomes almost nonstop. Bond gets into a carchase, a fist fight, is tortured with football cleats, lights a fire, derails a train, swings over the side of a cruise ship and blows a helicopter out of the sky. The chapter “Night falls in the passion pit” is really when the book begins to hit it`s stride. Unfortunately, that`s about two thirds of the way in. Fleming wrote Tiffany so well, he had me scared that he was going to kill her off by the end of the book. It`s interesting though, in that if you know a little about the book series already, you get the feeling that Tiffany foreshadowed a much greater tragedy to occur in Bond`s life down the road.

Craps He`s Played, Just Once

Craps are played with two six sided dice. The player rolling the dice stands at one end of the table and must throw the dice so they bounce off the other edge of the table. There are usually three or more casino employees at a craps table, keeping track of the numerous bets that can be placed by as many players as can reach the table.

If the player rolling the dice, the shooter, gets a 7 or11 (a natural), on the first roll, he wins automatically. If the gets a 2, 3 or 12 (craps), he loses, Any other number that is rolled is called the “point”; if the shooter rolls this number a second time before rolling a 7, he wins, but if a 7 is rolled before the number, the shooter loses. The shooter continues to throw the dice until he loses on a 7, at which time the dice are passed to the player on his left. The shooter can bet against himself if he wishes.

The craps table is divided into a number of areas where bets are placed (see the diagram at the bottom of this section). Chip A is placed on the “Pass Line” on the table. in this case, the player making this bet thinks the shooter will either get a 7 or 11 or make his point; if the shooter wins, the bettor is paid even money. Chip B is in the “Don`t Pass” box; the player betting assumes the shooter will either get craps (except on a 12, which is a stand off and nobody wins) or not make his point.

Chip C is in the “Come” area. This bet is placed after the shooter has his “point” to make. If the shooter gets a 7 or 11, the bettor wins; on a craps result, the bettor loses. Also, if another number is rolled, the bettor has a “come point” and he will win if the shooter hits this point before rolling a 7. The “Don`t Come” area is played just the opposite; the bettor wins on a craps result and loses on a 7 or 11, or he wins if the shooter gets a 7 before hitting the “come point.”. Both these bets win even money.

A “Field” bet is made on one roll of the dice. If the dice result is a 3, 4, 9, 10, or 11, the bettor wins at even money, and if the result is a 2 or 12 the bettor is paid off double. The bettor loses on a result of 5, 6, 7, or 8 (the points that are most likely to be rolled). Chip D is in the “Big 6/8” box; and the bettor wins even money on a 6 or 8 and loses on a 7.

A bettor can choose to get number the “Hard Way”. If the bettor thinks that two 2`s or two 5`s will be rolled and bets on this, he wins at 7 to 1 (he loses if a 7 is rolled or if his number bet comes up in another combination). Likewise, the player can bid on double 3`s or double 4`s at 9 to 1 odds.

There are a number of other one roll bets. Chip E is in the “7” box, and the bet wins if the next roll is a 7 (payoff is 4 to 1). Other boxes are provided for “11” (paying off 15 to 1), “3 Craps” (paying off 15 to 1 that the next roll will be 3), “2 Craps” (paying off 30 to 1 on a roll of 2), “12 Craps” (also paying off 30 to 1 on a roll of 12) and “Any Craps” (paying off 7 to 1 on a roll of 2, 3, or 12). The bettor loses on any of these bets if the dice result is a number other than the one(s) he bet.

A bettor can also play “The Odds”. After a “point” or “come point” is made, a bettor can go for the Odds, betting that the specific point will be rolled before a 7 is rolled. The payoff is 2 to 1 if the point is 4 or 10; 3 to 2 if the point is 9 or 5; and 6 to 5 if the point is 6 or 8. A bettor can also play against the “point” or “come point”; payoff is 1 to 2 on a point of 4 or 10, 2 to 3 on a 5 or 9 point, and 6 to 5 on a 6 or 8 point. A bettor can withdraw an Odds bet before the dice are thrown.

Also, a bettor can make “Place Bets” by putting chips on the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10.The shooter must hit one of these numbers before rolling a 7 for the bettor to win. (any other result is a stand off). The bets are paid off at 9 to 5 for a 4 an d10, at 7 to 5 for a 5 and 9, and at 7 to 6 for a 6 and 8.

Blackjack or “Vingt-et-un”

This game is also known as “Twenty One” and, in Europe, as “Vingt-et-un”. The house dealer asks for bets and then gives out one card face up to each player plus one for himself. Then he deals a second card face up to the players and himself. (Note that the dealing of cards face up or down varies from casino to casino) The object of the game is to reach 21 or come as close as possible without going over. The players can elect to take extra cards to get closer to 21.

An Ace in this game is worth either 1 or 11 (at the players choice); face cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) are worth 10; and the other cards are worth their face value. Thus, a combination of an Ace and a 10 equals 21 (this is called a “natural” blackjack and automatically wins, unless the dealer also has a natural blackjack in which case the player neither wins nor loses his bet).

If a player`s first two cards equal less than 21, he may continue to have the dealer give him extra cards (“hits”) one at a time until he elects to stand or goes over 21 (in which case he automatically loses). After all players have taken their extra cards, the dealer must give himself an extra card if his first two cards total 16 or less and he must stand if his total is 17 or more.

Any player who has a natural blackjack wins at the rate of 3 to 2 (unless the dealer also has a natural blackjack, in which case there is a tie). Any player whose card total is higher than the dealer`s wins at even odds. Any player who ties the dealer`s card total is in a tie and neither wins nor loses his bet. All hands that are less than the dealer`s total or that go over 21 lose.

There are several variations that may occur during a hand. A Split Pair occurs when a player`s first two cards are of the same value ( a pair of 9`s for example) or are both worth 10 ( a 10 and a Queen, or a Jack and a King). The player in this case can split the cards and play them as if they are two hands. Play proceeds as described above and the player can bet on both hands. If the player gets another pair, he can split up those cards for new hands, up to a maximum of 5 splits. The use of Split Pairs varies from casino to casino.

There are some limitations on Split Pairs. If Aces are split, the player receives only one card on each Ace. Also, if a player has an Ace and a 10 or picture card with a split pair, he does not have a “natural” blackjack` instead, the cards are worth 21 and if he wins, the payoff is at even money. These variations in Split Pairs differ from casino to casino.

A second variation is Double Down. When a player`s first two cards equal 9, 10, or 11, he can double his bet. In this case, he receives only one more card (the exception being that if his first total is 9 and he draws a 2, he can be given one more card).

A player may also place an Insurance bet if the dealer drew an Ace on his first card. Before anyone receives a second card, a player may bet up to half his original bet that the deal will get a natural blackjack with his second card. If the dealer does indeed get a natural blackjack, the player is paid off at 2 to 1; if the dealer does not make a natural blackjack, the player loses his Insurance bet.

Diamonds Are Forever Conversion

Tiffany Case made it to the film. Jill St. John captured a lot of Tiffany`s attitude in the film without having to explain what caused her to be so cold towards men. The Spang Brothers gang of crime was replaced by Morton Slumber and his dense goons.

Shady Tree went from being a New York mobster in the book to a lounge act in the film. Wint and Kidd were faceless killers right up until the end of the book. They wore masks, were from Detroit and were more vicious in the book than in the film, though they were still lovers in the film. Felix Leiter made both the book and the film, though in the book he was working on the same case as Bond, but from a different angle.

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.