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wild script – Moonraker

In Tom Mankiewicz`s discarded treatment for the Bond XI:

-India and Japan were locations

-the villainess had a bow and arrow and was known as The Archer

-the space shuttle was to have been stored in the Himalayas

-the Acrojet stunt used in Octopussy was to have first appeared here and both Bond and Holly were to have their own jets; it was subsequently replaced by the Amazon riverboat chase

-the Eiffel tower scene eventually used in AVTAK was also in an earlier draft and the poison butterfly trick used by Mayday in AVTAK first showed up in early Moonraker drafts

-in a scene that was shot, but later cut, Drax meets his co-financiers in the Amazon lair; they use the room located just below the space shuttle launch pad that Bond and Holly later escape from

wild script – Kiss The Girls And Make Them Moonraker

The Real Origins of Screenplay #11? by Alan Stephenson

An unctuous, wealthy megalomaniac with an interest in rare orchids surrounds himself with a coterie of beautiful women. In breaching the madman’s underground Brazilian lair during Carnival, a notorious international secret agent—accompanied by a female operative who initially mistrusts him—uncovers a scheme to decimate mankind from earth orbit, then repopulate the world with a new master race.

Despite a lavish budget, the film is something of an embarrassment to genre devotees. The title is, of course, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die. What?! Produced by famed Italian mogul Dino De Laurentiis in 1967, the film stars Michael “Touch” Connors—later to become simply Mike Connors of TV’s Mannix—Dorothy Provine (who, in sharp contrast with Bondian tradition, never succumbs to the hero’s charms, but—more conventionally—plans to marry him), and Terry-Thomas with music by John Sebastian of Welcome Back Kotter fame.

The similarities to 1979’s Moonraker don’t end with the plot synopsis: Specific scenes—even particular sight gags—are duplicated in the EON film. In fairness, Kiss … appears to borrow liberally from early EON releases as well. Following is a comparison of elements appearing in both Kiss … [KGMTD] and Moonraker and other Bond titles.

KGMTD: Villain plots to release radiation from orbiting satellite to sterilize human race; lower animals unaffected.
Moonraker: Villain plots to release chemical from orbiting satellite to kill human race; lower animals unaffected.

KGMTD: Male CIA agent investigates villain whose operation has already been infiltrated by female MI6 agent.
Moonraker: Male MI6 agent investigates villain whose operation has already been infiltrated by female CIA agent.

KGMTD: Amazon’s Iguacu Falls appear in the opening titles.
Moonraker: Amazon’s Iguacu Falls appear in the chase sequence.

KGMTD: Sets influenced by Ken Adam.
Moonraker: Sets designed by Ken Adam.

KGMTD: Adam influence includes villain’s headquarters, concealed underground in the Brazilian jungle.
Moonraker: Adam designs include villain’s headquarters, concealed underground in the Brazilian jungle.

KGMTD: Many sequences take place during Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Moonraker: Some sequences take place during Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

KGMTD: Hero contacts counterpart at tramway station where assassination attempt is made.
Moonraker: Hero contacts counterpart at tramway station where assassination attempt is made.

KGMTD: Villain keeps representative orchid in acrylic block.
Moonraker: Villain keeps representative orchid in acrylic sphere.

KGMTD: Hero’s shoes fire darts.
Moonraker: Hero’s wristband fires darts.

KGMTD: Heroine’s cigarette fires darts.
Moonraker: Heroine’s diary fires darts.

KGMTD: Heroine’s ring injects poison via retractable needle.
Moonraker: Heroine’s pen injects poison via retractable needle.

KGMTD: Heroine’s eyebrow pencil sprays knockout gas.
Moonraker: Heroine’s perfume atomizer is a flamethrower.

KGMTD: In escaping henchmen on winding road above Rio, heroine’s car becomes billboard featuring satiric message [Bullova watches].
Moonraker: In escaping henchmen on winding road above Rio, hero forces one of same into billboard featuring satiric message [British Airways].

KGMTD: Villain traps heroine inside rocket warhead.
Moonraker: Villain traps heroine inside rocket exhaust port.

KGMTD: Villain’s headquarters eventually overrun by government troops.
Moonraker: Villain’s headquarters eventually overrun by government troops.

KGMTD: Rocket carrying satellite looks like giant silver bullet inside giant silver gun barrel. Silo is perfectly smooth save for gantry arms and encircling pierced metal platform-fed by flush-mount doors-situated above guidance planes.
Moonraker [Novel]: “It was like being inside the polished barrel of a huge gun. Up through the centre of the shaft, which was about thirty feet wide, soared a pencil of glistening chromium … The shimmering projectile rested on a blunt cone of latticed steel which rose from the floor between the tips of three severely back-swept delta fins … otherwise nothing marred the silken sheen of fifty feet of polished chrome steel except the spidery fingers of two light gantries …”

And For Good [Bad?] Measure…

KGMTD: Lesser female character drives new Ford Mustang convertible, in marked contrast to otherwise nondescript domestic vehicles.
Goldfinger: Lesser female character drives new Ford Mustang convertible, in marked contrast to otherwise nondescript domestic vehicles.

KGMTD: In startling double-cross, villain kills his own investors.
Goldfinger: In startling double-cross, villain kills his own investors.

KGMTD: In shower of sparks, henchman electrocuted by electrified bars.
Goldfinger: In shower of sparks, henchman electrocuted by electrified bars.

KGMTD: Trapped by automated door triggered by villain, henchman ultimately falls spectacularly to his death.
Goldfinger: Trapped by automated door triggered by villain, henchman ultimately falls spectacularly to his death.

KGMTD: Villain’s principle mode of transportation: luxury yacht.
Thunderball: Villain’s principle mode of transportation: luxury yacht.

KGMTD: While seated in bleachers observing festive parade, hero questions heroine who is also villain’s companion.
Thunderball: While seated in bleachers observing festive parade, hero questions heroine who is also villain’s companion.

KGMTD: Villain feeds enemies to pirhana fish.
You Only Live Twice: Villain feeds enemies to pirhana fish.*

KGMTD: Rocketry obtained from Red Chinese.
You Only Live Twice: Rocketry provided by Red Chinese.*

KGMTD: Heroine’s name is Fleming.
James Bond Novels: Author’s name is Fleming.*

Moonraker ultimately launches 007 into orbit while Kiss … keeps its hero, “Agent Kelly,” earthbound. As a result, the earlier film is—in certain respects—the more “believable” of the two; Kiss … has no “city in space,” for example—a frequently criticized element of Moonraker—and thus perhaps doesn’t stretch audience credulity nearly so far (though there’s still plenty else on display in Kiss … to leave you wincing).

I’m not suggesting that Moonraker’s screenwriter, Christopher Wood, baldly stole from Kiss …, at least not consciously (even David Gerrold—scribe of the famed Star Trek episode, “The Trouble With Tribbles”—admits he may well have stored “Flat Cats” in his subconscious, but otherwise failed to recall the pre-Trek tale), but almost none of Moonraker’s on-screen elements appear in Fleming’s novel and they must have been born of something; the films’ similarities seem too numerous to accept that they randomly occurred to two screen writers working in the same genre a decade apart.

Did Wood forget viewing Kiss … or was he hoping no one remebered an obscure Italian knockoff? Might EON even have purchased the rights in the meanwhile to avoid a messy plagiarism charge? (Potential fodder for Comedy Central’s MST3K if nothing else, Kiss. .. is seldom seen today outside bootleg videos.) Or are the similarities indeed just an unfortunate—albeit mighty suspect—coincidence?

The occasional champion aside, Moonraker is more often derided by serious fans as a misguided, overly humorous attempt to cash-in on the Star Wars craze. But almost more intriguing than its place in the history of the franchise are its possible true origins. Could one of the most (justifiably?) maligned Bond films really have appeared on-screen years before? This time, it may be a mystery even 007 couldn’t unravel …

*Since KGMTD and YOLT were effectively simultaneous, similar elements may indeed be genuinely coincidental. Regardless, it’s virtually impossible to determine who was borrowing from whom.

–Alan Stephenson (Santa Cruz, CA) is one of the world’s leading collectors of James Bond memorabilia.

Lois Chiles is Dr. Goodhead

You can`t mention Lois Chiles name without two adjectives coming to mind: talented and beautiful. She`s arguably the best Bond Woman in a long, illustrious line of beautiful and bold Bond Women.

She began her Hollywood career as a model, eventually gracing the covers of such magazines as Elle (1973) or Living Fit (1995), before working her way into film. She squared off against Robert Redford twice, in The Way We Were (1973) and The Great Gatsby (1974). In 1978 she resumed her career with two standout films. As as the doomed Linnet Ridgeway, a spoiled heiress in Death On The Nile, Chiles was fantastic. There she acted against such industry heavyweights as Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury, Mia Farrow, David Niven, Olivia Hussey and George Kennedy. She also played the doomed Nancy Greenly in Coma, opposite Michael Douglas and Geneveive Bujold.

Her hightest profile role was yet to come, in the role of Holly Goodhead in the James Bond film Moonraker. It was the right role at the right time for Chiles. She told PEOPLE Magazine in 1979: “I needed the work, I needed the money, and I needed the experience.” It was a chance meeting with director Lewis Gilbert aboard an airplane that would land Lois the highly coveted role. After talking with Gilbert on board the flight, Gilbert reported back to Cubby Broccoli that he`d spoken with Lois and together, they agreed she was perfect for the role.

She would spend much of the filming of Moonraker in France, where the production had moved to from London to avoid the steep British income tax. What should have been a memorable lark for Lois as a Bond Woman was clouded with concern for her brother, who was suffering from a potentially life threatening disease and was in need of constant blood transfusions. He died sometime after Moonraker premiered.

In deference to Lois` strong feminist feelings at the time, the role of Holly was beefed up to make her an equal partner with 007. Not only was she a brilliant astrophysicist, but now she was also a CIA operative. She helped cement the trend of strong, capable female secret agents that Barbara Bach began with Anya in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Chiles` next big feature was the television show DALLAS, where she played yet another Holly: Holly Harwood. As Holly Harwood, Chiles played an oil baroness in need of a strong hand to help run the company. She cut J.R. Ewing 25% of her action in exchange for his help as a silent partner. While scheming with J.R., she kept her eyes on Bobby Ewing, secretly wanting a relationship that was never going to be.

Lois continued to work in major features after her two year run on DALLAS. She then appeared with Alan Alda and Michael Caine in the hilarious comedy Sweet Liberty (1986), as well as working opposite Holly Hunter and William Hurt in the 1987 Oscar nominated film Broadcast News. Creepshow 2 showcased her work within a horror film. In Creepshow 2, Chiles plays an cheating wife of a rich man who has to speed home quickly before her husband realizes she`s been out. On the way, she runs over a construction worker whom she leaves for dead on the side of the road. But is he really dead?

Through the Nineties Lois has continued to work strong in an industry where parts become scarce for actresses over 40. Among her noteable works were Speed 2 as the mother of the deaf girl, an uncredited cameo in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (that can be found in special edition dvd`s), Bliss, and Curdled.

In 1999 Lois did promotional work for MGM to advertise the release of the Special Edition DVD`s as well as to coincide with the release of The World Is Not Enough. She appeared on such programs as The Today Show on NBC as well as appearing in a special photo spread for Vanity Fair.

Born: 4/15/1947
Alice, Texas USA

Moonraker

The Hero: James Bond; The Bond Girl: Gala Brand; The Villain: Hugo Drax; Supporting Characters: “M”, Commander Vallance, Moneypenny, Loelia Ponsby; Locations covered: London, U.K. First Published: 1955

Moonraker is the third of the Fleming Bond novels, and one of the best. As a “Principal Officer in the Civil Service”, 007 makes £1500 a year, and lives in a “comfortable flat” off the Kings Road, London, with his devoted housekeeper May (who cooks a wicked breakfast).

In Moonraker, Bond has 8 years to go before he is automatically taken off the OO list and given a staff job at headquarters. “At least eight tough assignments. Probably sixteen. Perhaps twenty-four. Too many.”

Moonraker begins not with a mission, but a suspicion. Sir Hugo Drax is a soldier from Liverpool. He was wounded in the war – half his face was blown away, and he had almost complete amnesia. After his discharge, he cornered the market in columbite, a metal with an extraordinarily high melting point that is essential to the manufacturing of jet engines. He became a multimillionaire who gave generously to charity and spent £10 million of his own money to build an atomic rocket (the “Moonraker”) with a range that would cover nearly every capital in Europe – “the immediate answer to anyone who would try to atom-bomb London.” He is extremely popular, and, with his work on the Moonraker, a national hero. However, M has concerns about Drax who is a member of M`s club, Blades. It seems that Drax cheats at bridge. A scandal is brewing. In 1950s London, about the only crime that can smash a man of Society is card cheating.

It turns out that Bond was trained in card sharping before the war, and would be the ideal person to expose Drax. A high-stakes bridge game ensues, and Fleming goes into a detailed description of every hand (a device he would use later when describing the golf game between Bond and Auric Goldfinger). At the end of the evening, Drax is down £15,000 and advises Bond to “spend the money quickly.”

As Bond begins to delve further into Drax`s operations, more questions are raised. All of the people working on the Moonraker project are Germans, which, relatively soon after the end of the war, naturally makes the British nervous. Drax`s explanation is that the men worked on Germany`s V2 rockets, and were the best rocket scientists in the world. There are only two non-Germans on the site – a Major Tallon from the Ministry of Supply, appointed as security officer, and Gala Brand, Drax`s personal secretary. The night before, one of Drax`s men shot Tallon in a pub, then shouted “Heil!” and shot himself. Supposedly, the men were involved in a love triangle with Brand.

There are further complications. Brand is a policewoman with the Scotland Yard Special Branch, planted on the site to keep an eye on Drax. MI6 gave a security clearance to the man who shot Tallon. As a result, the operation is dumped in MI6`s (and Bond`s) lap, even though the story unfolds entirely in Britain.

Bond stays in Tallon`s room on the military base where the Moonraker is being readied for a test launch. He discovers charts kept by Tallon showing the location of something out in the water – but what? It`s clear that, whatever it was, it was something that Tallon was not supposed to see, and he wasn`t killed because he was in love with Brand.

At this point, the plot starts to move along rapidly, and it would spoil the read to go too much further. Suffice it to say that Drax does not have Britain`s best interests at heart and it`s up to Bond and Brand to stop him.

Moonraker shares many traits with the other Fleming novels. The plots tend to unfold slowly at first, with time given to understand the motivation of the villain. Meals are described in meticulous detail. Bond is capable of downing an incredible number of drinks, waking up a few hours later with no trace of a hangover. There are usually exciting car chases. Bond`s past and his talents (such as the card sharping and the fact that he is fluently bilingual in German) come out slowly, one fact at a time, over the course of the books. Happily, the women are more like the Bond girls in the recent films, rather than the earlier ones. They are strong-willed, intelligent and self reliant, and these are precisely the qualities that Bond finds attractive in them. Unhappily, the books also show that Fleming was a racist and an anti-Semite, although probably no more so than other British men of his class at the time.

Moonraker is an excellent introduction to the Fleming canon, even if it does not offer exotic locales. It is a well-paced, interesting thriller that provides Bond with more than enough challenges and the reader with more than enough excitement.

Faye dunaway and sybil danning, bond babes

Sybil Danning and Faye Dunaway were both considered for the title character in “Octopussy”. It`s doubtful that Dunaway would`ve seriously considered playing a Bond Girl at that point in her career, but B-Movie Queen Sybil Danning was ready for action. “Would she make love or war to James Bond in OCTOPUSSY?” As it turned out, neither. They both eventually lost out to Maud Adams, who screen tested James Brolin in his attempt to replace Roger Moore.

MeatLoaf should have taken a page from the book of Sybil Danning: never talk about a role you think you`re going to get until you`ve actually gotten it.

For those of you who don`t remember 1982 (yes, it was a real year) or weren`t born yet, you may be asking: “Sybil who?”. Sybil Danning was B-movie queen quietly working her way up the ranks of Hollywood. Octopussy could have become her big break. Instead, it became her big heartbreak.

Incidentally, Octopussy was not the first Bond movie she was up for. Danning was set to be cast in the role that Corrine Clery took in the 1979 film Moonraker, but because of a French cofinancing deal, that role was given to a native actress instead.

She was felt out  in 1981 and 1982 to determine her interest in playing the title role in Octopussy. Before she even had the part, she was posing for fashion photographer Firooz Zahedi in extremely suggestive Bond-like publicity stills, almost all of which involved either some sort of leather get-up or black evening gown complimented with the obligatory handgun. She graced the cover of Prevue Magazine in the summer of 1982 wearing a vulcanized black leather swimsuit with the zipper drawn all the way to the navel to display her, um, ample talents, and holding a gun with a caption that read: “SYBIL DANNING Will she make love or war to James Bond in OCTOPUSSY”?

The hype for Danning had already begun despite the fact that she hadn`t even signed a contract. But she apparently had gotten a look at the first draft.

“Most of the Bond girls are not really interesting”, said Danning. “Octopussy has to be much, much more. She must be unpredictable and dangerous; neither Bond nor the audience must ever know what she`ll do next: betray him or befriend him. That`s what their story is really about”.

“Their story” would be Richard Maibaum`s. Dick had created a treatment far darker than the Octopussy you see today. In his first draft Octopussy was a supervillainess on a quest for vengeance against Blofeld and SPECTRE; a retalation of sorts for a defeat her organization suffered at Blofeld`s hands. She recruits 007 in her revenge scheme knowing that Blofeld had killed Bond`s wife, Tracy, and would most certainly want to help bring Blofeld down (apparently being dropped 1000 feet down a chimney stack isn`t enough to kill off a supervillain these days). Bond and Octopussy were to team up to take on Blofeld and even disarm a super techno-weapon called the OCTO-PC (perhaps some sort of personal computer?). We`ll never know exactly what Maibaum had in mind because George MacDonald Fraser was brought on to steer the story in a different direction; away from Blofeld, SPECTRE, and any legal entanglements using them could bring about.

A thorough search through Maibaum`s archives may one day yield more clues to this interesting premise but it`s worth noting that yesterday’s discarded story treatments are often tomorrows plot lines. Octopussy would be made a bit softer; not quite as ruthless and certainly an admirer of James Bond. The Octopussy of Maibaum`s original draft would become, in perhaps an unconscious way, Elektra King, some 16 years later. In The World Is Not Enough, Elektra, the super villainess, recruits Bond, unknowingly, into her web to destroy her father and avenge her mother`s legacy.

Danning spoke too soon and the role was offered to Maud Adams. The rest is history, including Danning`s career. She was forever stuck in B-grade flicks and softcore erotica. The moral of the story: don`t count your chickens until they`ve hatched.

Shelly Hack

Shelly was under consideration for the role of Holly Goodhead in Moonraker. She may have even been the leading contender at the time. Hack agreed to a screen test but a chance encounter between Lois Chiles and Director Lewis Gilbert took the casting in a different direction, and Chiles won the role.

Hack went on to do a season of Charlies` Angels as well as several film and television features.

Moonraker – An Original Review

moonraker-posterWith thanks to Robert Baum, reprinted by permission

Review: Moonraker (1979)

       Having proven triumphant once again both in thwarting another fiend looking to finish off the world and regaining his footing at the box office, Roger Moore returns as James Bond yet again. Stopping the sinister stratagems of Karl Stromberg was child’s play for 007. This time, however, her majesty’s best known spy faces a far more formidable challenge.
      Not only is Bond now portrayed by an actor who is now just shy of over half a century (Sean Connery was just over forty when he made his final Bond adventure: 1971s Diamonds Are Forever) but there are a new crop of cinematic pickings prompting producer Albert Broccoli to look to the stars for 007’s latest endeavor. That mission has Bond seeking a stolen space bound shuttle: Moonraker. This effort reunites most of the key players from The Spy Who Loved Me: Broccoli, director Lewis Gilbert, screenwriter Christoper Wood, and of course Roger Moore.
      Having used his time between the last adventure to be of aid to fellow UK stars Richard Burton and Richard Harris as one of The Wild Geese, Moore returns to being a solo operative; but not before having a run-in with the metal-mouthed monster of a mountain from The Spy Who Loved Me, Jaws (Richard Kiel), in search of a new employer and wanting revenge. Following a briefing by his superiors (Bernard Lee and Geoffrey Keen) and receiving the latest state-of-the art hardware from MI6 weaponsmith Q (Desmond Llewelyn), Bond is off to California. There he meets Drax (Michael Lonsdale), a megalomaniac obsessed with venturing into the final frontier.
Bond also gets an encounter with a striking siren of a scientist with a good head on her shoulders named Holly (Lois Chiles) who gives Bond a taste of astronaut training which goes awry thanks to a jerry-rigged centrifuge, courtesy of Drax’s kendo-savvy manservant Chang (Toshiro Suga). Of course wherever Bond is, there’s a woman waiting to be swept off her feet even if in doing so, the results prove fatal; as they do for one of Drax’s employees (Corinne Clery) who goes to the dogs.
      With Gilbert at the helm for another mission, there are similar elements to the last cinematic mission for 007 which was a refashioning of another Bond adventure: 1967s You Only Live Twice which Gilbert also directed. This time the showdown is not at sea but takes advantage of the science fiction frenzy ushered in by the success of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. One certainly doesn’t need to guess much where the film winds up.
      Virtually no expense has been spared for Moonraker, despite it being a lightweight romp bordering on camp that is light years away from past Bond adventures; particularly From Russia With Love (1963). The effects courtesy of recent Oscar-winner Derek Meddings (Superman) and his colleagues are out of this world; and the stunts, as always are impressive. Still it is a joy to watch, though aficionados more fond of the earlier efforts might think otherwise. John Barry, missing since The Man with the Golden Gun, returns with a score that brings back the magic he has given to many a motion picture. The title tune performed by chanteuse Shirley Bassey offers aural aesthetics. Nothing against Carly Simon, or Paul McCartney, but when it comes to singing 007 theme songs, nobody does them better.