Tag Archives: never say never again

Warhead: Trial Pushed Off

The trial date for one-time James Bond movie producer Kevin McClory`s lawsuit against MGM over his rights to the 007 franchise has been pushed back from Nov. 9 until sometime next year.

The trial was set to start the day after the world premiere of the new Bond adventure, “The World Is Not Enough,” and just 10 days before the national release of the film on Nov. 19. The original suit had McClory allied with Sony two years ago, just as MGM was opening the last 007 movie, “Tomorrow Never Dies.” Sony settled with MGM earlier this year but octogenarian McClory is continuing with his part.

MGM has been successful in getting the trial moved back from the unfortunate timing of the morning after Monday’s world premiere of the “The World Is Not Enough.” The new trial date for the lawsuit brought by “Thunderball” producer Kevin McClory has been moved to Feb. 22.

McClory’s attorney Tom Girardi said Tuesday he is pleased with the delay because by that time “The World Is Not Enough” should be yet another successful installment in the Bond franchise. McClory claims that he is entitled to certain rights and profits relating to the entire 37-year-old Bond movie franchise because he collaborated with 007 author-creator Ian Fleming in translating Bond from books to cinema.

Girardi said he was also pleased by the court’s decision not to hold a separate trial on the issue of whether McClory waited too long to sue, regardless of whether there is merit to McClory’s claim. “The World Is Not Enough” opens in theaters Nov. 19. A settlement of McClory’s original suit against Fleming in 1963 resulted in McClory getting rights to “Thunderball,” which was remade as “Never Say Never Again” in 1983 with original 007 Sean Connery after another court battle. That film was distributed by Warner Bros. A pretrial hearing in the pending lawsuit has been set for Feb. 14.

The plaintiffs of this case, which include Eighteen Leasing, Seventeen Leasing, United Artists Pict, United Artists Corp, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Danjaq LLC appealed last Wednesday for a continuance in the trial which Judge Rafeedie has now granted.

Warhead: Ties Don’t Bond

Kevin McClory came to the end of the road March 31, when a federal judge dismissed his claim to a share of profits from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer`s $1 billion James Bond franchise.

McClory was a no-show – apparently U.S. visa problems kept him on the Isle of Man – but U.S. District Court Judge Edward Rafeedie ruled that McClory had delayed too long in bringing his suit alleging that he is the co-creator with Ian Fleming of the cinematic Bond.

Rafeedie then dismissed the case on the ground of laches – a legal term for excessive delay – without proceeding to a jury trial on McClory`s copyright claims.

MGM attorney Pierce O`Donnell said the ruling was “a total vindication” for the studio. McClory`s attorneys declined comment.

Briefly outlining the 40-year history of Bond litigation, Rafeedie pointed out that there have been at least three major lawsuits involving McClory and the Bond rights, but that it was not until 1997 that McClory alleged he was the co-owner of the Bond character.

In 1997, Sony announced it had purchased McClory`s Bond rights and would use them as the basis for a competing Bond franchise. MGM promptly sued, and that phase of the case ended in March 1999 with a settlement that put Sony out of the Bond business. But McClory vowed to press on, and the current trial is the tail end of MGM`s suit against Sony.

Rafeedie found last week that McClory had delayed at least 36 years in bringing his claim of Bond ownership despite numerous opportunities to do so.

Rafeedie also found that MGM and the other defendants had been”prejudiced” (damaged) by the delay because virtually all the witnesses who could “potentially help untangle McClory`s web of allegations and intrigue are long dead.”

The lengthy list included Fleming himself; Richard Maibaum, the original Bond scriptwriter; and producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Rafeedie also noted the severe economic prejudice to MGM and the producer if McClory were now allowed to claim profits. He also found that there was no willful copyright infringement that would overcome a defense of laches.

Is this really the end of the James Bond sideshow?

Although Rafeedie`s ruling seems conclusive, as the expression goes, “Never Say Never Again.”

Warhead 2002 Plot Synopsis

Who`s in it: No stars are firmly attached, though McClory, in interviews has stated Connery is interested in playing the villian. He`s also expressed an interest in getting Timothy Dalton to play Bond. Thanks to `Peril` and `fotball` for their help.

Who`s directing it: No director has been announced.

Who`s producing: Kevin McClory

Who`s writing it: Presumably Kevin McClory, but expect others to do rewrite duties.

Who`s scoring it: Possible names include John Barry, but that`s very doubtful. The Bond theme is the property of EON and MGM/UA. Barry is unlikely to ever score a Bond picture again if he doesn`t have access to that material.

When will it be released: Never.

Locations covered: Ireland, New York and Australia.

The Path to Warhead 2001 A.D

The James Bond 007 franchise has been the most sucessful movie series of all time, in part because the legal rights have been owned by the same studio and the same family over the years. So how is it that Never Say Never Again and the proposed Warhead 2001 A.D have managed to be made or considered outside the scope of the Broccoli family (the owners of the films rights) or MGM/UA (the studio with distribution rights)?

1959-1965 Back in the late 1950`s, Bond author Ian Fleming began collaborating with screenwriter Kevin McClory. McClory had convinced Fleming, who at the time was trying to adapt his novels into working screenplays, that perhaps the first Bond film should not be based upon one of Fleming`s novels, but instead should be based on a wholly original script. Fleming agreed, and in time they were joined by Jack Whittingham. Several versions of “78 Longtitude West”, which would eventually become the basis of the novelThunderball were developed. The original financing for the film that McClory had hoped for fell through, and this seemed to precipitate the dissolution of the scriptwriting team.

Fleming retreated to Jamaica where he innocently (or not depending upon whose telling the story) took many of the ideas from the discarded “78 Longtitude West” scripts and turned them into his latest novel titled Thunderball. The name Thunderball was based on an old NATO term for stolen nuclear bombs.

Kevin McClory got a copy of Fleming`s work within weeks of it going to press in 1961, and of course was furious. Many of his ideas and collaborations ended up in a novel that he got no credit for. He sought an injuction against the book, but it was too late. So he sued, and ended up settling the case before it went to trial. Included in this judgement were the film (and T.V rights that are in dispute) to Thunderball. But it took nearly 3 years to resolve the suit and by that time Bond was big in both literature and on the screen. McClory shopped his rights around to other studios, but no one wanted to challenge the MGM/UA team, nor it`s ever increasingly popular star, Sean Connery.

McClory finally approached Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, then co-producers of the series, and discussed selling the film rights to Thunderball to them. McClory sold his rights to Thunderball for 20% of the film`s profit, a producer`s credit, and the option to remake Thunderball 10 years after it`s inital release date. Because Thunderball was so huge at the box office (adjusted for inflation, it made the same amount of money as Jurassic Park) McClory became rich and he got to work with top star Sean Connery. He was happy. And both Broccoli and Saltzman were happy, because it seemed like the legal issues were resolved, and neither one imagined that Bond would still be alive and kicking 10 years later. They assumed, wrongly, that Bond mania would have run it`s course by then.

1975- 1983 After the ten year period was up, McClory did begin trying to exercise his option to remake Thunderball. Why is up for debate. Money? Probably. But other things had happened that may have convinced him to strike now while he still could. Obviously he had to wait the ten year period out, but 1974-75 brought changes to the real Bond series that McClory may have felt comfortable trying to exploit. After the failure of The Man With The Golden Gun at the box office, it looked like the 007 series was losing it`s steam and it`s audience. Harry Saltzman sold his half of the series to Albert Broccoli. Broccoli was determined to show that Bond was still viable, and he didn`t need another Bond project interfering and competing with what would eventually become Bond`s comeback.

Broccoli began fighting McClory in court, trying to stop him from producing his version of a Bond film. It was a losing battle. No one could honestly dispute that McClory had the legal right to do Bond, so the best thing Broccoli could hope for was to keep McClory honest. That was a job in itself. Original versions of McClory`s script entitled “James Bond of Her Majestey`s Secret Service” and it`s alternate title “Warhead” strayed too far from the Thunderball premise. Elements in the script included robotic sharks swimming through the sewers of underground Manhattan, and a spectacular climactic fight on top of the Statue of Liberty.

Between 1976 and 1981 McClory shopped his rights around, but to no avail. With the enormous success of both The Spy Who Love Me and Moonraker, no other studio wanted to touch the legal issues nor fight against a proven, revitalized, and rejuvinated box office winner. That is until McClory convinced Sean Connery to return.

Up to this point, Connery had been standoff-ish about returning as Bond. But McClory gave Connery script duties, as well as producers credit on the film. With job duties involving more than simply starring, Connery`s interest was peaked and soon the ball got rolling on what would become Never Say Never Again.

1983 to the present Never Say Never Again hit U.S. theaters in 1983 and was a moderate success. Octopussy, on the other hand, came out several months beforehand and was an unqualified smash. Still, the news was that Connery was back, and no one seemed to mind the decidedly lackluster results in `Never`. The film did well enough in America and overseas to get McClory talking about about making more films. But that`s all it`s been. Just talk.

For all of McClory`s latest manueverings and deep pocket backing (Sony), his strategy seems to be the same as it always has been; to essentially push the envelope and test EON`s resolve to protect it`s assests. The feud goes back as long as many Bond fans have been around, and after you read McClory`s press release from July 20th, 1989, you`ll understand that there is bitter hatred between the two camps, personal egos in play, and a war in progress.

Though the war traces it`s roots back to the late 1950`s, we`re dipping into the archives of the mid-1980`s onward with articles and advertisements from both sides that show nothing McClory is trying now is really anything new. Starting with the February 15th, 1984 issue of Variety, McClory set off a new round of acrimony by announcing the following:

Paradise Film Productions III
anounces a
series of
James Bond
Productions
Commencing
with
“S.P.E.C.T.R.E”
(Special Executive for Counter Intelligence, Terrorism and Extortion)

An important announcement
will be made shortly.

Overseas Enqueries:

Kevin McClory

(Producers, Thunderball, Executive Producer “Never Say Never Again”)

Apparently, flush with pride from the fairly successful Never Say Never Again, McClory decided to try and “license or sell certain James Bond properties including “SPECTRE”. In the Wednesday, May 9th edition of Variety, McClory took out another full page ad, this time proclaiming:

Paradise Film Productions III
Have Acquired The Right
To License or Sell Certain
James Bond
Properties
Including
“SPECTRE”
Special Executive For Counter Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion

Bids Will Be Considered Shortly
Nothing much happened on the McClory front until February of 1988. This time McClory took out another Variety ad dated February 10th, 1988 and stated the following:

The Organization
S.P.E.C.T.R.E
With It`s Chairman
Ernst Stavros Blofeld
Unique
to the JAMES BOND novel
“THUNDERBALL”
(Published in 1961)
“THUNDERBALL” was based on “Film Scripts” written
by
Kevin McClory
Jack Whittingham
& Ian Fleming
Prior to June 4th 1960

NOTE: The Organization SPECTRE was used as Bond`s adversaries in several of the James Bond films which were based on novels in which the Organization SPECTRE did not exist; including the first two films in the series, DR. NO [1962], FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE [1963]

THE SPECTRE CORPORATION HAS ACQUIRED THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO OFFER LICENSES TO MAKE
JAMES BOND
VS.
S.P.E.C.T.R.E
ANIMATED FILMS

United Artists immediately followed that announcement up with one of their own: a warning What follows is a Spring and Summer full of ads placed in Variety, with each side touting that they have the rights the other side is claiming to possess. To view a copy of United Artists own counterclaim in Variety, click here for Warning Page One and here for Warning Page Two.

The following month of April found McClory returning fire against United Artists, calling them “Economical With The Truth!”. To read his ad in Varitey, click here for “Economical With The Truth Part One” and here for Part Two

But that wasn`t the end of it. During that Spring and Summer, McClory would issue three more warnings all saying pretty much the same thing. On August 3rd, 1988 he issued a new ad in Variety: “PIRACY” which will be displayed in the future. In the ad he warns UA, Danjaq and Broccoli they have no right to Blofeld or SPECTRE. He also reasserted his desire to create an animated Bond film. That led to nothing on his part because EON was able to squash the whole plan of McClory`s. It did lead to James Bond Jr though, an 60+ episode that featured James Bond`s nephew. The cartoon was meant as more of a counter point to McClory`s project than anything else, and helped to diminish the value of any future McClory animated projects.

With his planned projects alternatively titled SPECTRE vs. JAMES BOND, and WARHEAD 8 dead in the water, and angry over “The New Official James Bond Book” released in 1989 that seemed to ignore Kevin, McClory released a lengthy press report stating his side of the facts In it he describes, and possibly exaggerates ???? his contribution to the Bond series. At one point he refers to himself and Jack Whittingham thusly : “McClory and Whittingham were originators, not interlopers”. He also alludes to being at the “Conception of the Literary Evolution of the James Bond films”.

Click here for Press Release Page One, Page Two, Page Three, Page Four, Page Five, Page Six, and Page Seven. It would appear Kevin McClory has made more of his contribution to the legacy of James Bond than his contribution merits. The language in the press release issued nearly 9 years ago is very similar to the language used today. Same tactics. Same strategy. Same angles. It seems like the only ones who are getting rich off this feud are the lawyers and Variety.

But will Warhead 2001 A.D. really happen? Should it even be allowed to happen? Please read our commentary, pro and con, and decide for yourself.

goldeneye – never say never again – casino royale ’67 – Monaco!

Monaco

Monaco is often described as the jewel of the Cote d`Azur. As one of the smallest countries in the world, it is in the heart of the Riviera at just over 13 square miles in diameter. Monaco was designed with the rich and famous in mind, and it`s easy to see why James Bond frequented this beautiful area of land in both film and book.

Monte Carlo is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and has something for everyone. Whether you want to sunbathe, swim, golf, shop, or go to the opera, Monte Carlo can accommodate you.

While in Monte Carlo, spy out the royal palace of the Grimaldi`s on the Place du Palais. Or if you are in to sports, check out the Monte Carlo Golf Club. The course, at 2600 ft. above sea level, is short but challenging. From it`s tenth and thirteenth holes players can gaze at the beauty of the Mediterranean, the Alps, distant Italian towns and even St. Tropez. The adjoining Monte Carlo Country Club offers superb tennis facilities. From September through December, the Monte Carlo Symphony offers Sunday concerts in the auditorium of the Convention Centre. The best troupers from around the world are invited to perform in the International Circus Festival in December. The arrival of spring is celebrated with the Bal de Rose, whit one hundred violinists playing in a ball room decorated with 12,000 roses, where, it is said, champagne flows like water.

The Casino de Monte Carlo

Monaco boasts of having the largest and the most famous gambling establishment in the world-the Casino de Monte Carlo. Since it first opened it`s doors in 1863, the Casino has welcomed statesmen, royalty, international celebrities and her majesty`s most sophisticated secret agent, James Bond 007.

The Casino and its neighboring counterpart, the Hotel de Paris, are both owned and operated by the Societe des Bains de Mer (Society of Sea Bathers). In 1863, one of it`s members, Francois Blanc was asked to take over the financially troubled casino. Blanc is credited with turning the “Rock” as Monte Carlo was known in those days, into the fashionable and sumptuous resort visitors enjoy today.

Today, the S.B.M is a privately-owned company, regulated by the government. The taxes paid by the SBM go towards public works and supporting the principality.

In Monte Carlo, as anywhere where gambling is a major industry, superstition and legends flourish. The most interesting of these stories concern people who have “broke the bank”. One could never break the Casino itself, but, in the old days, each roulette table was assigned a fixed reserve of money. If a player won a table`s entire reserve, the “bank” at that table was considered broken and the table was covered with a symbolic mourning cloth until the bank was replenished.

In the summer of 1891, an Englishman named Charles Wells broke the bank not once but several times. In three days he turned 10,000 gold francs into a million. When he returned to England he found he was a national hero. Wells later returned to the Casino in November of that year and started winning all over again. The Casino management naturally wanted to make sure that Wells was not cheating and hired private detectives to watch Wells and the Casino staff for any signs of collusion. They found nothing. Unfortunately Wells squandered his forunte and tried his hand again the next year. But his streak of luck had ended, and he died in poverty and disgrace. No one has ever figured out the number combination that was the source of Well`s initial good fortune. There have been a number of theories: a coat check number, a room or restaurant table number, a specific date or a child`s age.

The American Room

In April 1979, the American Room opened in the Casino. Since that time it has been welcoming visitors from North American with comparable style gambling and an English speaking staff. (The staff members are sent to an intensive training course in Las Vegas) An ornate skylight allows daylight to filter into the room and the eight chandeliers of Bohemian crystal (each weighing over 300 pounds) provide nighttime illumination.

Gambling in the American Room is played with American rules. For example, the American roulette wheel displays both a double zero and a single zero. Each player is given different colored chips and players fix the value of the chip themselves. Minimum and maximum bets on other games are 25 and 2500 francs for blackjack and craps. In addition to the 4 roulette wheels, the room also features 12 blackjack tables, 3 crap tables, a baccarra table and 150 slot machines. The American Room is open daily (except the evening of May 1st which is Labor Day in France). The slot machines can be played from 10 am to 4 am. You must be 21 and over to gamble.

The European Rooms

For spies who prefer a more traditional form of European elegance, the Casino offers the European Rooms. The Salles Touzet (named after the rooms designer) and the Salon Prive (also called the Salle Medecin after its renovator) are open daily. The Salon Super-Prive is a small, ultra-exclusive room that is available only by appointment.

The Touzet rooms were built in 1889 and share three arches. The most striking feature of these rooms are the stained glass windows which portray the most famous society women of the late 19th century. The paintings that hang upon the walls of the Touzet are called “Folly” and “Fortune”. The Salles Touzet is open from 10 am until 4 am. It contains four European roulette tables, a trente-et-quarante table, and a punto banco/baccara table.

The Salle Blanche (White Room) is reserved for overflow crowds from the American Room. It is sometimes used as a salle prive for high-stakes games where the participants desire quiet and privacy. The Salon Prive (Private Room) was decorated in gold and silver in “Empire” style by Francois Medecin in 1909. A formal dining room connects with the Salon Prive, which is open from 3pm to 4 am. The Salon Super Prive is an exclusive room that has the rich look of natural leather and mahagony. It contains a single baccara table with a double layout. The Salle Prive offers five European roulette tables, two trent-et-quarante, five baccara/chemin de fer tables, and one banque a tout ba table. The dress code is formal (the American Room is casual) and the games are European versions (roulette does not have the double zero and the chips are all the same color). There are no slot machines the the European rooms.

Monaco Grand Prix

There are two major car races each year in Monaco: the Monte Carlo car rally in January and the Grand Prix in May.For over 50 years the Monaco Grand Prix has been regarded as the most prestigious motor race in the world. With the Principality of Monaco as the backdrop it is no surprise. The seductiveness of Monte-Carlo during the Grand Prix of Monaco week is like no other. Monaco is where the high rollers come to experience motor racing. http://www.f1-monaco.com/

The Grimaldi family has ruled Monaco for over 700 years, ever since Francois Grimaldi delivered her from the Genoese. Seven centuries ago, Francois Grimaldi, disguised as a monk, gained admittance to their castle. Once inside, he drew his sword and opened the gates, letting in Monegasque soldiers who seized the castle and freed Monaco.

The population of the Principality consists of 29,972 people , 5,070 of whom are Monégasques, 12,047 French and 5,000 Italian

The Principality is divided into five areas :

1) Monaco-Ville on the Rock, the old fortified town, with the Prince`s Palace, the ramparts, the gardens, the Cathedral and the Oceanographic Museum

2) The Condamine, the harbor area

3) Monte Carlo, created in 1866, in the reign of Prince Charles III who gave it its name, with its internationally famous Casino, its great hotels and leisure facilities, some created recently : Larvotto beach, the Monte Carlo Sporting Club, the Boulingrins Gardens

4) Fontvieille, a great technical achievement with the filling-in with rock of 40 meters of water to produce a platform of 22 hectares supporting an urban, tourist and sports complex adjoining a yachting harbor and a pollution-free industrial zone

5) Moneghetti, the Révoires and the Exotic Gardens (on the western border with Cap d`Ail)

GETTING THERE

By air :
The Nice – Côte d`Azur International Airport is located 22 kilometers away from Monaco. Helicopter and bus services, taxis and hire cars provide permanent links between the airport and the Principality.

By helicopter (scheduled services or on request), the duration of the flight is 7 minutes.

By train :
The Monaco-Monte Carlo (SNCF) railway station is a stop for many international trains. The railway is a rapid means of communication between the Principality and all the localities of the Côte d`Azur from Cannes to Menton. By road :
The A8 motorway, which connects with the whole of European motorway system, serves the Principality by means of easy access roads (an exit A8 – RN7 coming from Nice, la Turbie going to or coming from Nice, Roquebrune going to or coming from Italy).

By sea :
The two harbors of the Principality, the Condamine (Hercule harbor) and Fontvieille, are equipped to handle yachts of all tonnages while intercontinental liners are able to anchor in the bay of Monaco.

Daytrips from Monte Carlo:
Roquebrune village : mediaeval castle, 6 km
La Turbie : Tower of Augustus, 8 km
Eze village : the Eagle`s Nest of the Côte d`Azur, 9 km
Menton : the Cocteau Museum, 10 km
Beaulieu : the Greek villa Kerylos, 11 km
Villefranche sur Mer : Jean Cocteau Chapel and Citadel, 11 km
Saint Jean Cap Ferrat : Ile de France Museum, 12 km
Saint Paul de Vence : the Maeght Foundation, 38 km
Antibes : Picasso Museum, 40 km
Vence : Matisse Chapel, 42 km
Biot : Fernand Léger Museum, 42 km.

–Some information provided by Thrilling Locations (Victory Games) and by Monte Carlo Online