Tag Archives: octopussy

Backgammon, Kamal Khan!

Backgammon is a game for two players, played on a board consisting of twenty-four narrow triangles called points. The triangles alternate in color and are grouped into four quadrants of six triangles each. The quadrants are referred to as a player`s home board and outer board, and the opponent`s home board and outer board. The home and outer boards are separated from each other by a ridge down the center of the board called the bar.

The points are numbered for either player starting in that player`s home board. The outermost point is the twenty-four point, which is also the opponent`s one point. Each player has fifteen checkers of his own color. The initial arrangement of checkers is: two on each player`s twenty-four point, five on each player`s thirteen point, three on each player`s eight point, and five on each player`s six point.

Both players have their own pair of dice and a dice cup used for shaking. A doubling cube, with the numerals 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 on its faces, is used to keep track of the current stake of the game.

The object of the game is for a player to move all of his checkers into his own home board and then bear them off. The first player to bear off all of his checkers wins the game.

To start the game, each player throws a single die. This determines both the player to go first and the numbers to be played. If equal numbers come up, then both players roll again until they roll different numbers. The player throwing the higher number now moves his checkers according to the numbers showing on both dice. After the first roll, the players throw two dice and alternate turns.

The roll of the dice indicates how many points, or pips, the player is to move his checkers. The checkers are always moved forward, to a lower-numbered point. The following rules apply:

To start the game, each player throws a single die. This determines both the player to go first and the numbers to be played. If equal numbers come up, then both players roll again until they roll different numbers. The player throwing the higher number now moves his checkers according to the numbers showing on both dice. After the first roll, the players throw two dice and alternate turns.

The roll of the dice indicates how many points, or pips, the player is to move his checkers. The checkers are always moved forward, to a lower-numbered point. The following rules apply:

1. A checker may be moved only to an open point, one that is not occupied by two or more opposing checkers.

2. The numbers on the two dice constitute separate moves. For example, if a player rolls 5 and 3, he may move one checker five spaces to an open point and another checker three spaces to an open point, or he may move the one checker a total of eight spaces to an open point, but only if the intermediate point (either three or five spaces from the starting point) is also open.

3. A player who rolls doubles plays the numbers shown on the dice twice. A roll of 6 and 6 means that the player has four sixes to use, and he may move any combination of checkers he feels appropriate to complete this requirement.

A player must use both numbers of a roll if this is legally possible (or all four numbers of a double). When only one number can be played, the player must play that number. Or if either number can be played but not both, the player must play the larger one. When neither number can be used, the player loses his turn. In the case of doubles, when all four numbers cannot be played, the player must play as many numbers as he can.

Hitting and Entering

A point occupied by a single checker of either color is called a blot. If an opposing checker lands on a blot, the blot is hit and placed on the bar.

Any time a player has one or more checkers on the bar, his first obligation is to enter those checker(s) into the opposing home board. A checker is entered by moving it to an open point corresponding to one of the numbers on the rolled dice.

For example, if a player rolls 4 and 6, he may enter a checker onto either the opponent`s four point or six point, so long as the prospective point is not occupied by two or more of the opponent`s checkers.

If neither of the points is open, the player loses his turn. If a player is able to enter some but not all of his checkers, he must enter as many as he can and then forfeit the remainder of his turn.

After the last of a player`s checkers has been entered, any unused numbers on the dice must be played, by moving either the checker that was entered or a different checker

Once a player has moved all of his fifteen checkers into his home board, he may commence bearing off. A player bears off a checker by rolling a number that corresponds to the point on which the checker resides, and then removing that checker from the board. Thus, rolling a 6 permits the player to remove a checker from the six point.

If there is no checker on the point indicated by the roll, the player must make a legal move using a checker on a higher-numbered point. If there are no checkers on higher-numbered points, the player is permitted (and required) to remove a checker from the highest point on which one of his checkers resides. A player is under no obligation to bear off if he can make an otherwise legal move.

Backgammon is played for an agreed stake per point. Each game starts at one point. During the course of the game, a player who feels he has a sufficient advantage may propose doubling the stakes. He may do this only at the start of his own turn and before he has rolled the dice.

A player who is offered a double may refuse, in which case he concedes the game and pays one point. Otherwise, he must accept the double and play on for the new higher stakes. A player who accepts a double becomes the owner of the cube and only he may make the next double.

Subsequent doubles in the same game are called redoubles. If a player refuses a redouble, he must pay the number of points that were at stake prior to the redouble. Otherwise, he becomes the new owner of the cube and the game continues at twice the previous stakes. There is no limit to the number of redoubles in a game. At the end of the game, if the losing player has borne off at least one checker, he loses only the value showing on the doubling cube (one point, if there have been no doubles). However, if the loser has not borne off any of his checkers, he is gammoned and loses twice the value of the doubling cube. Or, worse, if the loser has not borne off any of his checkers and still has a checker on the bar or in the winner`s home board, he is backgammoned and loses three times the value of the doubling cube.

The following optional rules are in widespread use.

Beavers. When a player is doubled, he may immediately redouble (beaver) while retaining possession of the cube. The original doubler has the option of accepting or refusing as with a normal double.

Automatic doubles. If identical numbers are thrown on the first roll, the stakes are doubled. The doubling cube is turned to 2 and remains in the middle. Players usually agree to limit the number of automatic doubles to one per game

The Jacoby Rule. Gammons and backgammons count only as a single game if neither player has offered a double during the course of the game. This rule speeds up play by eliminating situations where a player avoids doubling so he can play on for a gammon.

Irregularities:

The dice must be rolled together and land flat on the surface of the right-hand section of the board. The player must reroll both dice if a die lands outside the right-hand board, or lands on a checker, or does not land flat.

A turn is completed when the player picks up his dice. If the play is incomplete or otherwise illegal, the opponent has the option of accepting the play as made or of requiring the player to make a legal play. A play is deemed to have been accepted as made when the opponent rolls his dice or offers a double to start his own turn.

If a player rolls before his opponent has completed his turn by picking up the dice, the player`s roll is voided. This rule is generally waived any time a play is forced or when there is no further contact between the opposing forces.

octopussy – book to film transformation

Very little of Ian Fleming’s book Octopussy made it onto the big screen. Major Dexter Smythe was the main character in Ian`s short story, but gets only a passing reference in the film. In the book, Bond tracks down the greedy Major to Jamaica, not Sri Lanka, as in the film.

Octopussy, in the novel, was in reference to the Major`s pet Octopus that dined off his beach, whereas in the movie, it referred to a beautiful jewel smuggler. Oberhauser was Smythe`s guide through rough German mountain terrain, yet is not mentioned by name in the film. The location of Germany is used in both the book and film, but not for the same reasons.

The other short story the film Octopussy was based upon was called The Property Of A Lady. The film combined the character of Kenneth Snowman and Dr. Fanshawe into Jim Fanning, who did accompany Bond to Sotheby`s in the film. In the book Bond tried to spot the person bumping up the price, whereas in the film Bond `bumps up the price`. In the film, the Faberge is the object d`art, whereas in the book, it was called the Emerald Sphere.

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.

Persis Khambatta

Persis Khambatta, a former Miss India and Miss Universe winner, was, according to published reports at the time, being considered for the title role in the 1983 Bond flick Octopussy. The then 32 year old actress was eliminated from consideration as being an `obvious choice`. She had previously starred in Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Ilia. She died suddenly in 1998 from a heart attack at her home in Bombay, India.

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.

Review: Octopussy (1983) – Robert Baum

asds(Remember When All This Was News? Connery’s Return? Moore’s Retirement?)

Roger Moore essays the role of Ian Fleming’s secret agent 007 for the sexth, that is sixth time, pardon the pun. James Bond’s newest cinematic mission, other than surviving some serious competition from the likes of Return of the Jedi and Superman III, finds the veteran spy taking on an exiled Afghan, a subversive Soviet soldier, and Octopussy.

John Glen, director of Moore’s last assignment, For Your Eyes Only (1981) returns. The twelfth installment of the series shows no signs of serving as a coda though Father Time is certainly catching up with Moore. At nearly 56 one can only wonder when he’ll be handing in his licence to kill.

Following a spectacular opening sequence, as they usually are in the Bond pictures, Bond is at the office. There he is chatting up Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) and her young, comely assistant (Michaela Clavell, daughter of Shogun author James Clavell). He gets a briefing from his superior M (Robert Brown, filling the shoes of the late Bernard Lee) and the Minister of Defence (Geoffrey Keen) following the death of a fellow MI6 operative.

Bond’s latest undertaking whisks him from an auction at Southeby’s for a jewel-laden egg to an encounter in India with a charismatic Afghan named Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan). Shortly thereafter he has a brief tryst with Kamal’s alluring mistress (Kristina Wayborn), becomes a prisoner, and later a quarry of Khan.

Of course there is the Bond woman. Maud Adams, who played the mistress of Moore’s foe in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), returns to Bondage in the role of Octopussy. She is a wealthy woman whose business interests include a circus, jewel smuggling, and soon after meeting him, James Bond too (of course). Khan isn’t Bond’s only problem. His adversaries include a warmongering Russian (British stage veteran Steven Berkoff)) who is far more menacing than his Afghan ally–talk about strange bedfellows; Kabir Bedi as Khan’s Sikh henchman; and the usual assortment of unnamed goons whom Bond disposes of sooner or later.

Adapted from a pair of Fleming short stories (“Octopussy” and “The Property of a Lady”), Octopussy offers up an entertaining bonanza of action and humor. Though the finale, as much fun as it is, does stretch credibility a bit as several spry she warriors team up with Bond and the curmudgeonly gadget guru Q (Desmond Llewelyn). It’s nice to see him in the thick of things. One might wonder if the writers have ever thought of bringing back Felix Leiter. It’s been a number of years since the CIA agent and 007 ally was last seen onscreen in Moore’s first Bond adventure, Live and Let Die (1973). In addition to Lucas’ space saga and the Superman sequel, Bond will be facing off this year against… James Bond. Sean Connery will soon be coming to theatres as 007, nearly a dozen years since he renewed his licence to kill and thrill in Diamonds are Forever.