Thunderball (1965)

The Cast Sean Connery (James Bond), Claudine Auger (Domino), Lucianna Paluzzi (Fiona Volpe), Rick Van Nutter (Felix Leiter), Adolfo Celi (Largo)

The Supporting Cast Bernard Lee (“M”), Desmond Llewelyn (“Q”), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Martine Beswick (Paula Kaplan), Molly Peters (Nurse Fearing), Guy Doleman (Count Lippe), Michael Brennan (Janni), Phillip Locke (Vargas)

Credits Presented by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman; Produced by Kevin McClory; Directed by Terence Young; Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins; Based on an original screenplay by Jack Whittingham; based on an original story by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming; Music by John Barry; Title Song performed by Tom Jones; Lyrics by Don Black; Titles by Maurice Binder; Edited by Peter Hunt;

Mission: James Bond has less than four days to find out who or what is behind the theft of two atomic bombs and prevent a nuclear holocaust.

Villain`s Idiosyncrasy: Love of white cats with diamond necklaces (Blofeld)

Locations covered: Bahamas; Paris, France; England (MI6/Shrublands)

Release Dates: U.S. December 21st, 1965; December 29th, 1965

Box Office: $141 million ($724,990,276.29 million in 1998 dollars )

Best lines: Bond after shooting spear gun into Vargas: “I think he got the point.”
Fiona Volpe on Bond`s lovemaking skills: “James Bond. The man who only has to make love to a woman, she hears heavenly choirs singing and immediately repents and turns to the side of right and virtue. But not this one. What a blow it must have been; you, a failure.”

Notable notes: Tom Jones` single “Thunderball” charted to #25 on the U.S. Billboard Top 40.

Review by Michael Kersey

SPECTRE`s most audacious plan yet, hatched by Number Two, Emilio Largo, is to steal two atomic bombs from a NATO training flight, and demand a ransom of 100million pounds or else two cities will be decimated: possibly in England, the United States or both. Bond realizes he has an “in” on the investigation when the pilot who supposedly had his payload hijacked, in reality, had died hours earlier at Shrublands health facility in upper England. With little to go on and even less time, Bond is redirected from Canada to the Bahamas, where he engineers a meeting with the late pilots wife, Domino Duval.

Domino is, besides being stunningly beautiful, naive, impressionable, too trusting, and the mistress of Emilio Largo. Bond uses her relationship with Largo to get closer to that inner circle, whom he suspects is in actuality SPECTRE.

Bond eventually has a face to face encounter with Domino`s “master” at the casino, where Bond notices the ring of SPECTRE on Largo`s hand. It`s intersting to watch this scene unfold, as it becomes clear to Bond who Largo works for, and Largo now understands who Bond is and who he works for. Neither side divulge they are on to the other except through sly, subtle comments. But it almost becomes a game between Bond and Largo to see who will ultimately win. You have to believe there`s a certain amount of respect on both sides for one another, even if each doesn`t agree with what the other one is doing. Certainly Largo enjoys the challenge of beating the world`s most dangerous secret agent.

Thunderball would mark the height of the Bond craze. All over the world, Sean Connery and the Bond Girls were on the cover of countless hundreds, perhaps thousands of magazines, including Popular Science (pictured left), Screen Stories and LIFE. Thunderball also ushered in a merchandising bonanza, including dolls, lunchboxes, Milton Bradley board games, race car sets, playing cards, walkie talkies, spy cameras, toy handcuffs, posters, shirts and countless other items. Thunderball also ushered in a wave of spy flicks and television series in the mid 60`s such as Mission:Impossible and The Man From U.N.C.L.E; some more successful than others. It`s easy to see why when you look at Thunderball from top to bottom. It`s got another classic Bond song, this time sung by Tom Jones. It`s got gorgeous and dangerous women, lush locations and over the top villains. While a very good film, it`s not as tight as Goldfinger. It goes on just a little too long, which is all the more remarkable since there is actually less plot moving the film forward. And as already mentioned, it does not have the depth of story that either Dr.No or From Russia, With Love did.

As usual, Bond was cutting edge. The Jet Pack used in the pre-credits sequence was newly mastered technology on loan to the producers. And while some critics scoffed at the notion that atomic bombs could be hijacked, they were quieted when a real life jet carrying bombs went down in an ocean not too long after Thunderball had premiered. The series was at it`s peak and at the top of it`s game.

Leave a Reply