After Sean Connery left the role of James Bond in 1967 after "You Only Live Twice", producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman hired an unknown- George Lazenby- to take over the part of 007. Lazenby starred in the 1969 film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and although he acquitted himself well, he shocked the industry by quitting the series after this one film. With the future of the franchise in jeopardy, the producers considered every viable leading man to star in the next Bond film, "Diamonds are Forever". Ultimately, they decided on American actor John Gavin, best known for his role in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho". Although Gavin agreed to take the part, United Artists head of production, David V. Picker was squeamish about the prospects of an American 007. Overtures had been made to Sean Connery to reprise the role but they all failed, largely because of Connery's well-documented and long-standing disputes with the producers. Picker took a gamble and flew to visit Connery near his home in Spain. The two men discussed the Bond franchise over a game of golf. Picker managed to get Connery to concede to return for "Diamonds are Forever" on the proviso that the one-picture deal would net him the highest salary ever paid to an actor: $1.25 million, which Connery wanted to use to finance the establishment of a charity in Scotland. The deal also called for U.A. to finance two future non-Bond films, but only one- "The Offence"- was actually made. Picker's strategy worked, as Connery's return to the role ensured that "Diamonds are Forever" was a major hit when it opened in 1971. Connery rejected the predictable entreaties to get him to return for "Live and Let Die" and the role went to Roger Moore, who starred in seven highly successful Bond movies.
Fans have often pondered how John Gavin would have fared in the role of 007. An enterprising person has posted this imaginary scenario using clips from a "B" 1968 French spy movie in which Gavin starred, "O.S.S 117: Double Agent", which conveniently also starred future Bond baddie Curt Jurgens. With some clever dubbing of dialogue, this amusing clip compilation is the closest we'll ever to see to an ad campaign that boasted "John Gavin IS James Bond!"
German actress Karin Dor has died at age 79. She had been in a nursing home since suffering the severe aftereffects of a fall last year. Dor was a popular presence in European cinema. She began acting in the 1950s and became a well-known star in the 1960s. She frequently collaborated with her husband, Austrian director Harald Reinl. She appeared in several of the popular German "Winnetou" westerns and well as German crime programs on television. In 1967 she achieved a new level of fame when she was cast as Helga Brandt, the sultry SPECTRE agent who seduces Sean Connery's James Bond before attempting to kill him in the 1967 blockbuster "You Only Live Twice". Dor's character suffered a memorable fate when her employer, SPECTRE chieftain Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasence) ensures she drops into his piranha-filled moat. She later had a leading role in Alfred Hitchcock's 1969 spy thriller "Topaz". Dor continued to act until recently, with her last screen credit in 2015. She was also a frequent presence on European television programs.
In what may have been her last interview, Dor discussed the making of "You Only Live Twice" in-depth with Cinema Retro contributing writers Matthew Field and Ajay Chowdhury. The interview appears in the latest issue, #39.
NOTE: THE PROMOTERS HAVE ANNOUNCED THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL JANUARY 13TH
The historic BAL Theatre in San Leandro, California will celebrate Bond....James Bond this weekend with a double feature of "You Only Live Twice" and "Live and Let Die". Come dressed as your favorite Bond character for martinis, live music and prizes. For details, click here.
In an article in the Hollywood Reporter about the trend toward female action heroes, James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli confirms that Eon Productions has finalized a deal with IM Global and Paramount to adapt the spy novel "The Rhythm Section" by Mark Burnell for the screen. Blake Lively will star in the espionage adventure which Broccoli tried unsuccessfully to film for the last seven years. However, the sudden interest in action flicks with women in the lead roles finally made the project a reality. Reed Morano, director of "The Handmaid's Tale", will helm the film which will be slotted for a February 2019 release. Broccoli and her stepbrother and fellow producer Michael G. Wilson are simultaneously prepping the next James Bond film for release, also in 2019. It will mark Daniel Craig's final appearance in the role. For more click here. - Lee Pfeiffer