RETRO-ACTIVE: THE BEST FROM CINEMA RETRO'S ARCHIVES
We're always amazed at the number of major films that are announced with fanfare only to fall into development hell and never go into production. Here's one we've never heard before from an industry trade magazine in November, 1964. It concerns James Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman:
"Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli will produce The Pass Beyond Kashmir for Columbia release, Columbia first vice-president M.J. Frankovich announced here at the weekend."
What makes the story rather surprising is not only the fact that the film never went into production but that it was slated to be a Columbia production. Cubby Broccoli had enjoyed a good relationship with the studio in the 1950 when he partnered with Irving Allen to form Warwick Films which produced a number of boxoffice hits. However, by the early 1960s he and Saltzman had formed Eon Productions and was exclusively associated with United Artists henceforth. UA had financed and distributed the James Bond blockbusters and both Broccoli and Saltzman held UA boss Arthur Krim in high regard for having taken a chance on the franchise (Columbia repeatedly passed on Eon's overtures to back the series- much to the studio's regret.)
Broccoli and Saltzman originally intended to make other films outside of the Bond franchise, both independently and as a team. However, as the 007 films grew in size and budget it became difficult to mount any non-Bond related film. In 1963, the pair did manage to bring the Bob Hope comedy Call Me Bwana to the screen. In 1968, Broccoli produced the Ian Fleming story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a major musical on his own. Similarly, Saltzman produced three Harry Palmer films starring Michael Caine and the 1969 WWII epic Battle of Britain sans Broccoli. The Broccoli/Saltzman partnership ended after the release of the ninth Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun in 1974. Although Saltzman dabbled in producing in the ensuing years, he never was associated with another hit film. Broccoli continued to run the Bond franchise on his own and reinvigorated the series after the lukewarm reception accorded Golden Gun. The two men had never been close on a personal basis and often had well-publicized differences in their creative and business philosophies. However, they did see each other over the years on rare occasions. Saltzman accepted Cubby's invitation to attend the London premiere of For Your Eyes Only in 1981 and Cubby and his wife Dana did visit Saltzman in his later years when he was in declining health.
UPDATE: Our eagle-eyed contributor Hank Reinke informs us that The Pass Beyond Kashmir was based on a 1960 spy novel by Berkley Mather, who contributed to the screenplay of Dr. No. The plot centered on a private detective based in Bombay who begins embroiled in a dangerous assignment that entails traveling through India and Pakistan.