Ejiofor and girlfriend Sari Mercer snapped by Cinema Retro's Mark Mawston at this year's BAFTA awards in London.
We don't usually repeat rumors concerning forthcoming James Bond films because inevitably they turn out to be either inaccurate or completely untrue, at least in the very early stages. However, this one comes from a reputable source: Variety, which reports that Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Oscar-nominated leading man of "12 Years a Slave" is strongly being considered to play the villain in the next 007 flick, scheduled for release in November 2015 with Daniel Craig reprising as Bond and Skyfall director Sam Mendes also returning. Variety reports that producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were so pleased with the response to Javier Bardem's performance as the baddie in Skyfall that they want to raise the caliber of Bond villains by approaching another red-hot actor who is a star in his own right. The strategy isn't entirely new: Christopher Walken, an Oscar winner for The Deer Hunter, had appeared as the villain in the 1985 Bond film A View to a Kill opposite Roger Moore. Click here for more
MGM and James Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli feel they have their own license to kill--film projects, that is, that they allege violate their copyrights to the 007 character and series. MGM had warned Universal not to go forward with a spy movie titled Section 6 that purports to explore the fact-based origins of MI6 in the aftermath of WWI. The Bond producers and MGM stated their concerns that leaked elements of the screenplay showed plot devices that they allege are clearly inspired by the works of Ian Fleming including the fact that British agents have been assigned licenses to kill and that they carry "00" status. Both of those attributes are fictional and are directly linked to Fleming's creation. MGM has filed suit this week against Universal and screenwriter Aaron Berg alleging that Section 6 is clearly based on elements of the Bond books and films. The producers don't control the literary rights to the Bond novels but do have exclusive rights to any screen versions of 007's adventures.
The long-running Bond film series has been the subject of numerous legal battles over the decades. These include successful attempts to stop the airing of TV commercials which the producers allege violated their copyrights. There was also a long legal battle beginning in the mid-1970s to prevent producer Kevin McClory from bringing a remake of Thunderball to the big screen. (McClory had served as producer on the blockbuster 1965 version of the film). The late, legendary producer Albert R. Broccoli challenged McClory's rights for years but the film ultimately was made under the title of Never Say Never Again and released in 1983. McClory lost numerous other legal battles with Broccoli's production company, EON, however. These included launching other derivative films and TV series based on Thunderball, the one Bond novel that he had secured film rights to as the result of a legal settlement he made with Ian Fleming in the early 1960s that alleged Fleming used some of McClory's ideas to develop the novel upon which the film was based.
The Bond franchise is carefully guarded by EON for good reason. More than half a century since the first Bond film premiered, the series is more popular than ever. The latest entry, Skyfall, released in 2012, is not only the highest grossing film of the series but the top grossing British film of all time.
Son Terry (left) watches his Father Dickie, dance with lead vocalist Kerry Schultz and guitarist David D'Andrade (far right) during the band's performance of The Man With the Golden Gun.
By Dave Worrall
Last weekend (Saturday 22nd March) I had
the pleasure of being invited to Jean and Dickie Bamber's Diamond Wedding
anniversary celebrations held at Heatherden Hall, Pinewood Studios. Dickie has
worked in the film industry for over 50 years on productions such as Genevieve, The Ipcress File, Thunderball,
Battle of Britain, A Bridge Too Far and many of the Carry On comedies, to name but a few. Their
son Terry, himself a veteran of the industry, and who I first met on the set of
the James Bond film GoldenEye, did
his parent's proud. Following a champagne reception we dined in the Pinewood
house restaurant (remember the scene in Who
Dares Wins where the hostages are held around a dining table in the US
Ambassador's residence? Well, we were in the same room.)
The evening's cabaret
was provided by the 14-piece band 'Q the Music' who specialize in performing
music from the James Bond films. From Dr.
No to Skyfall, this
mini-orchestra performed some of the best cover versions I have ever heard.
They were brilliant. Bond fans themselves, their renditions of even the
instrumentals such as 'Bond 77' from The
Spy Who Loved Me and 'Runaway' from For
Your Eyes Only, were spot on. Kit Mlynar on saxaphone, and David D'Andrade
on guitar, were excellent, as was lead vocalist Kerry Schultz. Wow, what a
voice. This was professionalism at its best.
Lead vocalist Kerry Schultz belts out a Bond hit song.
If you are a James Bond fan, or
simply like to hear movie music live, I highly recommend this band. In fact,
they are at The Lincoln Drill Hall on April 18/19, and in Wycombe on May 11th.
Check out their web site for further details and treat yourself to a fabulous
night out. www.QTheMusicShow.com
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
Dear Bond fan,
If you haven't already ordered your
copy of MI6 Confidential issue #24 or (better yet!) a 2014 subscription,
here's a little taste of what you've been missing:
Purvis & Wade on ‘Die Another Day’ being too far-fetched: "We asked if ithe invisible car could be
turned down a bit, so that something more was visible, but it’s up to
Lee Tamahori in the end, the way he wanted to do it. We could talk about
kite surfing as well... but maybe we should leave that one alone. It’s
difficult for us to talk about because we don’t want to criticize... but
it did get a bit over the top. We were busy pretty much throughout the
production because at the 11th hour, just before we started shooting,
there was a change of the whole of the third act. We had a heck of a lot
of work to do to try and make that all fit. So, it wasn’t ideal.”
Pierce Brosnan on his off-screen relationship with Teri Hatcher in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’:
Brosnan explained, “She was late to the set because she was newly
pregnant. I didn’t know that until the end of the day. I was vexed
because I had a call time of six or seven A.M., and we didn’t do any
work until three or four in the afternoon. I got very upset with her -
she was always keeping me waiting for hours. When we finally got her in
front of the cameras, it was great. Getting her there was the problem. I
must admit I let slip a few words, which weren’t very nice. No one told
me her situation until afterward. By that time I’d already shot my
mouth off and cussed and moaned and groaned.”
Director John Glen on filming during a war: “The Argentinean War was taking place at the
time of Octopussy. We went down to Northolt airfield and Peter Lamont,
the production designer, very cleverly made palm trees out of plaster to
double for a generic South American nation that 007 single-handedly
invades.” Whilst Glen was shooting at Northolt, a member of his crew
overheard a curious conversation in a local pub: “They were discussing
why there were palm trees at Northolt Airport and someone said, ‘It’s to
make the Argentinean prisoners of war feel at home!’ They were quite
serious in the pub."
If you have not subscribed yet, you can still pre-order 5 issues for the price of 4: subscribe or renew for 2014.
Amphibious Lotus Esprit seen in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
This model helicopter used in Skyfall (2012) is on display in the foyer.
The Cougar driven by Diana Rigg in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
Cinema Retro London reporter Matthew Field admires the art gallery section of the exhibition.
Cinema Retro's Dave Worrall with Ken Adam's early sketches of the legendary Aston Martin DB5 that was first seen in Goldfinger (1964).
Blofeld's Bath-O-Sub, as seen in Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Speedboat driven by Roger Moore in his first Bond film, Live and Let Die (1973)
Dave and Matt get to ham it up with some "real" Bond girls: some of the ladies from Eon Productions. This souvenir photo puts attendees inside the legendary gun barrel and will be available at the Bond in Motion exhibition.
Entrance to the exhibition at the London Film Museum.
On Tuesday 18th
March Cinema Retro was invited to the opening of Bond In Motion at the
London Film Museum
in Covent Garden. The exhibition, which is the largest collection of
official James Bond vehicles ever assembled, had previously been on
display at Beaulieu Motor Museum. The cars looked fabulous in their new
home and the design of the exhibits allows visitors to
get closer to the vehicles than ever before. Iconic cars that have featured in the high octane, all action Bond films on display, include the underwater Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me, the Rolls-Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger, and the Aston Martin DB5 from GoldenEye, to name but a few.Additionally a mezzanine
level showcases an array of storyboards, sketches and production design
drawings on display to the public for the first time. New to the
exhibition is a 1/3 scale model of an Agusta Westland
AW101 helicopter used in Skyfall. Museum founder Jonathan Sands and Meg
Simmonds of Eon Productions welcomed VIPs to the champagne reception.To visit the London Film Museum web site click here.
Bond in Motion opens to the public on Friday March 21st at the London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, London WC2E 7BN. Tel: 020 7202 7043. The exhibition is open seven days a week from 10am to 8pm. (last entry 5pm). Advance tickets available from Ticketmaster, www.ticketmaster.co.uk
(All photos copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
In 1994 producers were making plans to bring James Bond back to the silver screen after a six year absence. Many actors were considered but according to Liam Neeson, who had just hit it big as the star of Schindler's List, he was offered the role. He was enthused about playing the part in the film that would become GoldenEye, but was talked out of his decision. To find out the details click here
"Goldfinger" is not only the name of Sean Connery's classic 1964 James Bond flick, but its also the monicker that the Spanish press has attached to a high profile real estate scandal that has been plaguing Connery for years.
Sir Sean Connery is man known to value his privacy. So he is not a bit pleased to be the marquee name in a slow-rolling but high profile real estate scandal in Spain, where he resided for many years in the town of Marbella. Connery and his wife sold their property in 1999 and relocated permanently to the Bahamas. Shortly after the Connerys sold their estate, it was demolished and a massive apartment complex was built on the land. Spanish prosecutors claim that the construction project was a boondoggle orchestrated by local politicians in violation of the law and various zoning ordinances. The Connerys have been fighting attempts to get them to appear in Spanish courts since 2010. They deny knowing the politicians involved in the scandal on a personal basis and also deny that they dodged paying taxes on the proceeds of the sale of their home. Sir Sean is particularly outraged because the story, which is front page news in the Spanish press, resulted in his home address being publicly revealed. He probably also isn't pleased that he is being linked to the scandal through the very name it is being referred to, which is a reference to his film Goldfinger. For more on the complex case click here.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
LONDON FILM MUSEUM TO STAGE ‘BOND IN MOTION’ FROM
21 MARCH 2014
FIRST TIME THE LARGEST OFFICIAL COLLECTION OF
JAMES BOND VEHICLES HAS BEEN EXHIBITED IN LONDON
London, 11 February 2014:
The London Film Museum and EON Productions are delighted to announce that
the BOND IN MOTION exhibition,the
largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles, will be on display
for the first time in London from 21 March.
exciting family exhibitionwill transform the entire London Film Museum
space in Covent Garden and will allow Bond fans and members of the public to
see the most up to date collection, including for the first time in the UK, the
1/3 scale model of Agusta Westland’s AW101 helicopter used whilst filming
2012’s Skyfall. BOND IN MOTION will
also feature a wide range of vehicles, miniature models, action sequence
boards, vehicle concept art and props from all of the James Bond films.
Iconic cars that have
featured in the all action Bond vehicle chases will also be on display,
including ‘Wet Nellie’ Lotus Esprit S1, from The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977, the Rolls-Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger, 1964 and the Aston Martin
DB5 from GoldenEye, 1995.
Eagle-eyed subscriber Frank Coronado sent us a YouTube link to some fascinating B&W footage shot on the Pinewood Studios set of Thunderball in 1965. You'll see Terence Young directing actors Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi and Philip Locke in the casino sequence. The footage originated with a Dutch television program.
In a British Film Institute stage interview, composer David Arnold talks about the impact that the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice had on him as a young boy. It was the first Bond film he had seen and even though he had to view it via a 16mm screening, he was hooked not only on the visual elements but also John Barry's thrilling score. Arnold discusses all of this and how he became a 007 composer himself. Click here to view.
Personal letters written to his friend and colleague Dennis Hamilton of the Sunday Times reveal a great deal about the nature of their relationship. In some letters, Fleming expresses his gratitude to Hamilton and at other times chastises him for using insulting verbiage and even wasting his time tending to his garden, an activity Fleming apparently disdained. The James Bond author's letters also reveal that he was once struggling to get through a business meeting without realizing that he was undergoing a major heart attack. The letters are being put up for auction. For more click here
UK, November 27th 2013) MI6 Confidential, has taken possession of a
limited number of signed copies of the autobiography of Production Designer Syd
‘Not Forgetting James Bond’ is the autobiography of
Syd Cain, one of cinema's most highly acclaimed Production Designers and Art
Directors. This is a mesmerising volume filled with humour, drama and exotic
travel, and never before told accolades about the legendary people Syd worked
with during his 57 years in the film industry.
He recalls extraordinary revelations about making such
films as Frenzy, The Wild Geese, Lolita, Shout at the Dead, Gold, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the
Forum, Fahrenheit 451, and of course
the James Bond classics: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Live and Let Die and GoldenEye.
This book has been unavailable for several years, but
MI6 has secured a batch of original first edition hardbacks signed by the late
Syd Cain in 2002. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 93.
The autobiography was published in 2002 by Daleon
Enterprises (Cinema Retro magazine publishers Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall) with
a limited edition of 1,000 signed hardbacks. The book contains a wealth of
extremely rare and previously unpublished behind the scenes production photos
from Syd Cain's personal family archives.
The rare autobiography is a hard-to-come-by classic,
and is signed by the late legendary production designer, shipping today for £60
+ P&P from www.sydcain.com.
‘Operation Naomi’ was
the first signing event organized by the Swiss James Bond Club for its members.
52 guests met The Spy Who Loved Me star Caroline Munro, who arrived in
member Gernot Wolf’s white Lotus Esprit - of course! Caroline spent the day
signing autographs and posed for photographs, before everyone enjoyed a
sumptuous 3 course steak dinner at the amazing Runway Restaurant where the
event took place - including a Jet Ranger helicopter similar to the one in the film
flying in especially for the day. At the end of the day club president Markus
Hartmann asked Caroline to be the club’s honorary Patron, to which she readily
Robert Sellers' book The Battle for Bond presents an in-depth examination of the complicated rights issues relating to the 007 films.
MGM and Danjaq have finally ended decades of litigation relating to rights held by producer Kevin McClory to the James Bond franchise. McClory had certain film rights relating to the novel Thunderball which Ian Fleming had based on an ill-fated collaboration between himself, McClory and writer Jack Whittingham in the 1950s when the trio tried unsuccessfully to bring 007 to the big screen. In order to thwart a rival film production of novel from being made, Bond producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman hired McClory as producer of the 1965 blockbuster screen version of Thunderball. However, McClory always claimed that his rights allowed him to make other Bond films and even TV series. In 1983, a big screen remake of Thunderball titled Never Say Never Again proved to the only one of these projects to succeed. MGM and Danjaq consistently brought law suits designed to slow down or stop McClory from exploiting the rights he claimed he held. In a lawsuit that took place in the year 2000, the court rejected most of McClory's claims and, in essence, gave the full rights to the Bond character to MGM and Danjaq. Still, issues remained with McClory's estate after the producer passed away in 2006. The latest agreements bring an amicable close to any remaining litigation. Click here for more.
Was James Bond not the only orphan drafted into MI6 by "M"?
Bloomeberg writer Stephen L. Carter left his first screening of the James Bond blockbuster Skyfall last year haunted by the suspicion that there are cryptic clues in the screenplay that most viewers would not ponder. He did his homework and discovered that the villain Silva, who wages an obsessive campaign of humiliation and vengeance against "M" for allowing him to rot in a Hong Kong prison, has a hidden anagram in the message he leaves on her hacked computer: THINK ON YOUR SINS. Carter reveals the anagram is YOUR SON ISN'T IN HK. Sound far-fetched? Click here to read Carter's rather persuasive argument that Silva is actually "M"'s adopted son who, in his eyes, was betrayed when she put the needs of MI6 above his own safety. This plot point would explain a lot of the emotional resonance in the relationship between "M" and Silva, which seems to hint at much more than is revealed on screen.
Author and screenwriter William Boyd is the latest noted author to take a crack at writing a one-shot James Bond novel. Solo is set in 1969 and involves the adventures of a 45 year old 007. Boyd says his story ideas caused some controversy among members of Ian Fleming's family, which still retain rights to his work. Boyd admires Fleming's writing style but feels says that the original novels are now a bit cringe-inducing to read in terms of their treatment of women and minorities. He says that Solo reflects a more modern attitude and avoids sexism and racism. The novel is due to be released this week. Click here to read more.
For those of us fortunate to have met and known Wing Commander Ken Wallis, his death- even at the advanced age of 97- is a bitter pill to swallow. He represented the epitome of the old world "English Gentleman", both in mannerisms and in appearance (he was always immaculately attired.) Born in 1916, Wallis was always obsessed with flight even from the days of his youth. After initially being rejected by the RAF due to an eye disorder, Wallis kept taking the test until he convinced authorities he was suitable to serve. He flew combat missions over Europe in WWII and stayed in the service until 1964. However, it was Wallis' innovations in the realm of the autogyro that brought him international fame. His work on these mini-copters, which could hold only one person, brought him to the attention of 007 producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman for their 1967 film You Only Live Twice. Wallis' amazing invention- dubbed "Little Nellie- found Sean Connery as Bond equipped with an incredible arsenal in the sky as his autogyro makes short work of a fleet of SPECTRE helicopters. Wallis did the flying in the elaborate battle sequence with studio closeups of Connery inserted. It may have been the special effects team that "souped up" the concept of Little Nellie, but it was Wallis' deft ability to navigate the craft that made the sequence so memorable. Indeed, Wallis became an idol of Bond fans and up until last year, he was routinely appearing at 007-themed conventions and special effects, usually in the presence of the original Little Nellie. 007 fans have lost an iconic contributor to the film series and the world has lost an irreplaceable member of "The Greatest Generation". - Lee Pfeiffer For more click here
Michael Caine and Sean Connery clown with the late director Michael Winner.
Sir Michael Caine says reports that he told a German publication that his old friend, Sir Sean Connery, is feeble and suffering from Alzheimer's Disease are "bullshit, completely preposterous." Caine points out that the inaccuracy of the story is evidenced by the fact that it states Connery lives in Spain, when, in fact, he moved from there to the Bahamas years ago. For more click here
MI6 Confidential, the British James Bond tribute magazine, offers a limited edition of their latest issue, which is a celebration of the 1983 007 film Octopussy. You can get a copy signed by Sir Roger Moore and both of his lovely co-stars, Maud Adams and Kristina Wayborn, or an issue signed by only the ladies. The inventory is limited and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Click here to order
If you can just give Auric Goldfinger some slack when it comes to overlooking his plan to use an atomic bomb to destroy Ft. Knox, he might be viewed as an economic visionary.
In one of the most original spins we've seen in analyzing the James Bond films, Slate.com writer Matthew Yglesias looks at the financial schemes of legendary 007 villain Auric Goldfinger, who- in the 1964 classic film that bares his surname- engages in illicit gold sales and smuggling. Yglesias views Goldfinger as a man ahead of his time and compares his actions and plans as a response to Prime Minister Harold Wilson's austerity measures that he says failed miserably and continued Britain's economic decline. It's pretty deep analysis for the average person who can barely balance a checkbook, but the Slate article brings in some fascinating insights as to why Goldfinger might today just be viewed as a person engaging in a victimless crime that actually benefited England in the long run. (He doesn't, however, excuse Goldfinger's scheme to enhance the value of his own gold by blowing up Ft. Knox!) Fitting improbably into a James Bond article is the specter (pardon the pun) of President Richard M. Nixon, who Yglesias credits with modernizing U.S. economic policies toward the sale and trading of gold, thus making it accessible to the average person. Click here to read
The latest issue of the British James Bond magazine MI Confidential is a 30th anniversary tribute to Octopussy and features interviews, rare photos and coverage of all aspects of production. A limited number signed by Maud Adams and Kristina Wayborn are also available. Click here to order
Mark Sutton, the 41 year old British stuntman who doubled for Daniel Craig in the 2012 Olympics 007-themed opening skit that featured Queen Elizabeth, has died in a tragic wing gliding accident in Switzerland. Sutton worked with another stuntman, Gary Connery (who doubled for the Queen) in the now famous sequence in which Her Majesty and Bond parachute into the stadium. The result was universal praise for a brilliant concept that was executed by Oscar winning director Danny Boyle. Sutton was new to the wing glide craze which has attracted a relatively small but highly enthusiastic group of international participants who "glide" from high mountain peeks. The thrill is said to be amazing but the risks are high. Sutton slammed into a mountain and was so badly disfigured that his body had to be identified using DNA. For more click here
You can't keep a good man down. Sir Roger Moore is back on the road again. He'll tour the UK with stage appearances under the banner of (appropriately enough) An Afternoon with Sir Roger Moore. Sir Roger packed 'em in during his book tour of the UK last year and left fans in other areas clamoring for the former James Bond to visit their neck of the woods. Moore's ability to relate amusing and fascinating anecdotes about his many years in show business form the center of the show, but he always engages the audience in Q&A sessions. Cinema Retro columnist Gareth Owen, who co-authored books with Sir Roger, will act as emcee and interviewer for the stage appearances. The tour kicks off on 27 October at the Leeds Grand Theatre. Click here for boxoffice information.
What do you do when you want to make a James Bond movie but lack the legal rights to do so as well as the budget and the current leading man? Simple. Just turn the life of 007's literary creator, Ian Fleming, into a pseudo Bond story, dispense with most of the facts, add some opulent locations and then cast the son of Sean Connery in the lead role. Shake (but don't stir!) and - presto!- you have Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming, a 1990 TV movie made by Turner. The Warner Archive has recently released this 1990 title as a burn to order DVD (it had previously only been available on VHS). The screenplay should have included a disclaimer explaining that most of the occurrences in the story are the stuff of pure fiction. As it stands, the millions of people who have seen this comic book version of Fleming's life probably believe he was an action hero in the mold of 007. There is do doubt that Fleming led a colorful and exotic life that included world travel, interaction with larger-than-life people and bedding numerous women of high pedigree. There is also no doubt that the creation of James Bond and the supporting characters in his novels was based on elements of various individuals Fleming knew over a period of decades. However, all of this is boiled down to the most simplistic formulas in this film which is otherwise competently directed by Ferdinand Fairfax. The story glosses over Fleming's early years and correctly points out that he was a troubled student who was expelled from Eton. He is also shown to have an abrasive relationship with his cold-as-ice aristocratic mother (Fiona Fullerton). Young Ian has a lot to live up to. The Fleming's are well regarded in social circles and his father, a WWI hero who perished in the conflict, had his eulogy written by Winston Churchill. Ian, however, is more than content to sow his wild oats with a series of comely bed mates. He races cars, indulges in his penchant for drinking and fine dining and seems headed toward the lifestyle of a slacker (albeit with a family fortune to back him up). All of this has a degree of truth to it, as does the sequence in which Fleming finds his self-worth when his boss at Reuters news agency sends him to Russia to cover a sensational show trial of British citizens who are being framed as spies. Fleming's astute reporting of the trial put him on the map and earned him praise as a journalist. With the outbreak of WWII, Fleming joins British naval intelligence and is assigned as right hand man to crusty Admiral Godfrey (David Warner), who probably did indeed serve as a role model for 007's boss "M". Fleming proves astute at planning audacious commando missions behind German lines. So far, so good. But the script deviates from the facts in order to provide some juicy action sequences. Not only does Fleming have a romantic relationship with sexy fellow intelligence officer Leda St. Gabriel (Kristin Scott Thomas), but he also leads a daring raid on a German fortress to steal important documents. These aspects of Fleming's life are pure bull. Similarly, the script simplifies the inspirations for future Bond characters Miss Moneypenny and the gadgets master "Q" (who was not referred to as such in Fleming's novels.) The latter character is represented by Quincy, a fictitious schoolmate of Fleming's who is brought into naval intelligence because of his penchant for creating innovative inventions (he even designs and builds two man mini-subs used on Fleming's mission behind enemy lines.) There are high stakes games of chance against German agents in opulent casinos and an attempt on Fleming's life by bombing his London flat. Again, these are purely the creation of screenwriters.
Given the fact that Fleming's life is reduced to cartoon-like absurdities, Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming is a reasonably entertaining jaunt. The film boasts rich production values, the script is intelligently written and the acting is perfectly fine (no one goes over the top in the attempt to make Fleming a super-hero). In the title role, Jason Connery may have been a flagrant example of stunt casting, but he impresses in the role. He has a model's good looks and a few of his father's mannerisms, but otherwise puts his own imprint on the role. His father's interpretation of the Bond character was more insolent and sarcastic. Jason emphasizes wit and a playful sense of humor but, appropriately, plays Fleming with a more low key, less exotic approach. In an early starring role Kristin Scott Thomas is suitably cast as Fleming's fictitious paramour in the intelligence service. Supporting roles are adequately played but no one has much of a chance to develop their character beyond a superficial level. One would have hoped that the Fleming/Godfrey relationship would have been explored further but in the film, Godfrey is seen simply dispatching Fleming on various missions in the way Perry White would assign Clark Kent to cover news stories.
The DVD transfer is about as good as a TV movie can look. Although well photographed, there is often a bit of grain to television productions and this is no exception. The film was originally broadcast without the "Spymaker" angle in the title. This was added for video release and for some international theatrical releases. (This version includes some brief nudity that was not seen in the original U.S. broadcast.)
Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming is a rather bizarre treatment of the esteemed author's life but it is quite entertaining throughout- as long as you don't delude yourself into believing most of what takes place on screen.
This is a region free DVD, playable on all international systems.
Click here to order from Warner Archive and to view a preview clip.
Cinema Retro has just received the following press release from Sony:
Director’s Follow-Up to SKYFALL™, the Highest-Grossing Film in the Longest Running Film Franchise, to Arrive in Theaters on October 23, 2015 in the UK and November 6, 2015 in the US
CULVER CITY, Calif., July 11, 2013 – Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, EON Productions; Gary Barber, Chairman & CEO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Michael Lynton, CEO, Sony Entertainment, Inc, and Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment today announced that Daniel Craig will once again return as the legendary British secret agent in the 24th James Bond film and Sam Mendes will also return to direct the screenplay written by John Logan. The film is set for release in UK theaters on October 23, 2015 and in US theaters on November 6, 2015.
SKYFALL™, the 23rd James Bond film, took in $1.1 billion worldwide and set a new mark as the highest-grossing film of all time in the UK; it was the best-selling Bond film on DVD/Blu-ray and was the most critically acclaimed film in the history of the longest-running film franchise.
Commenting on the announcement, Wilson and Broccoli said, "Following the extraordinary success of SKYFALL, we're really excited to be working once again with Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes and John Logan.”
"I am very pleased that by giving me the time I need to honour all my theatre commitments, the producers have made it possible for me to direct Bond 24. I very much look forward to taking up the reins again, and to working with Daniel Craig, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for a second time,” said Mendes.
Barber added, “We are thrilled to reunite the extraordinary talents of director Sam Mendes with our star Daniel Craig for the next great Bond adventure.” He added, “As evidenced by the phenomenal success of our last collaboration with EON Productions and Sony, the incredible legacy of this 51-year-old franchise continues to amaze.”
Lynton and Pascal said, “It’s a privilege to work on the Bond films. EON, John Logan and Sam Mendes have come up with an extraordinary follow up to SKYFALL and we, along with our partners at MGM, can’t wait to share this new chapter with audiences all over the world.”
A pistol that was used as a last minute prop in a publicity photo shoot for the first James Bond movie, Dr. No in 1962, is being auctioned on July 29. Originally, Sean Connery was to pose with a Walther pistol for the publicity photos. However, on the day of the photo shoot, it was discovered that no one had brought the Walther to the studio. The photographer, David Hurn, improvised by substituting a long barreled air pistol, a personal possession that he used as a hobby. It was originally envisioned that the long barrel would be airbrushed out but it never was. The resulting photos became so iconic that variations of them were utilized to publicize later Connery Bond movies. The last time the pistol was sold at auction, it commanded over $400,000. For more click here
Once again, Cinema Retro is proud to bring you behind the scenes on a world-class retro movie event.
By Matthew Field
It seemed only appropriate that Octopussy, the only James Bond film with a tenuous link to
Wimbledon, should be the theme of BondStars’ summer barbeque on the very day
Andy Murray became champion. (Octopussy
actor and former tennis player Vijay Amritraj was semi-finalist in the men’s
doubles in 1976!)
On a sweltering summer’s day, OCTOPUSSY AT 30, re-united cast and crew from the 13th
James Bond movie at Pinewood Studios where the movie was made back in 1982/83.
The day kicked off with a screening of the Blu-ray
master (kindly lent by Eon Productions) in Theatre 7. Director John Glen, assistant
director Anthony Waye and stars Maud Adams and Kristina Wayborn, were on hand
to introduce the film to fans at the sold out event. Glen told the audience that
Octopussy was his favourite pre-title
sequence along with The Spy Who Loved Me.
He also remarked with a smile how gorgeous his actresses were still look today
– and they certainly were!
A lineup of Bond royalty: Peter Lamont, Kristina Wayborn, John Glen, Maud Adams and Alan Tomkins. (Photo: copyright Matthew Field, All Rights Reserved.)
Later in the day guests were also joined by twins David
& Tony Meyer, Carole Ashby, Jeremy Bulloch, production designer Peter
Lamont and stunt arranger Paul Weston. Cinema Retro’s Dave Worrall, our very
own veteran tour guide, led guests around the studio, pointing out of
particular note, the entrance to the manor house which doubled for the British embassy
where 009 turns up dead with the Faberge egg in Berlin.
Well, Louis Jourdan couldn't make the event, but we've got the next best thing: Cinema Retro's Matthew Field, the thorn between two roses: Kristina Wayborn and Maud Adams.
Cinema Retro's Dave Worrall is still pondering why his relationship with this lovely lass never quite worked out! (Photo: copyright Matthew Field, All Rights Reserved.)
On stage the Meyer twins recalled the filmmakers first
approached them after John Glen had seen twins in France performing a knife-throwing
act. But the French duo had turned the film down on the grounds that jumping
off of trains wasn’t really their sort of thing! Maud Adams said how proud she
is to be associated with the Bond franchise while Kristina Wayborn recalled her
first day at the studios in 1982 where she met not James Bond in the Pinewood restaurant
– but Superman actor Christopher Reeve. Ipads and smart phones were running the
Murray match throughout the day and there was a huge cheer as the young Scot
secured the trophy while Kristina and Maud were being interviewed on stage.
Stuntman extraordinaire Paul Weston (center) can't resist monitoring the action at Wimbledon. Paul performed some of the most harrowing stunts in the film. (Photo: copyright Matthew Field, All Rights Reserved.)
A lineup of 007 greats: Alan Tomkins, John Glen and Peter Lamont. (Photo: copyright Matthew Field, All Rights Reserved.)
theme ran throughout the day. Circus acts entertaining guests in the Pinewood
gardens during lunch while specially designed cupcakes were served with
afternoon tea. An Octopussy special
was put together by Mi6 Confidential Magazine to accompany the event featuring
many interviews and behind the scenes photographs from the personal archives of
those who worked on the film. Sir Roger Moore wrote a wonderful introduction to
the day also.
Yet another great day for 007 fans and a new “All Time
High” for BondStars!
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
LONDON (at a top secret location) 28 June, 2013 – “Pay attention, 007, RM
Auctions is about to sell one of my most ingenious creations and we wouldn’t
want it to fall into enemy hands”. Well, ‘Q’ might be a little concerned that
his incredible Lotus Esprit Series 1‘Submarine’ Car is due to be sold at
auction, but for millions of movie fans out there, the appearance of this
iconic Bond car on the open market represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
No Bond car has ever done
anything as outrageous as transform itself into a submarine. Used to incredible
effect in the film The Spy Who Loved Me,
starring Roger Moore, the white Lotus commonly tops the polls when generations
of movie fans are asked to vote on their favourite film cars of all time. Like
all the best Bond cars, the Lotus was a veritable war chest of weaponry and
gadgetry, all designed to fox and foil the enemy, whilst also helping Bond to
another hard-won victory for Queen and country.
(Photo: RM Auctions)
The vehicle to be offered
by RM Auctions at its forthcoming London sale, 8-9 September, in Battersea
Park, is the one and only fully functioning car especially designed and built
for the famous underwater sequence seen on screen in the 1977 film. Abundantly
authenticated, and known as ‘Wet Nellie’ on the set, it was developed from one
of six Esprit body shells used in the making of the film. As the only car to be built into
a fully operational, self-propelled ‘submarine’, by Perry Oceanographic,
based in Riviera Beach, Florida, it is the vehicle which claimed the most
screen time in the film. The driver of the car was Don Griffin, a retired U.S.
Navy SEAL and test pilot for Perry, who operated the vehicle utilizing its motorized
propellers while manoeuvring with levered steering mechanisms. At the time, the
car was said to have cost over $100,000 to create (equivalent to nearly a half
million dollars today).
Subsequent to filming the underwater scenes in the Bahamas, the vehicle
was shipped to Long Island, NY, where it was kept in an unassuming storage unit
on a ten year rental, paid in advance. Fate later intervened when, in 1989, the
then rent delinquent unit was put up ‘blind’ for public auction. A modest
winning bid from an area couple brought surprise and wonder when the blankets
were removed to reveal the iconic 007 ‘Submarine’ Car. After positive
authentication, the Lotus was shown occasionally – including a stint at the
Petersen Automotive Museum – but mostly kept closely under wraps, until now.
(Photo: RM Auctions)
Max Girardo, Managing
Director, RM Auctions, Europe, says: “We
have a great track record in selling incredible and iconic movie cars, and this
particular Lotus is certainly up there amongst the most famous cars of all
time. Over the years, millions of moviegoers have stared in awe as the Lotus
transformed itself into a submarine, and now, perhaps one of them will have an
opportunity to own it. Her Majesty’s Secret Service aside, it surely is the
ultimate beach accessory”!
RM Auctions sold “the most
famous car in the world”, the Aston Martin DB5 used by Sean Connery in the enormously
popular Goldfinger and Thunderball movies, for an incredible
£2.9 million during its 2010 London sale.
For further information on RM Auctions’
forthcoming London sale, or to view a frequently updated list of entries, visit
rmauctions.com or contact RM’s London office at +44 (0) 20 7851 7070.
Actor Pierce Brosnan is mourning the death of his 42 year old adopted daughter Charlotte, who has succumbed to breast cancer at age 42. Ironically, her biological mother, Cassandra, died at age 43 from the same disease in 1991. Cassandra had been married to Brosnan when the young Irish actor had originally been signed to play James Bond in 1986. A contractual clause invoked by NBC prevented him from playing the role until 1995. When Cassandra's first husband, Charlotte's father, passed away, Brosnan adopted her in 1986. In 2001, Brosnan married journalist Keeley Shaye Smith, who he has praised for encouraging him to continue to mourn Cassandra, who he says he thinks of every day. Brosnan is now mourning the second family member to suffer from the ravages of cancer. Charlotte had a somewhat troubled past, having dealt with depression, substance abuse and divorce. For more click here
Our Man in Scandanavia, Thomas Hauerslev, who runs the brilliant website www.in70mm.com, advises that the CinemaxX in Copenhagen will be having a rare big screen showing of the acclaimed 007 documentary feature film Everything or Nothing along with a screening of From Russia With Love on July 7. Click here for details
Spy movie fan Luca Pietramala posted this on his Facebook page recently. It's a toy industry trade magazine advertisement for a 1966 line of spy-related rubber hand puppets. The David McCallum/Illya puppet was produced along with the Sean Connery figure in a suit and the Harold Sakata/Oddjob figure. However, the Adolfo Celi as Largo and Connery scuba puppets never got beyond the prototype stage. The nagging question for the last half-century has been: when are they going to release a Robert Vaughn/Napoleon Solo puppet? We're starting to lose hope!
Media reports indicate that Sam Mendes will indeed return to the James Bond franchise to direct not only the next installment but another Bond film after that. The announcement has yet to be formally made by Eon Productions but it is known that producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli have been lobbying Mendes to stay with the series, given the enormous world-wide success of Skyfall. Mendes initially said he was unable to do the next Bond film due to other committments but he has apparently been made an offer he can't refuse. Click here for more.
Despite assertions to the contrary, Sam Mendes may not be able to resist returning to the 007 series in the wake of the enormous success of Skyfall. Mendes initially turned down the producer's offer to direct the entry in the legendary series, but Deadline now reports that Mendes may be having second thoughts. Click here for more
Ok, James Bond fans...you've probably watched the 2006 version of Casino Royale until you memorized virtually every line of dialogue. (Although you're really a Bond fanatic when you can say the same about the 1967 spoof version of the Ian Fleming novel!) Here's a new spin: Buzzfeed has linked to a brilliant remake of the film's opening sequence- which is done entirely with Legos, accompanied by the original dialogue. They should have titled it "Lego Let Die" Click here to view.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
Sir Roger Moore, the legendary film star who played the iconic role of James Bond, is to play a series of exclusive dates at theatres around the UK.Following the huge success of his tour last year, Sir Roger will return with ten new dates in Autumn 2013, opening at the Leeds Grand Theatre on Sunday 27 October.
Roger will be discussing his astonishing life and career, with inside stories and exclusive anecdotes ranging from his internationally-renowned TV series The Saint and The Persuaders, through to Hollywood blockbusters and, of course, the 007 films, in which he starred as JamesBond between 1973 and 1985.
Gareth Owen will interview Roger. Gareth is an author of nine books and has worked with Roger Moore on his autobiography My Word Is My Bond and his latest book Bond On Bond. Gareth has interviewed Roger previously at the BFI Southbank, the Barbican Centre and at various UNICEF fundraisers throughout Europe. The show will be followed by an audience Q&A.
Presented by Jeremy Meadow & Suzanna Rosenthal, by arrangement with Pollinger Limited.
For further info, please see www.aneveningwithsirrogermoore.com
2013 Tour Dates:
An Afternoon with Sir Roger Moore An Evening with Sir Roger Moore
Sunday 27 October 2.00pm Wednesday 6 November 7.30pm
LEEDS GRAND THEATRE NEW ALEXANDRA THEATRE, BIRMINGHAM
Cinema Retro was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of screenwriter Michael France at the age of 51. He died from complications from diabetes. France's big break was writing the screenplay for Sylvester Stallone's 1993 blockbuster Cliffhanger, which he did "on spec", meaning he pitched his idea to the studio and was not commissioned to write it. France also wrote story lines for the 1995 James Bond smash GoldenEye, though he was not credited with the actual screenplay, which was a source of a strained relationship with the Bond producers. Some of his ideas that were developed for GoldenEye were utilized in the 1999 Bond hit The World is Not Enough. In the 1970s, he published the short-lived 007 fan magazine Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. France was a major comic book fan and wrote the screenplays for Ang Lee's 2003 version of The Hulk as well as the super hero flick The Punisher. On a personal note, I had lost contact with him in recent years, but have fond memories of both of us having many laughs at Eon Productions' spectacular London premiere of GoldenEye. The following year, I was a consultant on an official Bond celebration in Jamaica and managed to get an invite for France and his wife as guests. We had plenty of fun in the sun and these memories are quite special to me. My heart goes out to his family on the loss of this personable and very talented screenwriter. - Lee Pfeiffer
Sean Connery and Lana Wood in Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Throughout the month of April, the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California will be presenting big screen showings of classic James Bond movies including On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Live and Let Die, Octopussy, Licence to Kill and Diamonds Are Forever. Each screening will feature appearances and discussions with a star or stars of a specific film including George Lazenby, Benicio del Toro, David Hedison, Trina Parks, Lana Wood, Kristina Wayborne, Maud Adams and Gloria Hendry. Click here for info and to view original theatrical trailers.
Our old pal and Cinema Retro contributor Richard Kiel is crossing "the pond" again for a couple of high profile personal appearances in the UK including one at London's Misty Moon Gallery and another at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, where he will be joined by his Moonraker co-star Blanche Ravalec. Click on each ad below for links to web sites.
April 13 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of “Casino Royale,” and the University of Illinois will recognize the event with a collaborative celebration hosted by the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Spurlock Museum, and the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music. Much of the material featured in “The Birth of Bond” comes from the collection of Michael L. VanBlaricum, the president of the Ian Fleming Foundation and a U. of I. alumnus. | Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
April marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. To celebrate the anniversary, the University of Illinois will be hosting numerous events pertaining to Fleming, the novel and the 007 phenomenon. Titled The Birth of Bond: Ian Fleming's Casino Royale at 60, the exhibition will include a film festival, costumes, props, lectures and rare recordings. The exhibition is being coordinated by Michael VanBlaricum, a well-known Bond scholar and President of the Ian Fleming Foundation. Click here for more info
The estate of James Bond creator Ian Fleming has announced the latest author to try his hand at writing a "one-off" 007 novel. British writer William Boyd will pen the as-yet-untitled novel, due to be published in September. The only clues about the plot is that it will be retro-based and feature a 45 year-old Bond in the year 1969. (Ironically, this was the year that a very young actor, George Lazenby, debuted as Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.) For more click here
Despite the worldwide financial and critical success of Skyfall, Sam Mendes confirmed that he won't be accepting Eon Productions' offer to direct the James Bond movie. Many suspected he would decline the offer because it would be hard to top the international acclaim of Skyfall. However, Mendes cites his regrets at not being able to direct the film and attributes his absence to a full slate of other projects to which he is already committed. For more click here
The much-publicized James Bond Skyfall train will run through mid-March from London's King's Cross station to Edinburgh on a daily basis. Aside from having the film poster art adorn the train, the locomotive has been renumbered as "91007". For more click here
Many James Bond fans felt that the much-anticipated James Bond 50th anniversary tribute at the Oscars fell a little short of its potential, despite very impressive appearances by Shirley Bassey and Adele. A fan named Kees van Dijkhuizen Jr. decided to edit together his own version of the how the tribute could have been assembled. Click here to view and to see if you think it beats the "official" version.
In an interview with Yahoo Movies, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, joined by writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade and actress Naomi Harris, discuss the revitalization of the series with Skyfall and their hopes and plans for future 007 films. They also express hope that some of the Skyfall crew will join them on the next Bond film. For more click here
The use of a mink glove used at various times by Sean Connery and Molly Peters concerned British censors who saw it as a sexual metaphor.
Newly revealed files show that the sexual content of the 1965 James Bond blockbuster Thunderball so concerned the British censors that they almost slapped the film with an "X" rating. (American films didn't get movie ratings until 1968 and, unlike the British system, the ratings are imposed by the industry, not the government.) In fairness, an "X" rating in those days simply meant adult content, not necessarily sleaze. However, there is no doubt that Eon Productions would have considered it the kiss of death on boxoffice receipts. Nevertheless, the producers stood their ground and cut only one of the the thirty scenes that the censor demanded be removed or amended. The film went on to gross the equivalent of $1 billion in today's currency. The entire censorship scenario seems amusing and quaint by today's standards. Click here to read
James Bond double features used to be so popular that they would routinely out-gross many new films. The first double feature took place in 1965 with a team-up of Dr. No and From Russia With Love. By 1980, the double features were starting to fade but United Artists did put together this combo of two Roger Moore blockbusters: Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me. Cinema Retro reader Hank Reineke kindly provided this rare newspaper advertisement from a long-defunct New Jersey drive-in theater that presented the double bill in 1980.
The James Bond blockbuster Skyfall has won the Best British Film award at this year's BAFTAs, besting Les Miserables, which many pundits predicted would win. Thomas Newman also won for his musical score for the film. For a complete list of winners click here.
It's gonna be Double-0 Heaven for long-suffering James Bond fans who have always felt the series has been slighted by Oscar. Not any more. In addition to a major Bond 50th anniversary tribute on this year's telecast, Adele will sing the Oscar-nominated theme song from Skyfall and Dame Shirley Bassey will perform her signature hit, Goldfinger- which, like so many other classics, was never nominated for an Oscar. The big buzz is whether the Academy can bring off its plan to unite all six 007 actors on the same stage. For more click here