The Hollywood Reporter has published an article detailing the major players who are vying to gain at least some control over rights to the James Bond franchise, which -according to the article- is deemed to be under-utilizing its true potential for profitability. Warner Brothers is said to be the front runner for gaining distribution rights for the next film in the series, set for release in November 2019. Daniel Craig will star in what he has stated will be his last appearance in a Bond film. Among the top bidders in competition with Warners are newly-emerging entertainment powerhouses Amazon and Apple, both of which would like to expand the Bond image into mediums beyond feature films. However, the rights situation regarding the franchise is a complex one. Eon Productions, founded by the series' original producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, owned the franchise outright and had a long term distribution deal with United Artists. The two men had a strained relationship and when Saltzman decided to sell his share of the franchise in the mid-1970s, he snubbed Broccoli by selling his interests directly to United Artists. The partnership between Broccoli and UA was a friendly and fruitful one but by 1989 the old guard at the studio had left and an acrimonious relationship developed between the new top brass and Broccoli, who fumed over what he felt was a bungled marketing campaign for "Licence to Kill" in 1989. Broccoli opted to put the series on hiatus until 1995 when a new regime had taken over under the auspices of MGM, which had taken over United Artists years before. When the series resumed with "GoldenEye", Cubby Broccoli had passed the oversight of the Bond franchise on to his daughter Barbara and her step brother Michael G. Wilson. Cubby, who died in 1996, lived to see "GoldenEye" become a blockbuster and the Bond franchise reinvigorated under his heirs.
Daniel Craig took over the Bond role from Pierce Brosnan's successful run, and Sony has distributed each of the four films in which he has starred. The forthcoming Bond film is up for distribution bids and has attracted major studios. Unusually, the deal is only for one picture. Profits for the studio that distributes Bond films can be relatively slim compared to the sizable budgets they must front. However, the Bond franchise still has a great deal of prestige and a durable following. The last two films grossed almost $2 billion internationally and the video and merchandising rights are also very lucrative. Although the major bidders would like to control all rights to the franchise outright, in order to do so the winning studio would have to convince both MGM and Eon Productions to sell their interests in Bond. To date, there is no indication that either party, let alone both of them, intend to do so. Click here for more.
Writer Michael Coate of The Digital Bits web site queried a diverse group of James Bond scholars to analyze the impact "The Living Daylights" had on the 007 film series and Bond legacy when it was released thirty years ago. Among those contributing is Cinema Retro's own Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer. The format is presented in a "round-table" scenario with the various scholars weighing in on their thoughts about the movie, which introduced Timothy Dalton in the role of James Bond. Click here to read.
To the surprise of no one, Daniel Craig has confirmed he will be returning as James Bond. It had previously been announced by Eon Productions that the next Bond film is in pre-production with veteran scribes Neil Purvis and Robert Wade working on the script. The film will not be released until November 2019, giving them plenty of time to fine-tune the story line. Craig, in a jovial mood, appeared last night on Stephen Colbert's show to confirm the news. He did make some more news by confirming that this would indeed be his last performance as Bond and that he looked forward to leaving the series on a high note. He also renounced disparaging comments he made about playing Bond after the release of his most recent 007 film "Spectre", saying that his comments that he would rather "slit my wrists" than play 007 again were "really stupid". Speculation will now go into overdrive in the fan community about whether Christoph Waltz will return as Bond's arch nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld to follow up on the character's appearance in "Spectre". The character of Blofeld had been in limbo for decades due to legal reasons. For more click here.
There will be a rare big screen showing of the 1967 spoof version of the James Bond film "Casino Royale" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The screening is Thursday, August 17 at 1:30 PM. The film features an all-star cast including Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Woody Allen, William Holden to name just a few. The film's legacy as a debacle in terms of a production that went out of control is well documented and was covered in-depth in Cinema Retro issue #6. Producer Charles K. Feldman employed numerous directors who worked on the movie simultaneously, but never together. The movie went over-schedule and over-budget but still did big business at cinemas. Even those who loathe the movie concede it boasts superb production values, a great musical score by Burt Bacharach and at least a few genuinely inspired moments of comedy. "Casino" may be a mess- but it's a grand, glorious mess.- Lee Pfeiffer
Cinema Retro has received the following press release from Eon Productions and MGM:
BOND RETURNS TO
A NEW JAMES
BOND CINEMATIC INSTALLATION, COMING SOON
26 July 2017 - A
unique James Bond cinematic installation will open this winter at the top of
the Gaislachkogl Mountain next to the ICE Q Restaurant, Sölden, Austria. The
iconic location was used in Spectre
as the Hoffler Klinik and formed part of the snow chase sequence in the film.
Cable Car Companies
Sölden is creating a bespoke new building to house the 007 installation,
embedded into the top of the mountain, designed and built by award-winning
architect Johann Obermoser. The innovative, dynamic space is inspired by the
work of visionary James Bond Production Designer Sir Ken Adam.
The concept for the
installation has been designed and developed by Creative Director and James
Bond Art Director Neal Callow (Casino
Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre)
together with Optimist Inc. Head of Design Tino Schaedler and his team.
Commenting on the
announcement, Jakob Falkner, Shareholder and Managing Director, Cable Car
Companies Sölden said: "We’re delighted to be partnering with EON
Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to bring Bond back to Sölden by creating a
truly unique experience in the heart of the Tyrol region. Together with the
many exciting and varied activities available in the area, this James Bond
installation will strengthen Sölden’s position as a year-round destination for
sports and entertainment.”
The name of the
cinematic installation and further details about the visitor experience will be
released later this year.
Eon Productions has confirmed that the U.S. release of the 25th official James Bond movie will take place on November 8, 2019. The announcement was notable for aspects that were not confirmed, primarily whether Daniel Craig will return in the role. There is also no mention of what studio will be releasing the film, as Eon apparently are still in negotiations to make that determination. The official press announcement also does not mention a director or title, but does confirm that veteran Bond scribes Rob Wade and Neil Purvis will be writing the screenplay. The press release also acknowledges that the film will open first in the UK and other world territories, but does not specify a date. This is possibly due to the fact that the launch of the movie might well be tied in to the traditional gala premiere in London that is often attended by members of the royal family. Given the challenges of planning around logistics involving the royals, it may be that no set date for the UK can be set this early. The film will be produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, thus continuing the long tradition of having the same family oversee production of every Bond film. The four Bond films starring Daniel Craig have been particularly successful. "Skyfall", released in 2012, grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide. The 2015 release of "Spectre" also brought in enormous grosses totaling $880 million.
Update: the New York Times is reporting that Daniel Craig will indeed be returning to the role of Bond according to sources familiar with the negotiations. However, that can't be definitive until Eon confirms in their own official press release.
Joe Robinson, 2004. (Photo copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved.)
BY LEE PFEIFFER
Joe Robinson, the estimable stuntman, stunt arranger and occasional actor, has passed away in his native England at age 90. Robinson came from a family of wrestlers and he won the European Heavyweight Championship in 1952. Robinson drifted into the film industry initially as an actor, starring in the 1955 movie "A Kid for Two Farthings". Leading man status eluded him but he found a steady career arranging stunts for films and television shows and occasionally acting in them as well. Like many British and American actors, he gravitated to Italy in the early 1960s to appear in some of the "Hercules"-inspired strongman films that were quite popular during that era. He scored small action roles in "Barabbas" and "Ursus" before returning to England, where he had a supporting role in Tony Richardson's classic "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Rnner. He was a noted judo and karate expert and helped train Honor Blackman for her action scenes in "The Avengers" TV series and in the 1964 James Bond film "Goldfinger". In 1971 he landed his best-remembered role as smuggler Peter Franks in the James Bond movie "Diamonds are Forever". In the movie's best action scene, he has a bruising battle with Sean Connery inside the tight confines of an elevator. This writer and fellow Cinema Retro publisher Dave Worrall met him in 1995 when he participated in recording a laser disc commentary track we were producing relating to the elevator fight along with "Diamonds are Forever" director Guy Hamilton at Pinewood Studios (the track is available on the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film today).
Robinson battling Sean Connery in the 1971 James Bond film "Diamonds are Forever".
Robinson was very much a free spirit who would often turn up unexpectedly at events and ingratiate himself with people by discussing his fascinating stories of working in the film industry. He later would appear with the James Bond International Fan Club at various 007-themed events and conventions where he enjoyed meeting his admirers and signing autographs. He once told this writer that many years after filming "Diamonds are Forever", he decided to drop by Sean Connery's estate in Spain. When he rang the doorbell buzzer in the gated community, Connery asked who was there. When he heard it was Joe Robinson, Connery exclaimed "Tiger Joe!", referring to Robinson's nickname in the industry. The two men spent a pleasant afternoon reminiscing about old times. In addition to his other achievements, Robinson and his brother Doug co-authored "Honor Blackman's Book of Self-Defence", a 1965 volume that illustrated their training sessions with Blackman. For more click here.
Moore as Brett Sinclair with his Aston Martin DBS in "The Persuaders" TV series.
Car and Driver magazine takes a fun look back at some of the super-cool vehicles driven by Roger Moore on television and in feature films from "The Saint" to "The Persuaders" and, of course, James Bond. (They even included "The Cannonball Run"!) Click here to view.
The Bond in Motion exhibition at the London Film Museum has opened a special section dedicated to the 50th anniversary of "You Only Live Twice"that includes original props, rare photos and original storyboards. The Bond in Motion displays also include a virtual history of 007-related props and vehicles. Click here for tickets.
Only Live Twice opened in UK cinemas 50 years ago today
(on the 13th in America), and to celebrate the release of the biggest Bond of
all Cinema Retro's September issue pays tribute to this cinematic extravaganza
with a 32-page 'Film in Focus' special. Apart from Matthew Field and Ajay
Chowdhury's interview with Nancy Sinatra (a rare in-print interview about her
involvement with the film), we feature many rare and never-seen-before
stills and behind-the-scenes photos, features on props and collectibles, and
exclusive interviews with Karin Dor, Leslie Bricusse, Julie
Rogers (the singer who was originally contracted to record the title song) and Mark Cerulli catches up with Tsai Chin for her memories of the film. And
that's not all - Bond composer David Arnold discusses how the music to You Only Live Twice changed his life
forever, and we have an exclusive interview with the late Ken Wallis, the creator of the Little Nellie gyrocopter, who
discusses the helicopter accident (with photos) that caused cameraman John
Jordan to lose his foot; plus Raymond Benson meets 'Bond Girls' Akiko
Wakabayashi and Mie Hama, and Peter Lamont explains the logistics of building
the massive volcano set. A not-to-be-missed issue!
Cinema Retro #39 is published this coming
September (October in the US), and is the last issue of the 2017 season #13 subscription.
Make sure you subscribe or renew for this season! Issues #’s 37 and 38 ship
immediately, followed by the #39 in the fall.
With passing of Chris Cornell, writer Jeremy Fuster of The Wrap web site had the inspired idea to contact famed motion picture composer David Arnold to discuss his collaboration with Cornell on the song "You Know My Name" which was used over the opening titles in the 2006 James Bond film "Casino Royale". No less than the future of the Bond franchise was riding on the film's success, which was anything but assured. A lot of bad press was aimed at Daniel Craig in his first film as 007 and word-of-mouth was less-than-enthusiastic. However, those doubts were shattered on the night of the royal premiere in London with Queen Elizabeth in attendance. Critics showered the movie with praise and Craig made his unique mark on the character of Bond. Arnold recollects how he and Cornell agreed that they needed to create a gritty title song that symbolized the new era of Bond and the new emphasis on realism. Click here to read.
Molly Peters, who began her career as a nude "glamour girl" model before starting a short-lived film career, has passed away at age 78. She had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer according to her husband but it was a stroke to which she succumbed. Peters' voluptuous appearance made her one of the more popular of the provocative models who posed for men's magazines in the 1960s. She posed for England's legendary photographer of nudes, Harrison Marks. She landed the only memorable role of her career in the 1965 James Bond blockbuster "Thunderball". In the film, Bond (Sean Connery) was sent to the Shrublands health spa to recuperate from some wear-and-tear. Here he encounters nurse Pat (Peters), a sexy blonde who conveniently is assigned to look after Bond's needs. Within short order Bond has her naked in a steam room. In another scene, Bond memorably massages the nude Pat with a mink glove. At the health spa, Bond discovers some nefarious activities going on by Spectre agents that finds Pat bewildered by Bond's strange comings and goings. Peters' scenes were brief but among the film's most memorable including a scene in which she straps Bond to a therapeutic stretching machine that a Spectre agent uses to almost deadly effect on 007. Following "Thunderball", Peters made the little-seen thriller "Target for Killing" co-starring "Thunderball" villain Adolfo Celi and future Bond baddies Karin Dor and Curt Jurgens. In 1968 she made her last credited film, "Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River" with Jerry Lewis. In 1995 this writer along with Cinema Retro co-publisher Dave Worrall along with Mark Cerulli and John Cork, tracked Ms.Peters down. She participated in an extensive on-camera interview recalling her experiences for the "Thunderball" special edition laser disc. The interview is now available on both the Blu-ray and DVD editions of the movie.
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF SIR ROGER MOORE WITH
TWO JAMES BOND CLASSICS, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME AND FOR
YOUR EYES ONLY,
AS THEY RETURN TO CINEMAS WORLDWIDE
WITH PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT UNICEF
London, UK – May 26, 2017 – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Studios (MGM), Park Circus and EON Productions are pleased to announce a series
of special screenings in memory of Sir Roger Moore, to take place at cinemas
across the world including: Odeon Cinemas (UK), AMC Theatres (U.S.) and Hoyts (Australia),
beginning 31 May 2017. Additional locations to be announced soon.
The newly restored 4K versions of The Spy Who Loved
Me and For Your Eyes Only will be screened with 50 percent of
all proceeds benefitting UNICEF. As a Goodwill Ambassador, Sir
Roger had been a dedicated and passionate supporter of UNICEF since 1991.
Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions,
long-standing producers of the James Bond films said “In honour of Sir Roger
Moore, we are delighted these Bond screenings will benefit UNICEF which was the
charity closest to his heart.”
Gary Barber, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, MGM
added “Sir Roger Moore left an indelible imprint on audiences worldwide. There
is no better way to remember Roger’s legacy than bringing back his iconic
performances as James Bond to cinemas across the world while aiding UNICEF, the
charity he steadfastly supported.”
Nick Varley, CEO of distributor Park Circus said “Park
Circus is extremely privileged to be MGM’s library distributor and we are
delighted to have the chance to celebrate the life and work of Sir Roger Moore
through these screenings, and most particularly as it benefits UNICEF, an
organization very close to Sir Roger.”
We would also like to thank Deluxe Technicolor Digital
Cinema for kindly facilitating the delivery of this project to cinemas for us.
Details of screenings can be found at www.parkcircus.com and
at participating cinemas websites.
Sir Roger Moore, the iconic British actor who swept to fame playing The Saint and James Bond, has passed away from cancer at age 89. Moore grew up in a middle class lifestyle in Lambeth during WW2 and was among the children evacuated from the city during the Blitz. He had planned a career as a cartoonist but his good looks and charismatic personality drew him first to modeling and then studying acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He found success early in his career and was placed for a time under contract with MGM in Hollywood. However stardom didn't follow immediately. Moore mostly appeared in soap opera stories opposite big stars but none of the films were very successful and was dismissed as just another pretty face. In the 1956 period costume drama "Diane", he was Lana Turner's leading man- but the film was a dud and one critic described Moore as "a lump of English roast beef", something he would joke about through the rest of his life. Moore left MGM and starred in "The Alaskans" TV series and was brought in to star in "Maverick", appearing in 16 episodes over a three year period. That lead to his starring as Simon Templar, the world class adventurer in the TV series "The Saint". The show ran for seven seasons and was a major international hit. Following that he also starred with Tony Curtis in the popular TV series "The Persuaders". When that show left the air Moore was hired to star as the third actor to play James Bond, following in the footsteps of Sean Connery and George Lazenby. Moore's first Bond film "Live and Let Die" in 1973 was an important one for the franchise. Had audiences not responded well to his interpretation of 007, the series might have ended. Moore decided not to imitate Connery but to provide his own unique interpretation of the role, emphasizing the humorous aspects. Audiences responded with enthusiasm and Moore would play the role in seven films over a twelve year period. He left the series after "A View to a Kill" in 1985.
Spy Guys: Michael Caine, Roger Moore and Sean Connery made a hilarious joint appearance at the 1989 Oscars.
During Moore's tenure as Bond he made numerous other feature films including the highly successful 1978 adventure movie "The Wild Geese". Other notable films include "ffolkes" (aka "North Sea Hijack"), "Shout at the Devil" and "Gold". In the 1981 blockbuster comedy "The Cannonball Run" he played an eccentric who thought he was Roger Moore. In his post-Bond career Moore occasionally made films or appeared on television but devoted much of his time as Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. In that capacity Moore traveled the globe raising countless millions of dollars to help impoverished children. He often said that it was his work for UNICEF that he was most proud of. His charitable work was an obvious factor in his being knighted in 2003. His good friends Sean Connery and Michael Caine, both of whom achieved significant career boosts by also playing spies in the 1960s, were on hand for the ceremony. In recent years Moore had traveled extensively to promote numerous books he has authored with his personal assistant Gareth Owen. Sir Roger and Owen also developed speaking tours in which they would discuss his long film career in casual chats on stage in front of appreciative audiences generally in capacity-filled theaters.
Prior to becoming an actor, Sir Roger worked as a model.
On a personal note we at Cinema Retro had the pleasure of knowing Sir Roger Moore very well. He was an early supporter of our magazine and even provided an endorsement below our banner head. He remained a contributor to our publication and was always there to provide an amusing story or anecdote. He was completely devoid of egotistical behavior and found self-deprecating humor to be his best weapon against criticism. He once told this writer that he learned early on that critics found it no fun to mock an actor who mocked himself. Sir Roger was also beloved by his fans. He always had time to chat with them or sign autographs. Sir Roger's passing represents a sad day for all who loved and admired him- but his legacy as an actor and humanitarian remains secure. He is survived by his wife Kristina and his children Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian.
The web site the007dossier.com has posted a vintage broadcast in which Sean Connery sits with film scholar Mark Cousins to watch and comment on scenes from his James Bond films. (Thanks for reader Mark Ashby for sending the link.)
On May 18, 2017, as part of their ongoing Classic Film
series, the Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge, Illinois (outside Chicago) will
present a 50th Anniversary digital restoration screening of the 1967 James Bond
extravaganza, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. Showtimes 2:00pm and 7:30pm.
At the 7:30pm
show, Bond author Raymond Benson will provide the Introduction and Ian Fleming
Foundation board member Colin Clark will exhibit the Model 47 Bell Helicopter
used in the motion picture.The first 100 patrons through the door
will get a chance to win a tour of the James Bond vehicles facility in Illinois
that is overseen by the IFF. Jay Warren will perform pre-show music on the theatre
organ beginning at 6:30pm.
Daniel Craig at the London premiere of Spectre in 2015.
The New York Times has an article about the on-going bidding between studios for the distribution rights to the next James Bond film, which has yet to go into production or even announce a start date. It also isn't known if Daniel Craig will reprise the role. Sony's long run contract with MGM and Eon Productions has run its course and the company is trying to nail down the distribution rights to the next Bond film- even though the Times reports that the payoff is rather low given the investments studios are expected to make. The Bond franchise is at its peak, thus ensuring that every new entry will reach some level of blockbuster status. To read click here.
Clifton James, the respected character actor who rose to fame as the bumbling southern Sheriff J.W. Pepper in two James Bond films, has passed away at age 96. James, a decorated veteran of WWII, appeared in many prominent films and TV series. Among his feature films: "Cool Hand Luke", "The Bonfire of the Vanities", "The Untouchables", "Juggernaut", "The Last Detail", "Will Penny" and "Something Wild". The portly James often portrayed lawmen and judges. His most prominent role came in Roger Moore's 1973 debut film as James Bond, "Live and Let Die". The character of Pepper as a comical racist lawman named Sheriff J.W. Pepper undoubtedly made audiences laugh. But to die-hard Bond fans his presence represented the increasing amount of slapstick that characterized some of Moore's Bond films. The producers brought the character back in the 1974 007 film "The Man with the Golden Gun" in which he coincidentally meets Bond in Thailand and participates in a wild car chase. The plot device was deemed absurd and the level of over-the-top comedy alienated most fans, thus the character of Pepper was never to return. It's a fair assumption that the character of Sheriff Buford T. Justice, played by Jackie Gleason in the "Smokey and the Bandit" films, was directly inspired by James' portrayal of Sheriff Pepper. Regardless of how Bond fans feel about the presence of Pepper in the two 007 movies, there is widespread respect for James' skills as an actor. He resided in New York City and was also a veteran of the Broadway stage. Click here for more.
A disgruntled consumer has filed a lawsuit seeking damages against MGM and 20th Century Fox over their release of a boxed video set that purports to contain all of the 007 films. According to Bond fan Mary Johnson, who filed the class action suit in the state of Washington, that claim is misleading because, upon opening the set found that it did not contain the 1967 spoof version of "Casino Royale" or the 1983 remake of "Thunderball" titled "Never Say Never Again". The two films have always presented a thorn in the side of Eon Productions, the producers of the Bond movie franchise. The roots of the problem extend back to the mid-1950s when Bond creator Ian Fleming sold the film rights to his first 007 novel "Casino Royale" for a pittance in the hopes of having Bond appear on the big screen. Instead the only film version turned out to be a one-hour live American TV broadcast on the program "Climax Theater" in 1954. Response was underwhelming and the Bond character seemed to be headed toward oblivion. However, Fleming's books picked up in sales and became vastly popular around the globe- especially when new president John F. Kennedy made it known he wa a fan. In the early 1960s Fleming signed away the film rights to his other Bond novels to producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, who began making the movies under their Eon Productions banner. When the movies proved to be blockbusters, studios began to emulate the Bond franchise by launching a cinematic spy boom that lasted for years. By this time producer Charles K. Feldman had acquired the film rights to "Casino Royale". He wanted to jointly produce a film version with Broccoli and Saltzman but they rebuffed him. Feldman, who recently had a major hit with the mod spoof "What's New Pussycat?", decided that without Sean Connery to play Bond, there was no point in making a serious film version of "Casino Royale". Feldman opted to repeat the formula he had with "Pussycat": round up an eclectic big name cast and add elements of zany slapstick comedy. The film was released in 1967 overlapping to some degree Eon's release of "You Only Live Twice" with Connery.
The origins of "Never Say Never Again" are too long to go into here so here's a capsule version: in the 1950s Fleming teamed with producer Kevin McClory and writer Jack Whittingham to develop potential scripts for Bond-related movies that failed to attract any interest from studios. Fleming used elements of some of their work as the basis for his novel "Thunderball"- and was promptly sued by his partners for not crediting them for their contributions or allowing them to share in revenue. Fleming, who was in ill health, settled the suit and McClory ended up getting producer credit on the 1965 screen version of "Thunderball" as well as remake rights. When he tried to exercise those rights a decade later, Cubby Broccoli, who had by that point split with Harry Saltzman and was running the Bond franchise on his own, filed various lawsuits that stymied McClory's project until 1983 when it finally made it to the screen as "Never Say Never Again" starring Connery in his final appearance as 007. The Bond feature film franchise went on hiatus between 1989 and 1995 due to legal disputes between Cubby Broccoli and MGM. When the series was revived in 1995 with Pierce Brosnan as Bond, MGM was still battling McClory, who had for years attempted to capitalize on more "Thunderball" -inspired ways to exploit the Bond franchise. When he finally lost the battles in court, MGM moved to take control of even the "renegade" Bond productions and ended up buying the rights to "Casino Royale" and "Never Say Never Again". While the company never buried the the titles, as some Bond fans feared, they were never incorporated into any releases of the Eon Bond movies on home video. Their absence in boxed sets has long perplexed casual fans of the series who were not conversant in all the legal intrigues surrounding them. It has been suggested over the years that MGM promote the Eon films as the "official" Bond movies, but of course, that wouldn't be accurate since both "Casino Royale" and "Never Say Never Again" were legal adaptations of Fleming's works and thus no less "official" than the Eon films despite the fact that they are not held in as high esteem by fans. Perhaps the best solution from a legal standpoint is to state that such sets contain "All of the James Bond Films Produced by Eon Productions". In the meantime, the notion that this case should clog up a courtroom is almost certain to evoke the kind of public response reserved for people who sue McDonalds because their coffee is too hot. Seems to us that the simplest solution to anyone who is so traumatized by the absence of two films in a Bond boxed set is that they simply return it and get their money back.
Here's a vintage Sean Connery interview from Belgian television. The description says its from 1969 but it must have been filmed in 1968, as Connery refers to the still undetermined American presidential election between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. He also discusses his observations about American life, how success has affected him, his retirement from the James Bond role (he gives a nod to the "new" 007, George Lazenby) and discusses making his recent western "Shalako" with Brigitte Bardot.
The New York Times has a rare interview with Japanese actress Mie Hama, one of the few female sex symbols of 1960s cinema to break through to international audiences thanks to her appearance opposite Sean Connery in the 1967 007 classic "You Only Live Twice". Like many actresses who found cult status through the Bond films, Hama wore the mantle of fame somewhat uneasily and retired from acting at an early age to lead a more conventional life. She is still well-known in Japan thanks to the many dozens of films she had appeared in but today she is also known as a popular advocate for self-help theories. Click here to read.
Here's a hidden gem: an obscure interview from 1965 on the set of the James Bond thriller "Thunderball". The interview takes place at Pinewood Studios on the set that served as M's office. Not sure who the woman is who is conducting the interview or what network it was filmed for. Suffice it to say she epitomizes the type of uninformed interviewer that ultimately turned Connery off to the publicity surrounding the Bond phenomenon (she doesn't even know what city he was born in.) She also wastes time asking Connery about comparisons between Bond and MacBeth (!), who he had portrayed a few years earlier on Canadian television. Nevertheless, this is an interesting piece of long-forgotten Bond history. - Lee Pfeiffer
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
(London, UK, December 12th 2016) MI6 Confidential, the
full-colour magazine celebrating the world of James Bond 007, returns with its
Bond girls are forever, but in the last two decades the
007 producers have shaken up the ‘Bond girl’ archetype significantly. Strong,
independent and critical of Bond’s actions and motives are now the norm. But
even this change hasn’t stopped Bond women from being devastatingly beautiful
and the subject of much admiration. This issue is dedicated to finding out what
it takes to be a Bond girl, with features on Bond’s comic book companions, the
surprising origins of the Bond girl label, and the role of Bond women in the
Featured in this issue:
·The Name’s Bond... - Samantha Bond’s stint as the iconicsecretary
·Bond Girls Stripped - A glimpse of Fleming’s characters in
·Bond Girl Etymology - Where did the widely-recognised
·Quick Fire Bond - Lightning Q&A with some of Bond’s
brushes through thedecades
·The Double X Factor - The feminine power of the 21st
·Gaming Girls - A catalogue of digital delights that have
crossed paths with007
Him Crazy - A cut scene from The Living Daylights revisited
·The Bond Connection - The glamorous women and the spy
films of the1960s
UK-based Big Chief Studios, which specializes in producing officially licensed, highly detailed 12" action figures, has been licensed by Eon Productions to create a line of figures based on the James Bond films. Big Chief announced thatt the first wave of releases will center on the 1964 film "Goldfinger" with likenesses of James Bond (Sean Connery), Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) and Harold Sakata (Oddjob). No formal release date has been set. There have been other authorized Bond figures released over the decades. The first incarnation of Sean Connery in action figure form was produced by Gilbert in 1965 to tie in with the release of "Thunderball". The company also produced an Oddjob doll as well. In 1979 Mego produced action figures of James Bond (Roger Moore), Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles), Jaws (Richard Kiel) and Drax (Michael Lonsdale) from "Moonraker". In more recent years, Sideshow created a series of highly detailed figures based on the Bond films including the only authorized figure to date of George Lazenby as 007 in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". The Big Chief license illustrates Bond's remarkable staying power as a licensed collectible line.
THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED WITH CRAIG'S COMMENTS ABOUT THE BOURNE FILMS.
BY LEE PFEIFFER
Last evening Daniel Craig took to the stage for a 90 minute interview as part of the New Yorker Festival, sponsored by the legendary magazine. The interview took place at New York's School Visual Arts. Craig, who is not known to be enamored of engaging in interviews, was clearly in a feisty and humorous mood and attributed his presence at the event as a sign of his long-standing respect for the New Yorker magazine. The wide-ranging discussion covered a multitude of topics with the predominant subject unsurprisingly being James Bond. Craig was sporting a bleached blonde crew cut for a forthcoming role that made him bare a resemblance to the legendary Bond villain Red Grant, played memorably by Robert Shaw in "From Russia With Love". He was dressed casually in jeans, sneakers and a leather jacket and walked on stage with host, writer Nicholas Schmidle, without any formal introduction. Craig displayed considerable humor but did pepper his comments with some liberal use of profanity. Here are some highlights of the interview:
Craig said that rumors that he has been offered $150 million for the next two James Bond films are completely untrue. "I haven't been offered any money", he said. Craig noted that the next Bond film isn't even under discussion at this time. He said that after having spent a full year filming "Spectre", everyone involved feels they need a break from the series for a while. Craig did acknowledge controversial comments he made to the press last year in which he said he would rather slash his wrists than play 007 again. Although he didn't formally apologize for the comments, he clearly seemed to regret saying them. He admitted he was in a foul mood at the time because the ordeal of filming "Spectre" had left him emotionally drained and physically injured after having suffered accidents in the course of production. He did not rule playing Bond again in or out but did say that if he were not to play the role again "I would miss it terribly" and said he considered it "the best job in the world". When asked what specific perk he likes the most about playing the role, he wryly noted that he has an Aston Martin stashed in a garage in upstate New York- a direct benefit of playing Bond.
Craig said that throughout his life he has always enjoyed seeing Bond films but had never read Ian Fleming's novels. He never dreamed he would be asked to play the part of 007. When producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson told him he was their choice to play Bond in the 2006 reboot of the franchise, "Casino Royale", Craig almost dismissed the offer out of hand. He said he felt he was all wrong for the role and took a full year to give the producers his answer, after having consulted with family. He said he reluctantly agreed to take on the part with the proviso that it was understood he would not attempt to play the role like Bond actors who came before him. He was effusive in his praise of his immediate predecessor, Pierce Brosnan, but told the producers that he would not be successful in playing Bond in the lighthearted manner that succeeded with Brosnan. He demanded to see a finished script and to have input in defining the character of Bond in his own persona. Craig was surprised when his demands were met and was highly impressed by the finished script. He said he appreciated the producers' willingness to allow him to make creative suggestions regarding the films he has appeared in.
(Photos copyright Tom Stroud. All rights reserved)
Craig spoke highly of his colleagues with whom he works on the Bond films. He was especially generous in his praise of producer Barbara Broccoli, who is producing his forthcoming New York production of "Othello" in which he will play Iago. Craig said that, while he had heard of Barbara Broccoli before being approached for the Bond role, he assumed she was a woman in her seventies. When he finally met her face-to-face he was astonished that she was decades younger. He praised Broccoli and his other colleagues on the Bond series as the epitome of professionalism.
Asked about the current political situation in the United States, Craig said he was a solidly supporting Hillary Clinton. While not mentioning Donald Trump by name, he did say that he thought a country should not be run like a business, as Trump has professed. Craig said that companies only care about the bottom line and making a profit while the first priority of a nation should be to provide help and compassion for its least-fortunate citizens. His comments got rousing applause. (The scandal of Trump's sexually-charged comments on the 2005 video was unfolding during the interview and Craig may well have been unaware of the developments.)
Craig acknowledged that his second Bond film, "Quantum Of Solace", had a rushed production schedule and suffered from script deficiencies due to a writer's strike. He said the script had to be fine-tuned without the benefit of the screenwriters and that even he ended up writing material, stressing that he did not consider himself qualified to do so. Still he defended the film saying there were still some "fantastic" elements to it.
Regarding his private life, Craig denied tabloid reports that he is "prickly" to deal with. He said that he understood that by playing Bond his life would never be the same and that he would be the subject of intense media attention. He did say, however, that to whatever extent possible, he tries to stay out of the press. He scoffed at the notion that he is anything like Bond in real-life, saying that he is neither a bon vivant or a tough guy. He laughingly said that the public should never confuse him with his on-screen alter-ego. Asked if he had any advice for his possible successor in the role, Craig said that actors should not try to emulate their predecessors and bring their own style and conviction to the part. He said the most challenging aspect of filming a Bond movie was the sheer amount of time it takes to shoot it- a full year. He said he misses his family and New York when filming. He also said that not much time elapses between the end of shooting and the release of the film- perhaps six months. Thus it is important to work out the movie in great detail before filming begins because the schedule doesn't allow much time for making changes after production has wrapped.
Craig cringed when a clip was shown of him in his feature film debut in director John G. Avildsen's little-seen 1992 prison drama "The Power of One". He needn't have been embarrassed as the clip showed Craig giving a powerful performance as a brutal and abusive prison guard. He said he had not seen the film since it was originally released.
Asked about criticism from Paul Greengrass, director of the Bourne spy films, that he wouldn't want to direct a Bond film because they were outdated, Craig responded that no one associated with Bond would want him to and that "He should be so lucky" to be asked. This evoked laughter and applause from the audience. Craig, who made his comments seemingly in jest, did say he has yet to see a Bourne movie, but looks forward to getting around to it in the future.
Asked about long-time criticisms that the character of James Bond was sexist, Craig commented on a clip from "Spectre" in which Bond seduces a character played by Monica Bellucci and pointed out that charges of sexism against Bond were misguided because such scenes are meant to be viewed with a degree of camp.
(Photo copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved)
Craig said that since he was a young boy he wanted to be an actor. He used to fantasize about being on the big screen. He said one of the films that inspired him most was Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner", which was a bomb when it first opened. He said he recalled watching it in awe in a mostly empty theater and being mesmerized by the film. He recalled that this particular movie was one of the ones that most inspired him to pursue an acting career.
In terms of future projects Craig acknowledged that he will star in an co-produce a two-season television production of author Jonathan Franzen's best-selling novel "Purity" for Showtime. Craig said he wife got him hooked on the book and he immediately called producer Scott Rudin, who owned the screen rights to make a deal to film the story. Craig said that he feels T.V. is the proper medium for the adaptation because he does not want to have to cut down on the essential elements of the story in order to squeeze them into a feature film's running time. His goal is to ensure that virtually every important element of the book is brought to the screen. He also said that he will play a small supporting role in the forthcoming film "Kings" with Halle Berry, which apparently deals with the aftermath of the L.A. riots that took place in Los Angeles in 1992 following the Rodney King verdict.
Craig verified internet rumors that he was indeed in the latest "Star Wars" movie, playing an anonymous Storm Trooper. Craig indicated he is a big "Star Wars" fan and when the "Spectre" filming coincided with filming of "Star Wars" at Pinewood Studios, he couldn't resist asking director J.J. Abrams if he could appear in a tiny, uncredited role. Not surprisingly, his wish was granted.
(Photo copyright Cinema Retro. All rights reserved)
As the evening approached the last half hour, Craig took questions from audience members. This is always a bit dodgy since eccentrics and kooks seem to be drawn to an open microphone the way moths are attracted to a flame. Refreshingly, most of those who participated asked intelligent questions though there was at least one of the requisite hams who droned on with some self-serving comments, as if the audience wanted to hear about him. Craig handled them all- the good, the bad and ugly- with graciousness, respect and humor. At evening's end, the packed house gave him a rousing ovation. Craig said that, contrary to what one may think of the man who plays James Bond, he goes to sleep early and said he was up beyond his bedtime. With that, he bid everyone goodnight. For more click here.
Felix Leiter, the CIA agent who assisted James Bond in both novels and on screen, is finally getting into the spotlight on his own via a new series of comic book adventures authorized by the Ian Fleming estate. The comics will be written by James Robinson with artwork by Aaron Campbell, both of whom have impressive credentials in the industry. The series will be published by Dynamite. Based on the preliminary artwork, this ain't your grandad's version of Felix Leiter. In the Bond films he tends to be as dapper and sophisticated as 007 himself but the comics will present Leiter as a freelance investigator who looks more "Miami Vice" than "Casino Royale". According to the publicity, Leiter will still be involved in the world of espionage. Bond fans have long griped about the character of Leiter not being used to his fullest potential on screen. Not helping matters has been the problem of inconsistency over the decades with a variety of actors taking on the role. Each played Leiter in an entirely different manner and bore no physical resemblance to the other actors. Only two actors have played the role more than once: David Hedison (in "Live and Let Die" and "Licence to Kill" and, more recently, Jeffrey Wright in "Casino Royale" and "Quantum Of Solace"). In the literary world, Leiter lost a leg to a shark in the novel "Live and Let Die"- a scene that was dramatized in the 1989 Bond flick "Licence to Kill". Leiter did not appear in any Bond movie again until the series was re-imagined with Daniel Craig in 2006 with "Casino Royale". When Wright took over the role, no reference was made to the shark incident. The character debuted on screen in the very first Bond movie, "Dr. No" in 1962. He was played by Jack Lord, who would go on to star in "Hawaii Five-0" on television. For more click here
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
The World’s leading James Bond tribute band, Q The Music,
are set to broadcast their next major public event across the world; streamed
on the web in November 2016. They are crowd-funding the project by
selling advanced copies of the stream, as well as DVDs and CDs of the show.
On 27th November, the show returns to The Harlington Theatre in Fleet, Hampshire (UK) – following a sell- out show last year. Ramping
things up this year, the show have added a live String section to the
performance and will be using Nic Raine’s String arrangements. Musical
Director Warren Ringham explained: “Nic Raine is widely regarded as the leading
arranger and orchestrator of Bond music – and after all, he was John Barry’s
orchestrator, working on A View To A Kill and The Living Daylights – so this is
a really exciting for us to be teaming up with him.”
For those who can’t be at The Harlington in person, Q The
Music’s electric and awe-inspiring performance will be available right to
spectator’s homes; streams of the show will be on the web 24 hours later. In
addition, DVDs and CDs will be on sale. “This is something we have
wanted to do for a number of years. We have followers all over the
World who ask about seeing us live, and now they can! We have
already sold streams to the US, Germany, Netherlands, Thailand, South Africa
and of course, the UK.”
As well as the concert itself, the stream is going to be
hosted Chris Wright, a co-presenter of the hugely popular podcast James Bond
Radio. “I’m so happy and excited to have Chris there. As
well as becoming a good friend, he is a huge fan of our show (having seen it
himself), so this will be a great opportunity to team up. Chris is
going to be circulating ‘round the theatre chatting to cast and crew, and also
getting reaction from the crowd at the event.”
The show is being recorded, filmed and mixed by Mark Forster and his company
Worldwide Productions. Mark himself worked at Abbey Road Studios and
was involved and worked on the last three James Bond film soundtrack
The show, on Sunday 27th November, still has limited
tickets available for sale if you want to go in person on: www.theharlington.co.uk
The Colonial Theater in Phoenixeville, PA, best known as The
‘Blob Theater’ is hosting a dynamite Triple Bond bill on Fathers Day, June 19. The films to be shown are From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty’s
Secret Service and Casino Royale.Arguably some of the best entries in the series, this a rare chance to
see them again in a restored single screen movie theater.Tickets to the triple bill are $21.Times are as follows:
Sam Mendes hosted the press launch to mark production of Spectre at Pinewood Studios in 2015.
BY LEE PFEIFFER
Director Sam Mendes brought the James Bond franchise to an all-time high in terms of critical acclaim and boxoffice receipts with the 2012 release of "Skyfall", which marked the 50th anniversary of the movie series. He then announced he would not be on board for the next 007 flick, "Spectre". However, after much negotiating (and presumably a boatload more money), Mendes relented and directed that film as well. While not enjoying the hype and response that "Skyfall" did, "Spectre" was also a major international hit grossing close to $900 million, outdone only by "Skyfall", which racked up a gross of $1.1 billion. Now Mendes says he won't direct the next Bond film- and this time he says he means it. Mendes has nothing but good things to say about working on two 007 blockbusters but says it's now time for a new director with a new vision. He also says he doesn't know whether Daniel Craig will continue in the role. Craig, who has done four Bond films to date, has made conflicting statements about his desire to continue in the role. Mendes says that the ultimate decision will be left to producer Barbara Broccoli, who initially championed Craig for the part when virtually everyone else thought he would make a poor choice. That was then and this is now and Craig has enjoyed enormous popularity among the fan base. Still, while diamonds may be forever, a Bond actor's lock on the role isn't. Way back when Sean Connery left the series after "You Only Live Twice" in 1967 many critics predicted the end of the franchise. It would be too inconceivable, they said, to consider anyone else in the role. Over a half-century later, however ,the series is thriving. Bond is cool again even for kids and there is no signs of the character or the films running out of steam. Doubtless, the producers don't look forward to the stress involved in finding a new actor but they have succeeded many times before. George Lazenby played the part very well in his one turn before quitting the series in 1969. Connery came back in 1971 for one film before Roger Moore took the helm for a successful string of films that lasted from 1973 to 1985. Timothy Dalton played the part twice and Pierce Brosnan proved to be the Bond of the new era with four major successes between 1995-2002. Craig began the role in 2006 with "Casino Royale" and has been the Bond of record since. (Before the purists complain, we'll acknowledge that Connery returned again to the role in 1983 with "Never Say Never Again" but the production was not part of the official franchise.) The recent respectability the Bond films have enjoyed from the critical establishment has also upped the ante in terms of who directs the next film. Gone are the days when Bond directors would be dismissed as being workmanlike in their skill. In fact, a new generation of critics is far more complimentary toward some of the previous directors than critics had been at the time of the movies' original releases. The franchise is now attracting "name" directors who might have once avoided being pigeon-holed as a 007 director. One thing seems certain: any major decisions about the next Bond films seem to be quite a ways off. Even if Craig can be lured back to the role, he is committed to some high profile projects in the coming months. For more click here.
Pierce Brosnan in "The World is Not Enough" (1999) (Photo copyright: Danjaq/Eon)
"Shaken, not stirred". Those legendary words have been spoken many times in the James Bond films in relation to how 007 prefers his Vodka Martinis to be prepared. But as Daily Beast writer Noah Rothbaum points out in an article about the origins of that drink, it was largely the screenwriters who made Bond's instructions a catch phrase as opposed to the Ian Fleming novels on which the early movies were based. Click here to read some interesting insights into the drinking habits of the world's best known secret agent.
Guy Hamilton and Roger Moore on the set of "The Man With the Golden Gun" in Thailand, 1974.
BY LEE PFEIFFER
Cinema Retro mourns the loss of director Guy Hamilton, who has passed away at age 93. Guy was an old friend and supporter of our magazine and a wonderful talent and raconteur. Hamilton, though British by birth, spent much of his life in France. After WWII, he entered the film industry in England and served as assistant director to Sir Carol Reed, working on the classic film "The Third Man". He also served as AD on John Huston's "The African Queen". Gradually, he moved up the ladder to director and helmed such films as "An Inspector Calls", "The Colditz Story" and "The Devil's Disciple", the latter starring Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier. In 1964 Hamilton was hired to direct the third James Bond film "Goldfinger" and made cinema history. Hamilton found the perfect blend of humor and thrills and the film started the era of Bondmania that would see Sean Connery boosted to the status of international superstar. He also directed the Michael Caine spy thriller "Funeral in Berlin" for Bond producer Harry Saltzman in 1967. He worked once again for Saltzman on the ambitious epic WWII film "Battle of Britain" in 1969, a highly complex film to make given the logistics of recreating dogfights in the skies over England.
Bond producers Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli reached out to Guy Hamilton again in 1971 to direct "Diamonds Are Forever", the film that marked Sean Connery's return to the James Bond series after a four year absence. The film was an enormous success but it also initiated a swing toward more overt humor, which reflected Hamilton's personal vision of the series. When this writer asked him over a dinner in London many years ago if he felt that the increase in jokes and gags was an artistic mistake, Hamilton insisted it was not, although he acknowledged that he had probably alienated some of the more traditional Bond fans. In fact, Hamilton said that his initial plans for the script of "Diamonds Are Forever" would have seen Bond in Disneyland battling SPECTRE agents dressed as famous Disney characters. Hamilton's emphasis on laughs in the Bond films perfectly paved the way for the Roger Moore era which began in 1973 with "Live and Let Die". Hamilton was retained to direct that film as well. Moore agreed with Hamilton's emphasis on overt humor and that angle would largely define the Moore films which lasted through "A View to a Kill" in 1985. Hamilton would direct Moore's second Bond film, "The Man With the Golden Gun" in 1974. He was initially scheduled to direct "The Spy Who Loved Me" but due to his residency in France, tax complications ensued regarding his ability to work for an extended period in England. Ultimately, Lewis Gilbert directed the film. Hamilton's post-Bond era movies included the Agatha Christie thrillers "The Mirror Crack'd" and "Evil Under the Sun", as well as "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins" and "Force Ten From Navarone". Of the latter, I once asked him if the disappointing movie went wrong during filming. Characteristically, Hamilton told me that it had a lousy script from day one and he knew it would be a lousy movie. However, he was winding down his involvement in the film industry and agreed to do the movie because the producers purchased a beautiful home for him in Spain. He said it was truly "an offer I couldn't refuse".
As age took its toll, Hamilton made fewer trips outside of Spain. However a few years ago, Cinema Retro's Dave Worrall and Gareth Owen accompanied Hamilton to an outdoor screening of "Goldfinger" in London. He had the satisfaction of seeing how well received his movie was even after half a century. Guy Hamilton was the epitome of the British gentleman and a skilled filmmaker as well. His contributions to the movie industry, and the James Bond series in particular, are secure in film history.
The historic Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge, IL, will be
celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THUNDERBALL with the screening of the
classic James bond blockbuster film on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 7:00pm.
Hosts Matthew Hoffman and Elizabeth Rye of the Classic Film
Series welcome as special guests, representative of the Ian Fleming Foundation
Colin Clark, and 007 continuing novelist and film historian Raymond Benson, who
will introduce the movie and sign books.
IFF board member Colin Clark will have on display from the
Foundation the five foot model of the RAF Vulcan Bomber use in the filming
of the picture, restored to its original condition.
The evening's festivities will include discussion of
Thunderball's history and behind-the-scenes stories, several Bond-related
raffles, and photo ops with Bond movie props and theater standees.
Pickwick's Classic Film Series presentations often draw fans
in costume. Attendees are invited to dress as their favorite Bond, Bond Girl,
or Bond Villain.
On Wednesday, April 20, 2:00 a.m. CST, Hoffman and Clark
will appear on Chicago's WGN AM720 morning radio show with host Nick Digilio to
talk about the Pickwick's special Thunderball celebration and all things Bond.
The latest James Bond hit "Spectre" starring Daniel Craig is now available for pre-order from Amazon. The Blu-ray set, which includes a digital copy, will ship in the USA on February 9. The Blu-ray includes video blogs made during production of the film, a look at the spectacular opening sequence in Mexico and a photo gallery.
Customers can save $17 off the list price by clicking here to order.
Cinema Retro has asked author Michael Richardson to write an exclusive article for us regarding what influenced him to write his new book "The Making of Casino Royale".
BY MICHAEL RICHARDSON
The sixties James Bond spoof Casino
Royale was a psychedelic multi-storylined extravaganza of improvisation and the
constant rewriting of various screenplays, brought about after negotiations
between producer Charles K Feldman, Eon Productions, United Artists and
Columbia Pictures failed to bring about a co-production. Realising that he
would have to proceed without Bond actor Sean Connery, Feldman crammed his
picture with as many famous names as possible: Peter Sellers, Woody Allen,
David Niven, Ursula Andress, Orson Welles, Deborah Kerr, Daliah Lavi, Joanna
Pettet, Barbara Bouchet, William Holden and Jean Paul Belmondo to name but a
few. The cast also included several unbilled cameos such as: Peter O’Toole,
Caroline Munro, Dave Prowse, John Le Mesurier, Fiona Lewis and ex- Formula 1
racing driver Stirling Moss.
I had watched Charles K Feldman’s Casino Royale on
television many times before a friend of mine furthered my interest in the
production by pointing out the different plotlines and disjointed nature of the
screenplay. Over the years, I both researched and came across much more
information about the hap-hazard manner in which CasinoRoyale was produced,
which only wetted my appetite to learn as much as I possibly could about this
feature film that had somehow managed to get out of control. My fascination
with this craziest Bond film of all eventually brought about an exchange of
faxes with director Val Guest, who was living in California at the time. When
Guest made a flying visit to London for Christmas 2005, I telephoned him at his
London home in Belgravia just before the New Year and we discussed the
production in great detail.
Sometime later I was reading an interview with
Guest, where he was quoted as saying, ‘There’s a whole film to be made about
the making of Casino Royale!’ This made me think, though obviously making a
movie was beyond my abilities and resources, but writing a book that outlined
both the development and production of the film was certainly something I could
do. Doubling my efforts to obtain even more information regarding the film, I
read through every Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Orson Welles and David Niven
biography I could locate. However, this was just the beginning as I then began
consuming every book associated with anyone who had worked on the film
including actors: Dave Prowse, Ronnie Corbett, Peter O’Toole, Chic Murray and
Duncan Macrae, directors: Val Guest, John Huston and Robert Parrish, plus
writers: Wolf Mankowitz and Terry Southern. My quest for additional knowledge
involved the scouring of both British and American film industry publications
of the time, plus searches through many website features and on-line archives
and even obtaining the French published Ursula Andress biography, despite not
being able to read or speak the language.
The Making of Casino Royale (1967)
explores all aspects of production, including the origins of Ian Fleming’s
novel and subsequent screenplays, the casting choices, pre-production, filming
at three British film studios, location filming in England, Ireland, Scotland
and France, plus publicity and merchandising. This gives an overall picture of
how this strange psychedelic pop art movie was assembled from several different
storylines that involved no fewer than seven directors (including two second
unit directors), working from a screenplay credited to three writers, although
known to have input from at least nine other people including Peter Sellers and
Woody Allen. Eventually, I amassed enough information to
assemble a production schedule with dates for the picture, which indicates in
which order the various segments were filmed, who was directing and which major
cast members were present.
The story behind the making of this
film outlines how what was happening behind the scenes was just as bizarre as
anything happening in front of the cameras. The book also pieces together what
material was filmed and then discarded from the movie, by using reference
sources such as production stills, portions of scripts and anecdotes about the
making the film. Overall this outlines the story of a major blockbuster movie,
which got out of control to become one of the most complicated productions
filmed and the most bizarre James Bond film ever. Almost 50 years after being produced the elements that originally worked
against the sixties Casino Royale, such as the lack of a coherent storyline and
the sending up of James Bond, are now considered to work in its favour and have
assisted in making it a cult slice of sixties psychedelia.
to whet your appetite I can confirm that you will discover the answers to the
1 During development, which James Bond
actor was approached about playing the character for what would have been the
first time in June 1964?
2 During December 1965, which actress
well known for appearing in The Avengers television series was named in the
American press as being lined-up to appear in Casino Royale?
3 For his cameo role in the Scottish
Marching Band sequence, what did Peter O’Toole accept as payment?
4 Why did Sarah Miles turn down the
role of Meg, one of the McTarry daughters?
5 What did Shirley MacLaine do the
week before principal photography was due to commence that stopped production?
6 Why was Blake Edwards turned down as
a director for Casino Royale?
7 After suffering the bad experience
of having his screenplay constantly rewritten while making the film What’s New
Pussycat? why did Woody Allen agree to work with Charles K Feldman again on
8 What role was Dave Prowse originally
going to play in Peter Sellers’ nightmare?
Following its popular exhibition at Madame Tussauds in London, the six James Bond wax figures are now on display in the Hollywood branch of famed museum. Fans can pose with likenesses of Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. Lazenby's agreement to do a sitting last February made completion of the exhibit possible. The other five actors had previously had likenesses of them on display at various time periods at the museum. For more, including a link to buy tickets, click here.
The band Radiohead confirmed that they had indeed been asked to write a theme song for the blockbuster James Bond film "Spectre". However, their track was rejected in favor of Sam Smith's "Writings On the Wall". Nevertheless, Radiohead was very pleased with their effort and just made it available for fans to experience. For more on the Radiohead/Bond connection click here.
Writing for the superb 007 web site "From Sweden With Love", Cinema Retro columnist Mark Cerulli pays a visit to one of the most memorable James Bond villains: Putter Smith, who portrayed half of the gay hit men team in the 1971 007 flick "Diamonds Are Forever", squaring off against Sean Connery. . Smith, an acclaimed jazz musician, reminisces in part one of this recent interview. Click here to read and to view a fascinating deleted scene from "Diamonds Are Forever".
the mid 1960s James Bond was everywhere – it was the beginning of the “movie
tie-in” era and when Thunderball was released, Bondmania exploded with numerous 007-flagged consumer items from
dive masks to racing sets, men’s cufflinks and beach towels...
almost every movie has a “marketing partner” of some type – tires, toys, cars,
watches, etc. (Try walking into a store
today and avoiding the Star Wars logo!) But for a while, Bondmania has returned – especially in Europe.
now, we all know what watch Bond wears. (Hint: it ain’t a Rolex anymore…) In Paris and London, Daniel Craig’s chiseled
face stared down from massive Omega billboards and store displays for their
beautiful (but pricey) Spectre edition watch.
also publishes Lifetime, a glossy,
high-end magazine aimed at serious watch enthusiasts. The current issue is devoted to Spectre with
in-depth coverage of the film and products related to it. Definitely worth picking up from their
the world is thirsty work so Heineken, a longtime 007 marketing partner,
returns with specially designed packaging and a number of promotional items
like a bottle opener and bottle-shaped flash drive.
vodka of choice in Spectre is Belvedere. Loo7k for their special 007 bottles
and their limited edition Martini set. If anyone needed an excuse to try a martini, this is it!
favorite bubbly is back for Spectre as well – Bollinger Champagne. Their elegant
007 limited edition Bottles are expensive – (145 Euros at the Paris Airport)
but they look like true objets d’art… and of course the beverage they contain
is precious. No wonder Bond drinks it! If one really has money to burn, Bollinger also offers the Spectre
limited edition Crystal Cooler that would look at home deep within a volcano
crater or on an upscale holiday dinner table!
you’re ready for a cloo7se shave, Gillette is inviting consumers to experience
“Bond Moments”, no Walther PPK needed, just a ProGlide razor in a Holiday Gift
Pack, which curiously offers no 007 branding in the U.S.A market.
However, in the UK, the packaging at least features the Spectre film logo though its relationship to the film is tenuous at best.
Blofeldish? The iconic Spectre ring is available on the official Bond website
for a not unreasonable $216.
Doulton caused a stir with the Jack the Bulldog figurine, which sat on M’s desk
in Skyfall. They created a limited edition
to tie in with that film. Now Jack is
back – in a slightly charred form in keeping with his appearance in
Spectre. Fortunately it’s available on
the Royal Doulton website!
quick and by no means comprehensive listing of Spectre products would not be
complete without mentioning THE ultimate 007 tie-in that only a very few fans
will be able to own. Probably the most
exclusive Spectre product of them all – the achingly beautiful Aston Martin DB9
GT “James Bond Edition”. Only 150 of these
were made and all were sold in a flash – even at a $237,007 price. The folks at Aston were feeling generous, so
for that money, they’ll throw in an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra. Not a bad deal at all!
is just a smattering of available Spectre products. The European market has many other
participating brands – chief among them beautiful and tres expensive 007 pens
and lighters from luxe French manufacturer, S.T. Dupont; bespoke clothing and
more. Everything but radioactive lint…
Last May, in anticipation of the 30th anniversary of Roger Moore's final James Bond film, "A View to a Kill", writer Michael Coate of The Digital Bits web site solicited extensive comments and reflections on the film from a number of 007 scholars including Cinema Retro Editor-in-Chief Lee Pfeiffer. Whether you love or loathe the film, every Bond fan seems to be very opinionated about it. Click here to read the article.
“Vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred.” As soon
as James Bond uttered that iconic phrase, the vodka martini became as much a
part of the character as his Aston Martin or Walther PPK. While previous films have seen 007 quaff a
certain Dutch beer and we know he likes Sake (as long as it’s served at the
correct temperature), in SPECTRE, Bond is back to his beverage of choice – and
that choice is Belvedere.
President Charles Gibb told Cinema Retro that, “We are absolutely thrilled that Belvedere
is associated with James Bond and SPECTRE. Everybody knows that Bond is a man of distinction and that his drink of
choice is a Belvedere martini.” The
partnership is Belvedere’s biggest to date and to drive home the 00
association, the brand has pulled out all the stops, creating two limited
edition Bottles (one of which has its own lighted base) as well as a Martini
Set complete with elegant 007-etched glasses.
London, Belvedere further tied into SPECTRE by staging an invitation only
screening and vodka bash at Loulou’s, a very trendy private club in upscale
Mayfair. They picked up the film’s Day
of the Dead vibe with costumed dancers and waitstaff; and the barmen created a number of beverages,
chief among them the Belvedere Vodka Martini. The drinks were happily consumed by the hip, young crowd that descended
from the nearby screening. I felt it my
duty to try one… maybe two and they were delicious – crisp with a splash of
olive juice. Mmmmm. Everyone was in a
buoyant mood – there was praise for the film and, of course, the free-flowing
Belvedere put everyone in the holiday spirit.
film left this scribe mightily impressed, easily the best of Daniel Craig’s
Bonds. Go see it – then toast 007 with amartini! (Belvedere, of course.)
Cinema Retro has received the following press release:
November 3rd 2015) MI6
Confidential, the full-colour magazine celebrating theworld of James Bond 007, returns with its
predecessor. Director Sam Mendes attracted talent in the form of leading actors
Christoph Waltz and Léa Seydoux, he brought on up and coming cinematographer
Hoyte van Hoytema and took Bondonaneightmonthwhirlwindtourthatincludedlocationworkonthreecontinents.Thisissue celebrates
the bombastic SPECTRE with a
full account of the location work, as well as catching up with Daniel Craig,
his co-stars, and Bond producers Broccoli and Wilson with interviews conducted
just days before the film enjoyed its worldpremiere.
Featured in thisissue:
·No Small Part - Daniel Craig on his
commitment to the 007role
·Around The World With SPECTRE - The globetrotting location
shoot for Bond24
Japanese original release 45 RPM for "Goldfinger".
Writing on the Digital Spy web site, Simon Reynolds and Hugh Armitage provide another of those meaningless but irresistible "Best/Worst of..." lists. This time, it pertains to ranking the James Bond title songs from worst to best. You'll undoubtedly take issue with some of their opinions, but at least they had the good taste to rank the song from "Quantum Of Solace" at rock bottom with the dud title tracks from "Die Another Day" and "The Man With the Golden Gun" breathing down its neck. They also generously provide ample film clips to remind those less familiar with the world of Bond music of the vast difference in the style of the songs over the decades. Click here to read. - Lee Pfeiffer
hallmark of any James Bond film has been the opening gun barrel sequence. It
sets the tone for what's to come, and always sends a shiver up the spine in
anticipation of what is about to unfold. However, since Die Another Day this tradition has been revoked and (much to the
annoyance of millions of fans around the world) relegated to the end of the
films. Not with SPECTRE. It is now
back in its rightful place. Yes, folks, James Bond is back - and how. The
customary pre-title sequence is a stunner, and quite violent. There's no messing around. A lot of people die in this film.
again, Sam Mendes has brought us a film full of excitement, tension and
sexuality that retains a freshness and
vitality in a similar vein to what he did with Skyfall. Although there are many spectacular chases and set pieces
(the stunts and SFX by regulars Gary Powell and Chris Corbould, are well up to
standard), Mendes maintains a sense of reality and plausibility, even though
there are visual 'nods' to the films of the past. It's clever, but not pastiche.
There is just the right level of humour, too, which Craig handles really well.
Refreshingly, I didn't once notice any over-the-top references to products
casting is impeccable, and Craig, as usual, is superb. This really is his film. Christoph Waltz makes for a
perfect villain - a complex character who is equal (or even superior) to Bond,
which is as it should always be. As for the "Bond Ladies", Mendes has
triumphed once more. Monica Bellucci, who is mature in her years, is (for me)
the sexiest woman to ever grace Bond's on-screen adventures. Then again, I've
always been a sucker for a woman in a basque and stockings and suspenders. Sadly,
her part is woefully short. Lea Seydoux
is equally engaging and attractive, but not in a drop-dead-gorgeous superficial
way that we have come to expect from earlier Bond films, and thankfully her
character is integral to the plot, and not just eye candy. David Bautista, who
I assume the producers wanted on board as an Oddjob-type villain, does an
admirable job, and has a sinister and mean on-screen presence, although his
role was totally unnecessary. Likewise, all the ballyhoo surrounding Bond's
Aston Martin DB10 was wasted on me. The chase through the streets of Rome is not one of the
series best by any measure. Mi6 'regulars' Ralph Fiennes, Ben Wishaw and
Naomie Harris really come to the fore in this film, but I cannot comment
further without revealing plot details!
technical front, the cinematography by Hoyte van Hoyetema (shot on 35mm film,
not digital) is as good as Roger
Deakins' efforts on Skyfall, and the
vistas of Rome, Mexico, Austria and Morocco looking stunning. London also plays a major 'role' in
the exciting finale where Bond races against the clock whilst dealing with
ghosts from the past. Brilliant! Editor
Lee Smith (director Chris Nolan's regular cutter) has creatively paced the film
, and easily justifies the film's 148 minutes running time, which seemed to fly
the music. Sam Mendes' composer of choice, Thomas Newman, returns. Whilst his
score for Skyfall was excellent, he
didn't 'arrange' enough subtle cues of the James Bond theme throughout. This
time around he rectifies that, with a superb score that also revisits Skyfall as well as using an instrumental
rendition of Sam Smith's title song 'The Writing's on the Wall' .
you have it. Mendes' second Bond film, the 24th in the series, is top-notch
entertainment that will thrill audiences around the world - and also please the
'die hard' OO7 buffs who are so critical of their favourite secret agent's
on-screen antics. Oh, and there is a
'money shot' at the end of the film which totally threw me. I'm still reeling.
No James Bond fan will want to pass up adding "Bond By Design" to their collection of coffee table books about Agent 007. Written by Meg Simmonds, the archivist for Eon Productions, this volume presents a wealth of ultra rare original art concepts, story boards, costume designs and much more ranging from "Dr. No" through the new film "SPECTRE".
Here is the official description:
"Bond By Design: The Art of the James Bond
Films gives an exclusive tour of EON Productions’ James Bond archives and is
available to buy from October 1. The book includes set, storyboard, vehicle,
gadget and costume designs by legendary designers including Sir Ken Adam, Syd
Cain, Peter Murton, Peter Lamont, Allan Cameron and Dennis Gassner.
Written by Meg Simmonds, EON Productions’ Archive
Director, Bond By Design reveals each movie’s design approach as well as the
stories behind individual items. From DR. NO (1962) through to Spectre (2015),
discover the craft behind some of the most iconic Bond sets, including
Stromberg’s Atlantis base in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977) and Blofeld’s Volcano
Lair in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967)."
In a controversial interview with Time Out London, Daniel Craig talks in earthy terms at length about the challenges and rewards of playing James Bond and discusses the forthcoming 007 epic "SPECTRE". What's raised eyebrows is his comments about not wanting to play James Bond again. Craig says he'd rather slash his wrists than take on the role of 007, even as he expresses concern that whoever plays the role in the future ensures that the quality of the franchise is preserved. In that respect, Craig's comments are a bit ambiguous. He does leave the door open to considering another Bond film but says he would only do it for the money. Craig's stance is a bit surprising. While the Bond franchise has seen its share of troubles between the lead actors and the producers over the decades, Craig is said to have a warm and mutually respectful relationship with current producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, both of whom plucked him from relative oblivion (he certainly wasn't a household name) and, against all conventional wisdom, hired him to replace the enormously successful Pierce Brosnan. If Craig's comments distancing himself from the role of Bond sound callous and ungrateful at first blush, he does make clear that he is very proud of the work he's done with his colleagues on the series and cares deeply that the franchise will only continue to improve over time. Bond fans are already in a panic over the notion that Craig may quit the role. They might want to pause before drowning their sorrows in a sea of Vodka Martinis and recall that Sean Connery quit the part twice and it appeared as though even amiable Roger Moore threatened to leave the role on a couple of occasions. (Other actors were even screen-tested for the part). (To read the interview click here.)
Now, here's the kicker that makes us wonder when exactly the Time Out interview was conducted. In the Mail on Sunday's 27 September edition, there was a special supplemental section (obviously done with Eon Productions' blessing) that interviews Craig. In the article, he confirms that he has indeed committed to at least one more film after "SPECTRE"- and reiterates that he considers it an honor to play the role. In fact he states: "I'll keep going as long as I'm physically able. I'm contracted for one more - but I'm not going to make predictions." The article also indicates that Craig is being paid a Goldfinger-sized fortune for his performances, having earned £17 million for "Skyfall" and is expected to earn at least that much for the next two films, should he choose to star in them. So the incentives to do at least one more Bond film are very strong for Craig. How two interviews can feature such opposite viewpoints from him remains a mystery unless he has a double out there somewhere...perhaps a real life case of "The Spy With My Face".
DK publishers will release "Blood, Sweat and Bond", a behind the scenes compilation of remarkable photos from the forthcoming 007 flick "SPECTRE" starring Daniel Craig. Click here to pre-order from Amazon.
Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London will display likenesses of all six James Bond actors: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig this October to coincide with the opening of the new 007 film "SPECTRE". The display opens to the public on 17 October for a limited time. For more click here.