Edge of Darkness: various 007 connections

Edge of Darkness, Mel Gibson’s first starring role since 2002, has multiple James Bond connections. The advertisements stressed how this was “From the Director of Casino Royale” (Martin Campbell).

That meant that two-time 007 director Cambell would include Phil Meheux, who worked as director of photography with Campbell on GoldenEye and Casino Royale; film editor film editor Stuart Baird; and costume designer Lindy Hemming as part of his crew.

In addition, Dan Rissner, one of at least four executive producers on the film, was an United Artists executive in the 1970s who coordinated the studio’s involvement with James Bond films in the 1970s. He’s mentioned prominently during the documentary Inside The Spy Who Loved Me.

The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. makes list of 15 worst spinoff series

Entertainment Weekly has come out with a list of the 15 worst spinoff series. The only spy series, and one of the oldest series on the list, is The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., which ran in the 1966-67 series.

We’d excerpt except there’s not much text. Essentially, it says Stefanie Powers’s April Dancer comes across as a weak character, suffering in comparison to Diana Rigg’s Emma Peel, who could be seen on The Avengers at the same time. You can see what EW has to say BY CLICKING HERE. Once there you can click around to see the rest of the list, which includes Joey and After M*A*S*H.

To read some detailed reviews of episodes from The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., you can go to our sister site, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode guide, by CLICKING HERE.

1973: Time profiles the new James Bond

In January 1973, Time magazine thought the impending debut of a new James Bond, in this case Roger Moore, was important enough to merit to merit a 1,200-plus-word article and multiple photographs. (As we discussed previously, Time panned Live And Let Die after it came out.)

For most people, Sean Connery, who played 007 in all but one of the seven Bond features, is James Bond. (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service starred George Lazenby.) If he had not become tired of the role—and grown rich playing it—Connery probably could have grown old, gray and feeble in the part. But the smooth, handsome Moore is, ironically, more like the original 007 in the late Ian Fleming’s novels than was Connery, a tough, rugged Scot. “Fleming saw Bond as himself,” observes Saltzman, “as a kind of disenfranchised member of the Establishment, Eton, Harrow and Cambridge. And Sean was none of those. Fleming would have been delighted with Roger, however. He is the classic Englishman.”

Moore himself seemed quite satisifed with his new gig:

“I think the Bonds are marvelous subjects —escapist entertainment expensively made. It’s all going for you as an actor. I often stop in the middle of a day’s work and say: ‘Jesus Christ, they’re really going to pay you for being a kid and living out your fantasies!’ “

Time, in the article’s opening, suggested the film probably would be successful.

A wristwatch with a magnetic field to deflect bullets. A bad guy named Tee Hee who has a metal hand that can crush a gun to talcum powder. Voodoo sacrifices and a pool of 86 hungry crocodiles, each of them waiting for just one bite of the struggling hero. It sounds like a comic strip, and in a way it is. The newest James Bond movie, Live and Let Die, is the most inventive—and the most potentially lucrative—comic strip ever made, two hours of thrilling, high-powered nonsense.

To read the entire article, JUST CLICK HERE.

Salute to Martin Grace, 007 stuntman

This week, the 007 film world lost Martin Grace, 67, a veteran stuntman who was Roger Moore’s primary stunt double from The Spy Who Loved Me through A View To a Kill. The MI6 Web site reported he died Jan. 27, two months after an accident where he fractured his pelvis. He had suffered a similar injury doubling for Sir Roger in an action sequence set on a train in Octopussy.

It seems fitting that Grace deserves a salute from this site. And a good place to start is For Your Eyes Only, whose pre-titles featured Grace doubling for Sir Roger holding on for dear life in a helicopter controlled by an old acquaintance:

In A View To a Kill, Grace was promoted to the spot of lead stunt arranger while still doubling for 007 in a sequence filmed at the Eiffel Tower.

The veteran stunt man had lots of work outside of the world of James Bond, as this clip shows from a film that’s instantly recognizable:

New Orleans Saints pull a James Bond — intercept Brett Farve with 0:07 to go

The New Orleans Saints pulled a James Bond — they intercepted the Minnesota Vikings and QB Brett Farve with 0:07 to go in the game.

It’s tied 28 all at the end of regulation. The NFC championship game is going into sudden-death overtime.

UPDATE: The Saints win the game 31-28 in overtime. The Vikings never got to touch the ball.

1968: Time analyzes Mission: Impossible’s appeal

Few people remember Bruce Geller today. He created Mission: Impossible, developed Mannix and was viewed in his heyday as a brilliant television producer. His series were known for very stylized title sequences. In fact, it’s his hand who strikes the match that lights the fuse in the M:I title sequence of the original TV series. He died in a aircraft crash in 1978 but was very much on the mind of Time magazine a decade earlier when it described his most successful TV product:

The program is TV’s hottest suspense series, and its fans find in it the same inspired implausibility that characterized The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in its prime. Bruce Geller, 37-year-old film, TV and off-Broadway writer who conceived the whole enterprise, concedes that his original script was basically a paste-up of Topkapi and several other favorite movies. When Hollywood wouldn’t buy it, he turned to Desilu. When Desilu proposed a series, he turned nervous, fearing he would run out of ideas—his own or other people’s. But he tried, and made it. M:l won four Emmys last year, and now in its second season it ranks as a solid favorite in the Sunday evening slot formerly occupied by Candid Camera and What’s My Line? Needless to say, Lucille Ball is disavowing nothing.

In many ways, Time described M:I at its peak. In the third season, a quarrel between Geller and his best writers, William Read Woodfield and Allan Balter, would lead to the departure of the latter duo. Also, during the second season, Paramount acquired Desilu from Lucille Ball. That led to a new studio regime that emphasized cost cutting — which, in turn, led to the departure of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.

To read the entire, story, just CLICK HERE.

1965: Time describes Bondomania

For James Bond fans, 1965 was quite a year.

In the U.S., Goldfinger played well into the year after a December premier; United Artists circulated a double bill of Dr. No and From Russia With Love; the television special The Incredible World of James Bond (airing in the timeslot of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., then at its peak of popularity and which had also benefitted from Bond) drew a big audience; and in December, Thunderball hit theaters.
Here’s how Time magazine described it all in the June 11, 1965, issue:

JAMES BOND IS BACK … TO BACK! screamed the ads and the marquees. Dr. No and From Russia with Love, both less than three years old, were being double-billed across the U.S. In the New York area, they jammed 26 theaters, grossed $650,000 for the week. The same crowds, the same large grosses in Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington; at the drive-ins, traffic rivaled the commuting hour.

What makes the box-office figures the more astonishing is that both films are grossing nearly as much the second time around as the first. Sparking the revival is the success of Goldfinger, the third Bond film, still finishing its first run and heading for a gross that now seems likely to reach $30 million.

Bear in mind, Goldfinger had a budget of around $3 million, so that was a pretty fast return on investment, as the MBA types would say.

What’s more, as the ads forThunderball said, James Bond does it everywhere!

In England, all three films broke box-office records, and Ian Fleming’s last book, the posthumous Man with the Golden Gun, has already climbed to the top of the bestseller list.
There seems to be no geographical limit to the appeal of sex, violence and snobbery with which Fleming endowed his British secret agent. In Tokyo, the queue for Goldfinger stretches half a mile. In Brazil, where From Russia broke all Rio and Sao Paulo records, one unemployed TV actor had only to change his name to Jaime Bonde to be swamped with offers. In Beirut, where Goldfinger outdrew My Fair Lady, even Goldfinger’s hat-hurling bodyguard, Oddjob, has become a minor hero.

Not everyone was happy about Bondomania, however.

British Columnist Malcolm Muggeridge is also appalled. While admitting that Bond’s “instant appeal to attractive women, his dash and daring and smartness combined with toughness, make him every inch a hero of our time,” he also notes that “insofar as one can focus on so shadowy and unreal a character, he is utterly despicable: obsequious to his superiors, pretentious in his tastes, callous and brutal in his ways, with strong undertones of sadism, and an unspeakable cad in his relations with women, toward whom sexual appetite represents the only approach.”

Well, to each their own. Meanwhile. star Sean Connery had his own observations.

Nor is Connery backward about claiming that he has helped the James Bond image along no end. “You must realize,” he says, “that Ian Fleming’s books began coming out after the war and rationing and all that, and they had all this selectivity of detail of eating and drinking. It was marvelous journalism. But Ian told me it was nothing but padding. You know, vodka must be shaken and not stirred, that kind of razzmatazz. But he did write with a bit of size.” The only thing the Fleming books lacked, in Connery’s view, was a sense of humor. “I discussed it with Ian, and he thought there was humor in them. But Terence Young and I did not. So we injected some.”

If you want to read the entire article — and since this is a 007 Web site and it’s the 45th anniversary of Bondomania — you can CLICK HERE. Note a glaring error in the final paragraph.