Conan O’Brien drops Blofeld reference into monologue

In what is probably one of his last shows on NBC, Conan O’Brien dropped an Ernst Stavro Blofeld reference into his Jan. 19 monologue.

On The Tonight Show, O’Brien again took a shot at his soon-to-be-former network, NBC. He began the bit by saying there were reports that he couldn’t say anything unflattering about NBC. But, he added, that wouldn’t stop him from speaking in Spanish about NBC. After saying an insult in Spanish, the comic acted as if he were a cross between an NBC executive and Blofeld. “What did he say?” he sneeered, acting as if he were petting a cat. “What he did he say?”

UPDATE: O’Brien repeated the NBC executive/Blofeld bit while interviewing Quentin Tarentino.

1964: Time (sort of) praises From Russia With Love

It’s interesting to read reviews done at the time a film was released. The reviews, like the films, reflect the time in which they were done.

Such is the case with Time magazine’s review of From Russia With Love. The second 007 film today is seen (by fans anyway) as pretty serious, with bits of humor to relieve the tension. But back in 1964, a series of adventure movies was seen as….well, anything but serious. If the Bond movies had been made a decade earlier, they’d probably be seen as “B” movies. In 1964, that was starting to change but as the review shows, not everyone had bought into the idea.

For example, the review begins with this observation about the first two film adaptations of Ian Fleming’s novels:

Shown on screen, they are apt to seem absurd. Doctor No, the first of Fleming’s novels to be filmed, was shot as a straight thriller, but most spectators took it as a travesty and had a belly laugh. The reaction was not lost on Director Terence Young. From Russia, his second treatment of a Fleming fiction, is an intentional heehaw at whodunits, an uproarious parody that may become a classic of caricature.

After a summary of the plot, there’s more analysis:

All this is marvelously exciting. Director Young is a master of the form he ridicules, and in almost every episode he hands the audience shocks as well as yocks. But the yocks are more memorable. They result from slight but sly infractions of the thriller formula. A Russian agent, for instance, does not simply escape through a window; no, he escapes through a window in a brick wall painted with a colossal poster portrait of Anita Ekberg, and as he crawls out of the window, he seems to be crawling out of Anita’s mouth. Or again, Bond does not simply train a telescope on the Russian consulate and hope he can read somebody’s lips; no, he makes his way laboriously into a gallery beneath the joint, runs a submarine periscope up through the walls, and there, at close range, inspects two important Soviet secrets: the heroine’s legs.

A lot of that passage actually reflected how Young utilized Fleming’s novel to the fullest with only minor changes (such as changing the movie being advertised on the side of the building from a Marilyn Monroe film to Call Me Bwana, another Eon Productions flick).

The review is pretty short and as presented on Time’s Web site doesn’t even have a byline. You get the impression the review actually enjoyed the movie but almost felt as if he had to put it down to maintain his or her credentials to keep reviewing more serious fare.