007 things we missed the first time watching Bond movies

This year, of course, marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the James Bond movie series. And, it goes without saying, some 007 fans have viewed each film multiple times. Even tens of times. But there are some things that people don’t notice until well after they first saw it. In some cases, decades after they first saw it. So here are some examples:

001. Mr. Jones’s changing dashboard in Dr. No: In 1994, Peter Hunt, film editor of the first four 007 films made by Eon Productions, was guest of honor at a James Bond fan convention in Los Angeles. Hunt was very British and understated in his presentation. But you got the impression he had a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

Why? The way he told it (at least this is how we remember him telling it), fans felt so superior being able to catch mistakes watching 007 films on their VCRs. Hunt remarked how his job as editor was to rush the viewers through a scene so they wouldn’t notice the mistakes. He played a clip from Dr. No where “Mr. Jones,” in reality an operative for Dr. No, picks Bond up at the Kingston airport. It turns out Mr. Jones had an interesting car, one that could change dashboard colors in an instant.

When we first see Mr. Jones pick up Bond, the car has a red dashboard above the instrument panel. But, in an insert shot at the 19:18 mark, it’s black. Then it reversts to black at the 19:24 mark. Hunt showed the clip to impress upon the fans that the editing department worked really hard to move the audience past such gaffes.

002. Bond’s remarkable hair in Dr. No: After having vanquished Dr. No, agent 007 (Sean Connery) is anxious to find Honey Rider (Ursula Andress). As he exits Dr. No’s reactor room, he removes a uniform he took from one of Dr. No’s men at the 1:45:31 mark. His hair is disheveled and he runs his hands through his hair at the 1:45:34 mark as he goes through a hatch. Upon coming out the other side at the 1:45:36 mark, not a hair is out of place, as if he had been worked on by a professional hairdresser. Pretty good for running your hands through your hair once. To be honest, we never noticed that until Dr. No was on TCM a few years back.

Junkanoo revelers wearing 007 hats observe a dog taking a bathroom break in Thunderball.

003. Junkanoo revelers wear hats with “007” on them (Thunderball). Here we thought James Bond was a secret agent and this was his top-secret code number. A moment of honesty: we didn’t notice that until that until TBS showed Thunderball during one of its James Bond marthons in the 1990s.

004. The Thunderball dog decides to take a pee: It’s in the same shot as the folks with the 007 hats, but we didn’t notice the dog until the next time we saw the movie.

005. Felix Leiter’s disappearing pants (Thunderball): The fourth 007 film has lots of continuity errors. The one that gets written up the most is during the underwater fight when Bond rips off a blask mask from a dead SPECTRE frogman, puts it on and it’s suddenly blue. But there’s another continuity error that, for our money, is more glaring (even if we didn’t catch it the first few times).

Bond and Felix Leiter (Rik Van Nutter) are searching for the hijacked NATO bomber and Bond thinks he has found it. Leiter puts their helicopter down on the water. At the 1:33:20 mark, he’s wearing swim trunks. At the 1:34:23 mark, Leiter has black pants on. We see Bond dive down where he indeed finds the bomber. As he returns at the 1:36:23 mark, Leiter has his swim trunks, then pants at the 1:36:26 mark then swim trunks again at 1:36:30.

006. Siberian palm trees (You Only Live Twice): At the 58:54 mark of the fifth James Bond film, we see the Soviet Union launch a manned rocket. On the side of the shot, we see palm trees (while not noticing them the first few times) on the side of the shot. In reality, Eon used file footage from a U.S. space shot in Florida, even if that didn’t match how the Soviets conducted space launches from Siberia.

007. Mathis’s villa (Quantum of Solace): For Quantum of Solace, Eon promised its first “direct sequel” that would begin a short while (the exact time varied depending on who was being quoted) after Casino Royale. Now you could overlook some continuity issues (Totally different looking MI6 headquarters? Well, Eon did change production designers). Still, there’s one glaring one that just doesn’t wash.

At the end of Casino, we’re told that Rene Mathis is still being interrogated by MI6. Bond tells M to keep “sweating” him even though he appears to be cleared. When we catch up to Mathis in Quantum, MI6 has bought him a villa, he’s moved in and he has a live-in girlfriend. This point was discussed recently among the HMSS staff. It went something like this:

HMSS #1: And don’t forget how MI6 bought Mathis a “sorry-we-tortured-you villa” just two hours after Casino Royale entered.

HMSS #2 (look of realization comes over his face): You just made me enjoy that movie even less.

HMSS #1: Sorry.

UPDATE: Based on the one response to this post, time to remind people about reality. A cell phone is like a GPS device. You can track someone down (at least MI6 could) shortly after getting the cell phone number. It wouldn’t have taken weeks for Bond to track down Mr. White once he had his cell phone number. If it did: 1.) Mr. White isn’t as smart as a street thug (who use disposable cell phones) and 2.) Bond was an idiot for taking “weeks” to track Mr. White down. We suspect neither Mr. White nor Bond was that clueless. Once again, denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Also, there are references to Casino taking place in 2006 and Quantum in 2008. Two years to track down Mr. White?

20 Responses

  1. Bond’s advice notwithstanding, there is no indication in either CR or QoS that MI6 kept sweating Mathis. Nor is there any indication as to the amount of time it took Bond to track down Mr. White after he delivered his “the bitch is dead” line. Since this is not 24, it could have taken weeks.

  2. @007 Fan: A cell phone is a de facto GPS device. Bond didn’t need weeks to track Mr. White down. That’s why drug rings don’t hold on to their cell phones.

  3. Oh there are so many interesting editing tricks in the Bond films. In Dr.No, notice that Professor Dent is wearing a dark suit as he approaches Ms. Taro’s home where Bond is waiting for him. Of course, Professor Dent is wearing a white suit when he enters the interior part of the bedroom so he can empty his Smith and Wesson into a pillow shaped Bond. But if you look closely, it is Sean Connery walking up the hill to Ms. Taro’s home and the shot has been underexposed and flipped. A clever trick from editor Peter Hunt who was left without a shot of Professor Dent arriving to the bungalow.

  4. Yes, a cellphone is a de facto GPS triangulation device – we saw it earlier in CR when Bond tracks Dimitrios to the Bahamas. So for that reason Mr White would have likely ditched his phone immediately after Vesper’s death. Meaning that all Bond would get from Vesper’s phone was his name and the metadata showing his previous contacts. Information that gave Bond the lead to find him – eventually. So it is credible that it took Bond two years to track him down or however long it took to renovate M’s office and for Mathis to be resettled. This is more credible than the the notion White wouldn’t have ditched his phone and changed his movements. (We can safely assume by the time Bond phones him before shooting him in the leg, he has a different phone and Bond has obtained the new number.) The only real continuity problem with QOS is that Bond’s suit changes between the end of CR. Other than that, it all fits together fine – much better than the myriad plot holes throughout Skyfall.

  5. Craig: Mr. White didn’t ditch his phone. Bond *called Mr. White* on Mr. White’s phone. Nice try.

  6. Here’s a more credible theory: Marc Forster didn’t care about continuity with Casino Royale. He only cared about his “four elements” notion.

  7. Regarding the stock footage of the Russian rocket launch in YOLT – the American Gemini launch also used in the film shows the Russian rocket being launched. So while the producers managed to source the correct footage the editor mixed up the footage – using the Soyuz footage for the American launch and the Gemini footage for the Russian launch. It used to bother me as a kid (when I was a fan of the space programme). Why nobody corrected the error for subsequent releases of the movie was beyond me.

  8. I know Bond calls him. But as I pointed out, it’s safe to assume it was a different phone given that it’s two years or so later. Somebody like White wouldn’t hang onto his phone once he knew the operation was compromised. He would ditch it and get a new one – just like Greene orders the Quantum members to ditch everything at the opera.

  9. Mr. White wouldn’t keep the same phone number. That’s one of the main reasons for ditching the phone. You constantly change your number. He wouldn’t have the same phone number *two years later*.

  10. That’s what I mean. He’d have a different number and different phone. And he probably changed where he was living. Once Vesper died, he’s change everything. Meaning that it’s credible that it took Bond two year to find him.

  11. Bond called Mr. White at the same number Vesper gave him. You’re giving this much more thought than Marc Forster, Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and Paul Haggis did.

  12. You’re assuming that Bond calls him on the same number that Vesper gave him. But we don’t actually see it – it’s merely implied on a first viewing. Common sense dictates that this wouldn’t have happened. White is smarter than that and would have changed his number immediately.

  13. I’m “assuming that Bond calls him on the same number” because THE FILMMAKERS (Martin Campbell in this case) led us to believe that.

    From the script (Dec. 20, 2005)


    Bond watches it disappear. He looks down at the few personnel items of Vesper’s that remain and wonders if he has the strength to throw them in as well.

    Then he picks up her cell phone, hits a button, checks the address book…and understands why she has left the phone and is overcome with emotion.

    205 EXT. medieval VILLA — DAY

    Through the stand of cypress trees we spy a car pull up into the courtyard of a villa. A man steps out with a briefcase, Mr. White. His cell phone rings, he answers it.

    Craig: NOTHING about a substantial amount of time having passed. NOTHING. As written by Haggis/Purvis & Wade and as directed by Campbell, these scenes are clearly taking place *a short time* apart.

    There was no intention, NONE, that it took TWO YEARS for Bond to find Mr. White. And Quantum did *NOTHING* to establish that it did.

    We’re not going to agree on this. But I feel the facts (including the script for Casino) back me up.

  14. If this were Marvel Comics, Craig would have gotten a No-Prize for effort, if nothing else. But this is The Spy Command, so no No-Prizes to be had here.

  15. Obviously when CR was made that scene wasn’t set two years later but we have to accepted the revised timeline once QOS was made – just as we have to now accept that le Chiffre and White were working for SPECTRE even though that wasn’t the intention back in 2006 and 2008.

    So yes, in 2006 the scene originally took place a short time after the scene on the yacht. And regardless of when the scene was taking place White would still have changed his number. The script says nothing about it being the same phone number. That’s just inferred by the viewer and QOS’s two-years-later setting is a clue that it definitely wouldn’t be the same number.

  16. ” but we have to accepted the revised timeline once QOS was made”

    No, we don’t, because Forster and company made *NO EFFORT* to say this happened. They just winged it. Forster clearly didn’t care.

    ” just as we have to now accept that le Chiffre and White were working for SPECTRE even though that wasn’t the intention back in 2006 and 2008.”

    Except the makers of SPECTRE specficially made this point. They actually made the effort, unlike Forster & Co.

    “The script says nothing about it being the same phone number. That’s just inferred by the viewer and QOS’s two-years-later setting is a clue that it definitely wouldn’t be the same number.”

    Which, if you’re correct, means Forster & Co. were not playing fair with the audience.

    Thus, if you’re correct, Eon was intellectually dishonest, not to mention being incredibly lazy.

    We all know that couldn’t possibly be the case and so…

    The end of this thread.

  17. I don’t see it as the film-makers being dishonest. Not at all. Rather I’d praise their faith in the audience to figure out for themselves why it has taken Bond two years to track down White. If there is a fault anywhere it is with Campbell and the CR scriptwriters allowing viewers to infer that White might not have changed his number. It isn’t that Forster didn’t care about continuity – he had to deliver on the expectation that Bond movies take place in our present (at the time of release), so that we feel that the movie reflects our world, our contemporary reality. Updating the events at the end of CR to 2006 was a given, for the same reason that updating CR from 1953 to 2006 was a given. So audiences knew from even before QOS was released that it would be set two years after CR and the continuity reflected that. A Bond film couldn’t function as a period piece because we’d feel cut off from the menace and threat. Hence why The Bourne Legacy was so flat – because it was set during the timeline of The Bourne Ultimatum, which was set during the events of The Bourne Supremacy. Or look at the dismal box office of The Man From UNCLE last year – a good film but period movies in this genre don’t resonate with audiences. For that reason we knew from the onset QOS would be set two years after CR; Forster didn’t need to explain it because it was a given.

  18. […] readers of this blog know, the Spy Commander has written about how Quantum of Solace, in terms of continuity doesn’t match up with Casino […]

  19. Craig: You’ve inspired a new post: http://bit.ly/1sIxJRb

  20. “If there is a fault anywhere it is with Campbell and the CR scriptwriters allowing viewers to infer that White might not have changed his number. ”

    This is revisionist history in the extreme.

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