Fans treat the object of their affection like LEGO blocks. You can just move a few blocks from here to there without any other differences.
So it is with 007 films and 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
For years — decades, actually — Bond fans have debated the subject. The 007 film series produced its adaptations of Majesty’s and You Only Live Twice out of order.
Take out George Lazenby and put in Sean Connery? OHMSS would be a lot better is a common talking point.
Except, real life doesn’t necessarily work that way.
“If only they’d made OHMSS before YOLT…”
Except, you don’t get Peter Hunt as director. In turn, that means a ripple effect. You likely don’t get the most faithful adaptation of an Ian Fleming novel, as the 1969 movie turned out to be.
Instead, you get You Only Live Twice except the character names and locations are changed.
Meanwhile, you have a greater chance of an underwater Aston Martin (in one of the script drafts before Hunt came aboard). You may even get Blofeld as a half-brother of Goldfinger.
All this isn’t speculation. Author Charles Helfenstein provides a summary of the various 1964-68 treatments and drafts for Majesty’s written by Richard Maibaum. Blofeld as Goldfinger’s half-brother was in a screenplay dated March 29, 1966, according to the book (pages 38-39).
In real life, making movies is more complicated. Change a major piece, such as the director, and there are ripple effects throughout the production.
Meanwhile, Eon Productions changed the order it filmed Dr. No and From Russia With Love.
With the novels, Russia came first. Dr. No came second. The movies reversed the order. Yet, few Bond fans complain about that.
Fan discussions about 007 movies are similar to debates among sports fans. Example: Which baseball team was better, the 1927 New York Yankees or the 1976 Cincinnati Reds?
For fan purposes, things would have been a lot better if Ian Fleming hadn’t sold off the rights to Casino Royale, his first novel, so quickly. In theory, if that had happened, Eon could have done Fleming’s novels in order.
Except, does anyone believe Sean Connery would have done a dozen Bond films?
Would Connery really have been satisfied doing that many 007 films in a little more than a decade? On the other hand, would fans have been satisfied with a Bond series of only six Connery movies starting with Casino Royale and ending with Dr. No?
Fans have their fantasies. Real life, though, is more complicated. Certainly, making movies is not like assembling LEGO blocks.
Filed under: James Bond Films | Tagged: Albert R. Broccoli, Casino Royale, Charles Helfenstein, Dr. No, Eon Productions, From Russia With Love, George Lazenby, Harry Saltzman, Ian Fleming, LEGO, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Peter Hunt, Richard Maibaum, Sean Connery, You Only Live Twice |