Robert Sellers coming out with a Broccoli-Saltzman book

Ian Fleming, Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli

Robert Sellers, the author of The Battle for Bond, a book about the behind-the-scenes conflict concerning Thunderball, is coming out with a new book about Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, the co-founders of Eon Productions.

There is a listing on the U.K. site of Amazon for When Harry Met Cubby: The Story of the James Bond Producers.

According to the listing, the book will be out in September. Here’s part of the description:

Both men were of such contrasting personalities that relations between them often span out of control, to such an extent that they not only fell out with their star, Sean Connery, but ultimately with each other. Loved and hated in equal measure, respected and feared by their contemporaries, few movie people have loomed as large over the industry as Broccoli and Saltzman, yet tragically they would meet very different ends.

During the 1960s heydey of the Bond film series, Broccoli and Saltzman took the industry by storm as 007 became a phenomenon.

In the ensuing decades, a narrative took hold of Saltzman being the more volatile of the two. Some fans (via social media) claim that Saltzman wasn’t really a producer.

On the other hand, other accounts indicate that Saltzman had a major impact on Bond film stories. Richard Maibaum had been a Broccoli man (going back to the producer’s partnership with Irving Allen). Saltzman brought in others (such as Len Deighton, Paul Dehn and John Hopkins) to revise Maibaum’s work.

Regardless, the blog’s guess is the new Sellers book will bring new insights to an old partnership that finally ruptured in the mid-1970s.

Norway shoot to be part of B25’s pre-title sequence

Cary Joji Fukunaga, director of Bond 25

The Bond 25 sequence to be filmed in Norway will be part of the film’s pre-titles sequence, Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail, wrote in a short item Thursday night that was part of his weekly column.

Director Cary Fukunaga “and a small crew” will be part of the shoot at a frozen lake, according to item. The crew wants to complete the sequence before the lake thaws, the scribe said.

Bamigboye has a record of Bond scoops ultimately being proven as correct.

Bamigboye also wrote that Danny Boyle, Bond 25’s original director, “had wanted to film an iced-over lake in Canada.” Boyle departed the project in August over “creative differences.” That led to the hiring of Fukunaga.

The short item also says Bond 25 will also be filmed in Jamaica.

Bond creator Ian Fleming wrote the first drafts of his 007 novels in Jamaica in the winter before returning to London to rewrite and revise. The first 007 film, 1962’s Dr. No, was filmed in Jamaica, where the novel was set.

(UPDATE, March 8): Variety has a story about Bond 25’s planned Italian shoot and says that sequence will be the film’s pre-titles sequence. Well, we shall see what we shall see.

Eon appears to confirm B25 title isn’t Shatterhand

Eon Productions appeared to officially confirm that Shatterhand really isn’t (no way, no how) the title for Bond 25.

Eon’s official James Bond Instagram account sent out a photo of a Barbara Broccoli autograph where the Eon boss wrote “it’s not” above the word Shatterhand.

That photo has been making the rounds this week. But until today, no official outlet of Eon has joined in on that.

This blog is one of the few fan sites that keeps track of what Eon says and how it compares to later events. On occasion, Eon has denied things it knew to be true (Ben Whishaw playing Q in Skyfall, John Logan being hired to write Bond 24 and 25, at least initially.)

However, if Shatterhand is revealed to be Bond 25’s title, this is a really, really cynical movie. I don’t think Eon operates on that level.

About that killing James Bond off in Bond 25 thing

Danny Boyle, a sort of spectre over Bond 25.

Some time back, it seemed the memory of Danny Boyle, briefly the director of Bond 25, had dissipated. But, for some reason, that memory is hanging around like a spectre that won’t leave a haunted house.

The catalyst of this was a story in the Daily Star proclaiming that Boyle had gotten the boot because he wanted to kill off 007 in his version of Bond 25. The story got picked up and Bond fans were aghast about it.

The thing is, this wasn’t the first time — not by a long shot — that this notion had made the rounds. The Playlist’s Feb. 16 story about the hiring of Scott Z. Burns as a Bond “script doctor” also alluded to this idea. That piece said “there were rumors that Boyle wanted to kill Bond in the end…and this was a bone of contention. Having heard about the ending of the current, non-Burns version of the script (which I can’t reveal), I can say there’s likely some truth to that rumor. ”

Of course, the idea goes even further back. The Sun, in an August 2018 story, had it the other way around — that Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig wanted to kill Bond off but Boyle didn’t.

It makes your head hurt either way.

In 2017, Eon had spent months developing a story by long-time 007 screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. But, as first reported by Deadline: Hollywood in February 2018, Boyle and his screenwriter John Hodge made a pitch that intrigued Eon.

Suddenly, the Purvis and Wade story seemed expendable.

Three months later in May 2018, Eon announced that Boyle was onboard and Hodge was writing the movie. Another three months later, Boyle and Hodge were gone.

Now, if Boyle wanted to kill Bond off, when did he present that idea? During the pitch? In a treatment by Hodge? When Hodge turned in his first draft? Still later? (“Oh by the way, we’ve got to kill Bond off.”)

If Broccoli and Craig wanted to kill Bond off, when did they present that notion to Boyle? When they were having their pitch meetings? After Hodge did his script or….well, you get the idea. Killing off James Bond would be a big deal. You would think it would have happened early in the discussions. If it was deal killer (which you’d think it would be) it’d be something to resolve right away. Oh well…..

U.N.C.L.E. script: Nazis and a femme fatale Part II

Solo is about to get the shock of his life when he realizes the identity of “the sleeper.”

Dick Nelson, in writing The Stamp Affair (renamed The Deadly Games Affair when broadcast) came up with a mix of a fugitive Nazi scientist, a femme fatale and (as we’ll soon see) a bit of science fiction.

This wouldn’t be The Man From U.N.C.L.E. without an “innocent,” an ordinary person who gets caught up in the adventure.

Nelson’s script supplies two: a college couple, Chuck Boskirk and Sue Brent (who would be renamed Terry Brent in the final version). They’re planning on getting married.

Chuck has been contacted by an anonymous person. It is Chuck who sold the rare stamp, acting as a middleman, in return for a percentage. For the couple it’s a chance to make extra money and get married sooner.

Chuck calls the auction house. The stamp fetched $6,500. Chuck arranges to come by later to pick up the proceeds.

We soon learn why Chuck was selected to perform this service. One of his instructors at the college is Professor Amadeus, who is none other than fugitive Nazi scientist Wolfgang Krug (Volp in the broadcast version).

Thrush Makes Its Move

At the auction house, U.N.C.L.E. agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin await. Chuck and Sue retrieve the money (all in cash, per the seller’s instructions). Before the agents make their move, a Thrush assault team disguised as security guards (the script calls them “Brinks” men) strikes.

A fight breaks out, some of the Thrush operatives are killed but the criminal organization still manages to kidnap Chuck.

Back at U.N.C.L.E. HQs, Sue is with Solo and Illya. Sue was brought through an alternate entrance (rather than through Del Floria’s), but it’s only described and not shown. Some reference sources refer this as the Mask Club entrance described in Sam Rolfe’s series proposal titled Ian Fleming’s Solo. But there’s no explicit mention of that in the script.

The scene also has Solo describe Thrush to Sue, in effect also reminding the audience about the villainous organization. Thrush was used less in the first season than it would be in subsequent seasons.

In any case, Solo says he has an idea where Chuck may be. In the next scene, Thrush operative Angelique, the story’s femme fatale, appears to rescue Chuck and kill one of the guards.

After Angelique speeds off in her Corvette (supplied by Chevrolet, sponsor for the first-half of the show’s first season), the guard “gets to his feet, unhurt, and brushes himself off.”

Cup of Coffee?

Angelique and Chuck arrive at Chuck’s home. She tells the college student that she’s with U.N.C.L.E. She offers to make him some coffee.

Solo, however, comes by. He’s brought a policeman with him, who arrests Angelique for immigration violations.

Solo fills Chuck in on the real situation and enlists his help. U.N.C.L.E. has been monitoring his telephone from its New York headquarters. Chuck has been getting calls at regular intervals.

Chuck is present at U.N.C.L.E. HQ for another one of the calls with the seller of the stamp and they set up a meeting. Chuck will wear a homing device so Solo can keep track of him.

The meeting goes bad, Professor Amadeus/Krug sets off a bomb and gets away. Sue is injured and is hospitalized. Once Chuck knows Sue is OK, Solo agrees to take Chuck back to the college so he can get Sue’s books.

Solo looks at him for a moment, feeling deeply sympathetic for the boy, who might very well feel resentment for what happened tonight. At this moment, Solo decides he likes Chuck very much. His voice and expression tell us so.

SOLO
It won’t be out of the way.

When Solo and Chuck arrive at the college, Angelique is prowling about. Solo decides to keep her busy while Chuck retrieves Sue’s books. Solo and Angelique engage in some banter for a bit.

Amadeus Runs For It

Unfortunately for Chuck, he encounters Professor Amadeus “who seems to be leaving the premises for good.”

Amadeus convinces Chuck to help load some of his papers to his pickup truck. The Nazi knocks out the student, leaving him in the rear of the truck. Amadeus/Krug drives off. But he’s unaware that Angelique is following him.

Amadeus arrives at his home but is intercepted by Angelique before he can get far. He forces her inside his garage. It turns out the garage is also the entrance to an underground laboratory.

The script has a bit from Angelique that didn’t make the final version where she describes how she made the connection between Krug and Amadeus.

ANGELIQUE
…and when we had young Mister Boskirk under sodium pentathol, we made him name all his acquaintances, you see. And, of course, Professor Amadeus was on the list. Now, earlier this evening, I had a few hours to think….and I recalled Doctor Wolfgang Krug had been named for one of my favorite classical composers…Wolfgang Mozart. I also remembered Mozart had an unusual middle name
(snip)

Angelique’s dialogue in the script goes on for a bit, but she put together that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart might to a clue to Wolfgang Krug.

Solo, meanwhile, is on the way. Chuck’s homing signal still works and he finds the home of Amadeus/Krug. He contacts Illya at headquarters. Solo will break into the house while Illya and back up agents are on the way.

Solo finds a way to the underground lab. While Amadeus and Angelique talk back and forth, the U.N.C.L.E. agent find himself in a room full of tanks that “are vaguely coffin-shaped, are covered with heavy glass, and some kind of liquid bubbles softly inside them.”

In the other room, Amadeus/Krug tells Angelique just how important he was in the Third Reich hierarchy. As he talks/brags, Solo checks out the first tank. Inside is “something shaped like a man.”

CLOSER – SOLO

As he squints down through the vapor and liquid at the face, and in B.G., hears Amadeus’ voice continuing, he begins to realize who it is he is looking at. We see his dawning recognition, incredulity and then horror as Amadeus’ voice rises to a climax:

AMADEUS’ VOICE (O.S. offscreen)
The world thinks he died when Berlin fell…but like Barbarossa in the legend, he only sleeps, waiting to rise up when the fatherland needs him. And I who perfected a process for suspended animation — I alone can wake him!

Solo’s face confirms what Amadeus is saying……he stares as though hypnotized into the face (BELOW FRAME) in the tank. And then, too late, he realizes that the vapor he has been inhaling — the fumes from the tank — are poisonous. He tries to stifle a coughing fit, but does not succeed. Choking, clutching his throat, he slumps to the floor, unconscious.

FADE OUT

To recap, Solo has had a long, hard day. The hunt for a fugitive Nazi scientist has led the intrepid agent to finding ADOLPH HITLER in “suspended animation,” as Krug/Amadeus calls it elsewhere in the script.

What else can go wrong?

Fugitive Nazi scientist Prof. Amadeus about to drain Napoleon Solo of his blood.

Solo: The Human Blood Bank

Well, it turns out Krug/Amadeus tried to revive the SS officer with his own blood, preserved for 20 years. But to make the scientist’s rejuvenation process work, fresh blood (and the same blood type of the individual) is needed.

As an aside, this idea wasn’t new, even in 1964. A 1963 Fantastic Four comic book featured a villain called the Hate Monger, who was revealed to be Hitler. An episode of The New Avengers in the 1970s had Hitler in suspended animation. So did a 1980s story line in the Dick Tracy comic strip.

Amadeus/Krug needs blood that matches the same blood. He intended to discreetly purchase blood from blood banks. Time has run out. However, Solo’s blood type matches that of the sleeper.

As things turn out, Solo’s blood type actually matches Hitler’s. although this wouldn’t be established until a fourth-season episode. In any case, Krug/Amadeus now plans to drain all of Solo’s blood to revive the “sleeper.”

To ensure his privacy, the Nazi scientist detonates another bomb, destroying his own home.

So, to recap, Solo is about to be drained of his own blood while Angelique and Chuck look on.

Luckily, Illya is on the scene. And he’ll help Solo get out of this mess.

Amadeus/Krug was a little too quick to activate that last bomb. The scientist’s underground laboratory is about to catch fire. Solo begins to get himself out of his fix. Illya finds his way to the underground lair and overcomes Angelique.

Solo uses the sudden change in fortune to put an end to the “sleeper,” which has managed to grab the agent while receiving rejuvenation fluid as part of the process.

CLOSE – SOLO AND SLEEPER

as Solo, face contorting in hate and revulsion, struggles to free himself from the thing’s inhuman grip. He finally rips free, and then in a reaction of pure animal hate, he gives the gurney [where the sleeper is lying on} a violent shove forward.

The gurney with the “sleeper” goes into flames. Amadeus “follows the ‘sleeper’ into the burning gasoline. There is one horrible cry, then silence.”

Illya tells Solo he better tend to the disturbance at the security entrance.

‘Better Attend To It’

After the long night, Chuck and Sue are at U.N.C.L.E. HQs. Solo tells them about the honeymoon they’ll receive for their cooperation. On top of that, U.N.C.L.E. has recovered Krug’s stamp collection and will give it to them.

Chuck and Sue, however, feel the latter gift isn’t correct. As a result, the stamp collection will be donated to the collection.

Just then, Illya arrives to inform Solo there’s a disturbance at the security entrance (Del Floria’s). “Better attend to it….before the place gets a bad name.”

Solo goes outside where Angelique awaits. After some banter, the sometime adversaries “drive off together.” One can only imagine the time Solo will have this coming evening.

NOT QUITE THE END

Like other early U.N.C.L.E. scripts, Dick Nelson’s The Stamp Affair had off-beat introductions where Solo broke the fourth wall. To read a summary of the one for this episode, CHECK OUT THIS NOVEMBER 2018 POST. It involves Solo at a coffin store.

The Nelson script also has a preview for the next episode where the fourth wall is smashed.

INT. COFFIN ROOM ROOM – MED. SHOT – NIGHT

The Girl is standing besides the coffin as Solo talks to The Camera.

SOLO
Now those are what I call real first class villains. I mean, they just don’t make them like that anymore…
(straight)
…at least let’s pray they don’t.
(lightens)
But now…for next week…
(indicates off stage.
FLASH PAN TO:
TRAILERS
A series of trailer scenes. Then:

BACK TO SCENE
Solo is signing the girl’s order book. He looks up Into Camera, smiles.

SOLO
With action like that coming up, I may have to ask for a raise.
(to girl)
Would you like..? cash…?check…? trading stamps…?

She reaches up, pulls his head down gently, and kisses him for a moment. As she releases he looks Into Camera:

SOLO (clears throat)
Well..! From each, according to his ability. to each, according to her needs.

He smiles, turns, picks up the coffin, and walks out with it under his arm (NOTE: or, if the coffin is too heavy, it is on a small dolly and he merely rolls it away with him). Girl turns, looks Into Camera and winks:

FREEZE FRAME
FADE OUT

THE END

We wish to thank the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement without whose assistance this blog post would not be possible.

U.N.C.L.E. script: Nazis and a femme fatale Part I

Thrush operative Angelique with her Corvette supplied by first-season sponsor Chevrolet.

The Stamp Affair would mark a foray by The Man From U.N.C.L.E. into science fiction, deal with a fugitive Nazi scientist and feature a femme fatale character, Angelique.

Before broadcast, as the fifth episode shown by NBC, it would be renamed The Deadly Games Affair. But the script by Dick Nelson would be close to the version seen by audiences.

However, the script (dated July 15, 1964, with some revised pages about a week later) does contain some interesting differences compared with the broadcast version.

Nelson’s script includes act titles. But some of his have a chess theme while the final act titles played off the Deadly Games title. Only one of Nelson’s act titles would be used.

NELSON’S ACT TITLES

Act I: Queen’s Gambit Accepted
Act II: The Three Cornered Game
Act III: A King in Perpetual Check
Act IV: White Plus Black Equals Red Death

BROADCAST ACT TITLES

Act I: The Games Begin
Act II: A Game Of Hare And Hounds
Act III: The Three-Cornered Game
IV: The Game Is Up

At the start of Act I, the stage directions introduce the reader to a “small, bald clean-shaven elderly man” driving a pickup truck out in the country . He backs up the vehicle and parks it off the road near a stream.

Interestingly, the part would be cast with character actor Alexander Scourby (1913-1985), who wasn’t bald and had a beard. (In 1965, the actor would be a last-minute hire as narrator for the television special The Incredible World of James Bond.)

“Despite the old clothing he has worn for this task, he seems notably out of place here,” according to the stage directions. “He looks a good bit like a college professor, which, among other things, he is.” Eventually, the stage directions say he is known as Professor Amadeus.

An Interruption
The mysterious figure “begins to half-drag, half-roll” a drum stored in the back of the truck. “It’s a struggle — the drum must outweigh him by several pounds.” However, a group of boys emerges, firing sling shots. The man gets back in the truck and goes off with the drum rolling of the tailgate.

The drum is at the edge of the stream. By this time the boys notice it and start shooting their slingshots.

ANGLE – ON THE BOYS
They stare in open-mouthed terror at what is happening to the drum.

BACK TO THE DRUM
Its lid is being is being battered loose from within. As we watch, the lid gives way and a ghastly figure spills out into the daylight. Its form is of a man — but a man in the process of decay. His skin the color of pewter — his hair is dead white. The thing is mouthing insane gibberish that sounds somehow Germanic but is no recognizable language. The thing takes a few faltering steps up the slope of the bank, eyes rolling blankly, then with a last shriek of rage, collapses and rolls back down upon the drum. A final tremor passes through it and then it is mercifully dead.

Dead, maybe. But not without a calling card of a sort. The corpse has an SS tatoo on one of its forearms.

This leads into a scene where the pages are dated July 21, 1964. Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) is telling Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) about the incident.

Normally, you’d expect Alexander Waverly, the Number One of Section One, to be delivering the briefing. However, actor Leo G. Carroll was already in his 70s when the series began. It’s possible this is a rewrite made because Carroll wasn’t available.

Regardless, the audience is provided background for the story. The dead man was with the SS but had disappeared before the end of World War II. He was assigned to work with scientist Wolfgang Krug, described by Illya as “a brilliant medical researcher. His field was blood chemistry.”

Notes in the script indicate that Wolfgang Krug’s name was to be changed to Max Volp. However, the final version would split the difference and refer to his real name as Wolfgang Volp.

In any case, Krug (as he’s called in this script) was also a noted collector of rare stamps. One of his collection appears to be available at an auction in Manhattan.

Angelique’s Entrance
The agents show up separately. At a reception area there’s a reception table “where ILLYA KURYAKIN, in caterer’s white uniform, is dispensing punch, etc. He looks a bit sour.”

As an aside, that stage direction is written as though this was the first time Illya appears in the episode. But we’ve already seen him in the previous scene. That’s one reason why I suspect the previous scene was revised.

In any case, Illya is in a bad humor. “It is ANGELIQUE, looking ravishing.” Angelique is an operative for Thrush, the villainous organization of the series. Clearly that group is also interested in Krug.

Solo reacts with a slow smile. He’s beginning to like this assignment. At his shoulder, Illya looks more sour still.

SOLO
Angelique! Well!
(sees Illya’s look, loses smile)

ILLYA
Sometime you must tell me what’s like….romancing a woman who would kill you without a qualm, if Thrush ordered it. And knowing Thrush, that order might be given already.

SOLO
It adds spice, Illya
(about to start away)
And — I flatter myself that she might have a few qualms….just the slightest, fleeting regret.

He gives Illya a parting wink, and heads for Angelique.

As the two meet, Angelique “is all warmth and effervescence…she goes close against him, offering her cheek for a lover’s greeting kiss. Solo bestows it.”

With that established, Solo and Angelique flirt and decide to avoid getting into a bidding war for the stamp, lest they scare off Krug.

As in the final version, the opposing operatives decide to decide who buys the stamp with a coin flip. Angelique attempts to use a double-headed coin but Solo isn’t fooled. The U.N.C.L.E. agent wins “by default.”

Afterward, Solo and Angelique pay an after-hours visit to a stamp expert while Illya waits nearby. The expert verifies the stamp is genuine. He says he saw the stamp as a boy. But it was one of a pair. It also lacks the identifying mark of Krug, which is presumably on the other stamp. Thus, it’s a dead end.

Slay It With Flowers
As she gets ready to depart, Angelique takes a flower from her purse and pins it to Solo’s lapel. Angelique then leaves, making “a Loretta Young exit.” Solo is pleased with himself. As Illya enters, he’s more wary. With good reason.

INSERT – ROSE AND SPIDER

The flower, as a spider emerges and starts up Solo’s lapel.

This actually sounds more suspenseful than the final version, where the spider wasn’t terribly convincing and wasn’t moving up the lapel.

Nevertheless, in the script as in the final version, “Illya slaps the spider to the floor and steps on it. The expert is alarmed and puzzled. Solo loses his smile.”

“A poisonous spider,” Illya says in the script. “One of Angelique’s relatives, perhaps?”

TO BE CONTINUED

About those Bond 25 script stories: The Rashomon Effect?

Can’t keep all these writing scenarios straight? Relax with a drink.

In the space of days, we’ve gotten two wildly different scenarios about the progress of Bond 25’s script.

The Playlist, in a Feb. 16 story, said noted script doctor Scott Z. Burns was doing an “overhaul” of Bond 25’s screenplay. “Burns, like Tony Gilroy and Christopher McQuarrie, is known as one of the top emergency rescue script doctors in Hollywood. If your script is hemorrhaging, he’s one of the first people you call.”

Later, on Feb. 27, Variety did an imitation of Kevin Bacon in Animal house and reassured everyone all is well.

Bond 25 director Cary “Fukunaga turned in his recent draft at the beginning of the year, and while reports surfaced that major rewrite work was done to the script, sources say no significant changes were made,” according to Variety, “and the producers and (star Daniel) Craig were excited with what Fukunaga had delivered.”

This might be an example of what’s known as The Rashomon Effect. That’s defined as “a phenomenon where different people have contradictory accounts of the same event.”

Rashomon was a 1950 movie directed by Akira Kurosawa where the characters have wildly different memories and impressions of the same story. The film was quite influential. In the 1960s, a plot on some television situation comedies in the U.S. was to depict the very different recollections of characters of the same occurrence.

Maybe, just maybe, The Playlist and Variety have different sources with different outlooks on the progress of the Bond 25 story. Both sources cited “sources” they didn’t identify.

The Playlist played up Burns’ record as a script doctor. “It’s an overhaul and I won’t be surprised if Burns is ultimately given first screenplay credit,” wrote The Playlist’s Rodrigo Perez.

Variety’s Justin Kroll specifically said Fukunaga had a turn writing the script himself. Fukunaga often writes his own scripts. There’s been plenty of fan speculation this would take place with Bond 25. Variety was the first place I saw that said that had happened. The Variety story doesn’t mention Burns by name.

Scripting efforts on Bond 25 began when 007 veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were hired in 2017. There was a detour last year when Danny Boyle was hired to direct the movie, bringing along his writer, John Hodge. Boyle and Hodge departed.

So now we’re where we’re at — where ever that is. Maybe it’s time for a drink to relax after trying to evaluate the different scenarios.