007 gets drawn into U.S. politics

One-time GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s Twitter picture.

James Bond got drawn into U.S. politics this week as CIA got a new director.

The U.S. Senate voted to ratify Gina Haspel in a 54-45 vote. But not all Republican members of the Senate voted for the veteran CIA employee because at one point she ran an agency facility in Thailand performing “enhanced interrogation,” including waterboarding. Haspel wrote a letter dated May 14 (which became public the next day) saying the agency shouldn’t have utilized such techniques.

Mike Huckabee, a one-time GOP presidential candidate, criticized one GOP Senator who voted no, Jeff Flake of Arizona.

“Of course Jeff ‘Flaky Flake’ didn’t vote for Gina Haspel,” Huckabee wrote May 17. “If @realDonaldTrump nominated James Bond, he would have voted ‘no.’ That’s why Flake is ‘Dr. No.’ And I’ll be HE colluded with the Russians! ‘From Russia With Love.'”

Huckabee also is the father of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s press secretary.

Here’s what the tweet looked like:

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Meanwhile, TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, whose politics are the opposite of Sanders, had this reaction:

 

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TCM 007 update

On the Saturday afternoon telecast of Diamonds Are Forever, TCM weekend host Ben Mankiewicz didn’t mention his family’s connection to the movie. According to imdb.com, Ben is cousin once removed of Diamonds co-screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz.

Ben Mankiewicz in his introduction said United Artists paid Sean Connery $2 million to come back to the role. Robert Osborne, in the Friday night telecast, quoted $1.25 million, a sum also referenced in the documentary Inside Diamonds Are Forever. Mankiewicz described On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as the series’ first “major hiccup.”

Mankiewicz’s summary after the movie concentrated on how Diamonds was the last film appearance of Bruce Cabot, whose best-known credit was appearing in the original King Kong.

After the movie, TCM telecast a short bit where director Sidney Lumet, who worked with Connery on five films, discussed Connery. Lumet said the Bond films “appeared to be nothing but charm.” The director added, “‘Nothing but charm’ ain’t easy” and that most of that was because of Connery’s acting. Most of this short feature had Lumet talking about Connery’s work in The Hill, their first movie together.

Being picky: Goldfinger and Thunderball on TCM

The last few seconds of Goldfinger’s end titles were cut off before we got the credits of the digital restoration crew. Maybe they were anxious to see their names and figured nobody would notice a few seconds lopped off. At least they didn’t change the colors of the end titles this time.

After the movie, TCM’s Robert Osborne says he recently saw the movie with Guy Hamilton. He depicted the director as uneasy watching the film, wanting to make changes and tweaks. That’s interesting. Hard-core Bond fans would probably be curious. Regardless, Osborne indicated he’s still enthusiastic about the film decades after its 1964 release.

UPDATE: Osborne gets the name of the villain in Thunderball wrong, calling him Emil Largo, instead of Emilo Largo. On the other hand, he did a nice, tight summary of Thunderball’s complicated history.

UPDATE II: The TCM version of Thunderball uses the music from previous prints where Bond meets Domino underwater. The Ultimate DVD edition (which we have a copy of) changed the music.

UPDATE III: Host Osborne’s closing commentary touches upon Sean Connery’s growing dissatisfaction with the Bond franchise for both the growing spectacle of the 007 films and lack of pay relative to the huge grosses the movies were generating for Eon Productions Ltd. and United Artists.

UPDATE IV: Both last week and this week, TCM has shown non-Bond Connery films following a 007 double feature. By coincidence, both films, On The Fiddle (May 1) and Woman of Straw, still had a number of Bond crew members. On The Fiddle included Peter Hunt as film editor and sound manNorman Wanstall. Woman of Straw had a crew including production designer Ken Adam, art director Peter Murton and assistant director Clive Reed.

UPDATE V: On the Saturday, May 9, rerun of the Bond movies, TCM weekend host Ben Mankiewicz, a cousin (once removed) of one-time 007 screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, went into more detail about Thunderball’s history of the Ian Fleming/Kevin McClory legal battle. He also noted how Thunderball scored the Best Ocar for special effects (while not mentioning John Stears by name). However, he mis-pronounced the name of Claudine Auger. We’re now curious whether next weekend whether Ben Mankiewicz will mention his relative’s connection to the Bond series when TCM shows Diamonds Are Forever.