A few things best to forget about You Only Live Twice

You Only LIve Twice poster

You Only LIve Twice poster

The other night over at the MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. SPIES AND DETECTIVES FACEBOOK PAGE, a conversation broke out about implausibilities of various James Bond movies. You Only Live Twice came up quite a bit.

So, it got us to thinking about things that are best to forget or overlook about the 1967 James Bond film directed by Lewis Gilbert. For the purposes of this post, we won’t even go into things chewed over the years, such as Bond trying to impersonate a Japanese.

“Arrange usual reception, please.” In You Only Live Twice, Bond (Sean Connery) and Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi) are being followed and shot at by SPECTRE thugs.

No problem (as future 007 sacrificial lamb Vijay might say). Aki requests Japanese Secret Service chief Tanaka to, “Arrange usual reception, please.” A helicopter swoops down, extends a magnet, snares the thugs’ car, whisks it out over Tokyo Bay and drops it.

A few things (as noted in the Facebook conversation): Should Tanaka have maybe captured the thugs and interrogated them? And since this is the “usual reception,” how many times a year does the Japanese secret service dump cars full of thugs into the bay? It’s probably best not to think about any of this, or else you’ll be distracted by the Kobe docks chase that follows.

SPECTRE not exactly being inconspicuous: The criminal organization kills an American tourist because she happened to take a photo of the ship Ning Po (which, is connected to SPECTRE). As Bond remarks, the photo shows “a ship and a strip of land, it could be anywhere.” In effect, SPECTRE has announced its presence. Later, Bond flies over the volcanoes in Little Nelly. SPECTRE sends out four helicopters to try to shoot Bond down, confirming its presence in the area.

Of course, it’s best to forget all that because we wouldn’t have the helicopter battle that follows.

Bond’s magical ninja shirt: Bond and Kissy investigate a cave. But there’s poisonous gas, so they dive overboard and swim away. Bond is wearing a shirt and a white undershirt (see the 1:25:51 mark).

Much later, when he and Kissy have reached the top of volcano (and the metal roof that’s supposed to look like water), Bond has his gray ninja shirt on underneath (1:29:41 mark). It’s sort of like the DC Comics superhero Green Lantern who creates his costume using his power ring.

But it’s best to forget all that because the climax of the movie will be coming up shortly.

The film’s weird timeline: When Bond and Kissy reach the top of the volcano, it’s still daylight. The sun must have set pretty quickly because it’s night when they get to the metal door.

Meanwhile, the trek of Bond and Kissy up the mountain was depicted as long and arduous. The use of dissolves implies it took a long time. Some the shots show the walking isn’t easy. Also Bond said there were “miles” of cave tunnel leading to the top of the volcano.

Yet, Bond when sends Kissy “to get Tanaka,” she goes back down the mountain, swims across a bay, dodges bullets from a SPECTRE helicopter and brings Tanaka and his ninjas all in darkness. Maybe Bond misjudged the distance. Anyway, something else to ignore or else you’ll miss the big ninja raid on SPECTRE HQs.

Bond reflects on his life

Brosnan post-Bond

The agent, long since retired, couldn’t help but remember the women of his past. Pussy, Honey, Tracy and, of course, Vesper.

(Actually the photo is FROM PIERCE BRONSNAN’S FACEBOOK PAGE.)

Still, we couldn’t resist.

New U.N.C.L.E. book coming out in 2015

The original U.N.C.L.E.s

The original U.N.C.L.E.s

A new book about The Man From U.N.C.L.E. television series is due out next year.

“Solo and Illya: The Secret History of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” by Craig Henderson is to be published by Bear Manor Publishers, according to the Facebook page of THE GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY AFFAIR, the two-day event held in the Los Angeles area last month in connection with the show’s 50th anniversary.

Henderson created the File Forty fanzine in 1970, according to a Jon Burlingame response to the post. Henderson also assisted Burlingame when the latter produced a series of U.N.C.L.E. soundtracks in the 2000s.

“He’s uncovered a lot of information about the show no one else has,” Burlingame wrote.

Finally, Henderson produced A CENTURY OF U.N.C.L.E., which details how the worlds of U.N.C.L.E. and James Bond intersected for more than a century, beginning with the birth of Ian Fleming in 1908 until the death of U.N.C.L.E. executive producer Norman Felton in 2012. It’s a resource this blog has cited numerous times.

Derek Watkins, 007 musician, dies

Derek Watkins

Derek Watkins

Derek Watkins, who frequently played trumpet on the scores of James Bond movies, has died, according to a series of Tweets by composer David Arnold.

DavidGArnold ‏@DavidGArnold
Very very sad news…the legend that was Derek Watkins,gentleman,musical genius and Trumpet on EVERY
Bond score has just passed away

DavidGArnold ‏@DavidGArnold
renowned as one of the finest Trumpet players in the world (LA session players often asked me about him) but he was mainly a lovely man

DavidGArnold ‏@DavidGArnold
He played on pretty much all of my scores and records….sublime playing,tasteful,supreme…and could hit notes others couldn’t get near

DavidGArnold ‏@DavidGArnold 4h
That will be a chair in the Trumpet section that will remain permanently empty….an irreplaceable musician and a down to earth,funny man

Arnold was composer on five James Bond movies, starting with Tomorrow Never Dies and running through Quantum of Solace. Watkins’s Web site has a long list of movie and TV credits.

UPDATE (March 23): Watkins, born in 1945, was just 17 when he played on Dr. No, beginning his long run performing on 007 scores. You can CLICK HERE to view his biography on his Web site.

UPDATE II (10:55 a.m., March 23): There is a Facebook page called DEREK WATKINS, THE TRUMPET LEGEND. It includes this post from his wife Wendy:

“A trumpet spreading a wondrous sound
Throughout the graves of all lands.
Will drive mankind before the Throne
Death and Nature shall be astonished”

It is with such sorrow that I have to tell you that my beloved husband died at 19.50 on 22 March. He was surrounded by his family telling him how much we loved him. His two year battle against cancer is over, he is at peace but we shall miss him so very much. His courage and strength over the past years have been an inspiration to everyone he met, and his music will live on for his future generations.

DEREK ROY WATKINS – 2 MARCH 1945 – 22 MARCH 2013

The HOME PAGE of Watkins’s official Web site now also has a tribute. Finally, some 007 Web sites have tried embedding one of the Skyfall videoblogs about the film’s music where Watkins is featured along with composer Thomas Newman. But those videos appear to have been blocked. But you can still see it by going to the VIDEOS PAGE of the official 007.com Web site.

UPDATE III (11:52 a.m.): The BBC’s Web page has an obituary you can view by CLICKING HERE. Meanwhile, other 007 bloggers inform us they’ve embedded versions of the 007.com video featuring Watkins works fine. So we’ll try to embed here:

OHMSS finishes No. 1 in 007 Magazine survey

“007 Magazine? I demand a recount!”


On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the sixth in the Eon Productions 007 film series, was named the best James Bond movie in a survey by readers of 007 Magazine.

The 1969 007 film was the first Eon Bond movie without Sean Connery, instead starring George Lazenby in his only Bond appearance. It was directed by Peter Hunt, who had worked on the previous Eon 007 films as a film editor and second unit director.

Here’s an excerpt from 007 Magazine’s announcement:

Readers of 007 MAGAZINE were asked to rate all 24 Bond films (including the ‘unofficial’ 1967 spoof version of Casino Royale and the rogue 1983 Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again) on a scale from 0-10. The average score for each film was then calculated, with OHMSS averaging an impressive 8.912 to finish ahead of second-placed Goldfinger (1964) – average mark 8.824, and third-placed From Russia With Love (1963) – average mark 8.802.

A similar vote was announced ON THE OFFICIAL JAMES BOND FACEBOOK PAGE though it’s restricted to the Eon series only. The result of that vote is supposed to be announced on Oct. 5, the 50th anniversary of Dr. No’s U.K. premier.

Two 007 votes: one ending, one starting

James Bond fans now have at least two dueling votes for Best 007 film, with one wrapping up and the other just starting on Aug. 30.



The one nearing its conclusion is the one by Graham Rye’s 007 MAGAZINE, originally announced in May. With that vote, fans can select among the 22 films in the Eon Production series as well as the 1967 Casino Royale spoof and 1983’s Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery’s seventh outing as Bond.

The deadline is midnight, Sept. 1 GMT. To register a choice, e-mail at greatestbondfilmever@yahoo.com . The publication will announce the results in a special edition.

007 Magazine may end up overshadowed by the just-announced vote at THE OFFICIAL JAMES BOND FACEBOOK PAGE. Not surprisingly, that vote is limited to the 22 Eon films from 1962 through 2008. Anyway, the page has 1.1 million “likes” and the Facebook posting about the vote had 665 “likes” and 200 comments within a few hours. The official page has a few more bells and whistles, including the ability to watch a clip from each of the 22 movies.

Results of the latter vote will be disclosed on Oct. 5, the 50th anniversary of Dr. No and “Global James Bond Day.”

007 Facebook page hypes new videoblog with Bérénice Marlohe

Bérénice Marlohe jokes around during a recent public appearance.


The official James Bond Facebook page says another videoblog is coming up March 29:

Bond fans! It’s your first chance to see Bérénice Marlohe as the enigmatic Severine on the set of SKYFALL in an exclusive videoblog on 007.com tomorrow, 12:00 noon, GMT

So far, there have been two of these, one in December with Michael G. Wilson, co-boss of Eon Productions (where he said his stepfather, Albert R. Broccoli, “made Dr. No,” ignoring quite a few people who contributed mightily to the first 007 movie) and another in February where director Sam Mendes didn’t really say much.

The Facebook entry didn’t specify, but the Wilson and Mendes video were shown on the official 007 Web page, so that’s probably where the Marlohe video will appear.

The Wilson video was 45 seconds, the Mendes one 1:30. So we’re not expecting much detailed information. But fans will likely check it out, anyway.