Sean Connery how we remember him, circa 1963, while posing for publicity stills for From Russia With Love.
A theater in eastern Pennsylvania has come up with an interesting way to spend Father’s Day — a James Bond triple feature, each with a different actor playing James Bond.
The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, is having its Bonding With Dad Marathon on Sunday. The lineup consists of 1963’s From Russia With Love with Sean Connery, 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service with George Lazenby and 2006’s Casino Royale with Daniel Craig.
For older Bond fans in the area, it’s a one-day chance to relive the past when 007 double (and even triple) features were released between Bond film releases. That fell by the wayside for the most part after Bond films first appeared on television and then went to home video. Today, such double features occur as special events.
The Colonial Theatre first opened in 1903. “Real movie buffs know that the Colonial was featured in the 1958 science fiction classic, The Blob, starring Steve McQueen and filmed in and around Phoenixville,” according to the Colonial’s website.
The Bond three movies run from 12 noon until 7 p.m. Prices are $21 for adults, $16 for seniors and students and $11 for children under 13. Phoenixville is near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
Filed under: James Bond Films | Tagged: Casino Royale, Colonial Theatre, Daniel Craig, From Russia With Love, George Lazenby, James Bond triple feature, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Sean Connery | Leave a comment »
Morley Safer, the long-time 60 Minutes correspondent, died on Thursday only days after CBS announced his retirement.
Safer covered the Vietnam War for CBS and came aboard 60 Minutes in 1970, two years after the broadcast began. During that stretch, he managed a James Bond moment.
In the 1970s, he did a story about the Orient Express, including how it had seen better days. You can catch a few shots of it in The Associated Press video obituary below, starting around the 20-second mark.
At one point, the story showed the train changing engines, with the new engine having the number 007 on its front.
That led to a brief sequence edited to make it appear as if Safer was listening in on the From Russia With Love fight between James Bond (Sean Connery) and Red Grant (Robert Shaw).
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find that clip, but the AP obit below is worth a watch. It runs 1:17. Meanwhile, while living as a bachelor in London in the 1960s while working for CBS, he bought a Bentley with his poker winnings, according to Sunday’s 60 Minutes telecast about Safer’s career.
UPDATE (10:25 p.m.): If you CLICK HERE, you may be able to view the 1977 story about the Orient Express. The video seems to be freezing up after a commercial is shown. The story was titled “Last Train to Istanbul.”
When you have a long break between films, you need to engage the fans somehow.
So the official James Bond account on Twitter asked, “Who is your favourite Blofeld?”
However, given the weird history about Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s film rights, this question is more complicated, with some options understandably not listed.
The four choices are the Blofeld actors whose face could be seen onscreen in movies made by Eon Productions: Donald Pleasence (You Only Live Twice), Telly Savalas (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), Charles Gray (misspelled Grey, at least when the tweet first went up, in Diamonds Are Forever) and Christoph Waltz (SPECTRE).
Not making the cut are the combination of Anthony Dawson (body) and Eric Pohlman (voice), used in From Russia With Love and Thunderball. On screen, we never see Blofeld’s face. The dialogue only refers to “Number One,” although the From Russia With Love end titles list “Ernst Blofeld” followed by a question mark in the cast of characters.
This version of Blofeld also dresses different than the others, wearing a suit and not the Nehru jacket-style top of the other four.
Also not listed is the stuntman (body) and Robert Rietty (voice) in the pre-titles sequence of For Your Eyes Only. Last year, the official 007 website carried a press release promoting a re-release of Bond movies featuring SPECTRE. The list included For Eyes Only. The villain in the pre-titles sequence was the only trace of SPECTRE in the movie.
At the time Eyes came out, the rights to Blofeld were in dispute and officially the character in the pre-titles sequence wasn’t Blofeld. In 2013, a settlement was reached with the estate of Kevin McClory, finally bringing Blofeld back into the Eon fold.
Finally, and most significantly, there’s Max Von Sydow, who played Blofeld in 1983’s Never Say Never Again, the McClory-Jack Schwartzman remake of Thunderball. It, of course, is not part of the Eon series and there’s no way the 007 Twitter account would include Von Sydow.
Still, Von Sydow is a great actor and his casting was a major plus for the movie. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get that much screen time. Von Sydow’s Blofeld does have a cat (like Eon’s Blofelds) but wears a suit.
The tweet about Blofeld is embedded below. Click on it to see the complete image.
Who is your favourite Blofeld? pic.twitter.com/ysrzuzy6Zs
— James Bond (@007) April 2, 2016
UPDATE (10:10 p.m. New York time): Over on the official James Bond Facebook page, that version of the post does include the Dawson-Pohlman duo.
It should be noted that you can’t actually cast a ballot either on Twitter or Facebook.
Filed under: James Bond Films | Tagged: Anthony Dawson, Blofeld, Charles Gray, Diamonds Are Forever, Donald Pleasence, Eric Pohlman, For Your Eyes Only, From Russia With Love, Jack Schwartzman, Kevin McClory, Max Von Sydow, Never Say Never Again, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Robert Rietty, SPECTRE, Telly Savalas, Thunderball, Twitter | 2 Comments »
We’re still catching up with TCM’s marathon of spy films from Jan. 25. Anyway, in the Carol Reed-directed Our Man in Havana, there’s a sort-of in-joke to James Bond films.
Considering the movie was released in late 1959, before the 007 film series debuted with Dr. No in 1962, that’s a mean trick.
Here’s the explanation. Our Man in Havana’s crew included Syd Cain, who was the movie’s assistant art director. Cain, of course, worked on a number of Bond films, including as art director of Dr. No and From Russia With Love and production designer of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Our Man in Havana involves Jim Wormold (Alec Guiness), a seller of vacuum clearners who’s recruited to be the British Secret Service’s man in pre-revolution Havana. Wormold, after unsuccessfully trying to recruit a spy network, begins making stuff up — and London is buying (literally) every bit of it.
Wormold is now considered so important that British Intelligence is assigning him support personnel, including a secretary (Maureen O’Hara). One of Wormold’s fictional agents supposedly flew over a secret Cuban installation and saw a secret weapon (really a drawing of a vacuum cleaner). Now, there’s pressure from London to get photographs of it.
Wormold, in trying to decide his next step, happens to see a comic strip in a newspaper. It’s called Rock Kent and is supposed to be by Syd Cain. (It’s on the top of the page, just above Blondie.)
This particular strip depicts Rock crashing into the side of a mountain. “We shall hear no more of Captain Rock Kent!” reads the caption accompanying the drawing of the plane crashing.
This gives Wormold an idea how to solve his problem. Of course, things get more complicated.
Regardless, it’s an amusing moment for viewers familiar with the early 007 movies.
Filed under: James Bond Films, The Other Spies | Tagged: Alec Guiness, Carol Reed, Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Maureen O'Hara, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Our Man in Havana, Syd Cain, TCM | Leave a comment »
SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, had to thread a needle between Jason Bourne and movies from Marvel Studios on the other, Sam Mendes said earlier this month in New York.
“It’s very tricky… to walk the knife edge between, you know, Bourne on the one hand, which is brilliant, especially when done by (director) Paul Greengrass, and Marvel on the other,” Mendes said during an appearance at TimesTalk, part of events held by The New York Times, which sells tickets for people to attend.
“Bond is in this very narrow…you’re threading the needle,” Mendes added. “You only have so many tools you can use.”
The director of SPECTRE and Skyfall also acknowledged specific homages in SPECTRE to earlier Bond movies (Live And Let Die in the pre-titles sequence) and From Russia With Love (train fight between Bond and Hinx on the train).
“But sometimes people see a snow sequence and say, ‘Ah, The Spy Who Loved Me.’ No, it’s just a snow sequence.”
You can view other comments from Mendes and Craig on this video below, which the Times uploaded to YouTube. Note: the closed captioning has a few mistakes, including “marble” for Marvel.
By Nicolas Suszczyk
In 1964’s Goldfinger, SPECTRE took a break while James Bond fought the title villain’s attempt to irradiate Fort Knox. But the organization made a spectacular comeback in 1965’s Thunderball.
At the very beginning of the fourth Bond adventure, we see the secret agent at the funeral of SPECTRE’s number Six, Colonel Jacques Boitier (as the name is spelled in the Richard Maibaum-John Hopkins script although it’s spelled Bouvar in other reference sources). But the criminal is actually alive and planning to escape from the eyes of a vengeful Bond, because Boitier “murdered two of my colleagues.”
Right there there is a fact that ties Thunderball with the upcoming 2015 film: 007 visiting the funeral of a SPECTRE agent, a man he has presumably killed. There’ll be, as the film follows, even more ties between the Sam Mendes film and the Bond adventure celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
After the main titles, The organization conducts a meeting led by its shadowy Number One, whose name isn’t yet revealed but is also played by Anthony Dawson and voiced by Eric Pohlman, as in From Russia with Love. SPECTRE moved from a yacht to a modern office in Paris, hidden inside a non-profit organization assisting stateless persons.
The man who leads us inside this hideout is none other than SPECTRE’s Number Two, Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi, dubbed by Robert Rietty). The organization is almost like a religion to him. He would later kiss the octopuss ring that identifies him as a member. Largo is very appreciated by his leader, charging him with “our NATO project,” aka the “most ambitious project SPECTRE has ever undertaken.”
The organization has made a lot of progress between From Russia with Love and Thunderball. It has conducted an incredible range of operations throughout the world, including the killing of an antimatter expert, a train robbery and a drug narcotic operation that grosses a lot less than expected because Number Nine has kept with some… extra money. Number One will decide on an “appropriate action” for the culprit: activating the electric chair where the double-crossing agent was sitting.
“SPECTRE is a dedicated fraternity whose strength lies in the absolute integrity of its members,” the leader points out.
Number Two then explains his NATO project: to hijack the Vulcan airplane and stealing its atomic bombs, threatening to detonate them over the U.S. and the U.K. if the organization demands (including a ransom of £100 million, or $280 million) are not met.
The project is indeed ambitious when compared to the toppling of rockets and stealing a decoding machine to pit Russia against Britain, as seen in the two previous films featuring SPECTRE (Dr. No and From Russia With Love).
The organization also expanded with schemes and operatives from around the world. Just remember how Number One briefed only three of his agents in From Russia with Love. In Thunderball, he goes on to conduct a meeting with more than 10 members.
Emilio Largo is, of course, the primary SPECTRE figure in the story. He’s not only giving orders, but he also joins the action on land and under water with his army of frogmen. He has a hand-to-hand combat with 007, unlike the leader, who supervises the operation from the shadows.
In From Russia with Love, there was no real villain since Red Grant was just a trained assassin under the organization’s payroll. On the other side, Largo is a true believer of the cause, playing it cool while going to the Nassau casinos or going out with his lover Domino, but being as ruthless as his employer when he has to order someone’s death. He has the “integrity” a member of the “fraternity” Number One was talking about.
Thunderball provides the audience with the first memorable femme-fatale of the Bond franchise: Fiona Volpe, played by Luciana Paluzzi.
Unlike Tatiana Romanova, the Russian clerk the organization tried to use as a bait to terminate agent 007, Fiona is a fearless woman that, much like Bond himself, can also use her body as a weapon. Just like Largo, she’s also a true believer who proudly wears the SPECTRE octopus ring.
Fiona is also the first woman who can sleep with 007 without being turned to the “side of right and virtue,” like Tatiana and Pussy Galore before. She brags about this at one point. “What a blow it must have been. You having a failure,” she says as her accomplices Vargas and Janni hold 007 at gunpoint.
As complicated as it seemed, James Bond was able to thwart SPECTRE’s most ambitious project and Number Two’s life was pierced by a harpoon bolt shot by Domino, avenging her brother’s death.
SPECTRE would resurface once again less than two years later in You Only Live Twice, where the mysterious Number One will introduce himself to a captive Bond.