1968: I Spy previews Skyfall’s climax

I Spy's Robert Culp

I Spy’s Robert Culp

Skyfall’s climatic scene, with Daniel Craig’s James Bond making a last stand against Javier Bardem’s villain Silva at 007’s family home, was compared by fans and critics to Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs in 1971 or the 1990 comedy Home Alone. But there may be a better comparison.

The 1968 I Spy episode Home to Judgment at times almost seems like a blueprint for Skyfall. Jaded spy Kelly Robinson (Robert Culp), along with his partner Alexander Scott (Bill Cosby), are on the run after a mission has gone bad. They end up at the farm where Kelly spent some summers as a youth.

Kelly hasn’t been there for 27 years and says he can’t even remember the voices of his Uncle Harry and Aunt Alta, who still tend the farm. The agents have no choice but to hide out there. Their mission was to identify a group of saboteurs, who have covers as businessmen. But the saboteurs figured out who Kelly and Scott were and are hunting the agents. Meanwhile, “the department” told the agents if they were discovered, they’d have to get out of it on their own, there would be no backup.

All of this sets up a kill-or-be-killed scenario. Kelly is particularly guilty about involving his relatives but it doesn’t matter. The saboteurs are simply going to kill everyone. Eventually, after Kelly finally tells Harry and Alta who he really is, the agents booby trap the farmhouse with everyday objects (stretching that definition a bit, such as having some old blasting caps, plus a few sticks of dynamite, which the saboteurs had planted in Harry’s car). Harry has his own rifle and an older rifle that Kelly shot as a boy. The latter doesn’t have much stopping power but Kelly fires it to set off some of the booby traps now in the house.

Harry (Will Geer) is an ornery old cuss, not unlike Albert Finney’s Kincade. Harry was also a deputy sheriff at one time, so he’s not totally inexperienced at this sort of thing. Alta (Una Merkel) doesn’t have any experience at all, but still helps with the booby traps, not unlike Judi Dench’s M in Skyfall.

The story was the seventh, and final, I Spy episode written by Culp. The actor didn’t have a good feeling about the show’s pilot and proceeded to write four scripts for the first season. One of those stories (So Long, Patrick Henry) would be the first aired by NBC while the pilot wouldn’t be shown until about midway through the first season.

Also, here’s a shoutout to 007 fan Gary Firuta, who pinged us about this some time back. We finally got around to rewatching our copy of the I Spy episode this week. Meanwhile, a respondent to the Double O Section blog mentioned it. You can CLICK HERE to see it (search for the word “Judgment.”)

Skyfall’s Oscar campaign and its quirks

Daniel Craig, among those being suggested for consideration in Skyfall Oscar ads.

Skyfall’s Oscar campaign puts forth Daniel Craig “for your consideration” to Oscar voters.

Sony Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer definitely are pressing to secure Oscar nominations for Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond movie. The studios are buying ads on entertainment news sites such as Deadline Hollywood, with rotating banner ads listing possible Oscar-worthy performers and crew “for your consideration.”

Perhaps the most detailed list in the Skyfall Oscar campaign is a list of suggested nominees on THE FILM’S OFFICIAL WEB SITE. It urges that Skyfall be considered for:

Best Picture (Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli; producers receive the Best Picture Oscar)

Best Director (Sam Mendes)

Best Adapted Screenplay (emphasis added, which we’ll discuss in a moment, Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan)

Best Actor (Daniel Craig); Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw and Albert Finney); Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench, Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris)

Various crew categories including cinematography (Roger Deakins), editing (Stuart Baird), original score (Thomas Newman) and song (Adele and Paul Epworth).

A few questions:

Adapted screenplay? Adapted from what? The on-screen credit reads, “Written by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan.” Generally, you use “written by” for an original screenplay, i.e. one not based on an existing novel, play, short story, etc.

It’s pretty well known that the writing crew took parts of Ian Fleming’s You Only Live Twice and The Man With the Golden Gun novels as a starting point, in particular Twice’s Chapter 21, an obituary of Bond written by M. But the movie’s credits don’t acknowledge this. It’s “Daniel Craig as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007” in the main titles, but there’s no mention of other Fleming source material, unlike 2006’s Casino Royale, which mentioned Fleming twice, including the Casino Royale novel.

In the “old days,” the titles said “Ian Fleming’s From Russia With Love,” or Goldfinger, Thunderball, etc. which implied it was based on a Fleming story. That was true even when chunks were thrown out, such as 1967’s You Only Live Twice or 1979’s Moonraker. This would be followed by a “Screenplay by” credit, which often implies adapting other source material.

“Screenplay by” can also be used for an original story that has been rewritten substantially such as “Screenplay by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Bruce Feirstein, Story by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade,” as in 1999’s The World Is Not Enough. Purvis and Wade did the original screenplay, with Feirstein doing the final rewrite. (Dana Stevens also did drafts in-between but didn’t get a credit.)

Something similar happened with Skyfall: Purvis and Wade wrote the early drafts, then Logan was brought in to rewrite. But Skyfall’s writing credit is relatively streamlined compared with TWINE’s.

UPDATE: We went to the Web site of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the SPECIAL RULES FOR THE WRITING AWARDS but that wasn’t much help. It reads:

1.An award shall be given for the best achievement in each of two categories:

Adapted Screenplay

Original Screenplay

2.A Reminder List of all pictures eligible in each category shall be made available along with nominations ballots to all members of the Writers Branch, who shall vote in the order of their preference for not more than five productions in each category.
3.The five productions in each category receiving the highest number of votes shall become the nominations for final voting for the Writing awards.
4.Final voting for the Writing awards shall be restricted to active and life Academy members.

One possibility: even though Skyfall has an original story, the character of James Bond is adapted from another medium, so therefore Skyfall’s script is considered “adapted” by the academy.

UPDATE II: The writer’s branch of the academy is also known for being prickly about what’s eligible for an original screenplay award, sometimes ruling what seem like original scripts are adapted. CLICK HERE to view a story in The Wrap Web site about a 2010 example.

Berenice Marlohe or Berenice Lim Marlohe? The Oscar push again highlights the oddity of how the actress was billed one way in ads and another in the movie’s titles.

One editor or two? As we’ve noted before, Stuart Baird was listed as sole editor in Skyfall ads, but in the main titles it listed Baird and Kate Baird as editors, with Kate Baird’s name in smaller letters. Also (which we only caught on a subsequent viewing), Kate Baird is also listed as first assistant editor in the end titles.

Could Skyfall generate 007 `slash’?

Ben Whishaw as Q l and Daniel Craig as Bond in a Skyfall publicity still

Ben Whishaw and Daniel Craig in a Skyfall publicity still.

Skyfall, besides having the highest ticket sales in the history of the 007 series, may generate something else: James Bond “slash.”

Slash is DEFINED BY WIKIPEDIA.ORG as a “genre of fan fiction that focuses on the depiction of interpersonal attraction and/or sexual relationships between fictional characters of the same sex.” According to the online encyclopedia: “It is commonly believed that current slash fanfiction originated within the Star Trek: The Original Series fan fiction fandom, with “Kirk/Spock” stories – generally authored by female fans of the series – first appearing in the late 1970s.”

Slash can also show up as illustrations or music videos utilizing re-edited clips of a television series. Besides Star Trek, other old television series, including The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Wild, Wild West as well as non-spy shows such as Starsky and Hutch have inspired slash.

Until now, 007 hasn’t been known for slash. Bond has been a lone wolf. It’s not like Star Trek where you had two characters of equal stature as in the television series that inspired slash.

But that may be changing with Skyfall’s introduction of a young Q, played by Ben Whishaw, opposite Daniel Craig’s Bond. Some slash-themed illustrations are showing up on Internet art sites. depicting Bond and Q as more than just friends. You can CLICK HERE to see a sampling of slash and non-slash Bond-Q illustrations on the Deviant Art Web site. The slash illustrations aren’t explicit but could be considered to have a mature theme.

The movie itself included a scene with a scene which, for some, raised the question whether 007 had a bisexual past when Bond meets Silva (Javier Bardem), the film’s villain for the first time. CLICK HERE to view a Nov. 6 Hollywood Reporter story that references that angle, which includes comments from John Logan, one of Skyfall’s screenwriters.

Fans of shows that have slash stories and art have been known to debate the subject. Sometimes, the arguments can get pretty heated. It remains to be seen whether there will be a slash component to Bond fandom aside from the occasional Internet illustration.

UPDATED: our final Skyfall accuracy checklist (spoilers)

SPOILERS: Just like the headline says this has SPOILERS. Stop reading now if you haven’t seen the movie.

Here’s our final checklist concerning the accuracy of various reports about Skyfall dating back as far back as 2010. Sources varied from U.K. tabloids with a tawdry reputation to trade publications and entertainment news Web sites.

Ben Whishaw would be the new Q: Reported by the BBC in 2011, citing Whishaw’s agent. Formally announced in July 2012. Check. Daniel Craig proclaimed, “Agents are liars,” when asked about reports concerning Whishaw playing Q prior to the July announcement. Not in this case.

Skyfall is the title: First reported by the Fusible Web site before the title was confirmed in November 2011. Check.

Ralph Fiennes is in the cast: reported by the Daily Mail in February 2011 and Variety later. Check.

Albert Finney is in the cast: reported in the Daily Mail on Oct. 28, 2011. Check.

Naomie Harris is in the cast: Reported in June 2011 by the now-defunct News of the World. Check.

Berenice Marlohe is the cast: Reported Sept. 29, 2011, by a Web site called Twitch. Check.

Bond will have a beard during at least part of Skyfall: reported by the Sun newspaper in the U.K. on Oct. 21, 2011. Check.

Skyfall will have November 2012 release date: Reported by Nikke Finke’s Deadline entertainment news Web site in late 2010, before the Skyfall title was chosen. Confirmed in news release from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions in early 2011. Later release dated tweaked so that U.K. release will be in October 2012, while the November 2012 date still applies to the U.S. Check.

Javier Bardem offered a role in Skyfall: First reported by by the Deadline Web site in January 2011. Check.

Sam Mendes being considered to direct Skyfall: Reported by the Deadline Web site in January 2010. Check. Mendes denied the news in an article in The Wall Street Journal DAYS after his publicist confirmed talks were underway.

Skyfall the last appearance for Judi Dench’s M: Reported by the BEST FOR FILM WEB SITE in April 2012. Check.

Naomie Harris’s Eve turns out to be Miss Moneypenny.. This idea was pushed repeatedly by the U.K. Daily Mail newspaper. CLICK HERE for one of multiple examples. The Daily Mail was decried for pushing rubbish on fan message boards and major 007 fan sites but, in the end, was proven correct. Check

Mendes says The Dark Knight inspired Skyfall

“Why so serious, 007?”

It turns out comparisons between Skyfall, the new 007 movie, and Christopher Nolan-directed Batman movies were on target. Skyfall director Sam Mendes says The Dark Knight, the second of Nolan’s trilogy of Bat movies, was an inspiration for the 23rd James Bond film.

The director is quoted by THE PLAYLIST:

Just as “Casino Royale” reinvigorated the Bond series, Christopher Nolan did the same with his ‘Dark Knight’ series and when asked, Mendes says he was “directly inspired” by what those films achieved.

“In terms of what [Nolan] achieved, specifically ‘The Dark Knight,’ the second movie, what it achieved, which is something exceptional. It was a game changer for everybody,” he explained about how it influenced his approach.

“We’re now in an industry where movies are very small or very big and there’s almost nothing in the middle,” he continued. “And it would be a tragedy if all the serious movies were very small and all the popcorn movies were very big and have nothing to say. And what Nolan proved was that you can make a huge movie that is thrilling and entertaining and has a lot to say about the world we live in, even if, in the case with ‘The Dark Knight,’ it’s not even set in our world.”

Comparisons between Skyfall and The Dark Knight began earlier this year when Skyfall’s teaser trailer came out. There was a silhouette of Javier Bardem’s villain Silva that resembled Heath Ledger’s Joker from 2008’s The Dark Knight. Ledger ended up winning a posthumous Oscar for best supporting actor.

The comparisons have continued, with a number of early reviews commenting on similarities between the Mendes-directed Skyfall and Nolan-helmed Batman movies. Nolan, meanwhile, is an acknowledged James Bond fan and his 2010 film Inception included an homage to 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Now, it appears, Mendes may have done an homage — at least in spirit — the other way to Nolan’s dark take on Batman, which concluded with this year’s The Dark Knight Rises.

To read the entire story by The Playlist, CLICK HERE.

British bookies set odds for Skyfall’s Oscar chances

The general public hasn’t even had a chance to see Skyfall yet, but British bookies are taking bets whether the 23rd James Bond film will get nominated or win Academy Awards.

According to THIS ARTICLE AT FLICKERING MYTH.COM, the following odds are in place: 1-7 that Adele’s title song gets nominated for Best Song; 5-4 that Adele’s title song wins the Oscar in that category; 3-1 that Skyfall is nominated for Best Picture; and 33-1 that Skyfall gets the Best Picture Oscar.

An excerpt:

In terms of what defines Oscar-bait, lets just remind ourselves what has been nominated before now. Inception, Christopher Nolan’s dream-like James Bond adventure, managed to nab a nomination in 2010 whilst The Departed, a foreign-film remake with guns-and-gangsters seemed an unlikely winner upon reflection. Skyfall has actors including Ralph Fiennes (nominated for a supporting role in Schindler’s List and a lead-actor role in The English Patient), Javier Bardem (winner of Best Supporting Actor in No Country for Old Men and nominated twice for Lead Actor in Biutiful and Before Night Falls), M is again played by Judi Dench (Oscar-winner for her short-role in Shakespeare in Love and nominated for her roles in Mrs Brown, Chocolat, Iris, Mrs Henderson Presents and Notes on a Scandal) and Daniel Craig has starred in a few Oscar contenders (Munich was nominated for Best Picture and The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo had an acting-nod for Rooney Mara).

The article also notes that director Sam Mendes, director of photography Roger Deakins and composer Thomas Newman have all either won or been nominated for Oscars. Not mentioned is John Logan, one of the movie’s three credited screenwriters, who has three Oscar nominations.

To date, Bond films have won two Oscars, for sound in Goldfinger and special effects in Thunderball. A 007 film hasn’t been nominated since 1981’s For Your Eyes Only got a nomination for Best Song. “But with the barrage of positive reviews for Skyfall coming in, you have to ask yourself whether this is their time,” the Flickering Myth article says. “Indeed, if it does manage to garner a nod in any of the acting, writing, directing – or the ‘untouchable’ Best Picture category – what a day that would be.”

UPDATE: Graham Rye, publisher of 007 Magazine, is picking up on this in his TWITTER FEED:

Graham Rye ‏@GrahamRye
You can’t put a value on an intelligent coherent script, which SKYFALL most certainly has! Purvis & Wade & John Logan have excelled!.

Graham Rye ‏@GrahamRye
But more importantly for me, SKYFALL is the most perfect example of 21st Century British filmmaking at its *very best*!

Graham Rye ‏@GrahamRye
SKYFALL deserves to win a handful of Oscars.

Intriguing hints about Skyfall in some early reviews

Daniel Craig, awaiting the Skyfall reviews

While we’ve done our best to keep this spoiler free, if you’re feint-hearted about this sort of thing, stop reading now.

We looked over some early Skyfall reviews after a press preview in the U.K. on Oct. 12. The writers generally tried to avoid just reciting the plot verbatim but it’s hard to review a movie without saying something about the plot. In any case, there were some intriguing snippets in the reviews. Some examples follow.


The review says the 23rd 007 film, directed by Sam Mendes, is like a Christopher Nolan-directed 007 film without Nolan.

Best of all is the bad guy. (Javier) Bardem was always a tantalizing choice to play a Bond villain, and his Silva is a terrific creation, and certainly the most memorable villain in the series in decades. There’s too many fun surprises to the character to give away here, but rest assured that Silva — who again, owes more than a little to a Nolan character, namely Heath Ledger’s Joker — hits the center of the funny/strange/scary Venn Diagram beautifully, with the actor making some bold choices that payed off with a huge reaction from the audience in London tonight. (emphasis added)

The reviewer says Mendes-Bond (or sort-of-Nolan Bond) is closer to classic 007 than other recent entries.

(T)here’s a real sense of mystery to the plot, giving the film a propulsive whodunnit-and-why momentum that lasts into the final act. But it’s also crucially never dour; the emo-Bond of “Quantum Of Solace” is nowhere to be found, with Mendes treating things with a light, playful touch throughout.

The review is less enthusiastic about Skyfall’s running time, which reaches nearly two-and-a-half hours. The review gives the film a B-Plus grade.


The writer, who had a number of scoops about Skyfall while it was in pre-production and production, fawns over the movie.

This Bond adventure directed by Sam Mendes is pure classic 007 fare , back on firm footing after the less than memorable Quantum of Solace.

Skyfall was a fantastic combination of 007 meets Bourne meets Spooks meets Home Alone.

Graham Rye who has published the Double-O-Seven Magazine for 30 years, hailed the film as ‘brilliant’ and said it’s ‘up there in the top five of all the 23 films made in the world’s most famous film franchise’.

When I asked how many stars he would give Skyfall out of five he said: ‘That’s not the right number.’

He waited a beat and declared: ‘It’s a 10 star Bond film. It’s up there with the best of them.’

The writer also spills the beans about Albert Finney and his character, gives away one of the meanings of the film’s title and boasts one of his still-unverified scoops (which references in a coy way) is proven to be true. Which scoop? It’s mentioned in THIS JULY 13 HMSS WEBLOG POST. Obviously, don’t click if you want to stay spoiler free.


The review tries to out-fawn the Daily Mail, with a headline, “The coolest James Bond film yet.”

This film is stylish, witty and a class above the competition. It’s also irreverent about its past.

Daniel Craig again proves himself to be a great Bond.


Joining Craig in Skyfall is the most impressive set of actors and actresses ever assembled in one Bond film


Another review saying Sam Mendes is channeling Christopher Nolan, director of the 2005-2012 Batman trilogy released by Warner Bros.

Sam Mendes’s frequently dazzling, utterly audacious entry in the franchise has less in common with its much-loved predecessors than Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. After its release in 2008 (when it left Quantum of Solace, the 22nd Bond film, trailing in its wake), Nolan’s pathbreaking superhero picture almost single-handedly reconfigured the modern blockbuster template. Like a wise old dog, 007 has studied it carefully, and learned some new tricks. (emphasis added)

Happy Global James Bond Day

“Happy 50th, James.”

The 50th anniversary of the James Bond film series has arrived. It’s Oct. 5 in the U.K., Global James Bond Day, as we type this; in the U.S. it’s merely Global James Bond Eve.

The Adele theme song for Skyfall, the 23rd film in the 007 series is now live:

Other Oct. 5 activities include a program in Los Angeles hosted by Jon Burlingame and including Vic Flick and Don Black concerning 007 music. Burlingame is an expert on film and television music who has written a new book titled THE MUSIC OF JAMES BOND. The official 007 Facebook page also is scheduled to release details of its fan survey concerning the favorite film of the series produced by Eon Production.

Meanwhile, for those who missed it the first time, is our series about the 50th anniversary of Dr. No, which made its debut on Oct. 5, 1962, in the U.K. but wasn’t seen in other countries until 1963.

Happy anniversary, Commander Bond.

UPDATE (Oct. 5): Epix has come out with a Skyfall preview it uploaded to YouTube. The principals say many of the things they’ve said previously, although Barbara Broccoli now says Javier Bardem will be the best Bond villain ever.

Quick reactions to the new Skyfall trailers

SEMI-SPOILERS. We’ve had a chance to look over the new international and U.S. trailers for Skyfall. While each is only about two-and-a-half minutes long, they’re the most revealing glimpse yet. We’ll call these observations semi-spoilers. Anybody who has read certain key writings by Ian Fleming won’t be surprised but many 007 film fans haven’t read the books.

“You were expecting somebody else?”

So if you don’t want to know *anything at all*, stop reading now. Without further ado:

More Ian Fleming content this time out: There have been signs for a while that director Sam Mendes and his writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan had tapped into Chapter 21 of Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel, You Only Live Twice. The chapter is Bond’s obituary as published in The Times of London, written by M.

First, pictures taken by a nature photographer surfaced in March of an outdoor Skyfall set, that included tombstones for Bond’s parents, whose names are referenced in the obituary in Fleming’s novel. Now, in the new trailers, we briefly see Judi Dench’s M writing 007’s obituary and are shown why the world thinks Bond is dead.

This raises the question whether Mendes & Co. are also dipping into Fleming’s final 007 novel, The Man With the Golden Gun. In that story, a brainwashed Bond, turns up in London and tries to kill M. We’re NOT predicting Skyfall goes that far, but in the trailers Bond surprises M after his “death.”

During the November Skyfall press conference, the principals said the new movie had no connections to an Ian Fleming stories (That occurs around the 15:00 mark if you check out the video embedded in that link). Then, in late April, Mendes & Co. emphasized how Skyfall was true to Fleming.

Evidently, there was some “misdirection” going on in November. We’re intrigued by the apparent renewed emphasis on Fleming material. So we’ll leave it at that.

Question No. 2: Could Javier Bardem’s Silva be a revamped version of Fleming’s Francisco Scaramanga? Bardem, with his blonde wig doesn’t have “hair reddish in a crew cut” like Scaramanga did, so he’s not a physical twin.

In 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun, very little of the novel was actually used. Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga was more sophisticated chap than his literary counterpart while retaining the basic back story (which Lee briefly recites in a scene with Roger Moore).

Still, could Bardem’s Silva be possibly channeling the literary Scaramanga? Skyfall could end up, in terms of amount of Fleming content, being like 2002’s Die Another Day. The first half of that movie was a de facto adaptation of Fleming’s 1955 Moonraker novel. Both Moonraker and You Only Live Twice were cases where the movie of the same name used little of the source material.

More homages in Skyfall to previous 007 films: We had the same reaction to seeing a bootleg copy of a Skyfall trailer last week (evidently a pirated copy of a special Imax trailer for Skyfall). In the new trailers, Q (Ben Whishaw) gives Bond (Daniel Craig) a new Walther that can only be fired by 007 and nobody else. Desmond Llewelyn provided Timothy Dalton’s Bond a gun with similar technology in Licence to Kill.

We’re hoping Skyfall doesn’t go too far overboard with the homages. Die Another Day, the 40th anniversary Bond film, did so and it turned into a game of “Where’s Waldo?” that got distracting. In the new trailers, there’s a shot of a helicopter turning that looks much like a similar shot in Die Another Day’s pre-credit sequence. *IF* that’s an intended homage (and not a coincidence), we’re not sure you have to go that far.

New Skyfall trailer debuts, first Silva dialogue included

The newest Skyfall trailer debuted today on the official 007.com at 2 p.m. in the U.K. and 9 a.m. ET in the U.S. After a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of Javier Bardem’s villain Silva in an NBC commeercial last week, the new trailer includes Silva’s first dialogue. Silva, indeed, is supposed to be blonde.

The trailer also indicates that director Sam Mendes & Co. have borrowed from a literary device Ian Fleming used in his 1964 novel You Only Live Twice. Those who’ve read the book will instantly recognize it.

Finally, the trailer uses a more traditional version of the James Bond Theme. If you haven’t seen it already, take a look:

UPDATE I: The trailer at least partially confirms some fan analysis of clues (some of it based on call sheets and storyboards that were sold on eBay). Bond goes missing, lives the soft life for a while and has to get into shape for a new mission.

That’s not unlike Robert Conrad’s James West in The Wild, Wild West Revisited in 1979, a TV-movie that was played more for laughs than the original 1965-69 series. (And no, we’re not saying that’s a deliberate influence, just noting the coincidence.)

UPDATE II: An amusing Tweet from “Ernst Stavro Blofeld” (well, one of them):

So in #SKYFALL Bond gets ‘killed’ and comes back to life. Haven’t we seen this movie before? #YouOnlyLiveTwice

UPDATE III: This morning we embedded the international trailer. Here’s the somewhat different U.S. trailer: