BBC Radio 2 schedules Roger Moore special

Roger Moore in a 1980s publicity still

BBC Radio 2 has scheduled a two-hour special about Roger Moore for Boxing Day, Dec. 26.

Sir Roger Moore: Nobody Did It Better will air from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. that day, according to a BBC Radio 2 schedule of holiday programs.

The special will include interviews conducted since Moore’s death in May. Among those interviewed: Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions; his daughter, Deborah Moore; and actor Michael Caine, a friend of Moore’s.

There also will be archived interviews where “Roger himself discusses his life and his work, his family and his friendships,” according to the program description.

Moore played James Bond in seven films produced by Eon after starring as The Saint in a successful 1960s television series. He was also a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.

Pinewood renames stage in honor of Roger Moore

Pinewood Group PLC logo

Pinewood Studios renamed one of its stages in honor of actor Roger Moore, according to an announcement via Twitter.

The new structure now is known as The Roger Moore Stage, Pinewood said.

The actor’s official Twitter feed, which has remained active since his death in May, provided a photo of the full announcement.

There was also a tribute to Moore, who starred in seven James Bond films and the 1960s television version of The Saint. Some of those attending posted on Twitter about the event.

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UK voters disregard Craig, 007 producers on Brexit vote

Daniel Craig photo opposing Brexit

Daniel Craig photo opposing Brexit

UK voters weren’t swayed by 007 (both the actor playing him and the producers employing him).

Britain voted Thursday to depart the European Union. Daniel Craig, who played James Bond for four movies, and Eon Productions co-bosses Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were among celebrities and movie producers who had publicly urged voters to stay in the EU.

The Thursday vote is “a historic decision sure to reshape the nation’s place in the world, rattle the Continent and rock political establishments throughout the West,” Steven Erlanger wrote in a story in The New York Times.

Craig had been among celebrities, including former soccer star David Beckham, who came out in support of the UK staying in the EU. Other celebrities, such as actor Michael Caine and author Frederick Forsyth, urged the UK depart the EU.

Broccoli and Wilson were among about 20 movie producers who said the UK’s membership in the EU had provided funds to help the nation’s movie industry.

The vote is a huge story with worldwide implications. The 007 angle is only a small part of the story. Still, in this case, the 007 contingent didn’t convice the UK electorate.

 

TCM has a night of spy films on Jan. 25

TCM logo

Turner Classic Movies will show five spy films the evening of Jan. 25 and early-morning hours of Jan. 26.

Here’s the lineup. All times EST.

8 p.m.: Arabesque (1966), directed by Stanley Donen: Donen had a success with 1963’s Charade, a suspense film that included a bit of humor. That movie also included a score by Henry Mancini and titles by Maurice Binder.

Mancini and Binder reunited with Donen on Arabesque, with Gregory Peck as a university professor who gets involved with spies as well as a woman played by Sophia Loren.

Also present was Charade scripter Peter Stone. However, Stone took an alias (Pierre Marton) and shared the screenplay credit with Julian Mitchell and Stanley Price.

 10 p.m.: The Ipcress File (1965), directed by Sidney J. Furie: James Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman launched a second, less flamboyant, spy film series based on Len Deighton’s novels. This was a source of tension with Saltzman’s 007 partner, Albert R. Broccoli.

The name of Deighton’s spy wasn’t disclosed in the novel that’s the basis of this movie. The character, as played by Michael Caine, was christened Harry Palmer for the film.

For the first of three Palmer films, Saltzman hired a number of 007 film crew members, including composer John Barry, production designer Ken Adam and editor Peter Hunt.

12 a.m.: Our Man Flint (1966), directed by Delbert Mann: The first of two spy comedies with James Coburn as Derek Flint.

The movie takes nothing seriously, with an organization called ZOWIE (Zonal Organization for World Intelligence and Espionage). ZOWIE is headed by Kramden (Lee J. Cobb), who gets exasperated when he’s forced to recruit Flint (who wouldn’t follow orders when Kramden knew him during their military days). Kramden has no choice because ZOWIE computers have pinpointed Flint as the only man who can foil a plot by Galaxy.

The best things about the movie are Coburn’s winning performance as Flint and Jerry Goldsmith’s score. Goldsmith’s music elevates the proceedings. In terms of production values, it looks only slightly more expensive than the television series produced at the time by 20th Century Fox.

2 a.m.: Our Man in Havana (1959), directed by Carol Reed:  The director again collaborates with Graham Greene, who adapts one of his novels. Vacuum cleaaner salesman Alec Guiness is recruited by British spook Noel Coward to do some spying in Cuba before the revolution. The cast includes Maureen O’Hara, Burl Ives and Ernie Kovacks.

4 a.m.: The Prize (1963), directed by Mark Robson: A spy tale starring Paul Newman centered around the Nobel Prizes being awarded in Stockholm. The script is by Ernest Lehman, who wrote 1959’s North by Northwest. Here Lehman adapts an Irving Wallace novel. The cast includes Leo G. Carroll, who was also in North by Northwest and who would shortly take the role of Alexander Waverly in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Jerry Goldsmith provided the score.

Shoutout to Mark Henderson who brought this up on Facebook.

 

Funeral in Berlin gets new U.S. DVD release

Len Deighton and Michael Caine

Len Deighton and Michael Caine

Funeral in Berlin, the second Harry Saltzman-produced film based on Len Deighton’s spy novels and starring Michael Caine, is now available in a new DVD release in the U.S. through Warner Bros.’s Warner Archives.

Saltzman, co-founder of Eon Productions, producer of the James Bond film series, had ambitions beyond the 007 movies. At the same time, Saltzman summoned 007 film veterans to work on his Deighton-based films.

With 1966’s Funeral in Berlin, Saltzman hired Guy Hamilton, who helmed Goldfinger, as director. Also on board was Ken Adam as production designer and Peter Murton as art director. Other films in the series employed John Barry, Peter Hunt and Maurice Binder.

Warner Archive specializes in “manufactured on demand” (or MOD); the DVDs are made as they’re ordered and the sets aren’t available in stores. Warner Bros. has used Warner Archive for home video releases of properties in the vast WB library, including THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E. and THE FBI television series.

The price for Funeral in Berlin is $18.95 plus shipping and handling. For more information on ordering, CLICK HERE.

For more information, you can view the IMDB.COM pages for:

1965’S THE IPCRESS FILES

1966’s FUNERAL IN BERLIN

1967’s BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN

Len Deighton on From Russia With Love

Len Deighton and Michael Caine


The Deighton Dossier blog has a new interview with author Len Deighton. You can read the entire interview by CLICKING HERE One thing that caught our eye was Deighton’s description of his work on From Russia With Love, the second 007 film.

The Q and A featured questions from readers. One of those readers was Jeremy Duns, journalist (he dug out Ben Hecht’s screenplay drafts for producer Charles K. Feldman’s Casino Royale) and spy author.

Richard Maibaum got the screenplay credit for From Russia With Love, with Johanna Harwood receiving an “adapted by” credit. Maibaum had a long association with Eon Productions co-founder Albert R. Broccoli. On the early Bond films, Harry Saltzman, the other Eon co-founder, was involved heavily in developing the scripts and often sought English writers such as Paul Dehn and John Hopkins. Saltzman later produced the Harry Palmer series, starring Michael Caine, based on Deighton novels.

Here’s how Deighton in the Deighton Dossier interview, prompted by a question from Duns, described his time working on the film:

I’m very interested in your work on From Russia With Love – do you have any surviving drafts of your script and how do you regard it?

Len: I went to Istanbul with Harry Saltzman, plus the director and the art director. As with virtually all movies, the producer is the driving force who gets the idea, buys the rights, commissions the screenplay, chooses the actors and employs the director.

Harry demonstrated this creative power. We took breakfast together every day so that he could guide me and teach me how film stories worked. It was a wonderful course in movie making especially as the rest of each day was spent roaming around Istanbul with Harry plus the director and art director talking about locations and building the sets back in England.

I’ve always been rather careless about typescripts and notes etc. And having a restless disposition I have packed, unpacked and repacked countless times as my family and I lived in different countries, I don’t have much written stuff left.

Terence Young directed the movie and Syd Cain worked as art director, with Michael White as assistant art director.

The Deighton Dossier and this blog, are members of the Coalition Of Bloggers wRiting About Spies. We noticed the From Russia With Love mention from Tweets by Jeremy Duns.

3 things to note before declaring Skyfall best 007 movie ever

Last week, the entertainment Web site Whatculture! presented 5 Reasons Why Skyfall Might Be the Best James Bond Film Ever. Author Chris Wright opined:

I am confident that this will be the best of the series so far and a hell of a way to celebrate the momentous 50th Anniversary. (emphasis added)

Wright has bought into Barbara Broccoli’s comment how Skyfall may exceed the 22 previous installments of the series made by Eon Productions. What follows that people may want to keep in mind regard Whatculture!’s reasons that Skyfall will be the best:

An A-List cast and crew doesn’t guarantee success: Imagine a movie with at least five former or future Oscar winning actors and a crew that included a director, a composer, a director of photography and an editor who had all won Academy Awards. You’d have The Swarm, Irwin Allen’s 1978 disaster movie that was a critical and box office flop.

The cast included Michael Caine, Olivia de Havilland, Jose Ferrer, Patty Duke and Henry Fonda, all of whom had either won Oscars up until then or would receive them in the future. Producer-director Allen had an Oscar on his shelf (for a 1953 documentary), as did director of photography Fred Koenekamp, composer Jerry Goldsmith and editor Harold F. Kress. All of those crew members, including Allen, had other Oscar nominations.

Is this a pretty extreme example? Absolutely. But it’s not unique, either.

Third-time-the-charm rule has a mixed record: Author Wright, cites one of his reasons thusly:

With Skyfall marking Daniel Craig’s third time in the lead role, the history of the series suggests this might be his finest instalment. When Sean Connery and Roger Moore were both starting out in the role it took them both three films to fully settle into the part and make it their own. Goldfinger and The Spy Who Loved Me are both considered to be among the best of the series and it is no coincidence that these are both the third films for each actor.

What about Pierce Brosnan and The World is Not Enough? Brosnan’s third Bond movie did fine at the box office but it wasn’t universally proclaimed his best outing. Nor did the film have the impact of either Goldfinger or The Spy Who Loved Me, the latter giving the series a jump start. Maybe Daniel Craig’s third film will have that kind of impact, but again merely being the actor’s third film isn’t a guarantee.

The Aston Martin DB5?: The 1960s sports car has been driven by Bond in two mega hits (Goldfinger and Thunderball), in two Pierce Brosnan movies (GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies) and Craig’s Casino Royale. In terms of impact, it played a central role pretty much only in Goldfinger, where it was the movie’s centerpiece gadget. You don’t see it after Bond gets to Nassau in Thunderball. In the Brosnan and Craig movies to date it’s more like an homage to the earlier movies. In Casino Royale, Craig/Bond wins the DB5 in a poker game against a secondary villain. Any super-priced luxury car could have substituted had a DB5 not been available.

Despite that, Whatculture! says the DB5 will be a leading reason why Skyfall is No. 1.

Again, this is not a prediction that Skyfall is going to bomb at the box office or be a bad 007 movie. Fans say you can’t say that until the movie is out. Again, predicting Skyfall will be No. 001 among 007 movies is a matter of faith at this point.