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 »