Common thread in 007 scripts: Making Bond bigger

Sean Connery in a 007 publicity still

Sean Connery in a 007 publicity still

There’s something a number of James Bond scripts have in common: There are attempts to build up supporting characters. But in the end, there’s only one top dog. And his name is Bond, James Bond.

007 collector Gary J. Firuta has provided copies of a number of Bond scripts. In a June 1966 draft, screenwriter Roald Dahl had Japanese agent Suki more of an active participant in the Kobe docks action sequence. Both Bond and Suki are shooting it out with thugs at one point. In the final film, however, agent Aki doesn’t do a whole lot, except flee to report to Japanese spy chief Tiger Tanaka.

In both Jack Whittingham’s first draft for what would become Thunderball as well as a later Richard Maibaum-John Hopkins draft, Felix Leiter also is more of an active participant in events. In the final 1965 film, Felix (Rik Van Nutter) gets punched by 007 in the stomach (so Felix won’t say “007” before Bond does so) and watches Bond (Sean Connery) do his thing.

In Richard Maibaum’s rewrite for The Man With the Golden Gun, Lt. Hip *and his nieces* infiltrate the martial arts school where an abducted Bond has been taken. They end up saving him from being finished off by prized pupil Chula. Not so in the final movie, where Bond (at the last second) fights off Chula and escapes *and then* encounters Hip and the nieces.

Finally, here’s an example the blog CITED IN 2009 about the differences between the Goldfinger novel and film. In Ian Fleming’s novel, it was Bond’s caddie who figured out how Goldfinger was cheating. In the film, Bond does it by himself while the caddie nods his approval.

Rev. Moon and his 007 connection

Terence Young

Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, has died at age 92. His obituaries make for interesting reading for a number of reasons, but we’re noting it because of his James Bond connection.

That connection? Well, as the Deadline entertainment Web site notes, the Unification Church financed 1981’s Inchon, which was a big critical and financial bomb. The film told the story behind one of the key battles of the Korean War and was directed by Terence Young, who helmed three of the first four James Bond movies.

Paul Scrabo’s “Bond Memories” video series noted a number of 007 connections in the cast, including Gabriele Ferzetti and (probably) Rik Van Nutter. The video also has some behind-the-scenes footage:

Also, in “Bond Vivant,” a John Cork-directed documentary that’s an extra on 007 DVDs, actress Luciana Paluzzi describes how Young took a quick break from filming Inchon to give her away at her wedding. Paluzzi, of course, was the femme fatale in Thunderball, Young’s last 007 movie.

007 things we missed the first time watching Bond movies

This year, of course, marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the James Bond movie series. And, it goes without saying, some 007 fans have viewed each film multiple times. Even tens of times. But there are some things that people don’t notice until well after they first saw it. In some cases, decades after they first saw it. So here are some examples:

001. Mr. Jones’s changing dashboard in Dr. No: In 1994, Peter Hunt, film editor of the first four 007 films made by Eon Productions, was guest of honor at a James Bond fan convention in Los Angeles. Hunt was very British and understated in his presentation. But you got the impression he had a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

Why? The way he told it (at least this is how we remember him telling it), fans felt so superior being able to catch mistakes watching 007 films on their VCRs. Hunt remarked how his job as editor was to rush the viewers through a scene so they wouldn’t notice the mistakes. He played a clip from Dr. No where “Mr. Jones,” in reality an operative for Dr. No, picks Bond up at the Kingston airport. It turns out Mr. Jones had an interesting car, one that could change dashboard colors in an instant.

When we first see Mr. Jones pick up Bond, the car has a red dashboard above the instrument panel. But, in an insert shot at the 19:18 mark, it’s black. Then it reversts to black at the 19:24 mark. Hunt showed the clip to impress upon the fans that the editing department worked really hard to move the audience past such gaffes.

002. Bond’s remarkable hair in Dr. No: After having vanquished Dr. No, agent 007 (Sean Connery) is anxious to find Honey Rider (Ursula Andress). As he exits Dr. No’s reactor room, he removes a uniform he took from one of Dr. No’s men at the 1:45:31 mark. His hair is disheveled and he runs his hands through his hair at the 1:45:34 mark as he goes through a hatch. Upon coming out the other side at the 1:45:36 mark, not a hair is out of place, as if he had been worked on by a professional hairdresser. Pretty good for running your hands through your hair once. To be honest, we never noticed that until Dr. No was on TCM a few years back.

Junkanoo revelers wearing 007 hats observe a dog taking a bathroom break in Thunderball.

003. Junkanoo revelers wear hats with “007” on them (Thunderball). Here we thought James Bond was a secret agent and this was his top-secret code number. A moment of honesty: we didn’t notice that until that until TBS showed Thunderball during one of its James Bond marthons in the 1990s.

004. The Thunderball dog decides to take a pee: It’s in the same shot as the folks with the 007 hats, but we didn’t notice the dog until the next time we saw the movie.

005. Felix Leiter’s disappearing pants (Thunderball): The fourth 007 film has lots of continuity errors. The one that gets written up the most is during the underwater fight when Bond rips off a blask mask from a dead SPECTRE frogman, puts it on and it’s suddenly blue. But there’s another continuity error that, for our money, is more glaring (even if we didn’t catch it the first few times).

Bond and Felix Leiter (Rik Van Nutter) are searching for the hijacked NATO bomber and Bond thinks he has found it. Leiter puts their helicopter down on the water. At the 1:33:20 mark, he’s wearing swim trunks. At the 1:34:23 mark, Leiter has black pants on. We see Bond dive down where he indeed finds the bomber. As he returns at the 1:36:23 mark, Leiter has his swim trunks, then pants at the 1:36:26 mark then swim trunks again at 1:36:30.

006. Siberian palm trees (You Only Live Twice): At the 58:54 mark of the fifth James Bond film, we see the Soviet Union launch a manned rocket. On the side of the shot, we see palm trees (while not noticing them the first few times) on the side of the shot. In reality, Eon used file footage from a U.S. space shot in Florida, even if that didn’t match how the Soviets conducted space launches from Siberia.

007. Mathis’s villa (Quantum of Solace): For Quantum of Solace, Eon promised its first “direct sequel” that would begin a short while (the exact time varied depending on who was being quoted) after Casino Royale. Now you could overlook some continuity issues (Totally different looking MI6 headquarters? Well, Eon did change production designers). Still, there’s one glaring one that just doesn’t wash.

At the end of Casino, we’re told that Rene Mathis is still being interrogated by MI6. Bond tells M to keep “sweating” him even though he appears to be cleared. When we catch up to Mathis in Quantum, MI6 has bought him a villa, he’s moved in and he has a live-in girlfriend. This point was discussed recently among the HMSS staff. It went something like this:

HMSS #1: And don’t forget how MI6 bought Mathis a “sorry-we-tortured-you villa” just two hours after Casino Royale entered.

HMSS #2 (look of realization comes over his face): You just made me enjoy that movie even less.

HMSS #1: Sorry.

UPDATE: Based on the one response to this post, time to remind people about reality. A cell phone is like a GPS device. You can track someone down (at least MI6 could) shortly after getting the cell phone number. It wouldn’t have taken weeks for Bond to track down Mr. White once he had his cell phone number. If it did: 1.) Mr. White isn’t as smart as a street thug (who use disposable cell phones) and 2.) Bond was an idiot for taking “weeks” to track Mr. White down. We suspect neither Mr. White nor Bond was that clueless. Once again, denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Also, there are references to Casino taking place in 2006 and Quantum in 2008. Two years to track down Mr. White?