TCM 007 update

On the Saturday afternoon telecast of Diamonds Are Forever, TCM weekend host Ben Mankiewicz didn’t mention his family’s connection to the movie. According to imdb.com, Ben is cousin once removed of Diamonds co-screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz.

Ben Mankiewicz in his introduction said United Artists paid Sean Connery $2 million to come back to the role. Robert Osborne, in the Friday night telecast, quoted $1.25 million, a sum also referenced in the documentary Inside Diamonds Are Forever. Mankiewicz described On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as the series’ first “major hiccup.”

Mankiewicz’s summary after the movie concentrated on how Diamonds was the last film appearance of Bruce Cabot, whose best-known credit was appearing in the original King Kong.

After the movie, TCM telecast a short bit where director Sidney Lumet, who worked with Connery on five films, discussed Connery. Lumet said the Bond films “appeared to be nothing but charm.” The director added, “‘Nothing but charm’ ain’t easy” and that most of that was because of Connery’s acting. Most of this short feature had Lumet talking about Connery’s work in The Hill, their first movie together.

Questions about You Only Live Twice

While watching You Only Live Twice for the umteenth time on TCM, we starting stockpiling a few nagging questions about the movie’s plot. Yes, it’s not intended to hold up to such examination but what the heck. For example:

1. Bond trains to be a ninja at Tiger Tanaka’s top-secret ninja training facility. Yet, not one but two SPECTRE assassins infiltrate the place. Is it that top secret?

2. What happened to the two Soviet cosmonauts and one American astronauts that Bond freed? Did they slip into the same limbo the reformed scientist did when he fell off the Disco Volante in Thunderball?

3. A number of others have posed this question, so we’ll repeat it here. Japanese agent Aki tells Tiger to arrange “the usual reception please.” A helicopter with a giant magnet hauls a car of thugs and drops it into Tokyo Bay. Usual? How often the Japanese Secret Service do this? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly?

4. Did screenwriter Roald Dahl screw up when Henderson hands Bond a stirred Martini? Or was Bond merely being polite and not commenting that Henderson got it wrong?

5. Another one we’ll have to credit to others but…when did Siberia (where the Soviets launch their spaceships) develop palm trees?

6. Just what was in all those barrels labeled “Osato Chemicals” on the floor of Blofeld’s volcano hideout? At one point, Bond shoots a thug standing right by one of those barrels. What would have happened if Bond had missed and hit the barrel instead? Looks like workplace safety wasn’t one of Blofeld’s strong points.

7. Is it really a full-time job for one guy to open and close the crater? It looks like only one SPECTRE guy is entrusted with the task. Yet after Bond kills him, he figures out pretty quickly which lever to pull. Perhaps workplace efficiency wasn’t one of Blofeld’s strong points, either.

8. Earlier in the movie, Bond is flying in the “Little Nelly” mini-copter over the volcano hideout. Suddenly, he’s being attacked by four SPECTRE helicopters. Had SPECTRE just done nothing, wouldn’t have Bond just flown by, never the wiser?

9. Again a question posed by others, but what camera is in outer space beaming back all those live pictures back to SPECTRE?

10. It seems to take Bond and Kissy all day to climb up to the top of volcano containing Blofeld’s hideout. In fact, it’s past midnight when they finally get down to the crater (the U.S. spacecraft has launched and we’re told that was happening at midnight Japan time). Bond tells Kissy to get Tanaka. Despite a long swim (and avoiding a helicopter firing at her), she seems to get back a lot faster. So: did Bond and Kissy walk up *really* slowly in the first place? Or did Kissy somehow bend the time-space continum? Or did Peter Hunt and his editing crew either not notice this or were unable to do anything about this?

11. Was anyone even slightly fooled by Bond being disguised as a Japanese man?

TCM starts promos for 007/Connery movies

TCM has started running a promo for “star of the month” Sean Connery in May. As you might expect, it relies heavily on Connery appearances in his six James Bond movies filmed for Eon Productions.

Throughout the promo, TCM uses the dots from the main titles of Dr. No superimposed over clips from that movies, the five other Connery/Eon/007 movies as well as clips from non-Bond Connery films such as The Hill and The Wind And The Lion. The promo also uses a piece of music that evokes The James Bond Theme but is different enough that TCM won’t have to pay any royalties to Monty Norman.

In all, TCM will have 15 Connery movies, starting Friday, May 1, with Dr. No and From Russia With Love.