Bullitt: Movie auto history in Detroit

The original Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt, on display at Ford Motor Co.’s stand today at the North American International Auto Show.

DETROIT — A car from the past was featured today at the North American International Auto Show, which normally introduces new models.

The car was the Ford Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in 1968’s Bullitt. It was one of two Mustangs in the film. The other was a stunt car.

One of the new models Ford Motor Co. unveiled was a 50th anniversary, 2019 “Bullitt Mustang.”

However, the new car may have been upstaged a bit by the original car, which was brought out as part of the new model’s introduction.

As part of the presentation, Ford used some of Lalo Schifrin’s score from the 1968 movie in a video promoting the new car. Also present was Molly McQueen, granddaughter of McQueen and Neile Adams. Molly McQueen was born seven years after the death of her grandfather.

UPDATE (Jan. 15): Hagerty, which insures classic cars, said in an e-mailed statement today that the 1968 Mustang from Bullitt, if it comes to auction, could fetch a price similar to the $4.1 million for the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 in 2010 and the $4.6 million for original Batmobile in 2013.

SPECTRE teaser poster unveiled: the McQueen look

The SPECTRE teaser poster was unveiled at 1 p.m. New York time. Star Daniel Craig’s look is similar to Steve McQueen in Bullitt — black turtleneck and shoulder holster.

Here’s the tweet from the official 007 Twitter feed

A reader reminds us that Roger Moore had a similar look in Live And Let Die when his James Bond had his final showdown with Dr. Kananga.

Bullitt was released in 1968 while Live And Let Die came out in 1973.

UPDATE: One of the Sony Pictures accounts on Twitter, in addition to tweeting a black and white version of the picture, said SPECTRE’s first trailer will be on MARCH 28.

Meanwhile, we’ve been reminded the “spy-in-a turtleneck” look was pioneered by David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

UPDATE (March 18): The Tweet from Sony giving the March 28 date for the teaser trailer was deleted sometime afterwards.

Behind the scenes on efforts to film Fleming’s The Diamond Smugglers

Jeremy Duns of The Sunday Times has an article about the unsuccessful efforts to turn Ian Fleming’s non-fiction book The Diamond Smugglers into a movie.

Duns first provides some background on the book, which centered on John Collard, a one-time MI5 operative who was part of the International Diamond Security Organisation. In the book, Collard was given the given the pseudonym John Blaize.

Fleming portrayed Collard/Blaize as a quieter, shyer character than Bond, although readers would learn that Blaize owned 24 fine white silk shirts and intended to spend 48 hours gambling intensively in Monte Carlo, “to wash the last three years and the African continent out of his system”. This was familiar territory: Bond had put in time at the baccarat and bridge tables in the novels Casino Royale and Moonraker. Diamonds Are Forever had mostly been set in America; now Fleming had locations such as South Africa and Sierra Leone to play with, and he had great fun describing real-life villains every bit as larger-than-life as those Bond had faced, such as “Monsieur Diamant”, whom Fleming called “the biggest crook in Europe, if not in the world”.

In September 1957, the articles began to be serialised in The Sunday Times. They were published as The Diamond Smugglers in book form in November, with an introduction by Collard (under the Blaize pseudonym).

Duns writes that a number of efforts were made to turn the episodic book into a movie but coming up with a dramatic narrative proved problematic. One production team wanted to get Steve McQueen for the lead to give the proposed movie some star power. Not much came of that but Duns tracked down a copy of a screenplay by Jon Cleary, whose novel The Sundowners had been turned into a successful 1960 movie with Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr.

The putative “Bond” has been renamed once more: no longer John Blaize, he is now Roy O’Brien, a secret agent sent to a diamond mine in Johannesburg under cover as a pilot. His mission: to infiltrate and break up a ring of smugglers preparing to make a huge deal with the Red Chinese. O’Brien is American, and his part reads very much as if written with McQueen in mind. We are told he is “marked with the sun and the scars of a man who has spent a good deal of his life in the outdoors”, and that “he was a boy once quick to smiles”, but is now “a man who has seen too much of sights that did not provoke laughter”. He is quick-witted, laconic, but very likeable.

To read the entire article, JUST CLICK HERE.