Robert Rietti, 007 voiceover artist, dies at 92

Emilo Largo (Adolfo Celi) was dubbed over by Robert Rietti

When Largo appeared in Thunderball, American audiences saw Adolfo Celi’s face but heard Robert Rietti’s voice.

Robert Rietti, an actor who dubbed over a number of characters in James Bond films, died earlier this month at 92, according to obituaries in THE TIMES OF LONDON and THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Rietti’s participation in 007 films went all the way back to the first, 1962’s Dr. No. He dubbed over Timothy Moxon’s lines as Strangways, the doomed head of the Kingston station of British intelligence.

Rietti also dubbed over Adolfo Celi’s Emilo Largo in Thunderball, Testuro Tamba’s Tiger Tanaka in You Only Live Twice and a bald villain intended to evoke Ernst Stavo Blofeld (but who officially wasn’t the SPECTRE chief because of rights disputes) in For Your Eyes Only. Thus, it was Rietty who uttered the line, “I’ll buy you a delicatessen in stainless steel!”

With Thunderball, American audiences heard the real voices of Celi and Claudine Auger as Domino in a that clip that was part of the television special The Incredible World of James Bond, which aired in November 1965. But they heard Rietti’s voice paired with Nikki Van der Zyl’s the next month when Thunderball arrived in theaters.

Van der Zyl was even more of a 007 veteran at that point, doing voice work on the three previous 007 films, including dubbing over Ursula Andress in Dr. No.

You can CLICK HERE to view Rietti’s IMDB.com bio (where his name is spelled Rietty), which lists 256 acting credits.

You Only Live Twice not forgotten in Japan

You Only Live Twice marker in western Japan

You Only Live Twice marker in western Japan. Click on the photo to see a larger image.

You Only Live Twice is still remembered in Japan.

In the western part of the country, used as a location in the 1967 James Bond film for the Ama fishing village, there is a stone marker in honor of the movie.

Masatoshi Masuda took a photograph of it and a friend of his let us know. It’s reproduced here with Mr. Masuda’s permission.

“Our James Bond film, You Only Live Twice, was filmed on location here at Akime,” the marker reads. It bears the signatures of producer Albert R. Broccoli, star Sean Connery and co-star Tetsuro Tamba, who played Tiger Tanaka, head of the Japanese Secret Service.

You can look up other You Only Live Twice filming locations BY CLICKING HERE.

The Tiger Tanaka Show

You Only Live Twice, the fifth “official” James Bond film, generates mixed reaction among 007 fans. It was the first Bond “official” 007 film to completely dump an Ian Fleming plot. Still, it has its moments and actor Tetsuro Tamba, who played Tiger Tanaka, head of Japan’s Secret Service (aided by Robert Rietty doing the voiceover work), provided some of the highlights.

Well, one of our friends, James McMahon, pointed us to Key Hunter, a Japanese TV series that featured Tamba as the leader of a team of spies. It was produced around the time of You Only Live Twice. It also evokes (based on the main titles) the U.S. television series Mission: Impossible. And, another friend, chimed in that visually, Key Hunter is similar to the original Hawaii Five-O series, featuring freeze-frame shots of the leads of the series.

We’ll let you be the judge:

UPDATE: Here’s a YouTube video with some stills from the 1964 movie The 7th Dawn, directed by Lewis Gilbert, photographed by Freddie Young and with main titles by Maurice Binder, who’d perform the same tasks on You Only Live Twice. Tamba was in that movie also.