UPDATE: @SuperThunderFan on Twitter reminds us that Dr. No had a similar look in the movie of the same name, not to mention Bond himself (of course, those were borrowed clothes) as well as Kamal Khan in Octopussy.
ORIGINAL POST: Is it asking too much for a little variety? Let’s consider, the “Chairman Mao” look appears to have originated with the 1967 spoof version of Casino Royale.
The “dramatic reveal” (such as it is) is that Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen), the nephew of James Bond (David Niven), is the villain.
Just a few months later, You Only Live Twice, the fifth 007 film produced by Eon Productions, debuted. It’s the first time we see Blofeld on screen. In his previous appearances (in From Russia With Love and Thunderball), Blofeld wore a suit. But not for this big reveal in the person of Donald Pleasence.
This look for Blofeld would continue for the next two Eon films, including Charles Gray as Blofeld in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever.
Diamonds would be the final appearance by Blofeld in an Eon movie for a while. But, in 1973’s Live And Let Die, “Wardrobe by Blofeld” continued in the person of Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto). And he had *nothing* to do with SPECTRE.
A couple of movies later, Bond did battle with rich/crazy guy Karl Stromberg and…oh, for crying out loud, couldn’t he afford his own wardrobe?
Well, The Spy Who Loved Me was a huge hit. Producer Albert R. Broccoli was ensured the resources for an even bigger hit with 1979’s Moonraker — except for a new wardrobe for his villain, embodied by Michael Londale’s Drax.
We’ll skip ahead many years (leaving aside the question about whether that guy in the pre-credits sequence of For Your Eyes Only was Blofeld or not). It’s now 1997. It’s a new era.
So in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies….oh, for crying out loud! Apparently, Jonathan Pryce’s villainous media baron is cheap when it comes to clothes!
OK, let’s go further forward to the 21st century. The franchise has been rebooted. Oh, there’s a new version of Blofeld? Almost certainly, there’s no way they’d copy that campy, goofy 1960s version. Right? Maybe not.
If the producers need a Blofeld for Bond 25, and Christoph Waltz is unavailable, they should perhaps consider one of the performers in this video. Joey Bishop and Sammy Davis Jr. are no longer with us. But Regis Philbin is still going strong.
Filed under: James Bond Films | Tagged: "Chairman Mao" look, 1967 Casino Royale, Charles Gray, Chistoph Waltz, Diamonds Are Forever, Donald Pleasence, Joey Bishop, Jonathan Pryce, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, On Her Majesty's Secret Serivce, Regis Philip, Sammy Davis Jr., SPECTRE, The Spy Who Loved Me, Tomorrow Never Dies, Woody Allen, Yaphet Kotto, You Only Live Twice | 3 Comments »