Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2011

Gone with the Wind

BOF will be off the air until further notice.

This service disruption brought to you by Irene.

Bradley (down and) out.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and tackle this whole age thing head on. (All ages approximate due to duration of shooting schedules, interims between production and release dates, et cetera.)

Connery’s age when he first played Bond: 32

Connery’s age when he quit the first time: 37

Connery’s age when he quit the second time: 41

Connery’s age when he quit the third time: 53

Lazenby’s age when he played Bond: 30

Moore’s age when he first played Bond: 46

Moore’s age when he last played Bond: 58

Dalton’s age when he first played Bond: 41

Dalton’s age when he last played Bond: 43

Brosnan’s age when he first played Bond: 42

Brosnan’s age when he last played Bond: 49

Craig’s age when he first played Bond: 38

Craig’s age when he next plays Bond: 44

What to make of all this? Age, as they say, is just a number, and what really matters is how good somebody does—or does not—look as Bond up there on the screen. In Ian Fleming’s books, 007 is eternally in his mid-to-late thirties (despite the series extending over fourteen books, published annually between 1953 and 1966). That being the case, only Connery in his initial five-film stint and Craig when he assumed the role were technically age-appropriate, although I’d say Lazenby came across as more mature than he was chronologically. Of course, Connery is hardly decrepit even now, but I think we can all agree that he’s too old for Bond. Somehow, after just four years between You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever, he appeared quite the worse for wear.

Brosnan was already a year older than that when he became Bond, yet he looked great at both the beginning and end of his 007 career, making it all the sadder that he wasn’t allowed to do at least one more film before the dreaded Reboot Syndrome claimed this series, as it has so many others. Contrast that with Moore, who pulled it off in Live and Let Die due to his schoolboyish qualities, but looked positively freeze-dried by A View to a Kill, where he was two decades older than the literary Bond, which just dragged his films down even further. Although Connery was way too old for the extracurricular Never Say Never Again, its unique origins almost make the age issue irrelevant. For these and other reasons, the vintage Connery and Brosnan are my favorite Bonds.

On a serious, if strangely appropriate, note, I’ve just learned of the death at 83 of Hammer Films screenwriter Jimmy Sangster, whom we met some years ago at Fanex, where he signed a copy of his splendidly titled memoir, Do You Want It Good or Tuesday? His Hammer work included the early entries in the Frankenstein and Dracula series, their Psycho knockoffs (Paranoiac, Maniac, Hysteria), and a few less successful directorial efforts, e.g., The Horror of Frankenstein, Lust for a Vampire. Elsewhere, it ranged from British features (The Crawling Eye) to American telefilms (A Taste of Evil; Scream, Pretty Peggy) and series (Circle of Fear and The Night Stalker, both of which were initiated by Richard Matheson), making Sangster’s genre resume quite well-rounded.

Read Full Post »

Octogenarians Rule!

So here I am with this honking big Bond post today, and it’s Madame BOF who informs ME that it’s Sean Connery’s birthday. Way to go, Word-Man! He’s 81, which makes him the same age as Clint and my Mom. Make of that what you will…but the first one to make with an “Octo-Mom” joke is gonna get a sock in the kisser.

Bradley out…of control.

Read Full Post »

School of Hard Knox, Part II

Continuing our look at Goldfinger on page and screen.

One of Fleming’s hoods, Jack Strap, represents the Spangled Mob of Las Vegas, Bond’s foes in Diamonds Are Forever, although the reference to that fact is curiously oblique; one might expect that if Strap had indeed “inherited from the late lamented brothers Spang,” both killed by 007, he would at least recognize Bond’s name when Goldfinger introduces them. During the lecture by Smithers, Fleming writes, “In the days when Bond had been after the diamond smugglers he had had first to educate himself in the fascination, the myth of the stones.” Interestingly, when Eon tried to recreate the success story of Goldfinger with an adaptation of Diamonds, they included a lecture by Sir Donald Munger (Laurence Naismith) similar to that of Smithers (Richard Vernon).

The book notes that Bond “was always interested in anything to do with cards,” and indeed, they had already figured prominently in Casino Royale, Moonraker, and Diamonds Are Forever; the literary Goldfinger favors Canasta, while onscreen he plays gin rummy against Simmons (Austin Willis). Fleming also links Pussy’s aversion to men with an earlier rape, as with Tiffany Case in Diamonds and Honey Rider in Doctor No, although neither of them was a lesbian. Exemplifying the ways in which Maibaum et alia mined the Fleming canon, Pussy slips Bond a note on a paper coaster stuck to the bottom of his glass in the novel, the exact same means by which Kronsteen is summoned from his chess match to Blofeld’s presence in the opening of From Russia with Love.

With Maibaum and Dehn having ironed out the less felicitous eccentricities of Fleming’s novel, and a budget equal to those of the first two films combined, it remained only for their script to be brought to life by an exemplary cast and crew. Due to a salary dispute, director Terence Young declined to make Goldfinger his third 007 film, and passed the baton to Guy Hamilton, who had turned down Dr. No; one casualty of this changing of the guard was Eunice Gayson’s character of Sylvia Trench, whom Young had planned to use at the start of each entry. Goldfinger is often regarded as the template for most of the efforts to follow, yet here the humor that went overboard in subsequent films—including Hamilton’s—was well balanced with the story’s inherent drama.

Robert Brownjohn once again ably pinch-hits for Maurice Binder with an effective title sequence that resembles his work on From Russia with Love; in both the opening and closing credits, he projects shots from this and the two previous films onto a golden girl, although in this case it is Margaret Nolan, who also plays Miami masseuse Dink, and not Eaton. Over this blare the brassy notes of the definitive Bond theme song, composed by John Barry with lyrics written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley and sung by Shirley Bassey. For the first time, Barry is in total control, handling every aspect of the score (which he also conducted), and as always, he is masterful at not only writing varied themes but also arranging one melody to fit different moods.

Editor Peter Hunt provides his trademark action sequences, e.g., a chase outside the factory that lets Bond deploy many of the Aston Martin’s special features, and interweaves location footage from Miami and Switzerland with scenes shot in and around Eon’s then home base of Pinewood Studios. Adam, unavailable for From Russia with Love while working on Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, makes a welcome return with such sets as Goldfinger’s rumpus room, including its scale model of Fort Knox. Making his 007 debut as Mr. Ling, the Red Chinese agent supplying the bomb to foment “economic chaos in the West,” is Burt Kwouk, who is better known as Cato in the Pink Panther movies and was later seen in 1967’s You Only Live Twice and Casino Royale.

Dubbed by Michael Collins due to a heavy German accent, Frobe—who, like Connery, appeared in The Longest Day—is clearly having a ball playing Goldfinger, and makes an interesting study in contrasts with Fleming’s other great eponymous evildoer, Dr. No. A tribute to Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu, the reserved and reptilian Dr. No is kept largely offscreen, whereas Goldfinger is a flamboyant, jovial, larger-than-life figure with a generous amount of screen time, who revels in his briefing to the assembled hoods, despite the fact that he will wipe them all out with a dose of Delta-9 minutes later. Conversely, Oddjob emits only inarticulate grunts (described simply as a mute, he had a cleft palate in the novel), and forms a prototype for the typical Bond strongman.

Jack Lord reportedly demanded an unacceptable increase in billing and salary to repeat the role of Leiter, which he’d originated in Dr. No, so he was replaced by Canadian Cec Linder, who is, well, about as far from Jack Lord as it’s possible to get, but a talented actor who had played Dr. Roney in the original BBC version of Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass and the Pit. In the novel, his shifting fortunes had taken him from the CIA to Pinkerton’s Detective Agency, now sporting a metal hook to replace the hand he lost in Live and Let Die, but here he is intact and still working for the government. Linder is an affable figure, whose repartee with Bond plays off the latter’s already established reputation, ordering “liquor for three” on 007’s behalf for the ill-fated flight.

Previous gadgets consisting largely of Bond’s trick briefcase in From Russia with Love, most of which came from the novel, the Aston Martin is considered a turning point for the more gadget-heavy later entries. For the first time, Desmond Llewelyn’s character is credited as Q instead of Boothroyd (so well played by Peter Burton in Dr. No), and when Bond points out that the homer would “allow a man to stop off for a quick one en route,” he gets what may be his best line in the series: “It has not been perfected out of years of patient research entirely for that purpose, 007.” As M, who sternly tells Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) to “kindly omit the customary byplay with 007—he’s dining with me, and I don’t want him to be late,” Bernard Lee is also in top form.

Of course, when it comes to being in top form, nobody can beat Connery in this film, impeccably dressed but not flashy, as Roger Moore would later be, mingling his surface charm and elegance with the barely controlled threat of violence lying beneath. He is especially good when verbally sparring with Tilly, who he obviously knows his lying, about her identity and intentions during their trip across Switzerland. Unavailable for location shooting in Miami because he was filming Marnie with Alfred Hitchcock (who later complimented Hamilton on the movie’s machine-gun-toting grandmotherly gatekeeper), Connery developed his lifelong love of golf while working on Goldfinger, which thus gave both actor and audience something for which to be forever grateful.

Addendum: Since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969, I have seen every Bond movie upon its release, and Dad also took me and my older brother Stephen to see the double-feature reissues of Dr. No/From Russia with Love and Thunderball/You Only Live Twice. I think I finally caught this on the big screen at a repertory cinema in Manhattan or Hartford, but I was almost certainly watching on September 17, 1972, when it became the first Bond film ever shown on TV. I seem to recall that I was staying over at a friend’s, although as a Sunday—ABC’s Bond tradition—that was a school night; in any case, having seen OHMSS and Diamonds Are Forever in the theater, I can’t imagine I missed it, and the post-VCR crowd has no idea what a big deal it was back then.

Go to For Your Eyes Only.

Read Full Post »

School of Hard Knox, Part I

What I’ve Been Watching: Goldfinger (1964).

Who’s Responsible: Guy Hamilton (director), Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn (screenwriters), Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, and Gert Frobe (stars).

Why I Watched It: Research.

Seen It Before? Many times.

Likelihood of Seeing It Again (1-10): 10.

Likelihood the Guys Will Rib Me for Watching It (1-10): 1.

Totally Subjective BOF Rating (1-10): 10.

And? Full Disclosure Department: This has long been my favorite James Bond movie, supplanting Thunderball, but the Ian Fleming novel on which it is based does not, in fact, hang together as well as From Russia, with Love or Doctor No. To trade drafts with Energizer Bunny Maibaum, Eon Productions wisely enlisted the services of Dehn, whose credits range from two B100 entries, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Murder on the Orient Express, to all four Planet of the Apes sequels. The italics summarize the events from both page and screen, making them sound identical, but as always, the devil is in the details, so I thought a specific breakdown might be enlightening, and I hope you will forgive me if I find this more fascinating than you do.

Bond infiltrates a heroin-smuggling operation, waits at a café while the drug facility is destroyed by explosives he planted, and dispatches a Latin thug in self-defense. Book: During an enforced stopover at Miami Airport, where he has a chance encounter with a minor character from Casino Royale, Junius Du Pont, Bond recalls killing “the Mexican” with his bare hands on a shadowed street. Film: the quintessential pre-credit teaser gives us Bond’s seagull-decoy wetsuit, under which he wears an immaculate tux, and requisite quip (“Positively shocking”) when he fries the thug (stuntman Alf Joint, replacing a cat burglar inconveniently arrested the day before)—whom he’d seen reflected in the eye of dancer Bonita (Nadja Regin)—with an electric heater in the tub.

In Miami, Bond observes a card game in which wealthy Auric Goldfinger cheats (using a flunky with binoculars who broadcasts the contents of his opponent’s hand to his “hearing aid”), forces Goldfinger to lose, and leaves with the flunky, Jill Masterton, later found dead of skin suffocation, covered in gold paint. Book: Bond takes on the job just as a lark at the request of Goldfinger’s pigeon, Du Pont, and he and Jill part ways after a romantic train trip to New York. Film: shown instead of alluded to, the gilded Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton) is the movie’s most iconic image; Goldfinger (Frobe) punishes her immediately, not some time later, as in the novel, where we are informed that, rather implausibly, he hypnotizes and paints a girl (albeit non-fatally) per month!

Colonel Smithers of the Bank of England explains the economic damage done by the smuggling of gold, and M orders Bond to get closer to their chief suspect via a golf game, which ends when a surreptitiously switched ball defeats Goldfinger’s own attempts to cheat. Book: M theorizes that Goldfinger is the treasurer of SMERSH, but Bond’s being assigned to go after him is a rather large coincidence, although Goldfinger himself suggests in Miami that they should have a game when they are back in England. Film: Bond was already assigned to Goldfinger, and engineers their “chance” meeting, where instead of playing for the money he took from Goldfinger in the Du Pont skirmish, 007 tempts him with higher stakes—a Nazi gold bar and the promise of more.

Goldfinger’s hulking Korean servant, Oddjob, displays his prodigious physical strength and his ability with a metal-rimmed bowler hat; after hiding a homing device inside Goldfinger’s vintage Rolls Royce, Bond follows them to Switzerland with his specially equipped Aston Martin. Book: The elaborate demonstration takes place during a bizarre interlude at Goldfinger’s house, which is certain to offend cat-lovers everywhere, while Bond’s receiver has only audio, with no maps. Film: Oddjob (Harold Sakata, aka Tosh Togo) makes his point by crushing a golf ball in his fist and knocking the head off a statue at the country club, and Bond’s car has more gadgets, e.g., the famed ejector seat (“I never joke about my work, 007”), machine guns, and bullet-proof screen.

Bond becomes aware that a woman is also following Goldfinger, so he deliberately disables her car, and then agrees to give the woman, who calls herself Tilly Soames, a ride. Book: During a lunch stop, Goldfinger “posts” a bar of gold (quickly confiscated by Bond in an effort to get him in dutch with SMERSH) underneath a bridge, confirming M’s hypothesis that he has been making deliveries on behalf of SMERSH, and 007 rams Tilly’s car in reverse. Film: Tilly (Tania Mallet) takes a lunchtime pot shot at Goldfinger, which the in-the-line-of-fire Bond—and, at that point, the audience—mistakenly believes was intended for him, and 007 wrecks her car with a special tire-shredding device that was never actually attached to the real Aston Martin used for the film.

Reconnoitering Goldfinger’s factory, Bond sees that the gold is smuggled in the bodywork of the Rolls, and encounters the rifle-toting Tilly, who wants to avenge the death of her sister, Jill; they are picked up by Goldfinger’s security system, and 007 is captured, while Oddjob breaks Tilly’s neck with his bowler. Book: Tilly dies in the same way but much later, during the climax at Fort Knox, and ironically meets her doom because what Goldfinger calls her “inclinations” make her attracted to Pussy Galore, whom she believes will look after her, rather than to Bond. Film: The quick death of the vengeful Tilly, so soon after her introduction, allows the filmmakers to expand the role of Blackman—formerly Cathy Gale on The Avengers—as the initially man-hating Pussy.

The spread-eagled Bond is threatened with bisection during an interrogation by Goldfinger, but he refuses to talk, and at the last minute, Goldfinger has 007 sedated instead, sparing him for his own nefarious purposes. Book: Goldfinger has Oddjob give Bond an excruciating “massage” as he revs up a Perils of Pauline-style circular saw and, in a rather unlikely move, presses Bond and Tilly into service…as his secretaries, who actually spend their time typing up agendas and taking notes while Goldfinger executes his dastardly scheme. Film: In one of the more memorable set-pieces, Goldfinger provides what is reputed to be the first cinematic appearance of a laser beam, inspiring a classic exchange: “Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”

Goldfinger convenes a meeting at which he pitches his plan (with a gold-bar sweetener) to the representatives of the major criminal organizations, including a Mr. Solo; also on board is the lesbian Pussy Galore, who heads a female group of sometime entertainers. Book: many pages are expended in enumerating and characterizing these gangsters, with Pussy’s Cement Mixers a former team of aerialists called the Abrocats, but she and Tilly sharing the same “inclinations” is another big coincidence wisely omitted by the screenwriters. Film: Pussy serves as Goldfinger’s personal pilot—and nothing else, as she states emphatically (“I’m a damn good pilot, period”)—as well as heading the flying circus that plays an integral part in his plans, as we shall shortly see.

Bond learns the details of Operation Grand Slam, a raid on Fort Knox for which Goldfinger has obtained an atomic bomb and plans to neutralize the populace with nerve poison, and sums them up in a concealed message; the only dissenter from the plan is immediately killed. Book: Bond hides the warning to his ex-CIA pal, Felix Leiter, in an airplane lavatory, while Goldfinger plans to use the a-bomb only to effect ingress, after introducing the toxin into the water supply. Film: 007 slips his note into the pocket of the departing Solo (Martin Benson), who later lent his name to The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and ends up in an auto-crusher; Goldfinger intends to increase the value of his own gold by irradiating Fort Knox, and Pussy’s pilots are to spray the Delta-9 by air.

Goldfinger & Co. arrive at Fort Knox amid the “bodies” of the military and civilian inhabitants, but before the bomb can be detonated, Leiter and the others spring to life, having perpetrated an epic charade, and a battle breaks out. Book: Goldfinger is accompanied by the minions of the surviving hoods, whom he shoots during their getaway, and actually plans to remove the gold by train. Film: Bond—who has pointed out the absurdity of such a venture, requiring twelve days for sixty men to load 200 trucks—is handcuffed to the bomb (later stopped with “007” remaining on the time counter) and, after freeing himself, fights to the death with Oddjob inside production designer Ken Adam’s magnificent Fort Knox interior, electrocuting him with his metal hat-brim.

Goldfinger and others evade the authorities, attempting to avenge their defeat by replacing the crew of Bond’s departing flight, but one of 007’s foes is sucked through the window by explosive decompression, and he and the converted Pussy survive the ensuing crash. Book: It is Oddjob, not Goldfinger, who ends up flying the unfriendly skies after Bond punctures the window with a knife hidden in the heel of his shoe, and 007 throttles Goldfinger moments later. Film: Pussy’s change of heart at least requires the legendary magic of Bond’s lovemaking skills, rather than his sheer animal magnetism, which apparently—if no less implausibly—suffices in the novel, and it is this appeal to her “maternal instincts” that leads her to replace the Delta-9 with a harmless gas.

To be continued.

Read Full Post »

Interlude 8/20/11

If anyone’s wondering, I have neither died nor fallen off the face of the earth, and am still hoping to write a rave review of Captain America one of these days, but in the meantime I’ve been taking a breather while working on my next Bond post.  Devoted to Goldfinger, which I am not alone in considering the greatest Bond movie ever, it should be appearing early next week.  So stay tuned, and mark my words:  it’s gonna be a humdinger.

Bradley out.

Read Full Post »

Just Say No

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll state at the outset that Ian Fleming’s Doctor No has always been my favorite James Bond book. I believe it was the first one my father gave me to read as a youth, and while I might not have known it at the time, the fact that it was also adapted into the first Bond film (its title abbreviated to Dr. No), also a lifelong favorite, didn’t hurt. Fleming was now firing on all cylinders after the impressive accomplishment of From Russia, with Love, and although that novel had a handful of splendid bad guys, he here created not only the first of two successive villains who were iconic enough to get books named after them, but also the woman who—at least as embodied by Ursula Andress onscreen—set the standard for future Bond girls.

As with its predecessor, it’s an interesting experience to revisit this book after having seen the film so many times, because once again, almost everything that’s in the novel made it onto the screen, and most of it faithfully enough that you see the movie in your head while you read. But this time, Eon Productions added a little more in the way of plot and characters, with one of the biggest retroactive surprises being the fact that Bond’s CIA pal, Felix Leiter (played by soon-to-be Hawaii Five-O star Jack Lord), isn’t in the novel at all! He was reportedly a holdover from an earlier plan to kick off the series with Thunderball, but his presence is largely logical in any case, as Dr. No is threatening an imminent U.S. moon shot, the British space program being a bit thin.

True to Fleming, Bond is issued a Walther PPK in place of the Beretta that jeopardized his prior mission (“You’re licensed to kill, not get killed,” M acidly observes) and sent to Jamaica after station chief Strangways and his secretary disappear, shot before making their daily report. Bond teams up with Cayman Islander Quarrel (John Kitzmuller)—introduced, with Strangways, in Live and Let Die—to investigate Dr. No, who has agents everywhere, including a freelance photographer (Marguerite Lewars) and a snooping secretary, Miss Taro (Zena Marshall). Bond is nearly killed by a critter in his bed (a poisonous centipede in the book and a more manageable tarantula in the film) before he and Quarrel sail to Dr. No’s island, Crab Key, where trespassing is usually fatal.

On both page and screen, they encounter shell-stealing wild child Honey Ryder (Andress), and the three are pursued through the swamp by Dr. No’s soldiers, who incinerate Quarrel with the “dragon”—in reality a converted marsh buggy—that patrols the island. The captured Bond and Honey are welcomed with lavish hospitality and bizarre courtesy by Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman), a former Tong member with metal replacements for his missing hands, who is using a radio beam to “topple” American rockets and plans to eliminate the couple just as he does anybody else who gets in his way. Escaping from his cell through an apparent series of ventilation shafts, where he faces extreme heat and other hazards, Bond kills Dr. No, locates Honey, and beats a hasty retreat.

In the movie, Bond meets Quarrel and Leiter for the first time (the latter serving as a red herring when 007 arrives in Jamaica and is “taken for a ride” by a henchman who poisons himself rather than talk), and it is unclear whether he knew Strangways. In the book, Honey’s name is spelled “Rider”; she rises from the sea as naked as—and is compared with—Botticelli’s Venus, although one wonders how much more of an impact this would really have had than her white bikini, even if they could have gotten away with that in 1962, or in the ratings-conscious films that followed. The literary Dr. No has steel pincers instead of prosthetic hands, having lost his real ones as a punishment for raiding the Tong treasury to fund his endeavors, rather than in an atomic mishap.

In addition to Leiter, the screenwriters add the character of metallurgist Professor Dent (Anthony Dawson), who conceals from Bond the fact that the samples Strangways picked up on Crab Key were radioactive. Miss Taro’s role is expanded, allowing her to lure Bond into a trap; after 007 has bedded and had her arrested, Dent arrives to spring the trap and is shot by Bond, who utters the immortal line, “That’s a Smith & Wesson, and you’ve had your six.” Fleming’s Dr. No dies in a shower of guano (!), rather than the pool of his overheating reactor, and his shafts constitute a true obstacle course that includes a cage of tarantulas, prefiguring 007’s cinematic visitor, and ends in a battle with a giant squid that would have been quite beyond the filmmakers’ resources.

Sean Connery is given one of the greatest entrances in screen history, with only his back or his hands visible at first while he plays chemin de fer—which I was relieved to learn is just a form of baccarat, since I couldn’t for the life of me figure out the difference between them—with Eunice Gayson. “I admire your courage, Miss…?” he says offscreen, and she responds, “Trench, Sylvia Trench. And I admire your luck, Mister…?” Then, choreographed with impeccable precision by director Terence Young, his face appears for the first time as he suavely lights a cigarette, Monty Norman’s “James Bond Theme” (arranged and played by John Barry with his orchestra) is heard on the soundtrack, and Connery utters his signature line, “Bond, James Bond.” Ecstasy, ecstasy.

Fleming, who shared with 007 such traits as a naval and intelligence background, was writing On Her Majesty’s Secret Service at his Jamaica home, Goldeneye (which provided Pierce Brosnan’s Bond debut with its title), during location filming. Prior to the Eon deal, he had made numerous attempts to get Bond or a reasonable facsimile on the screen, and Doctor No was one of several books cannibalized from such efforts, in this case a television script known variously as James Gunn—Secret Agent and Commander Jamaica. Often said to resemble Bond himself, Young put his own indelible stamp on the films by taking Connery under his wing, selecting his tailor and polishing some of the rough edges—fortunately, not too many—from the Scots ex-body builder.

Half German and half Chinese, Dr. No is played with wintry menace by Wiseman, whose face is not shown for the first 87 of the film’s 110 minutes. Yet, as with Harry Lime in The Third Man (on which both Bernard Lee, who plays M, and future Bond director Guy Hamilton had worked) or Father Merrin in The Exorcist, he is a palpable presence throughout, despite his limited screen time. Other 007 regulars on board from Day One included screenwriter Richard Maibaum, here credited with Johanna Harwood and Berkely Mather; Lois Maxwell as M’s flirtatious secretary, Miss Moneypenny; cinematographer Ted Moore; editor Peter Hunt, whose fast-paced cutting techniques were innovative; production designer Ken Adam; and title designer Maurice Binder.

Many of the cast and crew came from producer Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli’s Warwick Films (a disagreement about the viability of a Bond series contributed to a split with partner Irving Allen, who later produced the Matt Helm films), while Harry Saltzman had been associated with Tony Richardson and John Osborne in another company, Woodfall. These sometimes uneasy partners formed Danjaq, derived from the first names of their wives, as a holding company for the Bond property and Eon to produce the films. After a deal with Warwick distributor Columbia Pictures fell through, United Artists—beloved by filmmakers for the autonomy they allowed—bankrolled Dr. No for $1 million, and its smashing success launched one of the cinema’s biggest franchises.

Addendum: Although the extras on the Dr. No DVD are commendable, there is one conspicuous error in the Inside Dr. No documentary, which asserts that Miss Taro did not appear in the novel.

Go to Goldfinger.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »