Charles Gray/Blofeld?

Andy007Andy007 Posts: 93MI6 Agent
Does anyone else know how Gray got the role of Blofeld. His casting as Blofeld has always annoyed me over the years. His performance was awful & did not fit Blofeld at all. Why did they cast a Blofeld with hair, or at least not make him bald. I know in the story- i think it's explained that Blofeld is meant to have had plastic surgery. But he is not menacing, puts in a drag-queen scene. This was a farce. Shame they didn't get Telly Savalas back. Donald Pleasance looked the most evil with that terrible scar. Savalas wasn't given a scar but was bald & had menace and was good actor. It strikes me that Gray was completely unsuitable for the role. Shame as he was good as Henderson in YOLT. He simply should not have been Blofeld.
Mind you the cast had other flaws, Jill St John one of the worst bond girls imo. The Felix Leiter was the worst too. He played it in a bumbling manner. I hate DAF. It's such a waste of a Bond film.
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Comments

  • Denzil2222Denzil2222 Posts: 77MI6 Agent
    Diamonds are forever was a very poor bond movie, connery did two bad bond movies you only live twice (which was his worst) and diamonds are forever, nsna was pretty poor too but better than those two put together.
  • jeffchjeffch Posts: 163MI6 Agent
    pretty much everything about DAF was done badly.
  • jeffchjeffch Posts: 163MI6 Agent
    Denzil2222 wrote:
    Diamonds are forever was a very poor bond movie, connery did two bad bond movies you only live twice (which was his worst) and diamonds are forever, nsna was pretty poor too but better than those two put together.


    Ha, YOLT had its flaws but it is definitely better than DAF (arguably the worst bond film).
  • mrbain007mrbain007 Posts: 393MI6 Agent
    jeffch wrote:
    Denzil2222 wrote:
    Diamonds are forever was a very poor bond movie, connery did two bad bond movies you only live twice (which was his worst) and diamonds are forever, nsna was pretty poor too but better than those two put together.


    Ha, YOLT had its flaws but it is definitely better than DAF (arguably the worst bond film).

    I concur. I actually watched DAF again the other day and, though it does have its moments (Whitt and Kidd are enjoyably sadistic and droll) it is one of the weakest in the series (if not the weakest). As a whole there's just no real tension in the film and it seems like most of it is played for camp laughs (the central villan in drag being a classic one). Gray as Bloefeld is a little too suave to come off as a despicable criminal mastermind.

    YOLT may have had its problems but it had the advantage of Donald Plesence, one of the most iconic, twisted characters in the series. Also, the big action sequences are genuinely better executed. DAF has the well known continuety error of the car switching sides.
  • mrbain007mrbain007 Posts: 393MI6 Agent
    Andy007 wrote:
    Mind you the cast had other flaws, Jill St John one of the worst bond girls imo

    I thought Jill St John started off ok (she was beautiful, seductive and independent) but ended up as a rather comical stereotype. Two examples included firing the machine gun and falling in the water, and throwing the "Bombe Suprise" at the wall.
  • HardyboyHardyboy Posts: 5,750Chief of Staff
    Anyone who's seen The Devil Rides Out, in which Grey plays a villain opposite Christopher Lee's good guy, can tell you Charles Grey was perfectly capable of playing evil characters. That he comes across as harmless in DAF is owing, I think, to the decision of Guy Hamilton and the Broccoli/Saltzman team to lighten things up and make the film a jolly romp. Pity, because if Grey's Blofeld had been injected with more menace than George Sanders-lite caddishness, he could have been a classic baddie.
    Vox clamantis in deserto
  • jeffchjeffch Posts: 163MI6 Agent
    ...and Sean Connery's little pink tie...*shutters*

    Every so often I watch DAF again and think "maybe I'm too harsh on it, I'll give it another try" (2hrs later) "No I was right, its crap"
  • thesecretagentthesecretagent CornwallPosts: 2,151MI6 Agent
    Denzil2222 wrote:
    Diamonds are forever was a very poor bond movie, connery did two bad bond movies you only live twice (which was his worst) and diamonds are forever, nsna was pretty poor too but better than those two put together.

    Can't agree more with you there. Pre-YOLT was pretty perfect though...
    Amazon #1 Bestselling Author. If you enjoy crime, espionage, action and fast-moving thrillers follow this link:

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  • bigzilchobigzilcho Toronto, ONPosts: 245MI6 Agent
    Where are the DAF fans? I know they are out there.

    As for me, DAF has always been a guilty pleasure. Undeniably uneven with a poor climax, all that is true. But like all Bond films, a little slack must be given.

    The first half is fun, stylish and sharp as a tack. Connery is in fine form and the dialogue sparkles. A fun movie to watch on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Its one of the Bond films that some fans can never accept on its own terms.

    A good Bond film? No. But totally entertaining, nevertheless. Even a weak 007 flick has more charm, style and scale than most films. Methinks Bond fans have a hard time realizing how spoiled the series has made them. No Bond film has EVER deserved the trash-heap. (With the exception of the last third of DAD. The only section of the series that is truly embarassing. Not bad for 22 films!).

    As for Charles Gray, once again I will have to go against the flow. He has always been my favorite Blofeld. All three Blofelds were miscast IMO. They NEVER quite got it right. And as much as I enjoy Pleasence and Savalas, Gray always seemed the most out-and-out crazy and decadent Blofeld. Although uneven, DAF contains the single greatest Bond-Blofeld scene in the series: the cracker-jack scene with Bond and the two Blofelds in the penthouse.

    All Bond films need a pat on the back once in awhile.


    "Right idea, Mr. Bond."
    "But wrong pussy."
  • Gassy ManGassy Man USAPosts: 2,685MI6 Agent
    bigzilcho wrote:
    Where are the DAF fans? I know they are out there.

    As for me, DAF has always been a guilty pleasure. Undeniably uneven with a poor climax, all that is true. But like all Bond films, a little slack must be given.

    The first half is fun, stylish and sharp as a tack. Connery is in fine form and the dialogue sparkles. A fun movie to watch on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Its one of the Bond films that some fans can never accept on its own terms.

    A good Bond film? No. But totally entertaining, nevertheless. Even a weak 007 flick has more charm, style and scale than most films. Methinks Bond fans have a hard time realizing how spoiled the series has made them. No Bond film has EVER deserved the trash-heap. (With the exception of the last third of DAD. The only section of the series that is truly embarassing. Not bad for 22 films!).

    As for Charles Gray, once again I will have to go against the flow. He has always been my favorite Blofeld. All three Blofelds were miscast IMO. They NEVER quite got it right. And as much as I enjoy Pleasence and Savalas, Gray always seemed the most out-and-out crazy and decadent Blofeld. Although uneven, DAF contains the single greatest Bond-Blofeld scene in the series: the cracker-jack scene with Bond and the two Blofelds in the penthouse.

    All Bond films need a pat on the back once in awhile.


    "Right idea, Mr. Bond."
    "But wrong pussy."
    I enjoyed Diamonds are Forever -- it's easily the most graphically violent of Connery's Bonds and I wouldn't say that the tone is campy so much as perverse, and in this respect, everything about the film works well, from seedy Las Vegas to Blofeld in drag to the constant interplay of homosexuality and heterosexuality to the ways in which characters are gruesomely dispatched, and I think decadent is also a great term to describe elements of the film. For lack of a better description, it feels the most adult of Connery's Bonds.

    As a child of the 1970s, I can say that Gray's characterization also fits something about the era . . . there's something both modern about his oversized bullyish qualities and old-fashioned with his latent imperialistic cruelty and impatience. He's home in both the ancient and modern worlds, and it's to his credit that it was Gray I essentially pictured when reading You Only Live Twice.
  • icsics Posts: 1,407MI6 Agent
    Only one real blofeld in my mind – Donalds version ;
  • Thunderbird 2Thunderbird 2 East of Cardiff, Wales.Posts: 2,700MI6 Agent
    I often feel sorry for actors - (not just cause I am a voiceartist!) The performer often takes the fall when it IS someeone elses fault.

    Casting is dangerous. You have to get the right actor for the character, but equally if the character is written badly, no matter how good the actor, it will still fail. Charles Gray and Jill St John as mentioned above, both highlight the latter. - I loved Telly Savalas as Kojak when I was a kid, - But he was "Ok" as Blofeld. Why? Because I saw Donald Pleasence first!

    Charles Grey was brilliant as Mycroft Holmes - Shelock's older brother in the Jeremy Brett series from the 1980's and had a highly successful stage career. Although Blofeld was a poor fit for him - in the post Bernard Lee period, he would have been a fantastic M though!

    Every Bond actor (except Mr Lazenby) has had a clunker of a film. DAF is woeful, but its not the worst one overall for me.
    This is Thunderbird 2, how can I be of assistance?
  • BlackleiterBlackleiter Washington, DCPosts: 5,604MI6 Agent
    I totally agree with those who feel Charles Gray was a poor choice as Blofeld, whether due to the script or to his performance. I would love to have seen the Telly Savalas version of Blofeld face off against Connery's Bond. Also, having Savalas reappear as Blofeld after OHMSS would have added a bit of continuity to the series. And while I will admit that DAF was clearly the low point of the Sean Connery Bond films, I would still rank it above most Roger Moore Bonds, especially A View To A Kill.
    "Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."
  • down2000down2000 Santa Monica, CAPosts: 75MI6 Agent
    So does anyone know the reason why? Was Savalas unavailable or did the producers want to go another direction (which from the title sequence it seemed they wanted wrap up loose ends). Come to think of it why wasn't Pleasance back for OHMSS (I have heard how Pleasance got the job on YOLT but not why he did not return)
  • HardyboyHardyboy Posts: 5,750Chief of Staff
    Basically, it was a matter of director's choice. Peter Hunt didn't like Pleasence's portrayal of Blofeld--he found the way Pleasence moved "mincing"--and he wanted a more physical presence; hence, Savalas. I'm not sure why Guy Hamilton didn't want Savalas for DAF, but I suspect it was because the film had a more comedic bent and pretty well ignored OHMSS anyway.
    Vox clamantis in deserto
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    Plotwise he had to look different to Savalas if he's had plastic surgery, and in any case Savalas was brought in as a big name actor (relatively) to compensate for Lazenby.

    I love DAF but it depends what you go to Bond for, I love Connery's comic timing and the lines are great. People generally quote the Plenty o'Toole line, they quote nothing from OHMSS. Of course OHMSS is more admirable and a better big screen experience. Gray fits the script for DAF and as he looks totally differerent, makes him a vague nemesis character, it almost adds to the mystery in a way I can't quite articulate. Ironic as of course in the book OHMSS he totally has changed since his TB description, due to weight loss etc
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • TonyDPTonyDP Inside the MonolithPosts: 4,144MI6 Agent
    bigzilcho wrote:
    Where are the DAF fans? I know they are out there.

    Right here. DAF was one of the first Bonds I ever saw and I still enjoy it tremendously to this day. While it's light years removed from Fleming's prose, taken as its own entity it IS a highly entertaining film with some great fights, good stunts, interesting villains and imaginative Ken Adams designs. The Bond girls are beautiful and the Vegas locations are quite unique. I like the fact that the film doesn't take itself too seriously and even if Connery is a bit overweight he can still deliver on the quips and the action.

    Fleming purists may decry the film but anybody looking for a good, entertaining, two hour ride will have a good time.
  • Barry NelsonBarry Nelson ChicagoPosts: 1,505MI6 Agent
    I also like DAF, Tony mentioned many reasons why it is an enjoyable film, I will add it had a great soundtrack. To this day I laugh watching Jill St John firing the machine gun on the oil rig and falling off the top level of the rig. She also filled out a bikini well. Sometimes a movie should just be fun and DAF is fun.
  • HardyboyHardyboy Posts: 5,750Chief of Staff
    DAF is a guilty pleasure. There is so much wrong with it--unsatisfying follow-up to OHMSS, poor Blofeld, impossible-to-follow plot, sets the stage for the silly 1970s adventures--but the dialogue is often hilarious, Connery is suave and fun, and the movie is never boring. The Bond purist in me hates it, but the dude who likes to have a good time at the movies likes it.
    Vox clamantis in deserto
  • Dalkowski110Dalkowski110 Posts: 1,314MI6 Agent
    "Sometimes a movie should just be fun and DAF is fun."

    I completely agree. I'm another fan of DAF. Certainly not top five, but I really do like it. I thought Charles Gray was a halfway decent villain, but a terrible Blofeld. Give him any other name and he'd probably have worked. In fact, looking at it, if they had maybe made the film five minutes longer, the plot would have been far easier to follow. Essentially, what Blofeld is doing is destroying a diamond smuggling ring that's no longer needed, using Wint and Kidd as assassins (and for those saying "they're not the SPECTRE types," I would beg to differ...having read many but not all of the novels, the novel Blofeld strikes me as an individual who would use anyone capable of getting the job done, which Wint and Kidd prove quite adept at doing until they encounter Bond). Why kill off the smuggling ring? No witnesses to either chicken out and testify/seek immunity or, on the other hand, to get wise to your scheme. In fact, the concept of a smuggling ring being killed off by its own benefactor is actually something I'd like to see explored in another film, whether it's Bond or not. The concept is pretty under-utilized. The only part of DAF that I genuinely think was awful the guy who played Felix Leiter. Quite possibly the worst Felix in the entire series (although the current guy is WAY out of character with Fleming's vision of Leiter...he plays a nice character, but he's just not Felix Leiter). The countdown guy pardodied in Austin Powers was also flat out painful, but on the whole, I think DAF has come full circle twice over: massively overrated when it was released vs. the Flemingesque OHMSS, put into its proper place during the 1980's as "middle of the pack" whilst OHMSS finally started getting its proper due, and now with the era of the internet, DAF being ripped apart to the point where it's actually becoming underrated. In my mind, there is no way this film is comparable to such disasters as DAD or AVTAK.
    By the way, are you gonna eat that?
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    As a teenager I had to go to RAF camp when this film was being shown, and wasn't going to get to see it (it was the days pre-video or before Bond was on video). I snuck into the airmen's room and asked if I could see it, they said yes. They were polishing their boots and one bloke anticipated the 'small world' line, nothing was deemed wrong with it in those days. It fits in the world of Morecambe and Wise on Christmas Day, or Sinatra's Vegas jaunt Ocean's 11, in that context it's great. B-)
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    Oh, there's a brilliant review of DAF on the Commander Bond website, by a guy called Zorin Industries (his parents must have been Bond fans, to give him a name like that, no wonder he turned out the way he did...)

    http://debrief.commanderbond.net/topic/59327-diamonds-are-forever-a-review/
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy Behind you !Posts: 63,696MI6 Agent
    Great review and I agree with it all more or less. DAF is a product of its time.Connery is more like an old Professional and the Script is LOL Funny at times,some great One-Liners.But as They had decided to go for a much lighter tone than OHMSS Charles Gray played Bolfeld a lot less menacing than He could of done.
    As Napoleon Plural says It fits perfectly in the world of the early 70's with M&W and Sinatra's Vegas.
    "I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,579MI6 Agent
    edited March 2013
    Now see my new theory on the reason for the difference between the Gray Blofeld and all of the other models in my new thread. I think this may go some ways to explaining the misunderstood Gray Blofeld when it is written up as a full article. :)
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • NeverSayDieNeverSayDie Posts: 495MI6 Agent
    When you've watched Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 DAF looks like a master piece of cinema.

    Seriously I can't believe how wrong they got it with DAF, they had all the ingredients there from Goldfinger:
    Connery
    Hamilton directing
    Shirley Bassey
    John Barry score.
  • Silhouette ManSilhouette Man The last refuge of a scoundrelPosts: 7,579MI6 Agent
    When you've watched Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 DAF looks like a master piece of cinema.

    Seriously I can't believe how wrong they got it with DAF, they had all the ingredients there from Goldfinger:
    Connery
    Hamilton directing
    Shirley Bassey
    John Barry score.

    Yes, in many ways it looked like it could have been Goldfinger II, but instead we got a James Bond film on an LSD trip. :#
    "The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhouette." - Ian Fleming, Moonraker (1955).
  • EduxEdux Posts: 1MI6 Agent
    8 years later...

    I watched DAF the other day for the first time. Sure Gray was a strange choice for blofeld. But the fact that he also played Henderson in YOLT has to make this one of the most confusing casting decisions in film history!

    Casting agencies weren't a thing in the 60s? I'd love to hear of the rationale behind that decision
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 30,815Chief of Staff
    Cubby liked him, simple as that. It was much the same with Joe Don Baker years later since he was friendly with the family.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,027MI6 Agent
    Resurrecting a thread exactly 10 years on, that's crazy! :s

    They'll be resurrecting Bond girls next.

    (Too soon?)
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,001MI6 Agent
    Ah, hell, I rather like Charles Gray as Blofeld.
    At least we get to see him - although not his Siamese fighting fish or his electric chair. At least he doesn't walk like he's got constipation or screech like a parrot when he wants to be authoritative. Nor does he heckle from a wheelchair. Nor is he James Bond's brother. He isn't, unfortunately, Telly Savalas.
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