The classic era ended with TWINE, obviously- sadly Desmond Llewelyn wouldn't be back after that.
I believe the classic era ended with LTK, since this was the last Bond film Cubby Brocolli, Richard Maibaum, and Maurice Binder worked on (Cubby was around for GoldenEye but not as a hands-on producer). All three had been vital to the series since Dr. No, and once they were gone none of the visionaries who'd made the classic Bonds were left, with the exception of Peter Lamont. By the time of GE the original pillars of the series had all been replaced.
Octopussy on ITV
Benny Hill-era Bond, really, in particular and elderly Moore zooming the camera into a cleavage while Vijay lears... a low moment but otherwise one had to admit this is classic Bond nonetheless and so much better than its rival of the same year.
One thing I never got, that Vijay has a catchphrase of sorts, 'No problem' in response to most of the stuff Bond says. This is why Bond says on seeing him dead, somewhat poignantly, 'No more problems' which for decades I thought was simply a rather odd, philosophical comment to make, like, what did he have a hard life or something? It's referenced later in Berlin when the taxi driver says 'No problem' and Bond and M exchange a look - I thought this was a look of trepidation that Bond is entering the hornets' nest where they'd be plenty of problems, but it's not, it's a shared memory of their deceased colleague - lost on me because the three never shared a scene, there's no evidence M ever met their man in India and never commented on his death. Just a line from Bond in the film pointing out Vijay's verbal tic would have underlined what they were doing here.
There are low key moments in Glen's early films, subtleties I should say, such as when Fanning provokes a roll of the eyes from M when talking about auction tactics and then gracefully takes the hint that he should take his leave.
Nice set of reviews from 2018 @Gymkata disappointed you disliked GF, but your other top 5 (OHMSS< TSWLM< FRWL< CR) exactly matches mine. Also pleased you loved MR. I notice your reviews got longer as you progressed - I had the same problem when I did a similar review thread back in, oh, 2008, I think. I wonder if this is because we find more faults in them because the writers / producers try too hard to explain everything, thereby creating the likelihood more problems.
I loved the one line review of AVTAK https://www.ajb007.co.uk/discussion/comment/910108#Comment_910108
Cheers! Thank you!
For Thanksgiving Day in America, I did a highlights tour of the four Brosnan Bonds. Because of the lulls during the day with inbetween preparations and cooking (I was in charge of the turkey!) I took advantage of Amazon Prime to eliminate the physical task of fumbling with video discs and played the action sequences. This went on into the wee hours after everyone had retired (I turned off the TV at 4 am) since I also had the final task of putting in the last of the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. I can’t help but be impressed with the coolness and suaveness of PB’s Bond and how he perfected action in a suit.
I was skimming Prime Instant Video the other day and decided to watch Goldeneye again on a lark. With all the turgid drama of recent movies I'd almost forgotten how fun a Bond movie could be when it doesn't take itself too seriously and how much more engaging the story is when the lead is actually enjoying being James Bond. I guess there's something to be said for being a sexist, misogynist dinosaur.
I tend to agree. These new movies beginning with Goldeneye are far too much action. I said it before but they were lucky with Casino Royale. And they proved my point and didn't come close to making an equal or better movie afterwards.
But for the last Bond movie I watched, that would be the classic From Russia with Love.
Oh, goodness, yes, my thoughts exactly.
Just as @chrisno1 confessed to enjoyably revisiting Quantum of Solace after the overcooked offerings of recent years, I quite enjoyed bits of The Living Daylights today, a film where you do get the chance to sit back and enjoy stuff.
With so many recent films referencing other Bonds, this one does the same of course from the get go - Dalton slashing through the top of the Land Rover to get to his foe in the pre credits, like Jaws with his van in TSWLM. Bond and Kara in the ambulance being taken away, like Bond and Holly Goodhead in Moonraker. Was the blonde in a nurse outfit meant to be a coerced Kara? We don't see her again if not. We don't see her change.
Shame he has to let Bin Laden out of jail, still you can't have everything.
The script and jokes aren't bad, this might have been a classic if you had a leading man who could do humour and a director with a lighter touch.
Villains a tad rubbish, Kara should have killed Yogi for a better finale.
Over here in the UK, ITV4 is re-running its stash of Bond movies starting of course with Dr No. You might say this is in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Bond debut - as with London's Prince Charles, which is re-running every film from January onwards, but it's hard to say because ITV is always running Bond movies, it's like painting the Forth Bridge with them.
So a somewhat high-handed, no-nonsense Bond investigates a missing agent in Jamaica, not sure why his secretary has to have her body dragged off so it can go missing, the blood stains are on the carpet aren't they so it's unlikely to be a case of 'cherchez la femme' as the dodgy Professor Dent suggests.
You have to feel for the poor bloke sent to pick him up at the airport, I mean he's just doing a turn for No, maybe his first job, and it's later established he's from out of town so no support network. He balls things up and feels so bad about it he commits suicide, due to Bond's cursory manner. It would have gone alright if only Quarrel hadn't been tailing Bond, but what was his objective? To kill Bond? Wouldn't that just draw more fire to that area? It's not like he'd found out anything yet. Also, he has Bond pretty much once Quarrel missed his turn-off but it's Bond who gets the better of him. But this is an adventure film so it has to go like this, otherwise it's just a detective film where the Poirot/Marple character doesn't ever get bumped off though that's the logical thing to do.
Otherwise, the women get off lightly in this one. Normally they get rubbed out, but of course Sylvia Trench is seen in the next one - and has nothing to do with the plot, which helps her chances of longevity - next up is Miss Freelancer, she just spits at everyone and departs, while the kind of racist jibe she makes against Quarrel would see her offed in the latest Bond film, same with Miss Tao who is bundled off in a cab - why are they dressed up to the nines and getting in a cab if it's established they're not dining out tonight, it makes no sense - and it's later suggested by Dent that she 'talked' - well, okay, but not much evidently, not enough to say 'Oh and that No fellow? He's a hard nut.' Tao gives a good vicious look at the end like Theresa May might deliver to her Brexit backbenchers. Generally none of them get killed however, no matter how off-handedly they're treated, so that's something.
Some minor similarities with No Time To Die in that it seems from the outset that it might be easier if the Brits and the Americans were on the same page and tipping each other off, then Bond going off with one black companion to a mystery island where the mysterious villain is hiding out.
One thing about being on Twitter is that folk throw up amazing things - the Oriental looking fellow sat to No's right in the control room is the same businessman in A View To A Kill 25 years later who is invited to 'drop out'.
Because Dr No doesn't utilise the three-card trick I theorised about most Bond films but sticks to a straight uncomplicated narrative with no clutter, it's easy to watch this and have stray thoughts creep into mind.
I wonder what film ITV4 will show next week?
I wonder, What's the deal with Sylvia Trench?
she breaks into Bond's apartment, and is unphased when he pulls a gun on her. She's not the typical chick one might pick up at the Casino, she seems hip and predisposed to the spy-game. Yet its not even commented on that she seems a bit odd, the backstory which might explain her casual attitude is left to our imaginations.
The Oriental looking fellow turns up in other Bonds too: those Mint Juleps Goldfinger and Bond enjoy didn't get to the table all by themselves, and in YOLT he proves that cigarettes are very bad for the chest. His name was Anthony Chinn, and his sister Tsai Chin gave Bond "very best duck" and is seen playing cards in CR06. Don't ask me why their names are spelled differently.
Bond is lying to Dent when he says that Miss Taro talked. Freelancer's name (in the novel) is Annabel Chung.
The deal with Sylvia Trench is that her actress Eunice Gayson was a friend of Terence Young. When he didn't return for GF, neither did she. Also, her character (pines for 007 when he's away in some exotic location while she's stuck in London) was felt by someone, probably Richard Maibaum, to be too similar to Moneypenny.
That's interesting stuff, Barbel! I think Trench's appearance just has that dodgy cosy British movie feel to it of the early 60s, a sort of running joke not going anywhere. I suppose back in the day, Trench offering herself up for sex to a stranger in his bedroom would have been more notable to an audience than Bond pulling a gun, a Freudian could make some comment on Bond's Beretta being replaced given that it got stuck on the draw, and Bond's free and unleashed attitude, I'm going too far aren't I?
I believe it's 'unfazed' btw @caractacus potts not 'unphased' I've made that mistake myself in the past.
true, thats the one of those historic context things lost to us now. Our first impression of Bond is not only that he hangs out in Casinos effortlessly picking up chicks (Fred Astaire did that much in the early days of the Hayes code), but he lives in this world where he knows women who "do it". At least within the movies that was taboo stuff, married couples were still sleeping in separate beds.
that whole iconic sequence where Bond is revealed to the audience is tuff to appreciate having seen the film so many times, and even my own first viewing was about my eighth Bond film so I did not get that the reveal was meant to be a first ever experience to an audience who'd mostly never heard of the character before.
I believe first we see MI6 realising there's a problem in Jamaica, then M says "get me 007" (another iconic image in itself, it also begins OHMSS, and is used in the new film). Then we cut to the back of a man's head in a casino, and may assume but are not told this new character is 007. We see him act cool, win money, and pick up Sylvia, before it is confirmed that this character is the agent M has sent for.
I think it is after the briefing (which also establishes a few other elements for the new viewer) that he returns to his apartment and finds Sylvia has broken in? so first we see him pick up a chick, thats pretty cool. Then we learn who he really is. then we see this chick he's picked up is the sort who breaks into strange men's apartments to have sex. What a world this character lives in!
in the book Casino Royale Fleming also devotes the whole first chapter to Bond hanging out at the casino being cool before the final sentences reveal this man is a Secret Agent, and then we see the briefing scene in M's office, so its similar.
Is the first shot showing only the back of Connery's head before he introduces himself meant to be in the style of Cary Grant in Notorious, or was that a common way of introducing a character before Notorious?
It's meant to mimic the introduction of Paul Muni in "Scarface", 1932. Terence Young was quite open about this.
I never knew that, Barbel, you've just spoilt Notorious for me.
Apologies, guys, I'm misinforming you. It is Paul Muni but the film was "Juarez", 1939. My mistake.
And perhaps later referenced by Bond fan Spielberg as a way of introducing Liam Neeson's character in Schindler's List.
Les Ambassadeurs, featured in DN, is a real club in Mayfair and the casino section is called Le Cercle. It was exclusively for high rollers and persons of means. I don’t know if Ken Adam based his set on the actual casino or if it was his own imagination, like his Fort Knox set was. Sylvia Trench would have been a socialite, possibly married to an elderly gentleman, or widowed, or just living off mummy and daddy’s money - take your pick. In those days casino’s were only for the wealthy. When I first frequented casino’s in the mid 1970’s, The Sportsman and Golden Nugget were the two I was a member of, a strict dress code was in place, jacket and tie or no entry, unlike today where anything goes. I do miss the formality of those days, it was special to have to dress nicely to play poker.
The last Bond film I watched was OHMSS last night.
When I first became interested in James Bond a few years ago this was my least favourite film. Now it's among my favourites.
I was only able to watch because my wife was on night shift! She has banned Bond from our TV! Sitting down to watch a Bond film with her complaining about it all the way is not worth the bother!
Is the first shot [in Dr No] showing only the back of Connery's head before he introduces himself meant to be in the style of Cary Grant in Notorious, or was that a common way of introducing a character before Notorious?
thanks @Barbel , rare to see your normally encyclopedic memory make a mistake, but then I've never heard of Juarez and I do have Scarface somewhere in my archives, I was about to watch it just to look for that shot.
Seems to me the idea of introducing a character in silhouette is just too obvious a cinematic device to not have been invented very early. I would bet there's examples prior to 1939. It allows the audience to see other characters reacting to the hero before we see the hero ourselves, builds up the reputation and mystique and makes us wonder. So we get to see the other people at the Casino all admiring the mystery man's daring and cool and Sylvia Trench's sexual fascination with the man she's losing her money to. We are literally shown how we should react to the film's hero before we are given the chance to form our own subjective opinion.
I think its more creatively done in Notorious, as we don't really notice Grant until Bergman is left alone at the table with him, yet he's been there since the scene began. The partiers are all interacting amongst themselves for several minutes, but nobody's interacting with the man in silhouette. Considering the crowd she's been partying with, what sort of man should we expect him to be? Presumably just another creep intending to exploit the notorious woman, and even though we learn he's actually a Good Guy is he not also exploiting her? There's a lot more ambiguity in that reveal.
But the reveal in Dr No is so dramatically staged, its simpler but more iconic.
OHMSS uses the same device as Connery’s introduction, we get glimpses of Bond before we see him full face after rescuing Tracy. We also get the same gun barrel as at the start of DN, with the producers names appearing as the dots march across the screen. Peter Hunt cleverly introduces Lazenby in the same way as Connery.
@CoolHandBond I agree, Hunt does cleverly introduce Lazenby as Bond, but it isn't IMO a perfect introduction. Firstly, there is that extremely odd opening scene where M & Q discuss radioactive lint [?] as a tracking fix and M says "What we need is a fix on OO7!" He then charges into Moneypenny's office and she reels off a list of places Bond currently isn't.
Cut to a man [Bond] driving down the Portuguese coast. We don't see him, we see his hands, his chin, the fag lighter, the Aston Martin, etc. Tracy speeds by, there's an all too brief chase, followed by her rescue. Lazenby is finally seen in close up. "Good morning. My name's Bond. James Bond."
However, not only is the suggestion from the opening scene leading the audience into thinking Bond is driving the car, but John Barry's excellent music score is a trifle unkind to the new star by dropping hints with that jazzed up Bond Theme while Lazenby drives the Aston Martin. Additionally, before the rescue as Bond strips for action, having shrouded his lead actor almost totally in the dark, Hunt [or editor John Glen] includes a very obvious torso shot of Lazenby and we see his face full on. This completely ruins the effect of suddenly meeting our new star with his immortal opening line.
It's one of the very, very few minor missteps in another wise almost flawless thriller.
@caractacus potts Alicia [Bergman's character] does interact with Devlin; she talks to him a lot, asking him questions and offering him drinks. But he never replies. Also, in another extremely minor misstep in an otherwise flawless masterpiece, Hitch doesn't employ any cut, fade or tracking shot to reveal his anti-hero. The party proceeds and I think Devlin stubs out a cigarette. In the next shot, the two main characters are seen in profile talking head-to-head. They've clearly been chatting a long time, but we see none of this. I rather expected better from Hitch than this. It's a little too easy, almost cheap, which might be his point, it's a cheap party after all.
I too have not seen Juarez, and perhaps I will just to compare the rather splendid reveal of Sean Connery to Paul Muni in 1939.
there is an ulterior motive in the case of OHMSS
they're showing us the familiar MI6 regulars first to reassure us this is a proper James Bond movie (not a Bond film in name only like the recent Casino Royale 67), and showing us Rigg's face first because she's the real big star worth paying a ticket price for. But yes otherwise its a variation of the intro of Connery in Dr No, I hadn't really thought of that before.
actually I never put this much thought before into the reveal of Connery in Dr No. But its such an important scene its worth getting a bit granular in our analysis of how it works.
I haven't watched a Bond film again since NTTD (which I saw twice in the cinema and once on bluray, before Christmas). For all its merits, NTTD weighs on me. It feels almost like I've eaten such a heavy lunch that there's no appetite for supper. I toy with the idea of marathon-watching all the Craig Bonds, back to back, but I'd be trepidatious about doing that for fear that the experience would, in some respects, feel inferior to binge-watching favourite long-form TV shows with arcs which are genuinely well plotted (such as 'The Wire', 'The Sopranos', 'Justified' or 'The Shield'). But I've recently enjoyed doing some reading about the Bond films, not least in this thread, and I dare say that, sooner or later, I'll be in the mood for popping one or other of the older ones in the bluray player for a spin. One hook could well be this thrill of recalling the introductory appearances of different Bond actors in their debut scenes in the series. (Connery's iconic introduction aside, my favourite is Dalton's, the dramatic close-up on his reaction to his fellow agent plunging to his death in Gibralter in the TLD PTS as Barry hits a Bond chord.)
@Shady Tree Poor Roger doesn’t even get a PTS until TSWLM (I don’t think you can count the brief shot of a supposed Bond mannequin in TMTTGG as being in a PTS) 🙁 but the scenes with lovely Madeline Smith are very good. It’s a pity that Madeline wasn’t given a larger role as she is gorgeous.
I agree that TD’s introduction is excellent, as is Craig’s. The least said about Brosnan’s Bond, upside down in a toilet, the better.
I watched SPECTRE with my Dad last night in preparation for his viewing of NTTD. He remarked several times on the lack of any cohesive narrative, thought the villain's plot wasn't very exciting, the gun battles and fights silly and wondered why everywhere James Bond went after Mexico seemed devoid of the general public. Crikey. My dad's more observant than I thought.
@CoolHandBond Oh yes, Madeline Smith is at least as memorable in that LALD scene as the new Bond!
I'd rate the mannequin reveal in TMWTGG as iconic. The mannequin stands in a gunbarrel-style pose which actually looks closer to Connery's gunbarrel stance than Roger's own, giving it an almost quintessential Bondian quality.
Close up, the mannequin's slightly frowning eyebrows, above intense blue eyes, epitomise Roger's serious face as Bond: there's no humorously cocked eyebrow there! The mannequin's 'concerned' look suggests that Bond, in Scaramanga, may finally meet his match (to pull forward a phrase from an AVTAK promotional poster). In a sense, Scaramanga has already objectified Bond, monumentalising him at the same time as reducing him to a play-thing in a gaudy Fun House. Barry contributes massively to the reveal by accompanying it with a dramatic Bond chord.
The mannequin might have an ironic connotation. Just as Fleming commented on a certain lack of substance in his literary creation - describing Bond as like a coat hanger on which the reader can drape their fantasies - so the idea of the mannequin, in the context of film, might imply that Bond is essentially a 'high concept', a function of genre more than a man.
Through his mannequin moment, Roger arguably has a more iconic introduction to this, his second outing as Bond, than he had to his first, in LALD. Yet the mannequin novelty follows the emblematic significance of the tarot cards in LALD, riffing on Bond as a 'concept'. And for me, this is as excitingly bizarre as the crash zoom on the cat's eye at the end of the DAF PTS, created by the same writers and director.
Personally, I prefer all that even to the spectacular, much celebrated ski jump in the TSWLM PTS. That, of course, is iconic, too, as well as game-changing. But the unfurling Union Jack parachute is less about Bond than it is about the James Bond franchise itself as a national institution in the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee.
Well, I suppose - Scaramanga's presentation of Bond in his abode doesn't quite make sense, it's like Red Grant's 'stalking' of Bond in the pre-credits of FRWL, bit like training a lion hunter by dressing his dog up in a lion's outfit, totally misleading, as critic John Brosnan pointed out. It's like me having a poster up of the latest pin up on my wall and thinking that means I've copped off with her.
Some say it's not actually a dummy but Moore himself in that pose in the pre-credits, perhaps plausible as it might have been hard to get a true waxwork likeness.
They did present Moore as an iconic figure, it's this one that went on the Corgi toy products though he never really quite looked like this in the later ones, did he.