Never Say Never Again - The Conservative Cut

So, as most of you have learned by now, I'm an avowed NSNA fan and will defend it against most fans who feel like EON needs defending or something. However, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit I had problems with it. The narrative issues I can forgive, actually, since they had little choice but to stick with the book and film. But the aeshetic choice of no gunbarrel, and no title sequence and the ruination of the opening action sequence by adding the title song over it... its just ugly. I mean, I suppose no gunbarrel could be acceptable - three of the recent Bonds didn't have them. But with the exception of CR, I missed the gunbarrel in every one of them. As I did here.

And lets not get into the lack of the Bond theme.

So I decided to do a conservative cut of the film. Its basically the same film, for all intents and purposes, with almost no scenes cut but with the gunbarrel present and a title sequence (and, for one, not the same as Thunderball's!). The pre-title I used was from Pegasus, but I redid the gunbarrel from another one (can't remember the name) and edited the music of the gunbarrel to both Legrand's intended track and Norman's Bond theme. The title sequence uses Phylis Hyman's version of the song, the true intended song for the film, and its such a better song for it, too.

Then, I simply added variations of the Bond theme throughout. The original theme in the motorbike sequence, the variation of the theme as heard in the Blofeld Must Die track from DAF when Bond enters the casino, as well as the 007 theme heard in that same track after Bond begins his attempt to disturb SPECTRE's plans in the Tears of Allah hidebout, and the variation of the Bond theme as heard in the final action scene in Kamal Khan's palace in OP when Bond and Leiter are surveing the area near the Tears of Allah hideout. I may have left out one or two more touches, but those are the most of them, score-wise.

Beyond that, what I always wanted to have done is remove Blofeld. Which was surprisingly, well, easy. Firstly I cut the scenes featuring him, and secondly, I dubbed over some of Sydow's as they refered to SPECTRE, and replaced the organization with QUANTUM, making this the organization retroactive first appearence in the franchise (they were always a knock-off anyway), and pitching the overall voice performance lower so its indistinguishable from the original. The domino effect (no pun intended, though it is fun to make) that this has is that Largo is the de-factor leader of the whole film, and the ambiguity of the voice heard in the NATO assembly leaves the implication still open as to whether that is someone speaking for Largo or if he's the leader of QUANTUM, and also the story is firmly from Bond's perspective, the events unfolding as they do for Bond and us, as well.

Beyond all of the above, I didn't change a thing. There are a few more audios edits I wish I did - like changing Moneypenny to Penelope Smallbone (basically have Bond call her Penelope and not Moneypenny in their two scenes), Largo to Argo (or Iago, my prefered choice) and hardest of all, Domino to someone else. My main goal with ALL of those changes, is to make this less obviously comparitive to TB, because otherwise I find the film largely enjoyable as is.

Just thought I'd share this here.

Comments

  • JoshuaJoshua Posts: 1,020MI6 Agent
    Can I ask, this there different edited versions of all James Bond films on DVD? Are they longer than the 'normal' films or do they have some different scenes?
  • Jimmy BondJimmy Bond Posts: 322MI6 Agent
    I don't know many extended versions of Bond films that exist on DVD. But there do exist fan-edits of several of them, the most well-known of them being Never Say McClory Again, which replaces all of Legrands score with music cues from the first twenty EON films, along with a title sequence (which is Thunderball's, actually), restored opening and gunbarrel. Another well known edit is Icarus, which is a fan-edit of DAD, and honestly it's pretty great.
  • 72897289 Beau DesertPosts: 1,689MI6 Agent
    Interesting that you found it necessary to edit a film you liked so much.

    While NSNA is far from a perfect film, its worthwhile as Connery’s last performance as Bond. The differences it has from the EON formula pics are what make it interesting to me. When I last watched it a month or so back, it occurred to me that it’s more comedy than drama, almost every scene is played ( or overplayed ) with a comedic undertone. Largo is far more interesting than the pirate with an eyepatch in Thunderball. Fatima was also a brilliant take, being like Largo, absolutely crazy.

    But that’s my opinion ... I really like the ‘67 Casino Royale too! For me Bond doesn’t have to exist only in the very stale packaging EON puts out. Fresh takes are very welcome. I feel the real Bond is in the Fleming thrillers and outside the early films with Big Tam, only the Craig Casino Royale has a dabble of Fleming present.

    But I will agree that there is ONE thing in NSNA that is outrageously bad and that is Jack Petacchi’s contact lens! I would love to see that edited out ...
  • JoshuaJoshua Posts: 1,020MI6 Agent
    Jimmy Bond wrote:
    I don't know many extended versions of Bond films that exist on DVD. But there do exist fan-edits of several of them, the most well-known of them being Never Say McClory Again, which replaces all of Legrands score with music cues from the first twenty EON films, along with a title sequence (which is Thunderball's, actually), restored opening and gunbarrel. Another well known edit is Icarus, which is a fan-edit of DAD, and honestly it's pretty great.

    Thank you. Are these films you mention on you tube?
  • Jimmy BondJimmy Bond Posts: 322MI6 Agent
    Joshua wrote:
    Jimmy Bond wrote:
    I don't know many extended versions of Bond films that exist on DVD. But there do exist fan-edits of several of them, the most well-known of them being Never Say McClory Again, which replaces all of Legrands score with music cues from the first twenty EON films, along with a title sequence (which is Thunderball's, actually), restored opening and gunbarrel. Another well known edit is Icarus, which is a fan-edit of DAD, and honestly it's pretty great.

    Thank you. Are these films you mention on you tube?
    Nope.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,538Chief of Staff
    Jimmy Bond wrote:
    the variation of the theme as heard in the Blofeld Must Die track from DAF

    ???? ?:)
  • ToTheRightToTheRight Posts: 314MI6 Agent
    I find the different fan edits interesting. I've seen one edit that opens with Connery's THUNDERBALL gunbarrel and another with Connery's NSNA head pasted on Tim's gunbarrel.
    Big fan of NSNA myself, and have always been fascinated by it's history.
  • Gassy ManGassy Man USAPosts: 2,685MI6 Agent
    I've never had much problem with Never Say Never again, apart from the dreadful soundtrack and the drifts into camp from time to time.

    Given that it was a non-official Bond film, there was no way they were going to be able to use the gunbarrel, Bond theme, etc. Actually, I think it's extraordinary it resembles an official Bond film even as much as it does. The cinematography is closer to a 60s film than most in the 1980s, too.

    Phyllis Hyman's terrific original song for the film is so obviously superior, it's a travesty it was not used, but at the same time, it sounds so much like a traditional Bond song, right down to seemingly incorporating notes from the Bond theme, that I've always suspected the whole Legrand wanting his own song was just a cover story to avoid their getting sued.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBvDSbFdgic

    While Kim Basinger was only slightly better than average as the Bond girl, Klaus Maria Brandauer was the most interesting villain any Bond film had had in a long time, which is even more extraordinary given he's the second actor to play Largo.

    People said Connery looked pretty old in the movie, which is funny to me as I'm closing in on his age then. I didn't think he looked old so much as his toupee in the movie looked stodgy and obvious. Perhaps if they'd given him a little more style, like they did in his later films, it wouldn't have seemed so.

    But Never Say Never Again is still fun and certainly better than half of Moore's Bonds.
  • Jimmy BondJimmy Bond Posts: 322MI6 Agent
    Gassy Man wrote:
    I've never had much problem with Never Say Never again, apart from the dreadful soundtrack and the drifts into camp from time to time.

    Given that it was a non-official Bond film, there was no way they were going to be able to use the gunbarrel, Bond theme, etc. Actually, I think it's extraordinary it resembles an official Bond film even as much as it does. The cinematography is closer to a 60s film than most in the 1980s, too.
    I love the film. And I have the compulsion to correct anyone who says that its a non-official Bond film, because... its simply not the case. Its a Bond film, featuring a character called James Bond, working in MI6 in London, for Her Majesty's Secret Service, and his boss is M, his Chief of Staff Bill Tanner, and a secretary called Moneypenny.

    In my opinion, the film has actually predicted and, perhaps unwittingly, influenced/predicated the current Bond films in their adherence to character and less slavish devotion to its trademark motifs. Indeed, as you said, its very much like a Bond film, despite the lack of a familiar surrounding for MI6 HQ, or the lack of the familiar faces from said HQ and even Foreign Secretary.

    Thats why I added the gunbarrel, title sequence and the Bond theme in only the places where the soundtrack of the film fell silent. I like the end result, as it only reinforced what we as fans have always known about NSNA - that it is just as much a Bond film as all the others have ever been.
    Phyllis Hyman's terrific original song for the film is so obviously superior, it's a travesty it was not used, but at the same time, it sounds so much like a traditional Bond song, right down to seemingly incorporating notes from the Bond theme, that I've always suspected the whole Legrand wanting his own song was just a cover story to avoid their getting sued.
    That's a good point. Although I do think he wanted his own stamp at the theme song, seeing as how every other composer in the series had such impact. Doesn't stop Hyman's song being so good.
    While Kim Basinger was only slightly better than average as the Bond girl, Klaus Maria Brandauer was the most interesting villain any Bond film had had in a long time, which is even more extraordinary given he's the second actor to play Largo.
    Basinger elevates the non-existant role of Domino, which may not seem like much given how the result is still a fairly vapid companion, but its to her credit that she is memorable anyway.

    And Brandauer is the first post-modern Bond villain, IMO. The best villain performance of the decade and one of the best ever. And his scenes with Connery and Carrera respectively just sparkle!
    People said Connery looked pretty old in the movie, which is funny to me as I'm closing in on his age then. I didn't think he looked old so much as his toupee in the movie looked stodgy and obvious. Perhaps if they'd given him a little more style, like they did in his later films, it wouldn't have seemed so.
    At least they aknoweldged his age in the narrative. The only time they even inferred such in the Moore films was in FYEO, so there's that.
    But Never Say Never Again is still fun and certainly better than half of Moore's Bonds.
    Better than all of them, for my money. The only ones of his that could be taken as better is FYEO and TSWLM, but NSNA has a distinct charm that is hard to go by.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,538Chief of Staff
    Jimmy Bond wrote:
    his Chief of Staff Bill Tanner

    No, that isn't the case. There is a character in Tanner's position, but he's called "Elliott". Fleming hadn't named the Chief of Staff "Tanner" by this point (although we know his first name is "Bill") and McClory & co couldn't use anything that isn't in TB.
  • Jimmy BondJimmy Bond Posts: 322MI6 Agent
    Barbel wrote:
    Jimmy Bond wrote:
    his Chief of Staff Bill Tanner

    No, that isn't the case. There is a character in Tanner's position, but he's called "Elliott". Fleming hadn't named the Chief of Staff "Tanner" by this point (although we know his first name is "Bill") and McClory & co couldn't use anything that isn't in TB.
    Fair enough. Not exactly important, any way.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,538Chief of Staff
    Of course not, it's just a detail. I was also intrigued by a detail in your music choices, please see post 7 above.
  • Jimmy BondJimmy Bond Posts: 322MI6 Agent
    Barbel wrote:
    Of course not, it's just a detail. I was also intrigued by a detail in your music choices, please see post 7 above.
    I see why you would be. The track is actually To Hell With Blofeld, I just misremembered.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,538Chief of Staff
    Great, thank you. One more thing-
    Jimmy Bond wrote:
    ...the lack of a familiar surrounding for MI6 HQ, or the lack of the familiar faces from said HQ and even Foreign Secretary.

    I was under the impression that Lord Ambrose was the Foreign Secretary, but it has been a while since I watched NSNA. This is in contrast to the official films which at the time regularly featured the Minister of Defence.
  • Jimmy BondJimmy Bond Posts: 322MI6 Agent
    Barbel wrote:
    Great, thank you. One more thing-
    Jimmy Bond wrote:
    ...the lack of a familiar surrounding for MI6 HQ, or the lack of the familiar faces from said HQ and even Foreign Secretary.

    I was under the impression that Lord Ambrose was the Foreign Secretary, but it has been a while since I watched NSNA. This is in contrast to the official films which at the time regularly featured the Minister of Defence.
    You're totally correct. I always mix them up but, whatever.

    To fix the note quoted, I will say this: It's refreshing to see another 80s Bond film WITHOUT the Minister of Defense in it. I was basically sick of him by OP (I mean, at least he filled the gap by the lack of Bernard Lee).
  • Unknown007Unknown007 Posts: 147MI6 Agent
    I think Never Say Never Again although it's not an EON Produced Film fits into the Bond Films really well, it's well made, good cast, Connery may be a little older but plays Bond excellently as if Diamonds Are Forever never happened and actually he looks better in NSNA than he did in DAF.

    Shame Bond hasn't had a Motorbike like that one in the EON films - The bikes one of the best things in this Movie.
  • James SuzukiJames Suzuki New ZealandPosts: 2,390MI6 Agent
    Hello AJB.
    I would very much like to see an edited version of NSNA with a different score. I'd also be interested in any other edited versions of Bond films, like I heard there was one of Die another day. On another completely unrelated topic, the private message function on this forum is really good and worthwhile. :)) -{
    “The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. "
    -Casino Royale, Ian Fleming
  • ECW1997RulzECW1997Rulz Posts: 2MI6 Agent
    hey i sent you a pm for asking you for the link to the fan edit
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,308MI6 Agent
    edited January 26
    Gassy Man wrote:
    Phyllis Hyman's terrific original song for the film is so obviously superior, it's a travesty it was not used, but at the same time, it sounds so much like a traditional Bond song, right down to seemingly incorporating notes from the Bond theme, that I've always suspected the whole Legrand wanting his own song was just a cover story to avoid their getting sued.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBvDSbFdgic

    I agree that those "incorporated" notes seem loosely to skirt around the Bond theme. It's plausible that a need to evade legal action on that front could have been a factor in the song not being used.

    While sumptiously listenable, this Phyllis Hyman number lacks the theatrical pull of the main series title songs of the period (Rita Coolidge's included). Idolising the appeal of a mature Connery-Bond in a contemporary groove, it may be a better match to the mood of NSNA's romantic relationships than the Lani Hall track actually used, but I'm not sure, in the end, that it's quite as catchy.
    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,223MI6 Agent
    Where are you catching the Bond theme? Is it around 'we drank the wine'?

    I think with some strings added and maybe even a bit of brass it would have been appropriately Bondy.

    But then the moments in NSNA where the theme tune pops up in a sort of loungey version are probably the best moments of that score.
  • Matt SMatt S Oh Cult Voodoo ShopPosts: 6,529MI6 Agent
    I find the Legrand/Bergman/Bergman song much more interesting than the one Hyman performed, though stylistically they're similar early 1980s ballads. And I like that the song was able to be part of the score because the score's composer wrote the song. I'm one of the few people who don't hate the film's music. It's not up to Legrand's usual genius, but I'll still take it over Thomas Newman's Bond scores.

    I find that the OP's comparisons to the EON Bond films don't help his case in legitimising the film. If the film were really that good, we shouldn't be comparing it to EON, only to Fleming.

    The lack of a "Bondian" sound or gunbarrel opening doesn't bother me with this film. If this is supposed to be based off of the Thunderball novel and not EON's Bond series, there's no reason why it should feel like an EON Bond film. It tries to capture the humour from the 1970s and 1980s EON Bond films, and brings it even further into parody. That was a mistake. It looked more towards the EON Bond films than to Fleming for inspiration. Anyone who tries to copy EON comes off as parody. Why not copy Raiders of the Lost Ark instead? That's the tone the film needed.

    When I've watched the film with the EON tropes added, it doesn't fix any of the problems. Fleming's Bond was not defined by those things. The film's musical identity is not as strong as any of the Bond films made to that date, except for Dr. No, which has a great theme and great source music but a truly lousy score. And it lacks a strong visual identity, which is why fans want the gunbarrel and title sequences in the film. QOS and SF have decent openings without a gunbarrel sequence (though the gunbarrel would have been better), but NSNA should have started the film with something strong. I don't know what, but the opening 007s are really cheesy.

    While I find the score enjoyable, it's not compelling enough for a Bond film. It doesn't need the Bond Theme, but it needs an action theme that didn't sound like a John Barry rip-off. Giving it the Bond Theme won't fix its problems.
    Visit my blog, Bond Suits
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,198MI6 Agent
    Oh, nothing can fix that film's problems.

    I think it does nod to Raiders. with the horseback ride - mind you, watching The Wind and the Lion the other day, it seems to borrow from that as Candice Bergman looks like Kim Basinger when Connery's Arab man seizes her on horseback in the opener. Mind you OP borrowed from Temple of Doom with its grisly food - oh hang on, didn't that precede ToD?
    There weren't many action films in the early 80s for NSNA to lean to, it was mainly Bond and McClory wanted to capitalise on all that by making it much the same where he could.
    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • ironponyironpony Posts: 57MI6 Agent
    edited February 14
    Never Say Never Again has always been a mixed bag for me. It's not terrible, like a lot of fans, say, but I don't know if I think it's necessarily good either, and has pros and cons. I would rank it around #16 probably.

    To say it's not an official Bond movie, and therefore should not be counted... Well other fictional character have had movies made by different companies though. It's like saying that The Seven Percent Solution does not count as an official Sherlock Holmes movie, because it's not part of Guy Ritchie's series. Or it's like saying that the 1976 King Kong, does not count as a King Kong movie because it's made by Paramount and not Universal like the other Kong movies were. But I will use the term official to describe the series in this post.

    I think that Connery is better here than he is in his last three official outings, so he gives his best performance since Goldfinger I would say.

    The two villains in this movie are good, and I think that the main villain is better than usual, and the henchwoman is better than the usual henchperson as well.

    Kim Basinger is weak though, and it's possibly not her fault and perhaps the directors.

    The plot is okay, but two of the biggest problems are in the budget. The music sucks I agree, and the action scenes are not very high budget and are lacking intention. The fight scene in the health club and the shark scene are good. They go for camp more so, because of the lack of budget, which works for early action scenes, but when it comes to the climax, I want bigger action for a Bond movie.

    I would say this is possibly better than Thunderball though, because of the main villain improvement, where as the villain in TB is just such a bore, everytime I try to give it a chance. What do you think?
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,223MI6 Agent
    ironpony wrote:

    I would say this is possibly better than Thunderball though, because of the main villain improvement, where as the villain in TB is just such a bore, everytime I try to give it a chance. What do you think?

    I think Thunderball has a much cooler atmosphere, is aesthetically better in almost every way, and Connery is at his absolute peak in it: he just oozes sex, confidence and charisma. But, it's also pretty boring for a Bond film and there are some leaps in logic which are improved in the script for NSNA (for example Bond actually has a reason to go after Largo: in TB it's just because Derval has a sister, which isn't really a solid reason to investigate her). The cast of NSNA are pretty much entirely better than the cast of TB I'd say (maybe with the exception of Luciana Paluzzi who is brilliant and I think should have been the main villain instead of dreary old Largo; but then Barbara Carrera is outstanding too).
    So as a piece of culture I think Thunderball is better, as a film purely on its own merits NSNA probably works slightly better in that it has more pace.

    There are some odd decisions though: such as travelling to France in the second half. When you've just been in the Bahamas, going to another sunny seaside location isn't really much in the way of a change of scenery! And Von Sydow playing Blofeld as a benevolent chuckling uncle is just such a strange choice.

    It was a bit cheeky of them to 'borrow' Q and Blofeld's cat from the Eon movies though!
  • ECW1997RulzECW1997Rulz Posts: 2MI6 Agent
    Hey man I sent you a pm asking you for the link.
  • Jimmy BondJimmy Bond Posts: 322MI6 Agent

    I realize there's some demand for this, and ya got to realize, I did this for fun for myself mostly. But, I can actually release it, though I'll need to touch it up audio-wise. Stay tuned, maybe by the end of the year.

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