A Walther PPK 7.65mm ...... No it's not!!

ppw3o6rppw3o6r Great BritainPosts: 2,118MI6 Agent

Back in 2006 while doing a spot of consultancy for Christies auction house, the then Bond armourers and a major UK based retail prop emporium I was responsible for announcing to the world that despite what the armourer/quartermaster or Major Boothroyd character had said on screen in 1962's production of Dr.No. the weapon said character handed to Sean Connery's 007 from the second its magazine left the wooden case to the second Sean holstered the weapon its profile was that of a PP pistol and not a PPK!

When Christies announced to the world that part of the future auction inventory would include a Walther PP and not a PPK they were contacted by a number of respected Bond aficionados who informed them they were in error! I was then asked are you 100% sure?

In 2018 when a PPK surfaced on the auction circuit claiming with provenance to be the actual PPK which actor Bernard "M" Lee had brought to Pinewood Film Studios and used in the famous scene in question some including one who should bloody well have known better again posed the question "are you sure the Walther pistol was not a PPK?" This pistol was later withdrawn from sale.

Jump forward to 2020 after a dark time in my life which made the world press and my temporary withdrawal from anything Bond, I decided to accurately restore my Thunderball towsled to screen standard as there were a large number of details which were incorrect from a previous restoration. To do Jordan Klein's creation justice I broke out the Thunderball bluray and laser disc box set and started taking notes and pulling screen grabs with surprising results. While viewing said laser disc and then bluray I decided to look at in detail the Palmyra night shoot out sequence, in particular the bit when Bond's PPK falls from the roof and discharges. There has always been some controversy over what that pistol was? however something else had grabbed my attention, the flash from the barrel of Bond's Walther when he was getting Largo's goons to shoot at each other. Freeze framing the the slide looked too long because of the distance between the ejection port and tip of the muzzle to be a PPK in fact I could not believe what I was looking at "f**k me, that's a bloody PP! This spot of research kicked off with the above image where even accounting for muzzle flash the slide appeared to be too long? Additionally from the small glimpse of the grips they appear to be too flat where the PPK grip is more rounded. I then noticed things such as the safety catch was off, the hammer was cocked and Sean was demonstrating correct weapons procedure by resting his trigger finger along the side of the trigger guard (third image)....Amazing!

I was going to reveal this revelation in The Most Famous Gun in the World 2 however I have not even revealed this to said publication's editor in case said volume never makes it into print? A possible online edition does not really rock my boat after 10 years of research!

Looks like someone forgot to bring Bond's PPK to set? still it was at night during a power cut!

Comments

  • The Domino EffectThe Domino Effect Posts: 3,189MI6 Agent

    Fantastic stuff. I do hope that there will be a "The Most Famous Gun in the World 2"...in a sumptuous glossy-paged, hardback-bound, coffee table edition signed and numbered, of course!

  • danjaq_0ffdanjaq_0ff The SwampsPosts: 6,997MI6 Agent

    X2 Well done Donk :)

  • Bond Collectors' WeekendsBond Collectors' Weekends Gainesville, Florida USAPosts: 1,673MI6 Agent

    Great catch (as always)!

    We cruise New Orleans, Key West and The Bahamas for Bond locations in October. Join us! See our YouTube Events Channel for more!
  • thespyboys11thespyboys11 Lindenwold,NJPosts: 1,702MI6 Agent

    Interesting to note that, when Bond drops the PPK, it discharges when it hits the ground. Even more interesting is that it fires while the hammer is cocked and the trigger is in the rearward position!!!!  --Ed

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,223MI6 Agent

    Heh, good spot! So a pyrotechnic in the barrel?

  • 72897289 Beau DesertPosts: 1,689MI6 Agent

    Interesting observation regards the Walther PP. From the brief glance one can see on the Blu-ray, looks like the Dr. No “PPK”. Maybe that pistol was more reliable with blanks than the available PPKs. Speculation only but the PPK in FRWL seemed to lock open after every shot, while in the scene under discussion they needed two shots in quick succession. Maybe the PP was slightly more reliable?

    Looked to me that when Bond jumps from the bushes and begins his climb on the roof, it is Dick Simmons not Connery who does this “stunt”. The climbers face is always away from the camera, we don’t actually see SC until the next shot when he turns.

    The PPK that hits the ground and fires appears to be a pre-war version. But it also has a plastic look to it, so I believe it is not a real gun. I suspect it was a casting used to keep from damaging a moderately expensive prop. That would explain why the pistol doesn’t react when the squib goes off.

    That’s a nice image of SC shooting the PP, but it’s not a screen cap. Is it a publicity shot? Haven’t seen it before.

    Seems reasonable a production company would keep a selection of prop guns when filming. Always liked that when they filmed the “Guns of James Bond” short from the set of Goldfinger, Connery had his distinctive shoulder holster and his Beretta (presumingly from Dr. No) at Fort Knox. The holster appears in the pre-titles but the Beretta doesn’t appear in Goldfinger.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,223MI6 Agent
    edited September 1

    Would the hammer be cocked on a plastic molding do you think? I don't know.

    Does it have a magazine in it? I'm not up on my guns.

  • ppw3o6rppw3o6r Great BritainPosts: 2,118MI6 Agent
    edited September 1

    Well I was hoping to get a discussion going on this one otherwise said discussion would only have kicked off after publication of Famous Gun 2 however if you were a schoolboy or indeed schoolgirl in 1965? then you will most definitely have seen the black and white image before which kicked off this topic as part of the Somportex Thunderball trading or bubblegum cards. It is actually just a different camera angle when Bond fires to the right and then fires to the left to get Largo's goons to shoot at each other. Even though this colour grab does not clearly show the weapon, just look at the distance between the ejection port and the tip of the muzzle and you will see it is too long to be a PPK.

  • 72897289 Beau DesertPosts: 1,689MI6 Agent

    No disputing the gun SC is shooting is a PP.

    I was 10 when I first saw FRWL, and 12 when Thunderball came out - guess I qualified as a “schoolboy” back then. Still had never seen that image. Perhaps I didn’t chew enough gum. If I had that image in my gum card collection I would have remembered it. Because I was in the USA the cards must have been different.

    As far as plastic molds of props. I recall ASP9MM advising that the “PPK-S” in Skyfall was a molded prop made in both hammer down and hammer back versions. Also it doesn’t look like there is a magazine in the PPK as it hits the concrete.

    Bond films were never made with the expectation that every frame would be scrutinized for continuity. I doubt they would have been affordable if that had been a priority. So ocassionally the production team “goofed” and made substitutions, just as happened in Dr. No by using a PP instead of a PPK.

    This only becomes relevant when some crook puts up for auction a PPK, and claims it was supplied by Bernard Lee for scenes in Dr.No and a viewing of the scene instantly reveals that to be completely false. Sloppy work on the part of the auction house and potentially fraud against the buyer.

  • Asp9mmAsp9mm Over the Hills and Far Away.Posts: 6,761MI6 Agent
    edited September 1

    It wasn’t the PPK/S with hammer cocked back in SF, it was the regular PPK. They did the same for Quantum and SPECTRE. In various materials. Soft rubber, hard rubber, resin, polyurethane etc…. Donk owns a Bakelite type stunt from the 1960’s, uncocked. But my bet would be a practical, loaded with squibs. That’s why an old Zella was used, as they didn’t care if that was scratched and banged up. A cast would break, bounce or shatter from that period. And with a squib in the barrel, it would shoot off left of shot due to having no weight at all to counteract the negative force sufficiently.

    ..................Asp9mmSIG-1-2.jpg...............
  • 72897289 Beau DesertPosts: 1,689MI6 Agent

    ASP9MM,

    Out of curiosity how would the “practical” PPK be fired? Would have some kind of fuse or a electric wire?Since the pistol went off at the right moment and it was obviously done without using the mechanics of the pistol itself.

  • ppw3o6rppw3o6r Great BritainPosts: 2,118MI6 Agent
    edited September 2

    I can answer that question. The magazine body was replaced with an Ever Ready battery with wires leading out of the casing to a kill switch which would have fired the squib when it made contact with the ground. As ASP said the stunts of that period were either made of a brittle resin type material which would shatter like a milk bottle breaking or latex rubber which would probably have caught fire or melted as they were foam filled.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,223MI6 Agent

    Ah that explains why there’s no magazine, thanks. I was thinking it might possibly be on a wire cut to the exact right length which fires the squib when pulled, giving the illusion that it’s the impact that sets it off. I’ve heard of that trick being used elsewhere.

  • TecoloteTecolote Mississippi,USAPosts: 121MI6 Agent

    My circa 1935 Zella-Mehlis PPK will give me slide bite frequently while my 1970 PP won’t as the frame of the latter is larger and holds the slide up slightly higher than that of the PPK. The only time that Connery really did any shooting with the PPK was during the gypsy camp battle and the PPK did lock back during those scenes. There wasn’t a PPK in DN and in GF the Walther that got fired was a P38. In TB the PPK gets more use by SPECTRE.

    Perhaps the PP was used because Connery was experiencing slide bite with a PPK and not with a PP. Seems plausible to me.

    For live fire, I much prefer the PP over the PPK, both because of the slide bite and the former is easier to shoot accurately.

  • 72897289 Beau DesertPosts: 1,689MI6 Agent
    edited September 3

    I believe the PP pistols used by the production company were post war. Seems to me that the Dr. No pistol was a .380, as far as firing “comfort” I doubt blanks have much recoil. Connery was not a gun person - quite the opposite - so I doubt he gave pistols much thought. Just something to hold over a martini and look sardonic with.

    Now it appears there were two bubble gun cards!

  • TecoloteTecolote Mississippi,USAPosts: 121MI6 Agent

    If the gun has been properly adapted for blank fire with a bore restrictor fitted the slide will operate properly and eject the fired blank and chamber the next, and you can still get slide bite.

    I doubt if the DR NO PP was blank adapted during the filming; Connery fires one shot with it on Crab Key and in the next shot he is using the 1911, firing a couple of shots in succession, meaning that gun was blank adapted and working right. I’ve long thought that the PPs were in Bapty’s since Scotland Yard had adopted them in 1960 and stood in for the PPK for budgetary reasons in this new untried series. Of course by TB I suspect they were blank adapted properly...Connery, as the above photo shows, had big hands. swallowing up the larger PP butt. The smaller and shorter PPK would have been lower in his grip and slide bite could have happened. A stoppage in a scene that called two quick shots wouldn’t have been good. I am just suggesting a possibility. for the appearance of the PP( wonder if that was the DR NO gun)

  • ppw3o6rppw3o6r Great BritainPosts: 2,118MI6 Agent
    edited September 14

    Great technical discussion guys. Regarding Dr.No. The PP was used because as you surmised "big hands". This was addressed in FRWL by utilizing the magazine with the finger spur base on the PPK which technically gave a larger grip for the larger hand. It is genuinely not known why the PPK with the finger spur magazine was not utilized in the 1962 production. Yes, a 1911 A1 was used while taking pot shots at Dr.No's dragon tank as was a 9mm Browning High Power along with the PP of course. This could be down to continuity because the various stages of a sequence can be shot days, weeks or even months apart. Two documented PP pistols were shipped out to Jamaica for Sean's and Jack Lord's usage. The PP was blank adapted but not for use with a dummy suppressor hence the Browning being utilised to take out Professor Dent. A restrictor is effectively a grub screw with a bore considerably smaller than that of the barrel to allow sufficient back pressure to build up to work the action (blow back). By adding a dummy silencer the dynamic of the restrictor is altered making the chance of misfire greater. Two PPK pistols were also signed out to the 1963 production FRWL, one of which was lost overboard while filming the SPECTRE motor launch sequence on the Scottish Lochs. Regarding the Thunderball pistol, What I can tell you is at the time (1962) there were only two recorded PP pistols at The Pinewood Studio Armoury (pre-Bapty).

    Mark Hazard ....author, The Most Famous Gun in the World


    Perhaps a little off topic? but for those who are interested. this is the actual 9mm short PPK which Sean used throughout his 1963 to 1971 tenure as 007. Eagle eyed AJBers may have noticed that the Armoury Archivist got the serial number wrong on the inventory hang tag?



  • 72897289 Beau DesertPosts: 1,689MI6 Agent
    edited September 7

    No lanyard loop and black handles. Too bad Big Tam didn’t scratch his initials on it.

    The pistol is vintage 1963, filming started on FRWL in April 1963 … pretty tight timeline, but possible. Some curator … how does he keep track of inventory if the serial number is wrong? This pistol is in .380 / 9mm short. Like the “Bernard Lee” PPK it was pulled out of an auction.

  • ppw3o6rppw3o6r Great BritainPosts: 2,118MI6 Agent
    edited September 10

    Both the studio and armoury keep shooting files which detail what specific weapons are used on a production. Effectively hire documents. The Bernard Lee PPK was not recorded on any hire documentation for any production. The PPK Roger used on Live and Let Die was proofed in 1973. Interestingly it pretty much sustained finger print damage on day 1 which is still there to this day. A minimum of one pair of main character weapons are hired for productions however on Goldeneye Pierce's Bond broke that MO with two pairs of sequential serial number ULM manufactured PPK pistols being hired. He broke it further on Tomorrow Never Dies with two practical P99 pistols and ten PAK blank fire pistols for his personal usage. For The World is Not Enough an additional two practical P99 pistols and two PAK blank fire pistols were hired in addition to the weapons previously utilized on TND. It is documented that in 1998, a small quantity of the TND PAK blank fire pistols were deactivated for Pierce's personal usage on The World Is Not Enough for both screen and publicity purposes. Simply put, with few exceptions, we know what was used and where they reside! As for the FRWL PPK being pulled out of auction. I think after 15 years it is safe to reveal that the weapon in question was returned to the production company archive after a generous donation was made to charity.

    The PPK used by Sean on FRWL was also used by George and Roger. The PPK which Roger used on Live and Let Die was also used by Timothy Dalton on both his Bondian outings. The P99 which Pierce used on TND, TWINE and DAD was also used by Daniel on Tomb Raider!

Sign In or Register to comment.