British Film Institute October 2022

chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,412MI6 Agent

For those of us with access to the South Bank complex, there is gong to be a weekend of celebration regarding all things James Bond on October 1 & 2. Not sure yet what it will involve as I only caught this link. I knew the BFI would do something, and I expect it will be more substantial that two days, it's probably just a launch weekend.

THE BFI WHO LOVED ME – London’s BFI & IMAX to celebrate Bond’s 60th anniversary weekend – MARK O'CONNELL (


  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 3,256MI6 Agent

    Thanks for heads-up, Chris👍

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,412MI6 Agent

    Just to follow up, details emerged today of the BFI somewhat muted allocation of events for Bond 60.

    Most interesting will be the Broccoli / Wilson interview I suspect. The Sound of OO7 also might be worth a look. Tickets are on sale for Patrons and Champions on 1st August, Members of 2nd August and general sale on 4th August.

    James Bond at 60 Weekend | BFI Southbank

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,412MI6 Agent

    I received this in my email today from the BFI:

    Please be aware of the below announcement

    In Conversation: 60 Years of James Bond

    Fri 30 Sep 18:15 NFT1 p14

    Sadly, Barbara Broccoli is no longer able to attend this event so, alongside Michael G. Wilson, we have assembled a panel of guests who have played a major part in the recent Bond films. 

    We look forward to welcoming Michael G. Wilson, writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, actor Rory Kinnear and casting director Debbie McWilliams, hosted by writer and broadcaster Samira Ahmed.

    We apologise for any disappointment caused and if you have any queries, please let us know

    I am not sure if I am disappointed or not. Obviously, I don't know the reasons for Barbara Broccoli to pull out of this event, but the replacement four - count them, four - guests suggest a not altogether coherent interview strategy. Interesting the casting director is there. Not sure what Rory Kinnear can add to an overview of James Bond. Purvis and Wade might come in for criticism from an open floor, but as it isn't an open floor discussion, well who knows. I was hoping for a real look back at the filmic Bond through the eyes of the producers who knew Cubby (and Harry) well, but I guess I won't get that.

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,982MI6 Agent
    edited September 2022

    Interesting development.

    I myself was way too late to get a ticket for the interviews, but I got an email recently to say that MGW will be introducing the screening of DN, which, if true - if he's also doing that - is good news for me because I do have a ticket for the screening.

    But also, for anyone depending on a rail link from Waterloo for their journey, I imagine that the 24 hr RMT strike on the Saturday will mean that, by the time on Friday evening that the screening is over, many of the rail services will already have wound down or be winding down. Travel could get tricky.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,412MI6 Agent

    Yes, travel may be a concern. Luckily, I have a bus service which gets me home from Waterloo, so I won't be stranded. The underground isn't striking so another possible route home there.

    I'm also booked in to see the Saturday 1st October preview of The Sound of OO7 as well as the evening show of The Living Daylights - which is now introduced by David Walliams and Maryam D'Abo. The BFI have added many guests as the weeks have counted down. On the same morning the anniversary showing of TSWLM has John Glen giving an interview, but I'm not going to camp out on the South Bank to get to that.

    IMAX is showing SF, SP and NTTD consecutively on Sunday 2nd October if you can stomach it.

    Some tickets are still available to members £10.50 and non-members £12.50.

    The only sold-out show is the Broccoli / Wilson in conversation which is sadly no longer a Broccoli / Wilson interview.

    Follow the same link:

    James Bond at 60 Weekend | BFI Southbank

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,412MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    OK. So, I'm here for the Michael G. Wilson and Co interview. The NFT bar is really buzzing. And I just saw David Walliams and entourage. Is he speaking, introducing or watching?

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,412MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    So, I trundled up to the BFI for the Broccoli / Wilson interview which was no more. They’ve finished the building work at the NFT at last and now there is a big Thames side bar which also has a balcony area and a short order restaurant. The rear ‘cocktail’ lounge remains unaltered. A decent upgrade. Guinness not cheap. Introductions were made by Samira Ahmed, who chairs Front Row on BBC Radio 4, so she’s not some fly by night presenter, but a journalist with an arts background. For all that, the interviews were not in depth and the guests were fairly unsurprising by their anecdotes. No mention of any future Bond projects – I think a vow of silence was being taken.

    Guests were – in order on my attached picture - Michael G. Wilson, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, casting director Debbie McWilliams, Rory Kinnear, NTTD production designer Mark Tildesley and Greg Wilson [associate producer and Michael’s son]. A short celebratory film put together by Eon kicked off proceedings. It was one of the better efforts, played out over McCartney’s Live and Let Die and almost brought a tear to the eye. I suddenly wondered if, after NTTD, I would ever see James Bond in the same light again.

    Michael G Wilson started the discussion by referencing the cinematic introduction to James Bond in Dr No, the scene in Le Cercle casino where we first meet Sean Connery. His claim no heroic character has ever been introduced in this manner is false [see Notorious and Juarez for confirmation of that] but I certainly agree the enduring impact Dr No’s intro has continued to have. I think it has a lot to do with the iconic line “Bond, James Bond” rather than the manner of the introduction, but I’ll leave it open to debate. Wilson also discussed Bond’s killing of Prof Dent in the film, how this was the first time a hero had been shown to kill in ruthless cold blood. I won’t debate that either. He’s certainly right it is another iconic moment of many in the debut movie. We don’t learn anything new here.

    Neal Purvis was asked how Bond’s association with the navy influenced the recent movies. This came from a clip of TSWLM, a film which directly concerns the Royal Navy. I’d not noticed any specific resonance in the Craig era, but Purvis suggested that the subtle irony of NTTD was that Bond is killed by the Royal Navy, his former employers. [Was Bond ever associated with the Navy in the Craig era, I can’t recall?] There was a brief discussion of how the Bond films’ interpretation of violence has changed over the years, that the films were always perceived as family entertainment and as attitudes have changed, so have the movies’ methods of portraying violence. Changing technology was mentioned. Robert Wade explained that if a gadget was introduced into the movie, it had to be used; the difficulty was finding a situation in which it could be used or misused by Bond to the best effect.

    Samira Ahmed raised the issue of misogyny, referring specifically to the shower scene in SF. It was a slightly awkward reply from Wilson, who eventually summed up that there was room for more than one interpretation of the scene. Interestingly – and to some consternation from the writers – Ahmed suggested perhaps Bond ought to seek permission from his lovers with a simple question of consent. I didn’t see why they got so uppity about this, but there you have it. Differing opinions, perhaps?

    There was a good discussion about the casino scene in CR. Wade and Purvis explained how they refined the scene from its initial writing, where Mathis explained in detail how game was being conducted, to the pared down version we see now which relies on character interaction to create tension; the game itself and its terminology is never explained, but because the scene is about people it doesn’t matter. This is certainly true and is something I have picked up on in viewings. Purvis also explained that the actual game being played [the initial one where Bond loses to Le Chiffre] came from an off-set poker school, where he lost a similar hand to Michael Wilson. Rory Kinnear laughed and said he preferred to play Scrabble with Judi Dench. Wilson mentioned that Dench amazed him by completing The Times crossword in ink.

    On the subject of Judi Dench, Purvis and Wade explained how in SF they perceived her M as a sort of Queen of MI6 being brought down to the level of her subjects. This came about from an extended discussion of the London Olympics and Mark Tildesley’s involvement in the Queen’s parachute jump. That stunt was his idea, based solely on a love for the PTS of TSWLM. Samira Ahmed mentioned Queen Elizabeth II also died in Scotland, which brought about a slightly uneasy silence from everybody.

    Debbie McWilliams explained how as a casting director she painstakingly ensures every stand in, extra, cameo etc is carefully drawn and coached. She’s been working on OO7 since FYEO and has seen off the days of models in bikinis. There is no guess work or window dressing on a [modern?] Bond film. For the CR casino scene, every actor was made to visit casinos, watch how players operated, interpret movement, etc, so that the scene would appear flawlessly genuine. This coaching aspect is repeated over and over. She also mentioned how Daniel Craig’s unsettled introduction to the public as James Bond mirrored his character’s introduction to MI6 in the movie and that he channelled that experience into his performance. Taking ownership of James Bond is intensely difficult as individuals have different opinions on the character. There is a need to both satisfy the broad expectations and to surprise. The panel unanimously agreed Craig succeeded in this.

    McWilliams shared much sympathy for Timothy Dalton, who she felt was mishandled, that because he was a late substitute, he never felt entirely comfortable in the role. The amusing story of how Maryam D’Abo was used for Dalton’s test scenes before – after a fruitless casting search – Cubby said: “What’s wrong with the girl who did the test scenes?”

    Mark Tildesley was quizzed about the creation of the Poison Garden for NTTD. He spoke warmly of Ken Adam’s legacy, how Adam’s workbooks and designs are poured over in an attempt by the production team to evoke his sense of grandiose cathedral-like operatic settings. Adam’s designs are still the working template for modern Bond films, he said.

    Purvis and Wade related how the Poison Garden was originally intended to feature in DAD and recurred several times in drafts of Craig’s outings. Even in NTTD the script initially centred on a Poison Garden in an abandoned secret Russian missile silo in Cuba. The action was later switched to an island off Japan, much closer to Fleming’s original YOLT interpretation. They admitted to mining the novels for unused scenes / moments / characters. 

    Lastly, there was a brief discussion of the Scooby Gang and how it reflected a younger generation, that Dench’s M and Mallory, even to a certain extent Craig’s Bond with his all-muscle persona, were both of the anachronistic past while Q, Tanner, Moneypenny and Nomy were a perception of the future of espionage. I’m not sure that point held up very well. 

    Overall, a pleasant, but not an overly revealing discussion. I think there were too many panellists. The audience was extremely male dominated and mostly of middle age, although I seemed to be surrounded by women. Very full attendance.

    Afterwards I met up with @Shady Tree in the bar before we both partook of the 4K screening of Dr No. Link to the brief review below:

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,957Chief of Staff
    edited October 2022
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,798MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    Thank you for that write-up, really enjoyed reading it.

    I see that there's a selection of Bond cars parked up outside the BFI right now, including the DB10, TLD Aston V8 and Little Nellie. I assume there must be a DB5 there!

    EDIT: Yes, here's a video of the vehicles. I wonder if that's the DB5 that just got sold? I hope its new owner doesn't mind :)

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,798MI6 Agent

    You were a single minute late 😁

  • JimmyBobbyJimmyBobby Posts: 100MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    these look amazing and thanks for the info!

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,412MI6 Agent

    More shots of cars...

    The Aston Martin DB5 from NTTD, the Vantage from TLD, the DB10 from SP, Little Nellie - which looks really uncomfortable to fly - and two Land Rover Defenders from NTTD. No one was looking at the last two.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,412MI6 Agent

    Preview of THE SOUND OF OO7 (2022)

    A new documentary covering the evolving history of James Bond music and its influence over the franchise and popular culture in general. Directed by Mat Whitecross, this is a brief ninety-minute trip down memory lane. Eon cooperated fully and supplied hundreds of folders full of still photos and 7000 hours of interviews. The poor guy and his team must have been exhausted with it all, but he looked quite chipper on stage discussing the finer points of the music with lyricist Don Black and composer David Arnold. Samira Ahmed led the discussion again.

    The movie covers much ground we've already come to know. I was impressed with it, but not overly surprised by the content. Many of the anecdotes were familiar - Michael Caine explaining how he heard John Barry compose GF is one I already knew - and it doesn't go into any significant depth. For me there was too much concentration on the songs at the expense of the incidental orchestration. And there was a lot of Billie Eilish, which might please some. No contributions from Dame Shirley, Adele or Aha. Film critic Jason Solomons was sitting directly in front of me. He features several times and, on the way out, I thanked him for his contributions. "I wasn't even sure I'd be in it," he said. "I think you're being modest," I replied.

    Anyway, the Q & A afterwards was interesting. Arnold went into some detail about the importance he placed on withholding the James Bond Theme until the final moments of CR as he considered Craig-Bond had to earn his right to the theme. While there are tiny, miniscule motifs interlaced among the score, the main themes used are Vesper's and the theme song You Know My Name. The latter was described as the first Bond song written from OO7's POV. Arnold suggests Craig channelled some of Cornell's energy into his performance. I think he means it the other way around, doesn't he? He also remarked on a title song's necessity to form the backbone of the music score, while the James Bond Theme is the support player which underpins the main structural theme.

    Mat Whitecross explained at length his admiration for OHMSS, that he considers it Barry's best score because with a new James Bond actor and an uncertainty around Lazenby, he had to focus and draw out and retain for the 1969 audience all of the still fresh OO7 legacy through the music: there was no Sean Connery for them to be familiar with, so the music replaced him as an ongoing character. Barry himself doesn't comment on the score for OHMSS in the documentary other than to pay quiet homage to the great Louis Armstrong. He himself considered GF his best score. No one explained why Armstrong's version of WHATTITW was shoehorned into NTTD, disturbing Hans Zimmer's carefully constructed patterns for the incidental score, which take their cues from Eilish's improvisations of the main theme. This sort of detail was disappointing in its absence. Jack White hilariously admitted his QOS theme is not well-liked. He called it "like hearing your naughty second cousin has entered the room."

    Don Black was entertaining, but he's very old school, loved the adulation he got and seemed a bit smug about his success, all those Oscars and Tonys and things. However, he did insist that an audience must be gripped by a lyric as well as its delivery. He felt women did this much better, but more important to the overall contemporary feel of a Bond film was to pick an artist truly at the very top of their game. David Arnold praised Black's phrasing, that the lyrics sound familiar even on first listen; that the colloquialisms and almost cliches provide a springboard for the music to breathe. This sounded like nonsense to me, but there you have it.

    I enjoyed the documentary and would recommend it. The Q&A was fine, but like last night's, you felt there wasn't any real depth to the questions or the answers.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,637MI6 Agent

    Thank you for the reports @chrisno1 they are excellent reading.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,982MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    Thanks for all the great pics and commentary, @chrisno1 I look forward to watching 'The Sound of OO7' on Amazon Prime this week and will read your preview after that.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,798MI6 Agent

    Thank you for the photos and report. Slightly disappointed at the news the doco concentrates on the songs, I’d hoped Arnold’s series on Scala had thrown more light on the scores.

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