Bond Continuity Theory: Bond and Blofeld not recognising each other in OHMSS is not a plot hole

sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent
edited June 18 in The James Bond Films

Hi all,

I have some theories to share which you might find interesting about the continuity in the Bond films. I will start with the supposed plot hole in OHMSS when Bond first meets Blofeld and they fail to recognise each other. A lot of people don't like this about the film as they believe it doesn't make sense. However I believe that it is an example of clever writing and acting. Here we go:

Bond is definitely hunting Blofeld following the events of YOLT. 2 years have passed as M says early on in the film. When Bond travels to Piz Gloria, he is unarmed and gadget free. He is immediately sent for a medical examination so one can assume he is strip-searched during the examination meaning somebody can examine his clothes. Also Irma Bunt says to one of the assistants after Bond first gets in the elevator "you have ten minutes, then take them to number 8". We can assume that the guy is going to search Bond's luggage for any weapons or gadgets. Bond of course has no objections as such because he is completely gadget and weapon free as he pretending to be Sir Hilary Bray. Again, to reiterate Bond has been trying to hunt down Blofeld for 2 years so this is his first chance in a long time to get to him. Bond also has the blond guy for backup anyway remember.

Blofeld has not seen Bond so far and all reports from Bunt and staff are all satisfactory. His glasses and pipe are simple adequate cover. Therefore Blofeld eventually requests Bond be sent to him. Take a look at Bond's face when Bunt announces that he will meet with the Count. He looks a little worried (maybe because he isn't wearing anything to cover his face). Bond is taken down to the office to meet Blofeld. Just think about Bond's situation for a moment. Bond can do nothing if Blofeld recognises him. He has no weapon, no clue as to what he is up to and no quick escape. Blofeld walks through the glass doors to greet Bond. Take a look at his face. It looks as though there is a glint of recognition in his face when he sees Bond. Remember Bond was supposed to look "Japanese" in the end of YOLT so maybe Bond's face does look considerably different to Blofeld. I think though when Blofeld shakes Bond's hand, he knows he is Bond immediately but is completely surprised at this fact considering Bond travelled all that way under cover and weaponless.

But what can Blofeld do? If he attacks him , that risks his lab research being destroyed and Bond is maybe reporting to somebody so killing him would lead to suspicion from the outside world just like Goldfinger’s decision at the laser table. Bond pretends to be Sir Hilary Bray as that is his only safe option in the situation at the time. Blofeld pretends to not recoqnize Bond as to try and counter-think Bond. But then Blofeld suddenly turns on the lights in his office and Bond's face shifts nervously. I think Blofeld wants to show off his considerable face change (probably due to plastic surgery) as well as his new ears while at the same confirm his suspicion that he really is facing Bond.

Bond then drops the clanger about the de Blauchamp family which, when he does, you can see the anger reflected in Blofeld's eyes knowing that he really is Bond and can do nothing at the moment to deal with him. Bond’s posture in the office looks like he’s been rumbled. Blofeld then lets Bond go back to his room, to allow himself to think about what to do. Bond proceeds to do research in his room then sneaks out and goes to Ruby’s room. Somebody must be monitoring the doors using some form of computer system because Blofeld's team must know that Bond leaves his room. They must then notice that he goes into Ruby’s room immediately afterwards and so does nothing. They don’t want to alert Bond to anything, and also disturbing Ruby will also cost Blofeld time and money. So they must wait for him to leave the room but of course the other girl is there waiting in Bond's room. They probably don’t want to disturb her as well so they leave Bond alone that night. Of course they know Bond will try and do the same thing the next night so that is why Bunt and company set up the trap in Ruby’s room waiting for Bond. Bunt also asks Bond in the morning ‘Is the stiffness gone from last night?’ implying that she knows he was out of his room the night before.

So what you have everyone is actually a cleverly written scene which depicts the actions of two characters trying to behave normally even though both of their identities have been blown. In my opinion it is definitely NOT a plot hole.

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Comments

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 35,531Chief of Staff

    Hello, @sinlum, and welcome. You've clearly put a lot of thought into this and thank you for posting it here.

    As you can imagine, this is a subject which has been covered before though I do think your solution is original (I would be happy to be corrected if anyone knows better).

    You know, of course, that the real reason for this lies outside of the Bond universe and is because Eon filmed the stories in a different order to that of the books. What you may not know is why that happened, but a good dig around in here will explain it. If you don't know and can't find it, let me know.

    Looking forward to more posts from you!

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,853MI6 Agent

    welcome @sinlum

    I applaud your efforts to reconcile an apparent plothole, keep 'em coming!

    the idea Blofeld does know and just wants to see where Bond is going with this makes most sense, though Bond has proven himself resourceful before and a master planner like Blofeld shouldnt give him a chance to do a thing. but like all megalomaniacal supervillains, Blofeld could be overconfident

    the idea Blofeld doesnt recognise Bond since he was last seen disguised as a Japenese fisherman has been argued before. The problem is Blofeld knew precisely what Bond looks like as early as From Russia With Love, SPECTRE even had a lifelike BondMask in the precredits. and since you mention Bond has been stripsearched at Piz Gloria before meeting Blofeld, theyd have been smart to photograph him at the same time, so Blofeld shouldve had chance to examine the photo and maybe compare with his old files.

    a possible solution to that problem: we just assume the leader of SPECTRE in From Russia With Love and Thunderball is Blofeld, because Fleming says so. but he's played by a different actor and never named. Maybe there was an earlier SPECTRE leader, whom Blofeld deposed sometime between Thunderball and You Only Live Twice?

  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent
    edited June 17

    Thanks for the warm welcome everyone. Actually I have been coming to these forums quite a lot in the past but I never posted anything.

    @Barbel - I know that the films were made in a different order to the books but I don't believe that was the original intention of the filmmakers anyway to keep the storyline the same like in the books. Casino Royale, the first Bond book, was not part of the original deal and the intention was to make Thunderball as the first film since it was the newest Bond novel at the time and would have been easy to film in The Bahamas as it was a British colony at the time.

    It is quite clear that Bond is looking for Blofeld at the beginning of the film which ties in neatly with the events of YOLT. If we assume, that this story follows on from TB like the novels, it wouldn't make that much sense since it is not clear that MI6 know who Blofeld is in this film. In YOLT, he clearly introduces himself to Bond.

    @caractacus potts - It's clear that Blofeld makes a point of Bond's glasses and pipe once he is captured and put into the cable car shaftway. I assume Bond intended that he could wear the glasses and pipe as an adequate disguise to get into Piz Gloria and it seemingly worked. It's never implied in the film that Bond has his photo taken when he is being strip searched so maybe Bond assumes he got away with his cover when he enters the facility. It's possible though that when he is invited down to the lab, Blofeld is already suspicious that this visitor is Bond. Remember though that Blofeld has radically changed his appearance since YOLT so maybe he is trying to deceive Bond by thinking that he is not the same guy as the one he met in YOLT. Of course you could speculate as a fan that maybe he is a completely different person. The events of DAF also add fuel to the fire that each Blofeld in the films is possibly a different person.

    I've got plenty more theories which tie the overarching storyline of the films together. Stay tuned!

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,544MI6 Agent

    Really thoughtful post, and a good read, thanks. But why would Bond go there if he thinks he won't be seen by Blofeld? Isn't that that the point in many ways?

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,086MI6 Agent

    A stupid post.

    The mask worn by the Spectre agent in the pre-credits of FRWL was of Sean Connery!

    If Blofeld was to recognise Bond, it would have to be a mask of George Lazenby.

    Come on, @caractacus potts I expect better from you! 😃

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,086MI6 Agent

    Actually, aside from that, the odd thing is how there's all the prep of Bond having his glasses and pipe - but when he goes down to first meet Blofeld he doesn't wear his glasses! So, what was the point?

    The plot hole is that if Bond was okay being recognised by Blofeld then what's the plan? Just kill him there and then? He can't do it, at least without a gun on him. Or just attack him? If so, why doesn't he do so? There isn't any real recognition from Bond upon meeting or re-meeting his nemesis, though he has no one to confide in at this point, being isolated. He does always seem to assume that the Count is his man but we don't hear him really say it until Blofeld makes his move.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 5,728MI6 Agent

    Welcome to the forum @sinlum and the very interesting theory put forward. It’s always been my view that OHMSS takes place before YOLT and the credits showing the clock going backwards, intimating time regressing, is still my belief. In fact the first thread I initiated was on this theme a long time ago when I first joined, it was quickly closed down by our esteemed leader @Barbel and I was summarily cautioned and then thrashed with a carpet beater for having the temerity to open a thread that had already been discussed before (apparently I should have waded through thousands of threads to check if the topic had been discussed before, ok, ok, I think he said should have used the search feature, but that doesn’t sound as good) 😜 but your viewpoint is excellent and worthy of discussion. I look forward to reading more.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • MI6_HeadquartersMI6_Headquarters Posts: 168MI6 Agent

    It's not really a plot hole, Bond was clearly in disguise as Sir Hillary Bray.

    I still don't understand why those people questioning it, Bond was clearly in disguise, there's no way he could recognize him.

    This, along with the clown suit in OP are my favorite spy things that Bond had done so far.

    He really did real espionage things.

    For a guy who always telling his real name, "Bond, James Bond" to other people, this are the wise things to do for him 😊.

    I don't liked Bond as a killer, Assassin Superhero nonsense, I want my Bond to be a spy.


  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 35,531Chief of Staff
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,544MI6 Agent

    That clock-going-backwards thing is a really interesting thought.

  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent

    My post just disappeared so I have to write it out again :(

    I don't think that the backwards clock explains that YOLT happens after OHMSS. I don't believe that that makes much sense anyway. Bond gets married in OHMSS and his wife gets killed. None of the emotional impact this has on Bond is dealt with in YOLT. Also Bond has an arranged marriage in that film so how and why would Bond be mentally prepared to go through an event like that after OHMSS? As badly as DAF handled the post OHMSS events, it did at least recognise that Bond was on a personal vendetta against Blofeld and I think it confirms that the order of the films released represents the chronological time frame.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,544MI6 Agent
    edited June 18

    Although DAF also has Moneypenny asking Bond for a diamond ring, perhaps the most insensitive thing she could possibly say! 😁

  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent
    edited June 18

    To explain why Bond is not wearing his disguise when he meets Blofeld, I shall write some more thoughts on the situation Bond is in:

    Based on the evidence Bond gathers from the lawyers office, Blofeld is looking to get his title recognised which probably means he can gain international immunity. Bond goes to Piz Gloria either to kill Blofeld immediately or lure him away from Piz Gloria which is something Bond mentions earlier in the film. MI6 probably deduce that Blofeld is simply in hiding in Switzerland keeping a low profile and is not up to any world catastrophic changing event like in YOLT.

    When Bond first arrives in Piz Gloria, he's wearing his glasses and pipe which seem to be adequate cover for him to get to his hotel room. Once there he seems insistent on wanting to meet Blofeld immediately. He seems annoyed when Bunt tells him that the Count will send for him. Bond probably realises he will have to wait until at least the next day to meet the Count. Bond is then invited to dinner. Bond probably decides not to wear his glasses or pipe since he won't be meeting the Count anyway. Once at the dinner table, he then proceeds to stay in character and gives a long talk (seemingly over one hour) on heraldry.

    When Gunther tells Bunt that the Count will now see Bond, look at Bond's face. He looks a bit unnerved. Bond can understand German so he knows from Gunther that he will see the Count before Bunt says this to to Bond. Bond at that moment probably thinks he has to comply since backing out will cause suspicion. Not wearing his disguise is a big risk, but it's not as if he can run back to his room and collect his items. Look at Bond's face when he's in the lift with Gunther. It looks like he's ready to kill him and is probably thinking that he will have to kill Blofeld immediately too since his cover is going to be blown. However he might also be thinking that his Japanese disguise from YOLT might be enough to throw Blofeld off his suspicions.

    I think Bond is thrown off course, when he meets Blofeld as his appearance is radically different. Bond also has noticed that Blofeld has a laboratory and is clearly up to something more than just having his title recognised. So I am guessing Bond's best course of action is just to stay in character. It's clear though that Bond blows his cover once he mentions Augsburg so Blofeld knows at that point that this guy is definitely not Sir Hilary Bray (if he hadn't known already by then). However Blofeld does not take any action. He could simply have this imposter killed or imprisoned but my guess is that he simply stays calm and continues to pretend that Bond is Sir Hilary Bray to deceive Bond.

  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent

    Tiffany Case also implies she might want to marry Bond at the end of DAF. Also LALD features Rosie Carver using "Mrs Bond" as an alias.

    With reference to DAF, I assume that once Blofeld is supposedly dead at the beginning of the film, Bond can move forwards emotionally. The diamond expert also mentions that Bond has been on holiday so I suppose Bond is fully back to his old self knowing Blofeld is dead and he got his much needed relaxation ))

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,086MI6 Agent

    I don't know about all this. You can say Bond doesn't recognise Blofeld because the villain has physically changed. Well, that's because it's a different actor in the part. You may as well say Blofeld doesn't recognise Bond because he has physically changed, not having a Scots accent or a paunch!

    If what @sinium says is true it really doesn't explain to the audience what Bond is planning to do upon meeting Blofeld. The script doesn't go there, so for that reason seems to be just implying that as with the book it's the first time they meet. If they've met before, Bond's disguise doesn't go far enough and doesn't even bother with it anyway, removing his glasses at the key moment.

    Talking of which, I'd have preferred just one scene showing Bond try on the glasses and the pipe before his visit. Bet there were some kids in the audience slow to pick up on the fact that the square guy coming off the train and meeting Fraulein Bunt is actually Bond.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 5,728MI6 Agent

    As @Napoleon Plural quite rightly says there is no point in making any assumptions due to different actors in the roles - it’s the characters that need to be focused on. That being established, then the time regression theory stands up well.

    And the DAF sequence with the diamond expert commenting on Bond having been away on holiday is clearly a euphemism for Bond’s mission to eliminate Blofeld - he would not have been privy to any inside information of MI6 operations and M would have given him a false story of Bond having had a holiday - it’s not said but presumably the diamond case may have been on the back burner for a while whilst Bond dealt with Blofeld and the holiday was an excuse for the delay in getting onto the diamond mission.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,544MI6 Agent

    It can also be taken as a bit of a wink to the audience about Connery just having taken a film off; but I think you’re right that it’s mainly about his Blofeld mission.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 5,728MI6 Agent

    And I also think you’re right too @emtiem it’s a double meaning quote, for sure.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent

    I agree that the whole point of meeting Blofeld is never really made explicit in the film. The only point Bond makes early in the film is that he wants to get his man away from Piz Gloria. It's never really clarified whether Bond is planning to kill him or simply arrest him. I would argue that Bond's plan is to stay undercover for as long as possible to gather intelligence. He already notices the lab before he meets Blofeld so he must know that Blofeld is up to more than hiding away until he gets his title recognised.

    Bond immediately goes back to his hotel room and does research on heraldry as he is sat at the desk in his room. It's possible that he stays there for at least an hour or so. Based on this, I assume Bond just wants to stay undercover as I already said. If you put things into context, if Ruby hadn't written number 8 on Bond's leg, there wouldn't be much progression in the story from this moment onwards.

  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent

    There are loads of moments in the Bond films which can have double meanings. Just take DAF which seems to be full of references that try to write OHMSS out of the timelime:

    • Opening shot implying Bond is in Japan (starting off where YOLT ended)
    • The diamond expert mentioning Bond has been on holiday (referring to Connery's absence)
    • Moneypenny implying she wants a diamond ring (Tracy from OHMSS was nothing)
    • Tiffany Case implying she wants to marry Bond at the end (also implying Bond's marriage in OHMSS was nothing special)
  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent

    I don't get how the time regression theory stand up well. Perhaps someone can explain it in more detail.

    I watched the Bond films backwards the last time I did a Bond marathon to break up the chronology of the films. It really doesn't make sense that OHMSS would come before YOLT. Bond has no idea who Blofeld is until he is introduced to him in YOLT. If we assume OHMSS came before, this man Blofeld would have already murdered his wife. Why would Bond not be insentivised to kill Blofeld as quickly as possible in his lair? He has exploding cigarettes as a hidden weapon remember! Also why would Blofeld introduce himself to Bond if they had already met in OHMSS?

    I always saw that the backwards clock in the OHMSS titles sequence was referencing Bond's past missions up to this point and not future ones. Maurice Binder came up with the idea to show to the audience that this was still the same Bond even though another actor was in the role. Wouldn't it be confusing for the audience as well to have work out that the 5th and 6th films in a series of action films are actually meant to be watched the other way around? There are also other theories floating around that Casino Royale proceeds the Connery films in the timeline and some Bond films are not meant to be in chronological order but I have loads of evidence to share that can prove that is simply not the case.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 5,728MI6 Agent

    Another minor event that points to OHMSS taking place before YOLT is that in YOLT Bond had a pocket sized gadget that gives him the safe combination, in OHMSS he has a suitcase sized gadget that has to be delivered by crane. This points to time having passed and the gadget has been modified down to a smaller manageable size.

    Great thread, thanks for starting this @sinlum

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent
    edited June 21

    I think I have some good arguments to explain why the safe cracking device in OHMSS is noticeably different to the more practical one in YOLT:

    1) It's possible that the gadget Bond uses in YOLT only works on small safes. Bond also expects to photocopy documents after cracking the safe in OHMSS so a larger safe cracker is necessary than the one used in YOLT.

    2) When Bond goes to the lawyer's office, he isn't actually on active duty since Moneypenny changed his request to take annual leave. It could be possible that MI6 agents are not allowed to have weapons or gadgets when they are not on active service. This is somehow referenced in LTK in the scene when Bond is tied up on the table and the MI6 agent examines Bond's rifle and knows it is the property of her majesty´s government. I would maintain that agents are not allowed weapons or gadgets in case they are found out as in what happens in LTK. I reckon Bond works with the blond guy to source a safe cracker that isn't made by MI6 in case if he is ever found it with it, it can't be traced back to MI6.

    3) Draco is helping Bond during this time in the film so it's possible the safe in OHMSS was sourced by Draco. It's possible then that the blond guy is actually an agent for Draco since it is never specified in the film who he really is (if someone can correct me on this, please do). Considering that they use a crane in a construction site to get the safe to the office, it's possible the whole event was organised with Draco and had nothing to do with MI6.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,544MI6 Agent

    Although to be fair, it's unclear if the one in OHMSS is from Q Branch or Draco.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,853MI6 Agent

    thats right, we had a discussion about that recently, cant remember which thread though.

    and whats that blonde characters name again?

    anyway, this is a classic case where we might assume one thing if we've read the book, whereas the film in and of itself does not actually support that assumption and may be more logically interpreted differently. There is no clue within the film the blonde fellow works for MI6, he may have tracked Bond to Piz Gloria so Draco can keeps tabs on his future son-in-law. And that reading never would've occurred to me if I didnt hang out here with my fellow overanalalyzers!

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 5,728MI6 Agent


    1 - That’s not a good explanation - at the end of OHMSS Bond is photographing the “Angels” with a tiny camera so he could have done the same with the documents - he didn’t have to have hard copies for the proof.

    2 - Draco runs a huge criminal operation - he would be up to date with the technology so if he has suitcase sized safe-decoder he would have a pocket sized one too.

    3 - Campbell is a secret service operative in the novel - he will also be so in the movie. It’s also possible that Bond and Campbell are friends within the Secret Service and he has asked him for help on his quest so he provides the decoder with the help of Draco. The permutations are endless and there is no definite answer, given time anyone could think of no end of alternative scenarios.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,544MI6 Agent

    I think it’s very possible that Q has better tech than Draco: I bet he hasn’t got any underwater cars!

    And Campbell isn’t said to be MI6 in the film: we actually see him on a Draco construction site so in fact we get more of a hint that he works for Draco.

  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 3,003MI6 Agent

    If we're not too concerned about timelines and continuation, I wouldn't be against seeing Campbell appear again as an ally in some way. Perhaps he's an ex-colleague now 'self-employed'.

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,335MI6 Agent

    On the size of the safe cracking device in OHMSS: We have to take into account that this device is also a scanner and a printer. The gadget Bond uses in YOLT is "just" for safe cracking.

  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 3,003MI6 Agent

    Agree. I'd actually never thought of that..😯

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
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