My Seven Favorite Bond Trailers

While we all wait for Bond 25 to finally give us a title and a teaser trailer, I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the franchise’s past trailers. I’ve listed my seven favorites. My criteria for this exclusive list focuses on two aspects. Firstly, most of the old Connery and Moore trailers are way too long. They are pretty much four minute CliffsNotes versions of the film. Secondly, I’m a sucker for a well made teaser trailer. It’s brief enough, yet also shows us enough to make us want more.

 

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James Bond Isn’t Always The Hero

If you deeply studied the creator of the James Bond character, Ian Fleming, you would come to discover he was the antithesis of the term “woke”. In fact, the eye-rolling term “man of his time” would be the polite way of describing Fleming’s more than borderline misogyny and racism.

So it goes without saying that James Bond isn’t always morally right. As the decades have passed, and he has become a true-blue cinematic hero, Bond still has moments that should remind us that he isn’t so noble. And that’s actually fine. Times change rapidly, the character’s attitude toward women and social class also change, but at a very slow rate and not always fully. Sometimes it’s nice to see him as a “fish out of water” in our evolving social world.

Here are some of the moments when 007 is less than heroic.

 

Telling his black guide to fetch his shoes. 

James Bond / Dr No

I’m not sure which is more problematic: The fact that he said this to Quarrel, or the fact that it took decades and decades and decades for it make us flinch?

 

All the times he slapped women, and was just all around too rough with them!

I will say Roger Moore looked the worst doing this, mainly because he never had a mean bone in his body.

 

Speaking of mistreating women; the plethora of #MeToo #TimesUp moments. 

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Dropping his dead buddy into a dumpster.

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James isn’t one for goodbyes, but even for him this was a harsh way to treat Mathis.

 

And if being rough with women, or being a straight up womanizer, wasn’t enough for you… I give you some old-fashioned ohhhh women can do that? 

Oddest Casting Choices and Roles

For every inspired casting choice like Christopher Walken and Javier Bardem as the main villains, or Honor Blackman and Eva Green as the main Bond girls, we get some true head scratchers. Is it bad casting or bad character development? You decide.

Here are just some of the ones that baffle me:

 

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“It’s your honor sir!”

Gerry Duggan as Hawkers, Bond’s caddie in Goldfinger. It’s like they took a cast member from Darby O’Gill and the Little People and just plunked him onto the set.

 

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I know when I think of Howard Hughes, I do NOT think of Jimmy Dean as Willard Whyte in Diamonds Are Forever.

 

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We go from Donald Pleasance and Telly Savalas to campy Charles Gray as Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever. I liked him better as Mr. Henderson in You Only Live Twice.

 

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Okay, this one is too easy. I have less issue with Northern born actor Clifton James’ turn as Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Live And Let Die/The Man With The Golden Gun), and more of confusion as to why he played pretty much the same exact role in Superman II.

 

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Lynn-Holly Johnson was a world class figure skater. Perfect for the role of Bibi in For Your Eyes Only. Less perfect as a “Lolita” trying to shag an embarrassed James Bond, played by 50something Roger Moore.

 

Jean Rougerie as French private detective Achille Aubergine in A View To A Kill, is so stereotypically French that he makes Inspector Jacques Clouseau and Pepé Le Pew look like they were born and raised in Iowa.

 

The casting of singer Wayne Newton as Professor Joe Butcher in Licence To Kill? All I have to say is… “bless your heart!”

 

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She sang the song; might as well add her to the cast. Madonna as a fencing instructor named Verity, adds to Die Another Day‘s astronomical pun count.

 

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Ludger Pistor as Mr. Mendel is a character that seems out of place in Casino Royale. This Swiss banker is responsible for all monetary transactions during and after the poker match. Sorry, he didn’t bring any chocolates.

Movie Review: NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN

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When I was in the middle of writing my James Bond film reviews, I discovered a dilemma. What to do with 1983’s unofficial Bond flick Never Say Never Again? It’s not a part of the EON films, yet it does have Sean Connery playing 007.

What makes a James Bond movie…well…a James Bond movie? Never Say Never Again doesn’t have the classic opening gunbarrel, followed by the usual pre-title sequence, and of course the credit titles song which is full of guns and naked silhouette girls. Nor does it even contain the James Bond theme. So what does it have to make it feel like a 007 adventure? It has an older Sean Connery playing the role with more conviction than he did the last time we saw him in Diamonds Are Forever.

NSNA is just a remake of Thunderball. Due to a long and complicated legal history, it was the only official Bond story that could be remade. Sean Connery, holding a longstanding grudge against producer Cubby Broccoli, decided to return to the role he said “never again” to. More on that later. NSNA was supposed to go head-to-head with official 007 movie Octopussy, starring Roger Moore. Due to some production delays, the flick came out a four months after Octopussy.

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Bond’s coolest moment? When he party-crashes Largo’s charity event, and makes life hell for the doorman. As seen above.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? James Bond in an arcade. He should never have to play video games, especially a game as silly as “Domination”.

Bond’s best line? Fatima: Oh, how reckless of me. I made you all wet. James: Yes, but my martini is still dry. 

Best acting performance? It’s a tossup between Barbara Carrera’s Fatima Blush and Klaus Maria Brandauer’s Maximillian Largo. They are a wonderful one-two punch of bonkers villainy. They make Max Zorin and Raoul Silva seem like “stable geniuses.”  

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Pretending to be a masseur at a health spa mostly catering to beautiful young women. He gives Domino (Kim Basinger) a “hard” massage, until he leaves before getting caught. Only James could get away with that.

Worst line in the movie? Fatima: “You know that making love to Fatima was the greatest pleasure of your life.” Although, it does lead to a great reply by James talking about some girl he had sex with in Philadelphia. I want to know what that mission was!

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 27th time? The actor who plays General Miller in this, is the same actor who plays Bob Conley in A View To A Kill two years later. 

Best action sequence? I think the shark attack scene is done extremely well. It was almost like putting James Bond into a Jaws sequel. 

Who or what is the title song about? “Never Say Never Again” is sung by Lani Hall and it’s the usual type of Bond title theme song that is about a woman being pretty sure she can turn James into a one-woman kind of man. 

Best looking cinematic moment? Anytime you can shoot in the South of France, you have a good opportunity to film some breathtaking scenes. 

How could the villain have succeeded? As usual the villain leaves Bond tied up and decides to tell him just enough of his diabolical plan. 

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Since this is a pure Connery grudge-fest, no one else. But how about Daniel Craig in about five years, remakes this? Barbara Broccoli and he are too loyal to one another to ever do this.

Does Bond ever think he might die? When it appears his pen-gun fails him, he does have a look on his face that shows fear as Fatima is about to shoot him. 

What would have made the movie better? Having all the elements that make a James Bond movie legit. 

What’s in a name? James doesn’t use an alias in this, but he does pretend to be a masseur and later a tourist riding a bicycle.

What’s in a title? “Never Say Never Again” is a title that comes from Sean Connery’s wife Micheline. It’s a joke on Connery’s “never again” line. 

Drinking game: Drink a “Bloody Mary with plenty of Worcestershire sauce” every time Largo starts to say something, then stops, and then makes a mischievous face.

“WTF?!” moment: It’s a tie for me. The exploding Fatima (which is so clearly a mannequin) and the real horse that probably jumped to its death off the castle and into the ocean. 

Fun fact: Producer Kevin McClory and Sean Connery had plans in the mid-70s to remake Thunderball as a movie called Warhead

Review synopsis: It’s difficult to compare Never Say Never Again to any of the other official James Bond movies, besides Thunderball of course. I would say it is more entertaining than Thunderball, but it’s not a better film than the original. I enjoyed the idea of not shying away from Sean’s older age, which is oddly funny considering Roger Moore was three years older than him! The bottom line is that it takes a lot more than just having Sean Connery as James Bond to be a real 007 film. I will say kudos for breaking the fourth wall in a cool way at the very end.

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How Did They Become James Bond?

“It’s a small group of men who’ve made this role. More men have walked on the moon than have played James Bond.” – Pierce Brosnan

So how did these six lucky men end up playing the oxymoronic title that is “the world’s most famous secret agent”?

 

SEAN CONNERY

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  • Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman famously said they liked the way the young Scotsman moved. They thought we walked like a panther. Whatever the hell that means! The film that really sold them on taking a chance on this unknown actor, was his supporting role in Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1952).

 

GEORGE LAZENBY

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  • He may have only played 007 once, but this Australian’s story is the most fascinating of them all. Not really an actor, but he acted like he could. This former car salesman and model, really pushed his way into the auditions to replace Sean Connery. The only bit of acting he had was starring in a commercial for a chocolate company.

 

ROGER MOORE

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  • This charming Brit was always on the producers’ minds when it came to casting Bond in the 1960s. Unfortunately, his schedule never opened up thanks to his hit TV show “The Saint”. Think of Moore’s role in the show as 007 training.

 

TIMOTHY DALTON

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  • This Welsh Shakespearean thespian actually turned down the role in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, citing his youth and inexperience. His role in films like Mary Queen of Scots, Cromwell, and specifically The Lion in Winter, kept him on the mind of Albert R. Broccoli. He finally got his shot at Bond when he was hired in 1986.

 

PIERCE BROSNAN

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  • Take everything I mentioned about Roger Moore in The Saint in the 1960s, and swap it with Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele in the 1980s. This Irishman missed out on playing James Bond in 1987’s The Living Daylights due to his contract for Remington Steele. His hard work finally paid off in 1995’s Goldeneye.

 

DANIEL CRAIG

 

  • There weren’t many people who believed in Daniel Craig when he was announced as the 6th James Bond actor. Barbara Broccoli never backed down from her belief that he was the right man for the gig. She was 100% correct, and I, and most of the world were so very wrong. What did it for her? She saw his starring role in a British gangster flicked titled “Layer Cake”.

 

 

Dumbest Plans By Villains

Every now and then you get a Bond villain who has an original idea, but more often than not it all comes down to world domination. That same old dream. Of course, that pesky James Bond fellow is always around to ruin things for the main baddie, but it is usually the villain’s own stupidity that does them in. And I’m not even talking about the countless times they leave the room, while James deals with another obscure way to die. Here are just some of the plans by Bond villains that will make you say… that’s just dumb!

 

Auric Goldfinger

You are going to break into Fort Knox. Really?! Have you truly thought this through Goldie? His plot of making the gold radioactive until 2022ish is pretty clever. However, Operation Grand Slam already had its issues from the start. Getting funded by American gangsters is one part. He kills a whole lot of them and he doesn’t think one day soon there won’t be retaliation? How about the one gangster who decided to leave without getting involved in this caper? He is murdered by Goldfinger’s henchman Oddjob. Death by car crusher! All so Auric could get the removal of the gold he gave him. So greedy! Oh and by the way, doesn’t the NY Fed have more gold than Fort Knox? Just saying.

 

Ernst Stavro Blofeld

Forgetting the fact that he and Bond try to the play the “I’ve never met you before in my life” game, his diabolical plan is just plain dumb. Blofeld wants to destroy the whole world’s economy by making all plant and livestock infertile. Pretty neat. How was he planning on getting this done? By using a dozen stunning young women from around the globe, who are undergoing unorthodox psychological and immunological treatments for food allergies and phobias. He was brainwashing them to distribute bacteriological warfare agents throughout their parts of the world. Considering James slept with at least 1/3 of the ladies in a couple nights, I’m not sure Blofeld should have put all his faith in his hypnotized “angels of death.”

 

Karl Stromberg and Hugo Drax

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These two are not villains in the same movie, but their ideas sure are. Let me make this abundantly clear for Mr. Stromberg: IT IS GOING TO BE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE REST OF THE HUMAN RACE TO LIVE A NORMAL LIFE UNDERWATER! Oh and for Mr. Drax: IT IS GOING TO BE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE REST OF THE HUMAN RACE TO LIVE A NORMAL LIFE IN SPACE! I really don’t think you two have thought this entirely through.

 

Max Zorin

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What can I say that Roger Ebert didn’t already say about Zorin’s moronic plan in 1985? Max is supposed to be this genetic genius. He wants to control the entire production and distribution of the world’s microchips. Max decides that the only obstacle in his way is Silicon Valley. So his plan is to wipe it out by engineering a massive earthquake that will level all of Silicon Valley. How brilliant can you be when you want to destroy the entire region that would actually buy your microchips?! Killing his own customers, rather than the competition.

 

Elliot Carver

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Some madmen dream of world domination. Carver just wants higher ratings. Seriously, even Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes would roll their eyes at his villainous scheme. He wants to start WWIII between the U.K. and China. But why? In the hopes that the existing Chinese leadership in Beijing get wiped out and replaced with political leaders who would allow the Carver Media Group Network to secure exclusive broadcasting rights in China for the next century. Gentlemen and ladies, hold the presses. This just in: THIS WON’T WORK! And let me just say I never want WWIII, but wouldn’t trying to get the USA and Russia to start WWIII create even bigger ratings?

 

Elektra King

Film 'The World is Not Enough' By Michael Apted

Some want to rule the world. Some ask for the world. Some believe the world is theirs for the taking. Elektra King is all of these people! This insane daughter of an oil magnate, wanted to cause a nuclear meltdown in the waters of Istanbul. She’s already one of the richest women in the world, but yes we know, the world is not enough for her too. Forgetting the fact that she thinks she can kill millions and make it look like an accident; wouldn’t a gigantic nuclear explosion cause more chaos with the oil rich nations of the Middle East?

 

Raoul Silva

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Let me go on record and say I love Silva as a Bond villain. He’s probably my all-time favorite. However, if his one and only goal in life was to kill M… he certainly takes his sweet time. Could have killed her in the MI6 explosion. Bleep. Could have killed her in the courtroom. Poof. He even couldn’t do it in the church when he has a gun to her head. Blop. Mommie was very bad, but Silva just couldn’t do it. He wasted his time and ours. But it sure was fun watching.

 

Franz Oberhauser…oops excuse me… Ernst Stavro Blofeld

Franz Oberhauser is responsible for everything bad that happened to James Bond in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Spectre. This still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Every villain was under his orders. Every woman close to James, who was murdered, was because of Franz. He’s been the “author of all his pain” throughout James’ spy career. What if James had grown up to be a teacher? Or financial planner? Or janitor? There are inspired revenge plans, and then there is retroactively exacting vengeance. I guess my issue is less with Oberhauser/Blofeld and more with Spectre’s screenwriters and producers.

Hef and JFK and Bond

Yesterday was my birthday, which I proudly share with the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Which got me thinking. While it’s obvious Ian Fleming, Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman are the three of the main reasons why Bond fans continue to enjoy the six decades of films… JFK is someone who deserves a lot of credit for the overall legacy of James Bond.

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In an interview in 1961, a reporter asked President Kennedy what type of books he liked read. Kennedy was known to be a big fan of Fleming’s 007 novels and listed From Russia With Love as one of his top ten favorite books of all-time. Once the public found out about what this extremely popular President enjoyed reading, the Fleming-Bond books became best-sellers.

The two men did get a chance to meet. Fleming was invited to a party in Washington D.C. held by President Kennedy, very early in his first term. They had a quite an intriguing conversation about the crisis with Cuba. Fleming told the President a very peculiar way to get rid of the Communist leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro. Sounding like something straight out of Bond story, Fleming said that Castro’s beard was the key. Without his trademark beard, Castro would be normalized. Fleming said that the U.S. should announce that they found that beards attract radioactivity and any man with a beard could become radioactive and sterile. If Castro fell for it, he would immediately shave it all off and the Cuban people would see him as just an ordinary man. It’s reported that JFK had a good laugh about this bizarre suggestion. This tale makes me want to view the pre-title sequences of Goldfinger and Octopussy again in a different mindset.

I think JFK fancied himself as an American Bond. It’s comforting to know that one of the last films he ever saw was the adaption of his favorite 007 adventure, From Russia With Love in November 1963.

But it wasn’t just cool Kennedy who helped make Bond, James Bond iconic. Let’s not forget about the ultimate bachelor in his robe and pjs; smoking a pipe.

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Hugh Hefner ties into James Bond and the 1960s perfectly. Hef lived the life that most men wanted to live. It was his decadent magazine (Playboy) that first published Ian Fleming’s James Bond short story, “The Hildebrand Rarity”. Following that publication  came five other 007 stories. A three-part version of “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, “The Property of a Lady”, a serialized “You Only Live Twice”, and then Fleming’s final 007 work “The Man with The Golden Gun”.

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And then we have the connection between Bond and Playboy in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. While waiting to crack a safe in Bern law office, James grabs a copy of the February 1969 issue of Playboy. Bond (played by George Lazenby) takes a good look at the monthly centerfold, and has a smile on his face like a horny teen boy. I guess that could be James Bond’s inner child.

In Diamonds Are Forever (the very next Bond flick), the character Tiffany Case finds Bond’s wallet (which James put inside the jacket of the deceased Peter Franks). And of course, she takes out his Playboy Club membership card. Can’t you just imagine James hanging out with the bunnies in the grotto?

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