Sean Connery in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”

Image result for sean connery on her majesty's secret service

Sean Connery is considered by most to be the greatest James Bond ever. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is considered by many to be one of the greatest Bond stories ever. This is why it’s a heinous cinematic crime that we never got to see Connery play 007 for the 6th time in OHMSS.

Why didn’t Connery come back after You Only Live Twice? Sean had mentally checked out by the mid-60s and he felt that he was being grossly underpaid, especially after the huge hits of Goldfinger and Thunderball. He resented the Bond producers, Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Especially Saltzman! So much so that Connery demanded that Saltzman not be on the set while he was acting. Things got worse when Sean arrived to film in Japan. The press didn’t leave him alone. He had enough. He said never again! (More on that statement other time…another place.)

Why did the producers go with George Lazenby to star in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? Lazenby was a complete unknown, who they thought they could mold into the next Connery. That proved easier said than done. Lazenby is really the only weak spot in the entire film. Not entirely his fault, as he had never acted before. But when your great film’s only weakness is the lead actor, that’s a major issue and the producers only had themselves to blame. OHMSS needed Sean Connery. And actually, Sean Connery could have really used a film like OHMSS.

Image result for sean connery on her majesty's secret service

With the beautifully talented Diana Rigg as Tracy, Bond’s future wife, and with terrific character actor Telly Savalas, playing the villain Blofeld, Connery would have fit right in. If he was tired of Bond because the movies had become lazy and out-of-this-world, then OHMSS was exactly what he needed. It’s one of the more grounded Bonds in the franchise’s 55+ year history. There are hardly any gadgets, the action is shot well thanks to director Peter Hunt, the locations make it a sweeping epic, and it offers a Bond actor a first: Bond falls in love and gets married.

It’s a shame that this movie didn’t end up as the followup to Goldfinger, as it was intended to be. Bond history might have changed. Connery would have eventually had enough of being “underpaid” and would have grown too old for the part, but we would have seen him in somewhat of his prime in one of the best 007 movies ever made.

As it stands now, if you are a Bond fanatic like myself, you have grown to respect and love the film. It’s easily in my top 10 Bond flicks, but for casual Bond fans it’s an outlier. Usually you will hear from them: “Oh yeah! That one with that one guy who only played the part once. The one without Sean Connery.” That’s a shame. Sean Connery is James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? Has a much better ring to it. That would have been an all-timer on the level of From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me, Casino Royale and Skyfall. Even with George Lazenby as James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service it still might be. It’s that good of a movie.

 

Movie Review: THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN

Sometimes the only one who can almost kill James Bond are the producers. 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun was the first time the franchise was on its last legs. Poor reviews and a lackluster box-office has ended up as the film’s legacy. Yet, it still provides us with one of the best Bond villains, a memorable henchman, and a now well-known vacation hot spot.

04D2EA24-43A1-41F0-9BBC-A2503AF3A2F6

MY TMWTGG NOTES:

  • The Man With The Golden Gun feels like the perfect summer Bond flick. That’s mainly because of the locations and everyone looks sweaty throughout filming.
  • “Nick Nack, Tabasco!” is one of the greatest lines in a Bond movie. At least for me it is. That’s because when I was kid I thought Scaramanga was saying “Nick Nack, avesco!” As if “avesco” was some Italian or Spanish word for “hurry up!”
  • If screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz came up with the idea of Francisco Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee) having a third nipple, I must find out what he was smoking and drinking at the time.
  • I like to assume that the mobbed-up gangster character dueling Scaramanga in the pre-title sequence is the same mobbed-up gangster from Diamonds Are Forever.
  • I’m never impressed with Scaramanga’s “fun house”. This movie could have used Ken Adams’ legendary production design skills.
  • I don’t care what anyone else tells me: that animatronic saloon cowboy shooting is Roger Moore!
  • I would happily listen to Nick Nack do play-by-play of duels.
  • LuLu’s title song isn’t great, but it’s funky.
  • Bond reels off info about Scaramanga to M as if Wikipedia was around in 1974.
  • This is the only one of Roger Moore’s seven Bond movies where I feel like he isn’t acting like himself. There are many moments in this film when Moore’s Bond is just flat-out rude and sadistic. It’s not a nice sight.
  • The fight in the belly dancer’s dressing room is Moore’s best fight in the 12 years he played 007.
  • Mary Goodnight (played by Britt Ekland) is really horrible at her job.
  • Andrea Anders (played by Maud Adams) is a much more interesting character than Goodnight. The dynamic between Bond/Anders is reminiscent to Bond/Severine in Skyfall.
  • I would have no problem hanging out at the Bottom’s Up club. Don’t judge me.
  • I know Scaramanga likes to shag before and after committing murder, but something tells me he has some odd gun-sex fetish too.
  • Hai Fat and Chew Mee are just lazy names.
  • The “solex” is a very weak “MacGuffin”.
  • In the same way Live And Let Die used Blaxploitation from the early 70s, TMWTGG did the same with early 70s kung-fu. Hence 007 doing battle at a karate school.
  • The boat chase is a snoozer for me. Only highlight is a comedic one: Bond tossing a Thai boy off a boat. I told you he was mean in this one.
  • Who actually thought it was a good idea to bring back Sheriff J.W. Pepper?
  • I’m always impressed with the gun-making scene. Scaramanga could teach a lesson.
  • Bond watching a kickboxing match. Not sure we will ever see this again.
  • I know Scaramanga is a master assassin and can shoot anyone from any spot. But cmon now! He shoots Anders in the chest and she doesn’t even move?!
  • Anders has a Melania quality to her.
  • Scarmanga’s get-away car that turns into a get-away plane, looks like something a little kid would make.
  • The technician looks like baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
  • Deadly mission or not. Upcoming duel or not. I also would eat the delicious lunch Nick Nack has prepared.
  • I love the set-up of the duel between Scaramanga and Bond, but I would have loved more cat and mouse.
  • Very cool that Bond dressed up as his own mannequin in order to shoot and kill Scaramanga. However, did he really have that much time to dress in the mannequin’s clothes?
  • Bond’s “fight” with Nick Nack might as well have Yakety Sax playing in the background.
  • The end of this movie always leaves me with tons of questions: Should Bond trust Goodnight to clean up all that glass from the fight? How the hell does M know the phone number to Scaramanga’s boat? Are we to assume that Bond left Nick Nack up in the crow’s nest to die from sun poisoning?

 

5CAF5592-63E3-4B09-A22B-25B122B29764

Bond’s coolest moment? Kicking the karate guy in the face as he is bowing down.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? A few options here. Bond swallowing the bullet while sucking on the belly dancer’s abdomen. Having to grab the ass cheeks of a sumo wrestler during a fight. But I’m going to go with the car loop mostly for that embarrassing slide-whistle. Oh and it’s always embarrassing to be seen with J.W. Pepper.

Bond’s best line? “Not from where I’m standing” to the belly dancer who has literally lost her charm. 

Best acting performance? It’s easily Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga. Extra special shoutout to Herve Villechaize as the delightful Nick Nack. 

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Being a “Peeping Bond” as he watches Anders shower and put on a robe. Also, not cool at all to slap her and twist her arm. Very un-Moore like. 

Worst line in the movie? That “Mexican screw-off” line is awful. 

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 79th time? When Bond is checking himself out on the TV screen outside the Bottom’s Up club, I swear there is a brief second of a poster of Ringo Starr! 

Best action sequence? I do enjoy the karate school stuff. 

Who or what is the title song about? It’s all about our villain and how nobody better mess with him. Totally singing his badass praises. 

Best looking cinematic moment? When Bond is arrested by Lieutenant Hip and we see Halong Bay at night.

How could the villain have succeeded? Get out of the stealing solar stuff business. Stick to what you do best: being an artist with the gun. 

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? I guess a lazy Sean Connery from Diamonds Are Forever. Like I said before, this is the least Roger Moore in any of his Bond performances. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? As arrogant as he may be, I’m pretty sure there’s a little self-doubt in Bond’s mind as to whether or not he is better than Scaramanga just before the duel. 

What would have made the movie better? Eliminate the solar “Macguffin”, make Anders the main Bond girl, expand the duel, and stop trying to make Roger Moore into Sean Connery.

What’s in a name? Bond pretends to be Francisco Scaramanga. Poorly I might add. 

What’s in a title? The Man With The Golden Gun comes from the title of Ian Fleming’s final James Bond novel. 

Drinking game: Drink a full glass of Thai wine (preferably “Phuyuck” if it existed) each time you see Bond smoking a cigar.

“WTF?!” moment: Bond about to be killed by sumo wrestlers and Nick Nack dressed up like some sort of blue devil. 

Fun fact: This is the only Bond movie where 007 says “Bond, James Bond” three times. 

Overall ranking: 23rd out of 24.

Review synopsis: As a Bond fanatic I can find some scenes to enjoy in The Man With The Golden Gun, but it’s far from being one of the best Bond films and it’s even further away from being a good movie. It has a cheap look to it, the villain and his sidekick are the only compelling characters (including 007), and there aren’t many spectacular action sequences… the kind that Bond audiences are used to.

 09E44608-60A8-4A8C-85AF-826215E8A282

Movie Review: CASINO ROYALE

On October 14th, 2005, I thought Daniel Craig was all wrong for the role of James Bond. On November 14th, 2006, I discovered how wrong I was.

After playing it safe for four films with Pierce Brosnan, it was time to take a risk. We needed a new Bond, a dangerous Bond, for this grittier time in the world. You don’t often find as stark a contrast in franchise cinema than you do in Die Another Day and Casino Royale. Two movies, chronologically back-to-back, on the opposite ends of the spectrum. One is one of the worst Bond movies ever made. The other instantly became one of the best in Bond history.

8FABC07E-49CB-4AB7-8E5E-C855CDCDAC9B

My CR Notes:

  • As great as Casino Royale is, I still miss the opening gunbarrel.
  • The black and white for the pre-title sequence really lets you know you are in for a Bond movie you’ve never seen before.
  • Craig’s Bond is so confident in that office scene.
  • When Bond kills the man in the bathroom, there’s almost a horror element to it. Listen to David Arnold’s score as Bond drowns his victim.
  • This might be the only Bond title sequence without sexy silhouette women.
  • Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre makes for a very memorable villain. He weeps blood, he has asthma, he’s a shady banker.
  • I do like the “gambling terrorist/clients’ money in the stock market” plot line.
  • If there’s one thing you need to know about Daniel Craig as James Bond, it’s don’t touch your ear.
  • The parkour scene is easily in the top 5 ever Bond action scenes.
  • How do we know Daniel Craig is unlike any other Bond before him? I mean besides the blonde hair and his height. He bursts through a wall like the Hulk!
  • I still hear “listen to me” when that African ambassador tells Bond to let the bomb-maker go.
  • This is Judi Dench at her most M’est.
  • Craig’s Bond vs Dench’s M in her apartment ranks up there with some of the most entertaining acting duet scenes in franchise history. There’s another terrific one coming up later.
  • I know “bloody cheek” is meant figuratively. But in Craig’s case it could apply literally as well.
  • I would watch a whole movie of Bond pretending to be a hotel parking attendant.
  • If this movie is “Becoming Bond”, you truly feel it when Bond wins that poker game and takes Dimitrios’ Aston Martin.
  • Speaking of which: Bond must have two versions of the 1964 Aston Martin DB5.
  • The actor playing Dimitrios has a Borat vibe to him.
  • “Body Worlds” is one of the creepiest settings for a Bond flick.
  • I love Bond’s “look over there!” head move in order to stab Dimitrios.
  • Does M have a male Moneypenny?
  • The oil truck on the airport tarmac is reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • The other fantastic acting duet belongs to Bond vs Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd. The verbal sparring match on the train shows their electric chemistry.
  • Vesper is so damn fascinating. You can understand why Bond is instantly smitten. But at which point in the film does Vesper reciprocate that feeling?
  • Stephanie Broadchest would have been a perfect Bond girl name in the 1970s.
  • Giancarlo Giannini as Mathis makes for a wonderful Bond ally and mentor.
  • Bond looking at himself in the mirror after putting on his tux is “Becoming Bond part II”.
  • Vesper is too easy of a password.
  • This movie turned me into a lover of poker. Who wouldn’t want in on that high stakes game at the casino?
  • “Becoming Bond part III” is when he orders his vodka martini.
  • Thanks to this movie, I know IZLAZ means EXIT in Serbian.
  • Bond’s stairwell fight with the Ugandan warlord is brutal and a top 10 all-time fight in the series.
  • Daniel Craig gets the closest to what Ian Fleming put on the page, when a bloodied Bond stares at himself in the mirror after that stairwell brawl.
  • Very rare we see Bond lose at something. Especially when it comes to cards.
  • The other players at the card table look like something out of U.N. Poker.
  • How was Mathis so easily turned into the scapegoat?
  • Every time I watch CR, I lose count of how many times Bond flips his Aston Martin DBS V12.
  • I’m glad the producers didn’t shy away from the torture scene. It was painful to read in the novel. On screen? Even more horrifying.
  • After having your balls beaten with a rope-knot, how soon can you have sex? I feel like this could be an WebMd situation.
  • CR is one of the very few movies were we see the romantic side of James Bond.
  • Not a fan of Gettler as a last act villain. He’s no Le Chiffre.
  • Vesper’s suicide scene still haunts me. Such a powerful death. Makes 007 who he is. As Bond so bluntly states: “The bitch is dead.”
  • I think Mr. White could have made a great Blofeld-like character for the rest of Craig’s tenure as 007.
  • Sean Connery’s opening “Bond, James Bond” line in Dr. No is legendary and can’t be beaten. But Craig’s at the end of CR isn’t too far off.

 

5bb25-casino2broyale2b148

Bond’s coolest moment? Throwing the keys away after playing parking attendant. 

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? I know he’s in great shape, but the coming out of the water scene is a bit much.

Bond’s best line? “That last hand, nearly killed me.”

Best acting performance? It has to be Daniel Craig. He plays his Bond recklessly and with a cool confidence. 

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Kissing Vesper without her permission during the poker game. 

Worst line in the movie? “You didn’t bring any chocolates?”

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 35th time? When Bond is fooling around with Vesper in the hotel bed in Venice, those are stunt legs. Unless Craig has dark hairy legs?

Best action sequence? As stated before, that parkour scene is magnificent.

Who or what is the title song about? It’s about Bond discovering who he really is and explaining how he can stay so cold. 

Best looking cinematic moment? During the foot chase, that shot of Bond fighting high up on the crane overlooking the beautiful blue ocean. 

How could the villain have succeeded? First, don’t gamble with your client’s money. Secondly, never play poker when you are desperate.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Only Daniel. The producers made the right choice. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? That scene when he is poisoned is pretty scary. He definitely thinks he is going to die. 

What would have made the movie better? Not much else. It’s nearly perfect. But how about throwing away all the “Becoming Bond” stuff and just have the Craig era as part of the entire franchise? Just an idea.

What’s in a name? Bond pretends to be professional gambler Arlington Beech for about 5 minutes. 

What’s in a title? “Casino Royale” comes from the first ever Bond novel by Ian Fleming. It took 53 years, but they finally made it. 

Drinking game: Every time playing cards are shown on the screen, take a sip of a your vodka martini…made from three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.

“WTF?!” moment: Bond sucking off the non-existent blood off of Vesper’s fingers in the shower. It’s a sweet gesture, but still. Creepy. 

Fun fact: The Asian older woman who plays poker on the yacht and at the casino is the same actress in bed with Sean Connery at the beginning of You Only Live Twice. 

Overall ranking: 3rd out of 24. 

Review synopsis: Cutting down on the eye-rolling one-liners, and eliminating the high-tech gadgets, allows Casino Royale to get at the heart of what we love about the character. Director Martin Campbell has a knack for introducing new Bond actors. Craig goes from “Can he play Bond?” to “This man was born to play Bond!” as soon as he shoots Dryden in the office and says… yes, considerably. This is an all-timer that gets better as each year passes. 

 2EDE3B66-0903-4FEA-92C0-5F35DB6E59A8

Bond Movie Plots Never Used

We all like playing the “what if?” game. So it’s no surprise as a Bond-fanatic, that I find unused movie plots fascinating. It’s usually a case of the producers, writers, directors making the right cinematic choice. But every now and then, you might find one or two options that would have improved a James Bond flick.

Image result for james bond

Dr. No was the first movie villain 007 had to face. But before Joseph Wiseman was cast as the titular character, the idea of a monkey playing Dr. No was bandied about. That’s right, a monkey! After coming to their senses, producers decided against it, thinking that a monkey, even with a high IQ, couldn’t make for a credible villain.

With Sean Connery leaving before On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, there was talk about mentioning that Bond got plastic surgery, since a new actor (George Lazenby) had been cast. Luckily this silly idea didn’t go far. Can you imagine Bond having facial surgery each time a new actor took over?!

The original storyline for Diamonds Are Forever had Auric Goldfinger’s twin brother out for revenge. As wacky of a concept this might have been, it could have worked. You had Sean Connery back, as well as Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton. A true reunion. Plus, a twin who is as obsessed with diamonds, as his brother was with gold? I can buy it.

Do you ever look at Stromberg from The Spy Who Loved Me and think he’s just a low-rent Blofeld? Well, you are onto something. The original plot of the film had Blofeld behind all the submarine hijacking. Of course, lawsuits with Kevin McClory (the then rightful owner of SPECTRE/Blofeld) took place. It would have been cool to give Roger Moore at least one crack at defeating Blofeld as a main villain in one of Moore’s seven turns as Bond.

Early in the pre-production of The Living Daylights, thoughts turned to making the story a “Bond begins” tale. A new Bond (Timothy Dalton) doesn’t mean you have to start from the beginning. Dalton was younger than Moore, but he wasn’t young enough to play a “wet behind the ears” 007.

The original script of Goldeneye had to be rewritten because many of the elements were too close to the blockbuster action movie True Lies, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Bond movie also had Dalton (not Pierce Brosnan) in mind.

Image result for casino royale quentin tarantino

Quentin Tarantino had his own unique take on Casino Royale. It would have taken place in the 1960s, set immediately after Bond loses his wife Tracy in OHMSS, Brosnan and Tarantino were joined at the hip for this project, it would have been shot in black & white, and Uma Thurman would have played Vesper. Bond producers threw this idea out the window, and replaced Brosnan with Daniel Craig. Can you imagine Tarantino directing that scene where Le Chiffre tortures Bond?! Ballsy!

Before Skyfall became the highest grossing Bond movie of all time, it was called Once Upon A Spy. Peter Morgan penned a script that made Silva (named would have been changed) M’s son from an affair with a KGB agent in Berlin, during the Cold War of the 1960s. At the end of the movie, Bond is ordered by the British government to assassinate M. Now that’s dark.

Spectre‘s script (sigh) is what it is. But the original script (the one during the SONY hack) did have some interesting tidbits. Rather than the drilling torture scene, Blofeld and Bond play a life or death game of poker. Also in the script, the two men being foster brothers isn’t as big of a deal as the movie makes it out to be. And perhaps the most interesting thing left out is the final life: Bond tells Madeline “We have all the time in the world.”

 

 

Who Could Have Directed Bond?

Soon to be 25 official films, over 55+ years. Yet only 12 directors.

The Bond franchise has always been a family affair, with close relationships with many of the directors. But these lucky dozen are not alone in their desire to direct a Bond movie. There have been several who were offered the gig, and those who were just flat-out denied.

The most famous of these tales is that of a young, soon-to-be legendary director named Steven Spielberg. In the mid-70s, he desperately wanted to direct a Bond movie. He grew up watching and adoring the Connery era Bonds, and would have put his stamp on the middle of Roger Moore’s tenure. Producer Albert R. (Cubby) Broccoli, didn’t like bringing in strangers into the EON family. A Steven Spielberg directed 007 film? Oh what might have been?!

Video, movie, cinema concept. Retro camera, flash, clapperboard

Here is a list of some would-be Bond directors:

DR. NO – Guy Hamilton, Ken Hughes

GOLDFINGER – Terence Young

THUNDERBALL – Guy Hamilton

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME – Steven Spielberg, Guy Hamilton

GOLDENEYE – John Landis, Ted Kotcheff, John Byrum

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH – Joe Dante, Peter Jackson

CASINO ROYALE – Quentin Tarantino

QUANTUM OF SOLACE – Roger Mitchell

SPECTRE – Nicolas Winding Refn

BOND 25 – Denis Villeneuve, Yann Demange, David Mackenzie

 

Movie Review: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

There are very few James Bond movies that can stand alone as its own spy flick. From Russia With Love is that rare occasion in the franchise when it’s strictly in the espionage genre, and less in the world of 007. In fact, From Russia With Love is the last Bond movie before the series moved into the realm of “spy fantasy”.

Watch FRWL and tell me that you don’t see elements of some of Hitchcock’s spy thrillers. It doesn’t stray too far from Ian Fleming’s original novel, and the cast is one of the strongest in Bond franchise history.

Image result for from russia with love gif

My FRWL Notes:

  • The first ever Bond pre-title sequence isn’t action packed or exotic, but it does the trick. It’s got enough suspense to enjoy, even though we know they won’t kill of Bond in the first two minutes.
  • I know something is up with Sean Connery’s waxy complexion in the scene. I guess that looks like a mask.
  • Was chess a really that popular back in the early 60s? Does this justify having a chess match as the first scene after the credits?
  • Is Kronsteen the most arrogant, villainous character until Boris from Goldeneye?
  • Another first is our first glimpse (sorta) at Blofeld.
  • FRWL is a sequel to Dr. No, which is rare in the Bond franchise.
  • The Lektor Decoder is an old-school “MacGuffin”.
  • Is it just me, or could Daniel Craig play Red Grant in a remake of this movie? Craig has a very 1963 Robert Shaw vibe and look to him. While I’m at it, I could also see Mike Pence as Red Grant.
  • Grant is basically a serial killer turned sanctioned agent.
  • I don’t think we get enough of the SPECTRE training camp.
  • Rosa Klebb (played brilliantly by Lotte Lenya) is giving off some very obvious Sappho-vibes while instructing Tatiana Romanova.
  • Is Sylvia Trench as close to a “serious girlfriend” as James has ever had in the movies?
  • A 1963 movie theater audience must have been blown away with Bond’s Bentley having a car phone.
  • Here’s another first…our first time seeing Desmond Llewelyn as Q. The character’s real last name (Boothroyd) is listed in the credits.
  • These very early Connery movies used the Bond theme for anything! The classic theme song blasts out as Bond walks through an airport and while he’s checking out his hotel room!
  • Kerim Bey (terrific turn by Pedro Armendariz) is one of my favorite Bond helpers/mentors of all-time.
  • Kerim’s girlfriend/mistress is…umm…there is no other way to put this. Very horny.
  • That gypsy camp extravaganza (belly dancing, girl-fight, all-out battle) needs to be its own film.
  • Bond has to choose a winner in the gypsy girl-fight by having sex with both of them and then pick the best one. Is this Bond’s only implied threesome in the series?
  • I always seem to forget that a major plot point of this movie involves a Bond-Tatiana sex tape, and Russian “kompromat.”
  • Half of this film takes place on the Orient Express. It’s rare for a Bond movie to spend this much time in one location.
  • Sean Connery portrays Bond just the right way when he learns of Kerim’s murder. You can tell there is some pain, but he moves on because there is a job to do.
  • Bond’s hand-to-hand combat versus Red Grant inside the train still stands up as not only the best fight scene in Bond franchise history, but one of the best in all of film history. For 1963, this was a very brutal fight.
  • Bond running from the helicopter has a very North By Northwest cinematic feel to it.
  • Great trick by Bond on the boat. Using his own fuel to set fire to the other boats. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
  • Bond fighting Klebb is both suspenseful and hysterical. The way she is trying to kick him, while he uses a chair like a lion tamer does. Great stuff. Also, Klebb’s death face and movement is slightly orgasmic.

Image result for from russia with love gif

 

Bond’s coolest moment? Bond checking his hotel room for “bugs” and telling the suspicious hotel clerk he wants the bridal suite.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Goofing off as he walks into M’s office.

Bond’s best line? “She should have kept her mouth shut.” That Anita Ekberg has a big mouth. 

Best acting performance? Where to start?! Lenya? Shaw? Connery? But I’m going to go with Armedariz’s performance as Turkish spy head Kerim Bey. He’s so damn likable. The actor was dying of a brain tumor throughout filming. A very brave performance. 

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Bond doesn’t really force himself on any women in this movie, but he does slap Tatiana after Kerim’s death, as he tries to get answers out of her.

Worst line in the movie? “Who is Bond compared with Kronsteen?

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 165th time? During the belly dancing scene, there is a cutaway to Bond breaking character and you can see Sean Connery smiling and really enjoying the show.

Best action sequence? The full scale gypsy camp battle scene between the Turks and the Bulgarians. 

Who or what is the title song about? The song, which only plays lyrically at the end, seems to be about a man who has found love and is ready to do anything to keep it. 

Best looking cinematic moment? Bond vs the helicopter. 

How could the villain have succeeded? Red Grant sold himself for 50 gold sovereigns. He could have killed Bond right there.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? No one else. This is a total Connery movie. He’s so lethally sharp. I do think someone like Timothy Dalton or Daniel Craig could have played Bond in this type of spy thriller. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? Twice. Once when Grant has him on his knees in the train. The other when Klebb has him at gunpoint in the Venice hotel. 

What would have made the movie better? Explaining more about the plan to use the sex tape. It’s still a little murky. 

What’s in a name? Bond uses the alias David Somerset, a married man on vacation with his wife, while on the Orient Express.

What’s in a title? From Russia With Love comes from the title of the novel written by Ian Fleming, which was one of JFK’s favorite books. 

Drinking game: Take a shot of Raki (what the gypsies drink) each time Tatiana says “Gems” AKA “James”. 

“WTF?!” moment: Tatiana trying to make a mustache with her hair.

Image result for from russia with love gif

Fun fact: Bond meeting Tatiana in his hotel bedroom, has been the audition love scene all potential Bond actors must do. 

Overall ranking: 2nd out of 24. 

Review synopsis: There aren’t many Cold War era spy films more entertaining than From Russia With Love. There are only a handful of Bond films that can compete with it. FRWL never seems to drag on, it’s well-written and directed. It’s a great view into what made Fleming create Bond. Connery proves here why he is the best 007 actor to ever play the role. The movie exudes sexy, cool confidence.

The end "wave goodbye" in From Russia With Love (1963)

 

 

Movie Review: OCTOPUSSY

All I wanted was a sweet distraction, for an hour or two.” This is a line from the theme song to the 13th James Bond movie, Octopussy. If that line doesn’t sum up this entire film, then I don’t know what else can.

I have a soft spot in my cinematic heart for Octopussy. It was my first in-the-theater Bond movie. If everyday food could represent each 007 adventure, then Octopussy would be your favorite bag of chips. You know it isn’t healthy, but you sure do enjoy it. Octopussy is as straight up bonkers as A View To A Kill, yet it seems slightly less madcap because the cast is more “age-appropriate” for Roger Moore.

Image result for octopussy

My “PUSSY” Notes:

  • I’m sure this wasn’t the first time a movie showed a reversible jacket and hat, but it does feel like it.
  • Roger Moore’s fake mustache needs its own Twitter account.
  • I still smile big when he says “you’re a Toro too?”
  • This is the last Bond flick to have a pre-title action sequence that has zero connection to the film’s plot. I miss those days.
  • The Bede BD-5 Micro looks dangerous to fly. Some terrific miniature work in this opening action sequence.
  • “All Time High” is the homeless man’s “Nobody Does It Better.”
  • This movie has too many clowns. Poor 009 dies dressed up like Pennywise’s nice brother.
  • Mischka and Grischka (AKA- The Knife Twins) make solid secondary henchmen.
  • Brushing over the fact that her name is Penelope Smallbone; what was really the plan for her? Was she going to be the new Moneypenny if Moore didn’t return for the next movie?
  • Fabergé eggs must have been very popular in the 1980s.
  • Great production design with that Soviet “situation room.”
  • How insane is Steven Berkoff’s performance as rogue Soviet General Orlov?
  • The plot gets a little fuzzy no matter how many times I watch Octopussy. Selling knockoffs of priceless jewels to fund secret Soviet military operations, which include nuking a U.S. base in West Germany?
  • Only a Bond movie could make an auction scene interesting. It helps when Roger Moore is eye-banging every attractive woman in the room.
  • India might be the most interesting, exotic location in Bond movie history.
  • This movie is very “meta”. Case in point: VJ playing the Bond theme.
  • I could listen to the villain Kamal Khan (played by Louis Jourdan) read the phone book, or a menu, or just say “Octopussy” over and over again.
  • Gobinda is a very underrated all-time Bond henchman.
  • The tuk-tuk chase in India is beyond goofy. Nice nods to a tennis match.
  • The film does a nice job of making the audience think Octopussy is the main villain. She really isn’t. It’s Orlov to a minor degree. Khan is the main one. But she is so mysterious that it works.
  • The dinner scene with stuffed sheep’s head as the main course freaked me out as a kid. 35 years later, it still does the trick.
  • Director John Glen is to pigeons, what John Woo is to doves.
  • I have to ask, when Bond is trying to listen in on Orlov and Khan, just how powerful is Magda’s blowdryer?!
  • Who doesn’t enjoy a good old Safari hunt in an action movie? Spiders and tigers and snakes, oh my! Oh and I left out leeches and crocodiles.
  • I need to know the logistics of Bond’s croc-suit.
  • I enjoy the backstory of Octopussy’s father and how it connects to Bond’s past mission. I wouldn’t mind seeing that turned into a movie one day.
  • This movie is overflowing with henchmen. The Indian thug with the yo-yo/buzzsaw!
  • Bond and Octopussy have a soap opera scene before hooking up.
  • I can’t imagine how brutal VJ’s death was.
  • Roger Moore dresses in a gorilla costume and dresses up like a clown. He is the only Bond actor who didn’t take himself so seriously. Imagine Connery or Craig being asked to dress up like this? Maybe Brosnan would do it.
  • I enjoy Bond’s cold kill of Twin #2.
  • I would watch in real time, however long it took for James Bond to hitchhike across Germany.
  • How long do you think it took Bond to put on his clown makeup, while the bomb was ticking down?
  • The Union Jack hot air balloon was a nice call back to The Spy Who Loved Me’s Union Jack parachute.
  • Roger Moore’s eyes have never been more expressive than when he shoots at the bannister to avoid having his balls smashed.
  • I know Tom Cruise does real stunts better than anyone now, but the climax of Bond hanging from the plane is still damn impressive.
  • When Maud Adams’ Octopussy moans out the final line of “Oh James” and then a surprised “James!”… what the hell did Bond sexually do to her?!
  • This is the last Bond movie with the end credits telling us “James Bond Will Return In ________ . ) I miss knowing the next title of the films.

Image result for octopussy gif

Bond’s coolest moment? Playing backgammon versus Kamal Khan. Lucky dice. All in the wrist. 

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Swinging from the trees doing the Johnny Weissmuller/Tarzan yell. 

Bond’s best line? “My security” *holds up the egg* “And yours?” *holds up Khan’s cheating dice*

Best acting performance? Steven Berkoff as General Orlov. In the Bond crazy acting Hall of Fame. 

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? In Q’s lab, of course. Using the videocamera to get a better look at that girl’s boobs. 

Worst line in the movie? Even though I still chuckle, Bond giving money to his Indian contact: “That should keep you in curry for a few weeks.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 173th time? The Kremlin Art Director is the same actor as the one who plays the Gasworks Supervisor in The Living Daylights. 

Best action sequence? Bond and Octopussy fighting the Indian thugs in her bedroom. 

Who or what is the title song about? I believe “All Time High” is about a woman who had a one night stand with Bond, but now wants more. 

Best looking cinematic moment? The aerial shots of Bond arriving in India. 

How could the villain have succeeded? As usual the villain decides to keep Bond around as their guest. Give him a nice room, invite him to dinner, etc. 

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Originally, Roger Moore wasn’t going to come back and James Brolin was ready to step in. But honestly, this is such a Roger Moore as James Bond movie. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? A couple of times. First, towards the end of the safari. Then just 90ish seconds before the bomb is supposed to go off at the circus. 

What would have made the movie better? Lighten the load of the plot, and cut down a little bit on the campy stuff. 

What’s in a name? Bond pretends to be Charles Morton, a manufacture representative, as he heads to East Germany. And of course, as Cuban military man Toro at the beginning of the flick.

What’s in a title? Octopussy is the title of an Ian Fleming short story. As is “Property of a Lady”, which is also used in this movie. 

Drinking game: Take a gulp of champagne each time someone says “Octopussy”.

“WTF?!” moment: Bond making the “F-You” arm movement to those wacky German teens who played a prank on him while he was trying to hitch a ride.

Fun fact: The safari hunt was originally supposed to be in The Man With The Golden Gun. 

Overall ranking: 13th out of 24. 

Review synopsis: Octopussy never fails to thrill with its spectacular stunts and eye-popping locations. Roger Moore probably should have stopped after this one. It gets too campy at times and instead of being an “all time high”, Octopussy is “over the top.” But if you grew up in the 80s, saw this in the theatre or the countless number of times it played on cable, how can you not enjoy it?

Image result for octopussy gif