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James Bond 25 Countdown Marathon
#11
I loved the modern Casino Royale and I like Craig in the role, but unfortunately I haven’t loved the other movies he’s been in. Otherwise I’m really a Connery fan. My top five would be (in no particular order): Dr. No, From Russia With Love, You Only Live Twice, Goldfinger, and Casino Royale (Craig version). OHMSS would just miss the cut. Perhaps I should check out the fanedit of that one.
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#12
(07-15-2019, 06:19 PM)Hymie Wrote: TM2YC, are you planning to do a review series for each film as you watch through as I'm considering doing as much and don't want to step on anyone's toes.

The more the merrier.
(07-15-2019, 06:32 PM)jrWHAG42 Wrote: Iirc Scrib is in the UK, so I have no idea if they're on Hulu or Netflix over there. None are included with Amazon Prime, but again, I don't know if it's different regionally.

Yeah, just checked, the only thing on Prime UK is the George Lazonby film 'Becoming Bond'.

The Bond series is very affordable on physical media, in the UK at least. You can often get a 2nd hand DVD complete set of the films for less than a £1 a movie (£20-ish). One on ebay went for just £12 (+ free postage) two days ago. I recently upgraded to a 2nd hand blu-ray set (with all but Spectre) for £30 (the one pictured below) and by the time I've traded in my old DVD set and my few existing Bond blu-rays it'll have only cost me £10-ish. That's a lot of bang for your buck, 23 blu-rays and aprox 120 hours of special features. It's because they put out an upgraded boxset every time a new film comes out, so the 2nd hand market is flooded with the old sets. I'm not sure about the situation in US?

[Image: coffret_james_bond_photo_1.jpg]
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#13
Dr. No (1962)
With all the Apollo 11 coverage this week, it was the perfect time to be watching this particular plot, an evil scientist trying to stop a US moon mission. I'd forgotten that this and the other two films before 'Thunderball' are in the then standard European 1.66:1 widescreen ratio, rather than the 2.35:1 scope ratio which Bond films are commonly presented in. The blu-ray transfer looks amazing, sharp, rich in grain, colourful and well balanced and from what I gather, the same is true for the other films. The classy looking image is matched by Sean Connery's classy performance, sexy and dangerous. In the light of the later firmly established Bond formula, there is some weirdness. The opening credits are different in several ways, there is no Q and no gadgets, no Aston Martin DB5 (he drives a blue Sunbeam Alpine), no "Shaken not stirred" and there is no closing credits music (and almost no credits). The first half is prime Bond and fairly realistic but when we get to the "villains secret base" section the frugal budget and modest ambitions begin to show. Bond saves the day by simply turning a big wheel to the right and then awkwardly knocking the titular Doctor into a pool of water. One thing 'Dr. No' does have over the later films is that it whips out the awesome Bond electric-guitar theme at every opportunity, something that's not done enough anymore IMO.



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#14
From Russia with Love (1963)
I can see why some consider this second outing to be one of the best Bond films. It's very suave and stylish, with a fairly grounded and plausible portrayal of espionage. Double and triple agents, blackmail, assassination, code breaking, it's very low key. That's why it has never fully worked for me, if I want realism I'll watch 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy', or 'The Ipcress File' but I want a Bond film to be partly fantasy. So mountain top fortresses, super lasers and underground monorails are not on the cards in 'From Russia with Love'.

Ali Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendáriz) plays the charming and mischievous Head of MI6 in Istanbul, one of the all-time Bond "our man in" sidekick characters. You can imagine him as being like an older Bond, after he had retired from front-line duty. You'd never guess from his performance that actor Armendáriz was dying at the time, in fact they had to rearrange the shooting schedule to do his scenes first. Lotte Lenya's Colonel Rosa Klebb is also one of the iconic villains, the inspiration for 'Frau Farbissina' in Austin Powers.

Some more elements of the classic Bond formula are introduced and developed. Desmond Llewelyn makes his debut as the "Equipment Officer" from Q-Branch, although he's not referred to as "Q" and doesn't have the repartee with 007 yet. He gives Bond his first proper gadget, a tear-gas firing briefcase, with hidden knife. The style of the intro and titles are more or less finalised, except the song is an instrumental and not Matt Monro's vocal of the theme song, which is more typical. We meet Blofeld but his face is not shown, complete with his trademark Persian cat and tendency to suddenly kill his numbered subordinates when they fail him. On the other hand, Bond retains his London girlfriend Sylvia Trench from 'Dr. No' and they talk about his last mission/film. She would be dropped for the next film and the series would rarely make reference to previous adventures again.





I had a listen to the "banned" 1991 Criterion Laserdisc commentaries for the first three Bond films, featuring the Directors and crew being awfully indiscreet. I can see why Cubby Broccoli had them pulled because they are critical of the producers, other crew members, actors and even Fleming himself and they make one or two mildly sexist and homophobic statements that have dated very poorly. e.g. "She was a terrible actress, but a pretty girl". Of course this frankness means the tracks are loaded with interesting info. You can listen to them archived at this Bond site:

http://www.the007dossier.com/007dossier/...mmentaries
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#15
Goldfinger (1964)
The point where the Bond formula was perfected. 'Goldfinger' introduces the classic sequence where Bond tours the MI6 gadget factory with a disgruntled Q, which also introduced his iconic silver Aston Martin DB5, stocked to the gills with radar, an ejector seat and machine guns etc. Sean Connery has perfected Bond's delightful air of insolence, pricking Goldfinger's pomposity and gently needling Q and M... a literal agent provocateur.  Director Guy Hamilton was given double the budget of 'From Russia with Love' and triple the budget of 'Dr. No' (No problem because this made a 4000% profit). It shows in the grand aerial photography, increasingly lavish sets and large-scale, action-packed set pieces. 'Goldfinger' is the benchmark for every film in the series afterwards and Shirley Bassey's title song set the "gold" standard for the theme tunes too.

If I had to criticise, Bond is only an irritant to Goldfinger, he does almost nothing that succeeds in delaying or stopping his scheme. I'm imagining an extra epilogue where Bond is being debriefed by M:
 
Quote:M - "So 007, I can't wait to hear how you stopped Goldfinger's fiendish plan? Oh and pass the brandy"
Bond - "Erm well... I simply had sex with this girl called Pussy Galore"
M - "Ha, ha, ha. No but really?"
Bond - "No really, that's it. One roll in the hay with me and she betrayed Goldfinger. For the rest of the mission, I just hung around with Goldfinger playing golf and drinking mint juleps".
M - "I must confess I'm disappointed 007 but you did defuse a nuclear bomb, saving our American cousins from financial ruin, that was impressive work"
Bond - "Well actually Sir, some boffin stepped in and did that because I didn't know how"
M - "Your License to Kill has been revoked!"

Big Grin



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#16
^^^ I actually own that one, and I've only seen it once, so I'll aim to give it a watch this month.
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#17
Craig's last outing now has a title (and logo):

[Image: aIt68Xp.png]
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#18
Title sounds like one of those non-Fleming Bond novels. Hate the logo. Still, I'll be there, opening week, as always.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
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#19
Sounds like the result of a Bond film title generator. At least they didn't go with 'No Time 2 Die'.
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#20
(08-20-2019, 02:01 PM)TM2YC Wrote: Sounds like the result of a Bond film title generator.

Here you go.
It's not the years, it's the mileage.
I'm writing a book! Check out my progress at Good Morning, Page
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