‘Skyfall’ Is Now UK’s All-Time Top James Bond Movie!
Congratulations to Daniel Craig – “Skyfall” is the top grossing Bond movie after only 2 weeks in the UK! And worldwide, this movie is smoking so far: $300-million dollars worldwide with the US opening Friday.
Did you know that NO Bond film has ever broken $200-million in US box office? Crazy, right? I mean, look at a few films that have:
RUSH HOUR 2
MEN IN BLACK
Bond, James Bond!
There is no doubt that, with such terrific reviews, “Skyfall” will break Bond records in the US just as it has done around the world….the latest Bond, Daniel Craig, has made the role his own…
James Bond 007, the world’s greatest secret agent! “Skyfall” opens Nov. 9, and has gotten the best review of any Bond ever! Check out the dynamite trailer!
With the release of “Skyfall” upon us, it is time to reflect and compliment two of the Bond’s who came before Daniel Craig…beginning with the “original” 007, Sean Connery!
When “Dr. No” was released in 1962, moviegoers were introduced to the coolest guy on the planet – a British secret agent who was as deadly with his enemies as he was dominating with his women…
After the huge success of “Dr. No”, Bond’s popularity exploded with the release of “From Russia With Love”, then “Goldfinger” became a cultural phenomenon, followed by the big, bloated and action-packed “Thunderball”…so what else could you do but kill Bond off?
You Only Live Twice
Blofeld: “James Bond. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ernst Stavro Blofeld. They told me you were assassinated in Hong Kong.”
James Bond: “Yes, this is my second life.”
Blofeld: “You only live twice, Mr. Bond.”
“You Only Live Twice” is the fifth James Bond film starring Sean Connery, and it was the first time 007 came face to face with arch enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld, one of the best “mad evil geniuses” ever, played beautifully by Donald Pleasence – check out the trailer!
James Bond Turns Japanese!
For this movie, James Bond headed to Japan – although you wouldn’t know it if you had read the book – yes, James Bond was the star of a series of novels from legendary writer Ian Fleming – and was one of President Kennedy’s favorite Authors…
The novel of “You Only Live Twice” was the last Ian Fleming James Bond novel published during his lifetime. Released on 16 March 1964, it was the twelfth novel in the series. For the first time in the James Bond film series, the screen story bore little resemblance to the source novel.
The title “You Only Live Twice” comes from a haiku included in the Ian Fleming novel on which the film is based. It goes like this:
“You only live twice. Once when you are born. And once when you look death in the face.”
Here is the plot concocted for the movie: an American space capsule is swallowed up by what they believe to be a Russian spaceship – and World War 3 nearly breaks out. The British Government, however, suspects that other powers are at work as the space craft went down near Japan.
Look at the classic poster for the film, which mixes a suave 007 and lots of colorful action – and again, this time he has an icy cold villain…
S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is the force behind the theft, as James Bond discovers, and Bond must find out where the captured space capsule is held before America and Russia go to war. So he heads to Japan, where he must “blend in”…check out the makeup!
Introducing Little Nellie!
[Coded message to headquarters]
James Bond: “Little Nelly got a hot reception. Four big shots made improper advances toward her, but she defended her honor with great success.”
Yes, one of Bond’s great weapons was introduced in the film: “Little Nellie”, based on the real-life Wallis Autogyro. Its inventor, Wing Commander K.H. Wallis, actually flew Little Nellie in the film.
This mini-copter was a huge hit, and a great action sequence in the film. It was all filmed outside of Japan because Japanese Law forbade the firing of rockets in the air.
Little Nellie is what people love about Bond films: cool gadgets that Bond uses to take care of the bad guys in great action sequences…
“Nellie” defended her honor in the skies above Japan, and Bond introduced another iconic sequence into the series…but nothing compared to the film’s finale…
The biggest movie set ever built gave Blofeld a chance to brag to 007:
Blofeld: “The firing power inside my crater is enough to annihilate a small army. You can watch it all on TV. It’s the last program you’re likely to see.”
James Bond: “Well, if I’m gonna be forced to watch television, may I smoke?”
Blofeld: “Yes. Give him his cigarettes. It won’t be the nicotine that kills you, Mr. Bond.”
So, while there is plenty of Bond hand-to-hand combat, the spectacular set piece of “You Only Live Twice” is the cavernous volcano set, where the climactic battle takes place…
Ken Adam’s volcano set was constructed at Pinewood Studios outside London and consisted of a movable helicopter platform, a working monorail system, a launch pad and a full scale rocket mock-up that could simulate lift-off. 700 tonnes of structural steel and 200 miles of tubular steel were used. Adam once said that the set used more steel than that used for the London Hilton Hotel. The set also used 200 tons of plaster, 500,000 tubular couplings and over 250,000 square yards of canvas were all employed in the construction of the set which cost just over $1 million.
The set allows hundreds of extras to fight while massive explosions are going off!
Nancy Sinatra Scores!
“You Only Live Twice” also has one of the BEST Bond theme songs, sung by Frank Sinatra’s daughter Nancy….here it is!
Even though Connery was tiring of the role, “You Only Live Twice” is a classic Bond film with lots of action, a confident Bond, and a great theme song…and while the movie was a massive worldwide hit, Sean Connery shocked the world when he said “no more Bond for me!”
Meet The New Bond, NOT Same As The Old Bond!
After the success of “You Only Live Twice”, Sean Connery called it quits, and so, after an extensive search, the Bond Producers introduced a NEW James Bond – check out the trailer!
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
James Bond: [to the camera] This never happened to the other fellow.
George Lazenby stepped into the role of James Bond and immediately became a superstar. Taller, a bit more rugged, and lacking a bit of Connery’s smoothness, Lazenby introduces himself with a great action sequence that ends with his quip straight to the camera:
This never happened to the other fellow.
After that confident introduction, the plot settles in: Bond is sent on his first mission. Someone is threatening to destroy the world’s food supply, and Bond heads to the Swiss Alps to find out who…
Bond poses as Sir Hilary Bray, and ends up at Blofeld’s mountaintop retreat, surrounded by beautiful women, all there to be “cured” of their allergies…
Aside from bedding many of them, Bond also uncovers a scheme to send these women out to destroy the world’s food supply…leading to many spectacular action sequences, including a ski battle down the side of a mountain…
In order to help get himself the part of James Bond, George Lazenby went to the same tailor and barber that worked with Sean Connery – so when he showed up at Producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman’s production offices to audition for the role, he’d look more like Connery.
Coincidentally, Broccoli was present in the barber’s shop when Lazenby showed up for his haircut. This in part did help him establish an image and led to getting the role of James Bond.
Bond Never Lost His Sense Of Humor!
During a ski chase, Bond jumps over a snow blower and glances back….
[the bad guy chasing Bond skis into the snow blower, which chews him up and then spews red snow]
James Bond: “He had a lot of guts.”
This is one of the most faithful adaptations of an Ian Fleming novel; virtually everything in the book occurs in the film. Staying so close to the source actually caused some continuity problems due to the different order of the films. One example involves Telly Savalas, who is terrific as he took over the role of the villain Ernst Stavros Blofeld.
Remember that Blofed faced Connery’s Bond in “You Only Live Twice”, but in this film Bond and Blofeld seem to be meeting for the first time…
Diana Rigg – The Best Bond Girl Ever!
One of the best things about this Bond film is that the action isn’t all 007’s – this movie had kick ass Bond Girl Diana Rigg!
Rigg had been on the british TV show “The Avengers”, so she could kick ass, but this Bond movie is unique in that she not only fights alongside 007, James Bond MARRIES his Bond girl! I won’t give anything else away, but nothing about this movie was meant to last…
Well, the love affair didn’t last long – the marriage AND Lazenby’s run as Bond was a one-film wonder…
There are many reasons why George Lazenby only made one appearance as James Bond. According to the DVD Documentary, here are some of the main reasons: Lazenby’s youthful cockiness rankled Producer Albert R. Broccoli’s nerves.
One incident mentioned is Lazenby skiing down the slopes on his own (resulting in the broken arm) and a moment of arrogance on Lazenby’s part that spoiled a cast and crew party.
The notoriously harsh British tabloids began writing up unfavorable stories about Lazenby and how he failed to measure up to Sean Connery, thereby swaying public opinion against the movie before it was released. One incident cited by Lazenby was during an interview with a reporter in the commissary in which Diana Rigg jokingly yelled from across the room “I’m having garlic for lunch, darling! I hope you are too!” This lead to an article in which Rigg supposedly hated Lazenby so much that “She eats garlic before love scenes”.
Lazenby, believed that the Bond series was over in the wake of more sophisticated films like The Graduate and Easy Rider, and the tuxedo-clad secret agent was out of touch with the newly liberated 1970s. He mentioned to his agent that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to play Bond again, even before this film was released. The producers heard this and were none too pleased.
Lazenby had been offered a seven picture deal and had signed a letter of intent to star in the next Bond film, “Diamonds Are Forever.” He had even been paid an initial fee installment which he later refunded. Although some claim the film was a box-office failure, it was in fact a huge hit, recouping more than ten times its cost and becoming the second highest grossing film of the year at the worldwide box-office.
Here is one of those international posters, and it does indeed look like a lively, vibrant Bond!
The Theme Song!
For this film, the Producers decided to go with an instrumental theme song, which allowed them to look back at all of Bond with a montage of classic moments in the series…check it out:
Louis Armstrong Scores For Bond!
Rather than the opening theme, the most memorable song from the movie is courtesy of legendary Louis Armstrong, who sings a love song that captures the tender side of Bond…here it is with production stills from the movie…
Congrats, George! We Loved Your One Shot As 007!
“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” is now considered by fans to be arguably the BEST Bond movie ever – great action sequences, a more in-depth emotional storyline, a great villain, and the best Bond girl ever! And of course, George Lazenby’s only mission as 007!