So, I've decided to watch the James Bond films in order and comment about them. I will be limiting myself to the movies featuring the only two actors that I feel portrayed Bond properly--i.e. Sean Connery and Roger Moore--and ignoring anything else that calls itself a Bond movie (with the possible exception of the 1967 Casino Royale). To begin with, 1962's Dr. No. A quick synopsis courtesy of The James Bond Films:

Dr. No intends to destroy a U.S. moon rocket from his nuclear-powered base on an island near Jamaica.

Now for my thoughts on the movie:

* First appearance of Bond shooting the camera with blood pouring down from the top--No Bond theme until after the shot, and Bond is wearing a fedora. I like fedoras, but Bond just doesn't seem a fedora type of guy.

* I like the danciing silhouettes during the opening titles.

* I love the styling of old cars.

* Silencers made guns really quiet back then.

* Bond and Baccarat...they go together like peanut butter and chocolate, or rum and cola.

* Lois Maxwell looks quite lovely as Moneypenny, and her flirtation with Bond seems more playful than his other interactions with women...very likeable.

* Hmm...not sure how close this movie is in time to the Cuban missile crisis, but I know the timing is close.

* I never knew Bond used a Beretta before the Walther.

* No Q...no gadgets either.

* I should like to return to my hotel finding a beautiful woman wearing my pajamas and practicing putting in my room, although I can also see how that would be off-putting as well.

* Jack Lord is supposed to be in Hawaii, not Jamaica.

* The fighting in this movie seems almost to be a parody of itself--however, I'm sure that's more to do with 50 years of similar movies since then.

* The police commissioner in Kingston, Jamaica is a white man...doesn't sound quite right to me. A-Ha! Jamaica had not declared it's indepence from Great Britain in 1962.

* He doesn't say "shaken, not stirred" but that is how he orders his vodka martini.

* Why is the bartender East Indian? Eh, likely the British connection again.

* Lots of product placement for Red Stripe. Hooray Beer!

* I guess rasslin' alligators doesn't quite prepare you for Bond, James Bond.

* Very Marvel comics...the good guys fight, then team up.

* So...all the natives have American accents...

* Disembodied voices are so cool and scary sometimes.

* The way women hunger after Bond is quite funny.

* Backup vodka is always a good idea when you're a superspy.

* You know, if I woke up in the middle of the night and found a huge tarantula on my back, my first instinct would likely be to roll over and attempt to smush it.

* I love how the orchestra is in sync with him smashing the spider with his shoe.

* Ruh-Roh! The pretty eavesdropping secretary is a bad girl!

* And that's what you get for being a bad guy in a big ugly car.

* Bond womanizes...of course, she's likely to be dead by the end of their date.

* He was nice...he only had her arrested.

* Quarrel is a dead man...I know it.

* Ursula Andress...yes, please!

* Oh sure, the old "breathing through a hollow reed underwater" trick.

* Yup, 1962, black guy, red shirt...Quarrel just got it.

* Okay, superspy 101...do not drink or eat anything the enemy offers you.

* Umm...yeah...Ursula...yeah...

* With names like Sister Lily and Sister Rose, they'd better be sinister.

* He sends Honey off to be ... mistreated. That's the Bond I'm familiar with.

* Ooohhh, S.P.E.C.T.R.E.!

* Sure, electrify the grating, but don't take away his rubber-soled shoes. Good move.

* A gruesome, but fitting end for Dr. No.

* And of course, Bond is the mack...

Reasonably fun, I suppose, but a very uneven movie. There are a lot of unanswered questions, and key points of the plot make as much sense as the Adam West Batman! series. Still, if you don't take it too seriously, it's not bad.

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George, a very similar point about Fu Manchu and Shang Chi (sp?) is made in Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.

Somebody wanted to remove the oriental aspects of the characters.

I'm surprised to learn of so much dubbing of voices.  I too had read of Goldfinger's dubbed voice...except for the scene when he is heard under the map room...and I listened carefully to the VHS copy of the tape which I had just checked out of the library, but could hear no discernable difference at all.

 

Gert Forbe also starred in the Warren Beatty/Goldie Hawn vehicle "Money" where I thought his voice was identical to the one I had heard in Goldfinger.  So, go figure....

So, tonight's movie is Thunderball.  On to the thoughts:

* Still the fedora.  I guess I never noticed it before.

* A funeral, and the coffin bears the initials 'JB'.  Could it be Bond who's dead? Fleming tried to kill him off enough times.

* Nope, an enemy of Bond's.

* Something suspicious about that limo...

* Apparently, that old enemy of Bond's faked his death and then attended his own funeral dressed as a woman.  Now, the fight to the finish!

* The flowers are a nice touch.

* The jet pack is cool, but just a trifle absurd as well. I guess he had to beat the baddie home somehow.

* A bulletproof shield and water jets?  Nice, but one wonders where the massive reservoir of water is hidden in the car.

* And now, for something completely different, the opening credits.

* Underwater for some reason.

* I've heard it said that the opening credits to these movies last too long, but isn't that the case for pretty much any movie?

* Not one of the more memorable opening theme songs either, despite Tom Jones. A little overblown, and not that good of a song

* A man in an eyepatch.  That's quite suspicious.

* Yup, sliding wall, Blofeld, it's S.P.E.C.T.R.E.!

* You know, you expect the machinations of an organization the likes of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. to be a tad more sophisticated than blackmail and the like. This sounds more like an old comic book.

* You know the villain is cold when he sees one of his associates electrocuted and just turns and looks back at his papers.

* Demanding a ransom?  Seriously, how Republic Serial Villain can you get?

* Someone with his face wrapped in bandages?  This is...well, that's suspicious too.

* Things were quite different back then.  These days if a man surprises a girl with a kiss, he'd be up on charges.

* James is seriously dumb enough to get on this device and allow himself to be strapped down?

* Bond is really, really stupid here.  I'm not liking this so much--so far, it seems as if this film is using the "make the hero dumb enough to fall into obvious traps" shtick.

* "Jane, get me off this crazy machine!" :D

* Okay, I like James Bond womanizing but this is just plain slimy.

* I guess turbabout is fair play, if that was the guy who just tried to kill James. Betcha it wasn't though.

* Well, apparently James' power of seduction is quite high.

* How much do you want to bet that something is about to happen to Major Derval?

* Yup.  And his secretary is in on it too.

* I guess we know who was under the bandages now.  Big cojones too asking for more money from S.P.E.C.T.R.E.

* Jealousy is so unbecoming.

* Okay, what is up with the Napoleon thing?

* I guess maybe he shouldn't have asked for more money.

* This underwater scene is dragging quite a bit, although it does explain the opening credits.

* The return of the Aston-Martin.

* Hmm...one assassin kills another.

* Really, cars just plain don't explode like that with the combination of gasoline and oxygen.  

* Throwing the bike into the lake...tidy...and we see that the assassin is the secretary.  One wonders if James will seduce her, kill her or both?

* These conferences all remind me more of school than a business meeting.

* Okay, I know this all looks cool, but it's complete and utter overkill.

* "You swim like a man." "So do you."  

* The old "pretend the boat isn't working and disconnect the engine so the pretty girl will give you a ride" trick. Works every time.

* I guess docks aren't availalbe in Nassau.

* "What sharp little eyes you've got." "Wait til' you get to my teeth."

* It's Bond...it's baccarat...it can't be bad.

* James' powers of seduction are superhuman.

* Man, I love those old cars.  That little convertible is sweet.

* Sharks in the swimming pool.  This is definitely a parody of itself.

* Another black guy in a red shirt.  Ten to one he's dead by film's end.

* Q looks so odd in vacation clothes.

* A "harmless" radioactive device.  Sure.

* Given Moneypenny's obvious competence and extremely high security clearance, one wonders if she's good at anything else, .like say, Jiu-jitsu.  Or perhaps she has an invisible plane.

* Would ordinary hand grenades have much of any effectiveness underwater?  I would think that the water would diminish the velocity of the shrapnel to the point of being little more than an irritant for someone more than a few feet away.

* Once again, James does something really, really dumb by sticking his head above water.

* And then something smart by ditching his SCUBA apparatus.

* Something else I loved about old cars was the horizontal speedometer. sure, a circular one makes more sense, but the horizontal ones just had a certain...style.

* Fiona drives very fast.

* So, James follows up his really smart move by doing something really dumb again and hitching a ride with a stranger who just happens to be working for...S.P.E.C.T.R.E.

* she is pushing that gorgeous Mustang hard.

* Fiona is good shooting skeet, and we all know that she's more than capable of killing someone...but I bet Bond's powers of seduction will win the day.

* So at this point, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. knows who Bond is, they know where the bombs are, there really aren't any more secrets...so why is Bond walking into an obvious trap?

* So Marcus is the man Adam Ant is talking about in Goody Two Shoes?

* "Seems terribly difficult." as he casually shoots the clay pigeon from the hip while barely looking. And then he wonders why he blows his cover so much.

* So Domino goes to change from her fairly demure one-piece bathing suit into a bikini.  I guess she didn't feel she was distracting enough.

* And of course, the female agent--instead of being more capable than most as how else would a woman have risen to such a position--is shown to be much less competent than her male counterpart.  Ah, the sixties.

* RELEASE THE SHARKS!

* James...you are very, very dumb in this film.

* Oh James...hit her where it hurts.  Low, just low.

* This movie is dragging, dragging, dragging...and still another 40 minutes to go.

* Shot in the Achilles and still able to move almost normally...yup, James is superhuman.

* Okay, perhaps not quite the Achilles, but it still should incapacitate him.

* Oh, and apparently he bleeds rust-colored paint.

* "'Tis only a flesh wound!"

* Well, he didn't seduce and kill her, only seduce.  

* Is finding the plane at this point really that important?

* Oh, Domino!

* Sure, ask the untrained, emotionally compromised victim to put her life on the line.  Why not?

* James goes from being a bumbling idiot to ruthlessly efficient so frequently in this film.

* I wonder if "Felix Liter" isn't a person at all, but a series of people all assuming the same identity as the previous one gets killed.

* I do wonder who killed Fiona?

* A little slow there James.

* So, death it is...but first Chi-Chi! http://www.residua.org/book-xi-1986/death-or-chi-chi/

* Part of me is really hoping Domino won't be rescued so James will (properly) feel guilty.

* Why would any one of his underlings have any interest whatsoever what he does to Domino, unless they'd been promised her in return?  Skeevier and skeevier.

* "There is no one to rescue you." Famous last words.

* Helicopters do not work that way.

* Hmm...I'm sure this is something historical or political I'm not aware of, but I'm surprised to see a Coast Guard helicopter operating in Nassau.

* I AM bored.

* I'm a little surprised that jets are not being used to make the drop...ah, never mind, they're dropping personnel.

* I guess we'll have an underwater skirmish now.

* I understand that formations are important, but doesn't that also make it much easier to find a target to hit?

* Nice of them to wear different color wetsuits so we can tell the good guys from the bad guys

* I'm starting to wonder if I should include the "Flint" movies in these reviews.

* Thanks James.  I knew you meant to shoot the hinge holding the hatch above the guys who were trying to shoot me instead of directly trying to shoot the guys who were trying to shoot me.

* Okay, that's the James Bond I'm expecting--a ruthless, absurdly competent killing machine when he needs to be.

* Didn't need to see that.

* One will notice in this underwater scene that no one is using projectile weapons outside of spear guns.  

* This is a pretty gruesome battle for 1965.  Not necessarily graphic, but the way the men are dying isn't very palatable. f course, it shouldn't be.

* Oh sure, and sharks too.

* Oh noes!  Largo has full SCUBA and all James has is his rebreather!  This could be it for Mr. Bond!...

* I don't know a whole lot about hydrofoils, but I'm betting that James is not in a good place right now.

* Of course, the destroyer and cruisers following also put James in a bad position.

* I never saw a yacht Transformer before...

* Those guys on the shell should just give up now...

* Seriously, that's a @#$Q@#$ Destroyer.  You have no chance.

* At least they finally wised up and abandoned ship.

* "I was only following orders." Yup, you're dead.

* I do enjoy the fact that the minions all have t-shirts with the name of the yacht.

* Domino gets her revenge.

* I doubt it would be a good thing to abandon ship at that speed.

* And wasn't there a nuke onboard?

* Convenient, to have an inflatable dinghy just the right size for hanky panky in the middle of the ocean dropped shortly after the bad guys boat blew up.

* Finally, it's over

If it sounds like I didn't like this movie, it's likely because I didn't like this movie.

This could have been a good movie, I suppose, but I think it was sabotaged by a less than intelligent plot from the start.  The fact that it was too long, and that it suffered from too-many-villain-itis really hurt it as well.

Largo could have been a decent villain--he had the ruthlessness, but you never really felt he had the competence of the likes of Goldfinger.  Fiona could have been more interesting, but she went out like a chump and we never did find out who killed her.

It's interesting too...I've said before that I thought that Connery was a better actor than Moore, but this particular film may have been more...fun with Roger Moore as the titular character.  There was definitely an attempt at a sense of whimsy for this film, but it just didn't fit Connery.

You know, you expect the machinations of an organization the likes of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. to be a tad more sophisticated than blackmail and the like. This sounds more like an old comic book.

The last "E" in S.P.E.C.T.R.E. stands for Extortion.

Things were quite different back then. These days if a man surprises a girl with a kiss, he'd be up on charges.

Unless the kiss is unwelcome, it's OK even today. I don't think Bond's kisses were ever unwelcome for long (more fantasy).

Randy Jackson said:


* I AM bored.

I remember going to see Thunderball at the Capitol Theatre in Elyria and having the same reaction to it.

 

While there were occasional good moments scattered throughout, overall, the movie was boring.  There was a noticeable lack of a clear rising action.  Not that the first three Bonds were without misstep from time to time, but each displayed a distinct progress of developments, raising the viewer's emotional stake in the films.

 

Thunderball, however, lacked any sense that the hands in the production really cared about putting out something exceptional.  Instead, they settled for going through the motions; this showed in everything from the sprawling, unfocused plot to Connery's less-tight-fitting hairpiece.

 

Already, what I call "the Goldfinger Effect" had kicked in.  Goldfinger had been the most successful Bond film to date, and it became the template for nearly all the subsequent films.  Instead of distinctive plots, each advancing at its own pace, as the first three Bonds had, the subsquent films, starting with Thunderball, began to rely on the framework of set-pieces in the mould of Goldfinger.

 

While there was just enough inspiration in the them, along with the cachet of Connery's stage presence, to keep the subsequent pre-Moore Bonds from being bad, they committed the almost worse sin of being boring.  Sure, each one would have three or four brilliant bits of business that stood out, but overall, it was difficult to care enough to really pay attention to the plot.

 

 

I like this one much more than you do, Randy, although I think I had a negative reaction to it the first time I saw it as an adult. It looks good, I like a lot of the bits, and Claudine Auger, who plays Domino, was beautiful.

 

The first theme song written for the film was Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. This Wikipedia page has information on where it still appears on the soundtrack, and a link to an alternative unused theme by Johnny Cash. I suppose the final theme song most likely describes a villain, but some of its lines suggest Bond.

 

Explosions under water can be very dangerous, because water transmits the pressure wave better than air. You can "fish" with explosives.

 

The sequence where Fiona is shot looks to me like a homage to the concert hall shooting scene in the 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much.

 

My recollection is the scientist has a line about disarming the nuke when he rescues Domino.

 

"Napoleon thing"? I don't recall that bit.

There was a scene in one of the war rooms during the movie where one of the leading officers had his hand inside his uniform blouse the entire time.  It was simply something I noticed and thought was odd.

Luke Blanchard said:


"Napoleon thing"? I don't recall that bit.

"Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" appears throughout the entire film, it's the main theme of the movie... except, they rejected the vocal version.  There was a demo with Shirley Bassey, but the keeper was with Dione Warwick. The lyrics are F***ING hilarious!!!  In a latter-day film ('87-up) they'd have definitely tacked it onto the end credits.  "Thunderball" (which, yes, does describe Largo) was written at the last minute. Note the opening bar (4 notes) is from the "James Bond Theme", then it goes DOWN menacingly. Legend has it Tom Jones fainted in the studio from holding that last note so long. Also hilarious. In concert, he made a point not to do that. (heehee)

As the newspaper strip was interrupted and never finished, my strongest reccomendation is to READ THE NOVEL (or is that novelization?).  I saw the film on TV 3 times and could not remember the plot. There's a reason for that. It's too damn confusing for its own good.  They went thru 12 script drafts before the original project was abandoned, then Ian Fleming turned it into a VERY coherent novel. One of his BEST, I feel!!  But several years later, when the project (which was designed to start the film series) was dusted off, instead of referencing the book, they went back to the 12 script drafts, then wrote some more.  OY.

One idiotic thing is the sequence where they pointless try to keep Leiter's identity a mystery. It's clear to me this was a holdover from an early script draft where this was supposed to be the 1st film. Since they reused the idea in DR. NO, it should have been eliminated from here.

Virtually every really bad "spy spoof" of 1966-on was inspired by THIS film. (And there may be hundreds of them.)

from LEGION WORLD (January 31, 2005):

The first 2 times I saw THUNDERBALL, I found it hard to follow, and later, I couldn’t recall what it was about. This never happened with the other 007 films. In my reading, I caught up with the book—and enjoyed it IMMENSELY. One of Ian Fleming’s best works, I felt. Nice, tight, fast-moving plot… which all left me wondering what the problem was. Then I saw the film on ABC a 3rd time. THAT’s when I knew.

“Too many cooks.”

THUNDERBALL started out in 1959 as a film project intended to bring James Bond to the screen for the 1st time. It was thought for worldwide ticket sales that an international crime syndicate—S.P.E.C.T.R.E.—would make better recurring villains than the Russians. The plot went through at least 12 scripts before the project fell apart. As he’d done twice before, Ian Fleming turned the story into a novel (and was promptly sued by Kevin McClory over it!). Can a book be called a “novelization” if it’s based on a film that was never made?

Now, I don’t know exactly what was in all those script drafts, but Fleming must have pruned that tree right to the bone. The book is SO simple, direct, and easy to follow—yet loaded with all the typical Fleming personal touches, details, and fully-fleshed out characters. The eventual film, however—based more likely on the earlier scripts than the novel—is a bloated, overstuff MESS that seems too proud of all the girls, gadgets, dangers and plot twists. Add commercial breaks on ABC and severe CUTS in reruns, it’s no wonder I couldn’t follow the plot of this on TV!

As an example, the book has 2 girls—Pat, the therapist, and Domino, the sister of the dead pilot & mistress of Emilio Largo, SPECTRE #2 and mastermind of the criminal plot. The film has 4 girls! The additions were Paula, Bond’s “assistant” in Nassau, and Fiona Volpe, SPECTRE #6, the red-headed Italian assassin! (WHOO-HOO!) In one of the ’59 scripts, she was named “Fatima Blush”; the name would be reused in the ’83 remake. In addition, it’s Domino’s brother who sells out to SPECTRE—whereas the film has him murdered and impersonated by a double, who double-crosses his bosses and is ALSO murdered. The whole “double / plastic surgery / man in bandages” thing just strikes me as the film-makers trying too damn hard to say, “LOOK how clever we all are!”

Then you have about a 45-minute sequence in the middle of the film which TOTALLY deviates from the main plot of the story. It starts when Bond is picked up by Fiona, continues when Paula is kidnapped by SPECTRE goons, Bond goes to rescue her but finds she’s already dead, has a cat-and-mouse game at Largo’s house Palmyra, then runs into Fiona in his hotel room—eventually being captured by SPECTRE goons, escaping, and running all over the “Mardi Gras” parade before she’s accidentally killed by her own men. (OOPS!) It’s no surprise that the very next scene has James & Felix in a helicopter searching for the missing plane & bombs—EVERYTHING with Fiona could be CUT, and the film would move much better, and have a lot more room for character development.

It’s a sad thing that THUNDERBALL has so many good actors in it—and NONE of them have enough screen time to do anything! This even includes Bond. Unlike the 3 previous films, Sean Connery appears to be just walking thru this. He shows no emotions, no anger, no sadness, no humor. The whole thing’s just become a job to him! Considering his talent as an actor, this is the real crime of the picture—not somebody stealing 2 atomic bombs!

So, while some have complained about the “slow” underwater sequences, to me, it’s everything else that’s the problem. In some alternate reality, I can envision what this film COULD have or SHOULD have been like.

Let’s start with the beginning. It took me decades to realize the pre-credit sequence is really ripped off from the CLIMAX of the book, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE! Bond goes after somebody who’s wearing a disguise for the murder of someone he knew. In the fight, he breaks their neck with a fireplace poker—then escapes INTO THE SKY! (No wonder I sometimes think you need a “score card” to tell what came from where.)

10 minutes into the film, as soon as we see Bond at Shrublands, the whole film cranks to a halt. So much goes on there, intercut with other scenes, it’s ridiculous. I suggest scrapping the entire pre-credit sequence, and replace it with a very tightly-edited health club sequence. Bond’s there for therapy, sees Count Lippe, who recognizes Bond as an enemy of SPECTRE and decides to bump him off. Meanwhile, Fiona has seduced the pilot to work for them—thereby increasing her sexual prowess in the story—and warns Lippe not to do anything that might draw attention to their current plans. He tries to kill Bond anyway, fails, Fiona contacts her boss and gets orders. We then see Bond on the road, Lippe about to ambush him—several shots fired, cars swerving everywhere (it should be much more exciting than it was in the actual film), when out of nowhere, this black motorcycle appears, BLOWS Lippe to HELL, then disappears while Bond is driven off the road and barely escapes with his life. Some ways off, we find the cycle rider is Fiona—as she dumps the cycle in the lake, the “underwater” opening credits with Tom Jones’ song fades in.

The SPECTRE board room scene is one of the best in the film. The only flaw is, we never get to see Blofeld, who was described in great detail in the book. I picture going direct from this to the Vulcan bomber hijack, without any intercutting with other scenes (see above). Bond could have seen Domino’s brother talking with Lippe—he needn’t have seen him “dead” as stated in the film as an excuse to go to Nassau.

Connery once said Felix Leiter was “forgettable”—sure, when he’s played by a different actor in every film, and never given any decent screen time. The lengthy sequence where Felix skulks around, a bad redo from DR. NO, was probably left over from the earlier scripts. What we needed was a scene of Bond arriving at the airport, met by his best buddy Felix, who’d say, “When I heard you were coming here I KNEW this was where the action would be, so I had myself assigned here too.” Then when Bond meets Domino the first time, it could be Felix in the boat with him. I’d dump Paula entirely. She adds nothing to the story, and exists only as an excuse for Bond to traipse around Largo’s house at night and fall into his shark pool. There’s enough sharks around the Vulcan bomber, and later during the climactic battle—we didn’t need that pool sequence!

My one problem in restructuring this story is Fiona. I’m tempted to just follow the book, except Luciana Palluzi is SO good, I’d want to keep her—especially if by dumping some extraneous things she could have more screen-time, too. I’d say she should run into Bond in his hotel room and seduce him, WITHOUT his having gone to save Paula. Later, I’d have her shot at the Kiss Kiss club—but only injured, and wanting Bond dead even more. Later, on the beach, I’d have her sneak up on Bond & Domino—and get it with the spear gun. It was a much more memorable death, after all, and would have allowed her to stick around until just before the start of the climax.

The rest of my changes all involve the cast. Last year, I began thinking a lot about this, and got double-visions as I watched it, as I pictured who SHOULD have played certain parts. To begin with, Ernst Stavros Blofeld has NEVER been cast properly. I’ve read that CURT JURGENS would have been perfect. In fact, he almost did play the part—until a McClory lawsuit over THE SPY WHO LOVED ME had Broccoli thumb his nose by changing the villain’s name to Stromberg. When I saw Jurgens as a German general in THE LONGEST DAY, I knew he should have played the part. For consistency, I’d have had him appear in EVERY film—FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, THUNDERBALL, ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE and YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. (I’m getting ahead of myself here, I you get the idea.)

Next, while suave & “cool”, Adolpho Celi is too old and “stiff” to play the virile, action-oriented Emilio Largo. Plus, they had to dub his voice (with the same actor who also dubbed a policeman in DR. NO, Tanaka in YOLT, and the guy pretending to be Blofeld in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY). My choice? TELLY SAVALAS. It’s been said Savalas was all wrong for Blofeld in OHMSS. I agree—but the script he had and his performance was SO good, he’s become my #1 favorite Bond movie villain of all time. Even so, I’d be willing to recast him here for a better fit, and even more screen-time!

Then there’s Domino. RAQUEL WELCH, an expert swimmer and one of the icons of the 60’s, was actually cast for the part. I’ve even seen a photo of her in the bikini Claudine Auger wears. But her studio took advantage of the 007 publicity and then yanked her out to appear in something else. Shades of what happened to Pierce Brosnan in 1986!!! Auger’s pretty, but not “tough” enough. Just imagine HOW MUCH MORE memorable Welch would have been, and how much better the film would have been with her in it!

For Felix, obviously, JACK LORD. While Rik Van Nutter has been described as the “closest” in appearance to the character in the book, he doesn’t get a chance in the film to show if he’s got any personality or not. Even without any, Lord has more presence.

Finally, the nuclear physicist, Kuntz. George Pravda was wonderful as the chief of police in the DOCTOR WHO story, “The Deadly Assassin”. Here, he seems too wimpy and in some scenes reminds me of Peter Lorre. My choice? DONALD PLEASENCE! Sure, I loved him in YOLT, but he was even more wrong for Blofeld than Savalas. Had HE played Kuntz, it would have been a perfect fit—as seen in the character he played in FANTASTIC VOYAGE (opposite Welch, as it happens).

Try picturing all this in your mind next time you watch the movie. It could have been SOOOOO good!!!

Lastly… you know how from THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS to TOMORROW NEVER DIES 4 films in a row had 2 songs—a “villain” song and a “romantic” song? THUNDERBALL almost had a song by the name of “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” over the opening credits. The lyrics were SO silly, however, and sanity prevailed, so at the last minute the song Tom Jones sang was hastily written & recorded (and Jones reportedly DID faint after he finished it in one take—heehee). I think any DVD releases of this movie should have a video tacked onto the end of what could have been an end credit song—if end credits were as long back then as they are today. It was recorded by Shirley Bassey—too shrill for me—and Dione Warwick—which I’ve come to love. I’d go with that one. Ah, what could have been…

Here's the whole JAMES BOND 007 thread at LEGION WORLD.

.......at the last minute the song Tom Jones sang was hastily written & recorded

I seem to be in the minority in really liking the movie THUNDERBALL Maybe this is because I saw it first-run on the big screen.

I've never understood the lyrics "he strikes like Thunderball", however.

I've never understood the lyrics "he strikes like Thunderball", however.

 

Obviously, the lyricist was secretly a time-traveler who inadvertently gave their secret away by including a reference to the future Thor villain in the song.

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