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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In Like Flint - From IMDb:

Super-spy Flint takes on a cabal of women plotting to rule the world.

Thoughts:

* A very sensual opening to say the least.

* A very nice and serene spa, with nary a man in sight.

* Ooh, Yvonne Craig's in this. That should be fun.

* Interesting to see women doing what looks like calisthenics in muu-muu's.

* I know more or less what's going on, but this opening is kind of slow.

* Female astronauts?  Now that's just crazy talk.

* "Gosh Mr. President, if you'll autograph your golf ball, I'll put it right next to my picture of Batman."

* The old paralyzing gas in the golf ball trick.  That one always seems to work.

* My gosh, those...those...those women stole the President!

* so Flint's down to three girls, but at least these have lines.

* So now Flint can talk to dolphins.  

* I wish this movie would get on with it.

* She's really laying it on thick.

* Ah the old seduce the government employee and frame him for having an affair bit.

* Hypnotic watch.  Useful.

* This scene of Flint infiltrating Z.O.W.I.E. should be much more exciting.

* So, Flint is dead...or is he?

* So, he tells Cramden, "don't trust anyone" and right away Cramden tells the President--who's an impostor.  

* Apaprently, Flint's talents extend to ballet dancing.

* Watching Yvonne Craig dance is always a pleasure.

* She tried to drug Flint.  If it were Bond, she'd likely be dead by now.

* These KGB agents are terrible shots.  

* Those have got to be the worst fake eyebrows I've ever seen.

* So, everyone who goes to Cuba from Moscow dresses like Fidel Castro.

* That is one terrible disguise, Cramden.

* I think they've made him.

* I would think Flint's girls would put up a tad more resistance.

* I think the barbed-wire perimeter around the island would be a signal that they're up to no good.

* The fake dolphin is a really poor special effect.

* Cryogenics?  That's the big scheme?

* so there are men on the island.  Men that aren't captives.

* Is that kiss enough to turn her? Perhaps.

* "Women running the world...why, you can't be serious?"

* Actually, not a terrible idea for 1967.  Brainwashing devices in hair dryers and such. They could have reached a large number of women.

* I love how the conference table is coffee table height.

* The women were tricked by those dastardly, sexist, chauvinist pigs.  

* "An actor as President?"

* The fighting stunts are better this time around.

* Of course, if any of these guards were carrying guns, this might be a much more intense battle.

* "Operation...smooch?"

* Pedal-boats and catamarans.  A motley cavalry if there ever was one.

* The old bathing suit top on the stick trick.

* Ah, the women can fight.

* This Lt. Avery guy is extremely competent.  I wonder if there was any idea about making him the centerpiece of a film.

* Nice flipout by the "acting" president.

* Flint gets to be an astronaut.

* Weightless fight to the finish.

* He is not going to parachute down from outer space...right?

* He's certainly not going to use his sonic device to destroy the interceptor missiles...in outer space...right?

* Yup, I guess he is.

* All's well that ends well, as he somehow finds his way to those female Cosmonauts we saw earlier.

* And sure, they're not going to arrest the women, just scold them and slap them on the butt.

This movie was at least 30 minutes too long.  There were a couple of funny moments, but ultimately this one is quite skippable.

As I am wont to do, I have changed my mind and will include the George Lazenby Film from 1969.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service From IMDb:

James Bond woos a mob boss's daughter and goes undercover to uncover the true reason for Blofeld's allergy research in the Swiss Alps that involves beautiful women from around the world.

Thoughts:

* The theme sounds a little different. The man with the fedora looks different.  Probably because he is different.

* A briefcase filled with a disassembled gun?  Nice.

* As I've no idea what George Lazenby looks like, I assume this is him carrying the beautiful girl out of the surf.

* Yup, that's Bond.

* He's fighting for his life and she steals his car?  That's gratitude.

* We got a Cinderella thing going on with the slippers, I guess.

* This is a looong movie.

* The opening credits make one think they're almost ashamed not to be using Connery this time. Much more understated than previous opening credits.

* Nice hotel suite. Nice pool too.

* Bond. Baccarat.  Feels like old times.

* That is one bad mothe...

* Not used to seeing Bond manhandle women.

* I appreciate that we are getting to the plot fairly quickly.

* The chemistry with Moneypenny isn't quite right.

* Taken off of Operation: Bedlam.  Whatever shall James do?

* A romantic montage with background music by Louis Armstrong...really, something I wasn't expecting to see in a Bond film.

* It cracks safes and does copies?  Ingenious.

* 10 to 1 odds that S.P.E.C.T.R.E. has made Bond again.

* Rocking the kilt. Very nice.

* I was wondering where the beautiful women were.

* This dinner scene is quite amusing in it's attempts to be similar to the one from Tom Jones.

* Writing your room information on his leg under the kilt in lipstick?  That's one I've not tried.

* "Of course, we know what he's allergic to."

* Doesn't Blofeld know what James looks like?

* Apparently, Bond does go commando.

* Yup, he's been made.

* This ilttle dream sequence is fairly cheesy.

* Biological warfare. Sterility.  Nasty.

* The old rip out your trouser pockets so you can ride down the cable without turning your hands into hamburger trick.

* He did not just say, "I love you."

* He proposed. She's gonna be dead meat.

* Now he's turning down sex. Blofeld must have brainwashed him too.

* Okay, that didn't last too long...

* Wow, she actually survived the avalanche?

* Sometimes, it's good to know organized crime bosses.

* Telly Savalas makes a damned skeevy Blofeld.

* That's a little fatherly love there.

* Gotta love the St. Bernard.

* MOneypenny holding back tears at the wedding.

* Yup. Dead meat.  Really, really sad.

So, despite the film's length, it never really seemed to drag.  I'm sure 30 minutes could have been cut, but I don't think it hurt the movie.  

Lazenby was a pretty decent Bond, I'd have to say, there were some great action sequences (pretty much all of the Alpine scenes worked really well), Savalas was quite good as Blofeld, it was a good plot, and all in all a pretty decent movie.

Was a bit puzzled why you'd want to leave out the Australian Bond, actually, but all good now!

Joanna Lumley (from the British TV shows The New Avengers and Absolutely Fabulous) is one of the gaggle of pretty women at the clinic. I think she's the one with the "allergic" line. The one who keeps asking what "genealogist" means is Catherine Schell, who the IMDB reminds me was Maya in Space: 1999. She also starred in The Return of the Pink Panther, was the female lead in the somewhat less estimable Moon Zero Two (adult content elsewhere at site), and played the Countess Scarlioni in the Doctor Who story "City of Death".

 

The director of On Her Majesty's Secret Service was Peter Hunt, who apparently had been an editor on earlier films in the series.

With the passage of time, I've mellowed in my estimation of George Lazenby as Bond.  He's not Sean Connery, of course, and thus, will always fall short of the mark.  But he was better than Roger Moore.

 

The thing I cannot get past, though, is how much better the last scene would have been, how much more gravitas it would have contained, if Connery had played it.  I'll always feel cheated by that.

 

 

Well, my idea initially had been to limit myself to the Connery/Moore films, but I changed my mind.

Figserello said:

Was a bit puzzled why you'd want to leave out the Australian Bond, actually, but all good now!

Honestly, I thought Lazenby did quite well with that scene.  Perhaps played differently from Connery, but played well.

Also, I have a hard time imagining Connery's Bond ever getting to that position.

Commander Benson said:


The thing I cannot get past, though, is how much better the last scene would have been, how much more gravitas it would have contained, if Connery had played it.  I'll always feel cheated by that.

 

 

Just last year I sat down and watched On Her Majesty's Secret Service from start to finish for the first time ever. I had always avoided it because I thought of Lazenby as little more than a place marker until the producers could get Connery back. The film is one of the better outings and it may be the last one to adhere relatively close to the book. Had this one starred Connery I think it would be considered a classic Bond movie.

And speaking of classic Bond - just saw Skyfall this week - it is very good, right up there with the best of the early films.

.

Diamonds Are Forever - From IMDb

A diamond smuggling investigation leads James Bond to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an extortion plot headed by his nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Thoughts:

* I'm not going to say another word about the fedora.  Honest.

* And we open with Bond beating the crap out of some Asian guy.  Good times.

* Another movie, another Blofeld.

* Death by mud. That's unique.  Still trying to figure out how James doesn't have any mud on him.

* So, Blofeld is dead...or is he?

* Back to a song for the theme.

* That is Shirley Bassey singing.  Doesn't quite sound like her...her voice doesn't have quite the same bite.

* Bond actually isn't an expert at something?  Wow.

* Liking Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd.

* Moneypenny in a Customs uniform.

* Now really, he just buried his last bride, Moneypenny.

* Large hovercraft are always fascinating.

* "Providing the collars and cuffs match..."

* Seriously?  The old making out with yourself trick?

* As an actress, Jill St. John is...pleasing to the eye.

* Creepy funeral home.  Creepier way to kill a man.

* Good thing that pool was there.

* This is moving along rather slowly.

* I thought the silliness started with Roger Moore as Bond.  Now we've got a moon buggy vs. ATV car chase.

* Here comes the Sheriff.

* That's a fancy bathroom.

* So, not only is Blofeld not dead, he's also twins...and Willard Whyte.

* Buried alive.  That's a sticky situation.

* Bambi and Thumper?  I think James is in a bit of a pickle here.

* It's kinda fun to see James getting his butt kicked by a pair of...women.

* "Tell him he's fired."

* Man that laser blows stuff up real good!

* There are times when I think Blofeld is a genius, and times when I think he's the biggest idiot ever.  Why lock Bond up in a room with an escape hatch in the floor and plenty of rope?  For that matter of fact, why not just kill him?

* Why do I think James is enjoying this?

* So, I suppose Blofeld is actually, really, absolutely, most sincerely dead?

* Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, one last time.

* The old bomb in the fake cake trick.

* The end of Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd.

* As always, Tiffany is pragmatic.

This really felt more like a Roger Moore Bond film than a Sean Connery Bond film.  Not great, not terrible. Connery seemed out of sorts for much of the movie, as if much of the silliness was beneath him, and I wonder if this particular movie would have suited Moore better.  While Connery is the better actor, Moore seemed to be better at the one-liners and dealing with absurd situations. Also, this is the first instance of a Bond film where the underlings are more interesting and fun than the final boss.  Charles Gray just doesn't work for me as Blofeld, lacking the creepy menace of Donald Pleasance or the dynamism of the more active Telly Savalas.

The movie does drag in certain situations.  Like I said, not bad, but not great either.  More of a popcorn movie than a taut spy-based thriller.

This was Guy Hamilton's return as director, for a run of three films.

 

Blofeld's space laser plot resembles Zemo's in Captain America #100, which appeared over two years previously.

The actor Charles Gray, who plays Blofeld in DIAMONDS, previously played the character Henderson in YOLT. When I saw him on the screen at the beginning of DIAMONDS being supposedly killed I recognized him and was puzzled. Didn't realize he was playing Blofeld until later in the movie. I don't know who else had this reaction. I agree he wasn't a convincing Blofeld.

I saw On Her Majesty's Secret Service a long while ago, and didn't like it. I felt George Lazenby was as wooden as a telephone pole.

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