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Gorgeous images from the opening sequences of James Bond films (without the text)
12:38 pm


James Bond
Maurice Binder
title sequences

A shot from the opening sequence for the 1964 film, ‘Goldfinger.’
Back in 1961 visual artist Maurice Binder (who got his start creating department store ads for retail giant Macy’s) presented an idea to Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli that would become an intrinsic part of their James Bond movie franchise—the famous title sequence that featured naked girls, guns and of course Mr. Bond caught in the sights of a gun barrell.

The famous ‘gun barrel’ shot originally conceived by Maurice Binder. This one taken from 1969’s ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ starring George Lazenby.
According to Binder his pitch to Saltzman and Broccoli was put together on the fly after he had been contacted by the studio when his title sequence for the 1961 film The Grass is Greener caught their attention. Binder was asked to adapt some similar ideas for the opening sequence for Dr. No. The storyboard that Binder brought to the fateful meeting was cobbled together with white price tag stickers that served as a means to convey gunshots floating across the screen. Needless to say Saltzman and Broccoli dug his pitch and Binder’s overall original concept—that included the image of a Bond viewed through the scope of a gun—became an important part of the films’ success.

When it comes to how later Bond titles sequences would come to be realized, we have Robert Brownjohn to thank. As a student at the Institute of Design in Chicago Brownjohn studied under the tutelage of Hungarian-born artist, painter and photographer László Moholy-Nagy. Moholy-Nagy, a former professor of the Bauhaus School helped influence a technique used by Brownjohn of projecting in-motion footage onto the bodies of his subjects (which Moholy-Nagy used in his early films in the 1920s) when he created the title sequences for From Russia with Love in 1963 and perhaps the most memorable Bond title sequence in the franchise’s history, 1964’s Goldfinger. Brownjohn was also the brainchild behind covering model Margaret Nolan in gold paint. Shortly after Goldfinger’s success the artist’s relationship with Saltzman and Broccoli became contentious and Binder returned and would go on to create every Bond film title sequence until 1989’s Licence To Kill. He too often used the technique of projecting films onto the models.

I can’t lie—I’m a sucker for the Bond franchise especially the ones that star Sean Connery (and the dashing George Lazenby who briefly took over for Connery for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). When I was recently watching yet another James Bond marathon I became focused on the opening sequences. What struck me was the gorgeous placidity of the images when you got to gaze at them for a moment without the credits popping up. Which sent me off in search of finding said images sans credits—and I wasn’t disappointed. And I’m sure you won’t be either. Check them out below and a video of what the opening sequence looks like without the help of text for A View to a Kill.

‘The Spy Who Loved Me,’ 1977.

‘Licence to Kill,’ 1989.
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Danger: Diabolik!’ Ennio Morricone Spy-Fi classic covered by Mike Patton

Mario Bava‘s campy 1968 action flick Danger: Diabolik—which stars John Phillip Law and Marisa Mell as a couple of stylish, leather-clad jewel thieves—exists in the exact part of the Venn diagram where James Bond and Barbarella meet. The film was produced by Dino De Laurentiis, who also produced Barbarella that same year and John Phillip Law, of course, famously played Pygar the blind angel in the sexy sci fi classic. Sicilian-born heavy Adolfo Celi—who played “Valmont” the crime boss and Diabolik’s arch enemy—was best known for his portrayal of eyepatch-wearing SPECTRE badguy “Emilio Largo” in Thunderball.

Law’s suave Diabolik—a “master sports car racer, master skin diver, master lover” created by sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani in 1962—can be seen as a sort of antihero version of James Bond and the insanely gorgeous Marisa Mell—who was the inspiration for the comic book Vampirella character—is the equal of any of the Bond girls in the pulchritude department. Roman Coppola’s 2001 film CQ deals with the making of a Danger: Diabolik meets Barbarella-style romp, entitled “Codename: Dragonfly,” a cinematic homage that would be obvious to any fan of the Mario Bava cult film.

Danger: Diabolik‘s Ennio Morricone-composed soundtrack contains one of the greatest “Spy Fi” songs of that decade, the title theme, “Deep Down.” Obviously this is the maestro’s first run at a James Bond theme, or at least a pastiche of one. With a languid, string-bending Duane Eddy-ish guitar line that sounds like an underwater whale call and the powerful lungs of Christy—a pretty decent stand-in for the likes of, say, Shirley Bassey—it’s memorable, even awe-inspiring...

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Bond Girls’: Sexy color-drenched retro-style prints of the ladies of 007

A print of the 2008 book cover update to Ian Fleming’s 1961 novel, “Thunderball” by Michael Gillette.
These reconceptualized covers done for the 2008 reissue of all of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels (including the collection of Fleming’s short stories from 1960, For Your Eyes Only) published by Penguin Books in the 1950s through the 1960s, are about as sweet as eye-candy can get. The punchy, psychedelic candy-colored covers by artist Michael Gillette featured in this post (which were printed in a limited run and signed by Gillette), can be had for $95 bucks a pop over at Gillette’s website. I don’t know about you, but I want them all.
The 2008 book cover update to Ian Fleming's 1956 novel, Diamonds Are  Forever by Michael Gillette
A print of the 2008 book cover update to Ian Fleming’s 1956 novel, “Diamonds Are Forever.”
The 2008 update for the cover of Ian Fleming's 1964 novel, You Only Live Twice by Michael Gillette
A print of the 2008 update for the cover of Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel, “You Only Live Twice.”
More Bond girls after the jump…

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Pulp’s awesome rejected James Bond theme song
10:17 am


Jarvis Cocker
James Bond

Pulp, if you think about it for, oh, about ten seconds, would seem to be the very most perfect candidates ever to be picked to record a James Bond theme. In 1997 the Britpop band submitted “Tomorrow Never Lies” for Pierce Brosnan’s second outing as 007, but the the film was re-titled Tomorrow Never Dies instead and their song shelved in favor of a mediocre Sheryl Crow number. Sheryl fucking Crow? That had to have hurt!

Cocker was asked about what happened by James Bond fansite MI6:

“It was weird. They set up a kind of American Idol situation, where they asked about nine different artists to come up with a Bond song. They listen to nine different attempts of working “tomorrow never dies” into a lyric. We were told on a Wednesday that the deadline was Friday. Consequently, I was really pissed off when they went with Sheryl Crow instead.”

What deaf idiot musical supervisor made this blinkered decision? So stupid.

“Tomorrow Never Lies” eventually came out as the B-side to Pulp’s “Help the Aged” single in 1997, their fifth consecutive top 10. It was later re-issued as an extra track on the expanded edition of This is Hardcore in 2006.

Here’s the opening credits for Tomorrow Never Dies with Pulp’s song swapped in instead of Crow’s. It works great, doesn’t it?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Listen to Radiohead’s unused theme for song for James Bond movie ‘Spectre’
08:36 am

Pop Culture

James Bond

Merry Christmas from Radiohead, who have just posted their unused theme song for the latest James Bond romp Spectre on social media today.

Commenting on Facebook the band explain:

Last year we were asked to write a theme tune for the Bond movie Spectre.

Yes we were. It didn’t work out, but became something of our own, which we love very much. As the year closes we thought you might like to hear it.

Merry Christmas. May the force be with you.

Though many are called—few are chosen, and Radiohead now join the long list of (sadly) rejected artists whose songs are often better than the ones chosen—certainly true with this little number. Radiohead had been favorites to record the Spectre theme with one punter betting a staggering $22,000+ (£15k) on the band snagging the deal. Alas, it didn’t happen—so now the band have shared the song as a rather awesome Christmas present.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Behind the scenes with James Bond in ‘You Only Live Twice’

The revolution of the sixties kicked off on October 5th, 1962. This was the day The Beatles released their first single “Love Me Do” and Sean Connery was launched on to the big screen as James Bond in Dr. No. Between these twin poles of movies and music the decade began. By 1967, The Beatles were the most influential band on the planet while Connery was the world’s best known actor, and iconic star of the most successful movie franchise of all time.

During the filming of the fifth James Bond movie You Only LIve Twice journalist and presenter Alan Whicker—best known for his rather snide, tabloid and often condescending reporting—made a documentary examining the success and cultural obsession with Ian Fleming’s super spy, or as he termed it “Bondomania.” Whicker bangs on about sex, sadism, amorality and violence, quizzing Connery, producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and screenwriter Roald Dahl—who disagrees with Whicker’s insinuation, describing Bond as a “tough, rather insensitive fellow who’s very good at his job.”
The Bond format of gadgets, girls and guns was set by the previous two movies Goldfinger and Thunderball. This time Dahl’s screenplay pushed the form to the limit—dumping most of Ian Fleming’s original novel and inventing his own comic book narrative—an action scene on average every five minutes—throwing Bond into unrelenting danger until the final climactic moments.

Dahl considered You Only Live Twice to be “Fleming’s worst book, with no plot in it,” and he therefore filled the movie with his own quirky inventions—rocket gobbling spacecraft, a volcanic island disguised as a mini Cape Canaveral, and so on. I think Dahl’s criticism harsh, as I am on the side who think Fleming’s books are actually superior to the films, as they reveal a conflicted Bond, insecure, violent, remorseful, smoking, drinking and popping pills to keep himself functioning. Fleming gave Bond an emotional narrative—from strong, confident agent to broken, haunted spy obsessing over his own mortality—which the films have generally ignored.

You Only Live Twice was the last Bond novel published in Fleming’s lifetime—he died of a heart attack, aged 56, two months after its appearance—the last novel The Man with the Golden Gun and the story collection Octopussy and The Living Daylights were published posthumously. The film was to be Connery’s last Bond until Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. The title comes from a haiku Bond writes when he is “reborn” as “Taro Todoroki,” a mute Japanese coal miner, to gain access to Dr. Guntram Shatterhand or rather Ernst Stavros Blofeld’s Garden of Death.

You only live twice:
Once when you are born
And once when you look death in the face.

More behind the scenes of ‘You Only Live Twice,’ after the jump…

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Johnny Cash’s rejected opening theme for ‘Thunderball’
08:47 am


Johnny Cash
James Bond

When the amusing podcast James Bonding, hosted by Matt Gourley and Matt Mira, got around to dealing with the ultra-boring, ultra-rapey (this is according to them, mind you) fourth installment of the James Bond franchise, Thunderball, things livened up considerably when they discussed the story behind the theme song.

Briefly, the theme song in the movie is sung by Tom Jones, who, legend has it, fainted upon completing the titanic final note of the song. That song had replaced a different song, sung by Shirley Bassey and, much later, by Dionne Warwick, which had the pretty unbeatable title of “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” Albert Broccoli didn’t like that the song didn’t mention the name of the movie, so he shitcanned it.

But at some point Johnny Cash submitted a version, which would have been much more suitable for a spaghetti western and is, frankly, awesome. I’m prepared based on very little actual knowledge to assert that it’s better than any existing James Bond theme, and that includes the one from you-know-who and “this ever-changing world in which we’re living.” Sure, Cash’s version is a teensy bit stupid, but when you kick into that sweeping Morricone vibe, you can lead me just about anywhere.

A month later, according to Robert Hilburn’s Johnny Cash: The Life, Cash wrote a pretty similar song for the John Wayne movie The Sons of Katie Elder, and in all honesty it’s a little better.

You can find Cash’s “Thunderball” on the 2011 compilation Bootleg, Vol. 2: From Memphis to Hollywood.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Double-O-Heaven: Behind the scenes of 25 James Bond films

When it all began: ‘Cubby’ Broccoli, Sean Connery, Ian Fleming and Harry Saltzman discuss filming ‘Dr. No,’ 1962.
Noël Coward told his friend Ian Fleming to get on and “write his bloody book,” as he had been talking about it for too bloody long. Fleming had a good idea of what he wanted to write and why he wanted to do it, but he did not get round to writing his first James Bond novel Casino Royale until 1952. His reasons for writing were complex—he wanted to prove he could do it as his brother was a highly acclaimed travel writer, while his future wife and their close friends were part of a glittering and dreadfully snobbish literary set; and Fleming liked the money being a successful writer might bring, though he did claim he wrote for pleasure and only published for money.

Fleming later rather disingenuously described his books as “the pillow fantasies of an adolescent mind,” which belied the truth that his fictions were well written, stylish and contained the structure most thriller writers would imitate over the succeeding decades. He was an assiduous worker writing 2,000 words a day—a hard discipline he had learned from his time as a journalist, which had also taught him the importance of economy in descriptive writing:

“If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky to write five hundred words a day.”

When Casino Royale was first published in 1953, it was rightly praised by readers and critics alike, with the poet John Betjeman astutely pointing out that Fleming had “discovered the secret of narrative art.” The following year saw the publication of Live and Let Die, then Moonraker in 1955 and Diamonds Are Forever in 1956. After the overwhelming critical success of his first Bond novel, the literati were quick to turn on Fleming and damn his books as pornographic, unhealthy and obsessed with sadomasochism. However, he did have his supporters, key among which were Raymond Chandler, who considered Fleming as a “most forceful and driving” thriller writer, while Noël Coward correctly stated that Fleming’s books would outlive the literary critics and their weighty tomes.

Fleming was never of robust health, and after being mauled by the snobbish reviewers, he decided to put his all into his next book, 1957’s From Russia With Love, setting Bond up with a fateful and near fatal confrontation with SMERSH Colonel Rosa Klebb and her hired assassin the psychopathic serial killer Red Grant. It was a winning roll of the dice especially once President John F. Kennedy said From Russia With Love was one of his favorite novels, which quickly established Fleming as major writer on both sides of the Atlantic.

With greater success in America, Fleming’s books were soon the source of much consideration from Hollywood—but this proved to be false bonhomie and an excess of hot air. Eventually, film producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli formed a company with a former circus performer and intelligence agent, Harry Saltzman, who had bought the rights to all of Fleming’s books (except Casino Royale) called EON—“Everything or Nothing.” The pair decided to film Dr. No and began considering potential actors for the role of Bond. Fleming wanted the likes of Cary Grant or David Niven, but Broccoli and Saltzman held out for a little known Scottish actor called Sean Connery. At first, Fleming was none too happy, but after being told by a close female friend that Connery had “it” he decided to agree on having the former milkman, body builder and coffin polisher star as James Bond.

The success of the Bond films was far greater than either Fleming, Broccoli or Saltzman had considered, spanning six decades and six different actors in the title role—from the first film Dr. No in 1962, to the recent announcement of next year’s release of the 24th official Bond movie Spectre, it is difficult to imagine a time when there won’t be a new James Bond movie on the horizon.

While everyone has their own favorite James Bond—usually the actor they first saw in the role—this selection of stills shows the diverse nature of Bond from 25 different official and unofficial (the comic Casino Royale (1967) and Connery’s reprise in Never Say Never Again) 007 movies and the incredibly durability of Ian Fleming’s creation.
‘Dr. No’ (1962)
‘From Russia With Love’ (1963)
‘Goldfinger’ (1964)
‘Thunderball’ (1965)
‘You Only Live Twice’ (1967)
‘Casino Royale’ (1967)
‘On Her Majesty’s Setvice Service’ (1969)
‘Diamonds Are Forever’ (1971)
‘Live and Let Die’ (1973)
‘The Man With The Golden Gun’ (1974)
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Cool minimalist cover art for the new James Bond 007 audiobooks
10:43 am


James Bond

Good news for Bond fans from SpyVibe:

The Reloaded editions of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, read by prominent British actors, was re-released yesterday in the US by Blackstone Audio. The collapse of AudioGo last year had Bond fans clambering for out-of-print CDs and box sets, but Ian Fleming Publications was able to strike a deal with Blackstone to keep the recordings in circulation. Each 007 title is available in CD, download, and MP3 CD editions.

The “prominent British actors” reading the novels include the likes of David Tennent, Kenneth Branagh, Rosamund Pike (who acted in the Bond film Die Another Day), and Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville, among many others. The new audiobooks also sport some extremely cool geometric/abstract cover art. If the artwork looks familiar, it should—these abstractions were used by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer paperback series of the Ian Fleming novels just a couple of years ago. In addition to issuing the new series, Blackstone is also keeping in print a series of Bond audiobooks from 2009, read by the acclaimed narrator and voice actor Simon Vance. That series had a cheesecakey, retro-kitsch cover design scheme, which we thought would be fun to A/B with the new ones—the contrast is awfully stark.


Casino Royale

You Only Live Twice

The Spy Who Loved Me
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The first screen James Bond was NOT Sean Connery, it was an American actor named Barry Nelson!

Barry Nelson, the “original” James Bond, seated at left

Although this will probably not come as too much of a surprise to fanatical James Bond fanboys, the very first time 007 was portrayed onscreen it was by an American actor named Barry Nelson! Yep, a Yank James Bond, as seen on a live 1954 television adaptation of Casino Royale that was part of a CBS adventure series called Climax!

For the live CBS broadcast, Ian Fleming was paid just $1000 for the rights to his novel. Co-starring with Nelson as the villainous “Le Chiffre” was none other than Peter Lorre, whose typically weasley malevolence is the real reason to watch this (as always, Peter Lorre is great in this role). There’s a “Felix Leiter” character, but he’s the British agent and he’s called “Clarence.”

To add to this topsy-turvy Anglo-American sacrilege, Nelson’s not-so-suave Bond (he’s just terrible and horribly miscast) is referred to as “Jimmy” several times! Jimmy!    (When Casino Royale was made into the 1967 spy movie spoof, Woody Allen’s character, the wimpy nephew of David Niven’s Sir James Bond, was also called “Jimmy Bond.”)

This production was presumed to have been lost since its original 1954 live telecast, until an incomplete version on a kinescope was uncovered by film historian Jim Schoenberger in 1981 and aired as part of a TBS James Bond marathon. Eventually the entire show was located (minus a few seconds of credits) and MGM included it as a DVD extra on their release of the 1967 Casino Royale.

An urban legend persisted for years that following his death scene, Peter Lorre got up an walked to his dressing room, unaware that he was still in the shot, but this was debunked by (The story had more than a grain of truth in it, this DID actually happen, but it was on a different live televised episode of Climax!)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Grace Jones in concert in ‘A One Man Show’
04:22 pm


Grace Jones
James Bond
Jean-Paul Goude

Grace Jones has a theory that “men need to be penetrated…at least once in their lifetime.” The singer, actress and muse thinks it would help men “understand what it is like to receive,” which could (perhaps) “ take some of the aggression out of the world.”

It’s a theory Jones has perhaps held for a while, as during the making of the movie A View to a Kill, in which she played villain May Day against Roger Moore’s James Bond, she (jokingly) tried out her theory. In a seductive scene between May Day and Bond, Jones surprised Moore by disrobing to reveal a large rubber strap-on attached to her body. She then pounced on the unsuspecting 007. The prank left Bond shaken, but not apparently stirred.

Grace learned all about male aggression from an early age. She was brought up by her grandparents, who were devoutly Christian, tough, hard, and violent. She was frequently whipped by her grandfather over anything he considered to be a misdemeanor.

“Sometimes we’d have to climb a tree and pick our own whips to be disciplined with. When you had to pick your own whip, you knew you were in for it.”

Such aggressive behavior taught Grace to hide her emotions form her family, though later it did inspire her to create a fearsome alter ego.

“I think the scary character comes from male authority within my religious family. They had that first, and subliminally I took that on. I was shit scared of them.”

A few years later, Grace moved to America to be with her parents. Without the brutish discipline of her grandparents, Grace started to rebel, and gave up religion for the world of music, art and theater. She became a model, and started to hang-out with Andy Warhol and his Factory scene, and in the late 1970s, she began recording.

Her collaboration with artist and designer Jean-Paul Goude produced several decade-defining fashions, music promos, and ads. In 1982, this perfect balance of Grace and Goude produced a video of Jones’ concert A One Man Show, which along with Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense is one of the best concerts of the 1980s—a brilliant piece of theater and music, which is long overdue a full release on DVD. Track listing, “Warm Leatherette,” “Walking In The Rain,” “Feel Up,” “La Vie En Rose,” “Demolition Man,” “Pull Up To The Bumper,” “Private Life,” “My Jamaican Guy,” “Living My Life,” and “Libertango/Strange I’ve Seen That Face Before.”

Bonus compilation of Grace Jones’ rarities, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ichiban Bond: Gorgeous Japanese James Bond posters
03:27 pm


James Bond

Lovely vintage Japanese James Bond posters.







More posters after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The story behind James Bond and his weapon of choice

We are in the land of bewhiskered firearms experts, secret agents, and eccentric Majors, where the quality of weapons are considered by their effectiveness to kill, without thought to the consequences of this function. It’s a fictional land, but with much bearing in fact.

Geoffrey Boothroyd liked to read spy novels, and in 1956, he was much taken by the latest thriller from Ian Fleming. But there was something wrong with this novel that featured the dashing Secret Service agent, James Bond, “certain inaccuracies” that made Mr. Boothroyd contact the author, to tell him:

“‘I don’t think Bond was going to last very long if he used a 25 Beretta pistol…

If we look at the series of James Bond novels, we can see that in the first, Casino Royale, Fleming armed his hero with a .25 calibre Beretta M418. This was a small pocket pistol that had limited stopping power. Bond kept this weapon in a chamois shoulder holster, which sounds overly fashionable (and done so as not ruin the line of his jacket), but it is not practical for a quick draw, as the soft leather catches onto the pistol. This is why holsters are usually made of solid, hard leather, for easy access.

Boothroyd wrote a politely critical letter to Fleming, in which he stated:

I have, by now, got rather fond of Mr. James Bond. I like most of the things about him, with the exception of his rather deplorable taste in firearms. In particular, I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that. If Mr. Bond has to use a light gun he would be better off with a .22 rim fire; the lead bullet would cause more shocking effect than the jacketed type of the .25.

May I suggest that Mr. Bond be armed with a revolver?

Geoffrey Boothroyd and Ian Fleming try out a pistol for James Bond.
Ian Fleming was greatly impressed by Boothroyd’s knowledge, and wrote back:


31st May, 1956

Dear Mr Boothroyd,

I really am most grateful for your splendid letter of May 23rd.

You have entirely convinced me and I propose, perhaps not in the next volume of James Bond’s memoirs but, in the subsequent one, to change his weapons in accordance with your instructions.

Since I am not in the habit of stealing another man’s expertise, I shall ask you in due course to accept remuneration for your most valuable technical aid.

Incidentally, can you suggest where I can see a .38 Airweight in London. Who would have one?

As a matter of interest, how do you come to know so much about these things? I was delighted with the photographs and greatly impressed by them. If ever there is talk of making films of some of James Bond’s stories in due course, I shall suggest to the company concerned that they might like to consult you on some technical aspects. But they may not take my advice, so please do not set too much store by this suggestion.

From the style of your writing it occurs to me that you may have written books or articles on these subjects. Is that so?

Bond has always admitted to me that the .25 Beretta was not a stopping gun, and he places much more reliance on his accuracy with it than in any particular qualities of the gun itself. As you know, one gets used to a gun and it may take some time for him to settle down with the Smith and Wesson. But I think M. should advise him to make a change; as also in the case of the .357 Magnum.

He also agrees to give a fair trial to the Bern Martin holster, but he is inclined to favour something a little more casual and less bulky. The well-worn chamois leather pouch under his left arm has become almost a part of his clothes and he will be loath to make a change though, here again, M. may intervene.

At the present moment Bond is particularly anxious for expertise on the weapons likely to be carried by Russian agents and I wonder if you have any information on this.

As Bond’s biographer I am most anxious to see that he lives as long as possible and I shall be most grateful for any further technical advices you might like me to pass on to him.

Again, with very sincere thanks for your extremely helpful and workmanlike letter.

Yours sincerely



G. Boothroyd, Esq.,
17, Regent Park Square,
Glasgow, S

Indeed, Fleming did take on Mr. Boothroyd’s advice. In the fifth Bond novel, From Russia With Love, the Secret Service agent was greatly imperiled when the silencer on his Beretta snagged on his favorite chamois holster. This was the last novel in which Bond used a Beretta 418. In the subsequent novel, Dr. No, Bond was armed with a Walther PPK.

As a “thank you” to the Glasgow-based firearms expert, Fleming created the character Major Boothroyd, who first appeared in the sixth novel Dr. No as Bond’s service armorer. This character became “Q” in the Bond films, who was first played by Peter Burton in Dr. No, then from the second film, From Russia With Love, onwards, he was played by Desmond Llewelyn, until the actor’s death in 1999. John Cleese then took over the role right up to the arrival of Daniel Craig, where “Q” disappeared from the film series, until Ben Wishaw took up the role in Skyfall (2012).

Boothroyd also helped design the three-quarter trigger guard pistol used on the cover of Fleming’s From Russia With Love. Due to his interest in handguns, Boothroyd gave advice to the police during the murder investigation of American-Scottish serial killer Peter Manuel.

Boothroyd died in October 2001.

During the filming of the third James Bond movie, Goldfinger, at Pinewood Studios, England, in 1963, Sean Connery took time-off to present a brief film on the history of Bond’s weapon of choice.

Connery introduces Geoffrey Boothroyd, who explains the background to his interest in the character, the differences between the Beretta 418, Walther PPK and Boothroyd’s preferred gun, the Magnum 44—Dirty Harry’s favored tool of his trade.

H/T Letters of Note

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
James Bond: The men who auditioned to play 007 in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’
11:07 am

Pop Culture

James Bond
George Lazenby

Sean Connery quit the role of James Bond after You Only Live Twice, having “grown tired of the repetitive plots, lack of character development and the general public’s demands on him and his privacy (as well as fearing typecasting).

With a new Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, imminent, director Peter Hunt compiled a long list of potential replacements for Sean Connery. This was then reduced to a shortlist of five actors, who were all given screen tests for the role of James Bond in 1967.

The five asked to audition were:

John Richardson, who was then best known for his performance as Tumak in One Million Years B.C.. At the time, he was considered a potential favorite, however, he did not win the part, and went on to star in On A Clear Day I Can See Forever, before having a long career as an actor in Italy.

Anthony Rogers a character actor who appeared on the verge of achieving stardom. However, his career never quite recovered from failing to win the Bond audition.

Robert Campbell an unknown actor/model, who seems to have vanished after his screentest for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Hans De Vries had already appeared in You Only Live Twice, and had a string of roles in TV and films behind him. Unfortunately, it was not enough, and De Vries went on to work with Connery in the western Shalako, and Michael Caine in Ken Russell’s The Billion Dollar Brain, before having a career as a character actor in film and TV.

George Lazenby a former car salesman and successful model (reputedly the highest paid in the world at that time), who best known for appearing in the Big Fry Turkish Delight adverts, had been spotted by Bond producer Cubby Broccoli when getting their hair cut at the same barber. Though he was not an actor, Lazenby impressed at his audition, in particular with his skill at fighting. Lazenby later recalled:

“I had no acting experience, I was coming from the male model point of view. I walked in looking like James Bond, and acting as if that’s the way I was anyway. And they thought, ‘All we have to do is keep this guy just the way he is and we’ll have James Bond.’”

Director Peter Hunt thought Lazenby a natural for the role, and said:

“I aim to make people forget Connery as James Bond once they see Lazenby.”

Alas, this was not to be, for although George Lazenby was one of the best James Bonds, he did not make the audience forget Connery, who had made the role very much his own. However, Lazenby presented a “much more human Bond” with his frailties and inner conflicts.

However, what could have been a highly lucrative and very successful Bond career for Lazenby was soon over, as he announced he would quit the role after the filming of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. This when Lazenby had already signed-up to film four Bond movies over a seven-year period. As the site MoonrakerBondStation explains, “The big dispute between Lazenby and Bond co-producer Cubby Broccoli was over the rules in Lazenby’s contract.”

He actually could be fired for something as simple as not shaving every day while not even filming a Bond movie. There was even a clause in his contract that stated that he had to get his dinner guests approved by Cubby Broccoli before he could be seen dining out with them in public. There were numerous clauses of this nature in his contract and none of them sat well with Lazenby.

The Bond producers finally realized that they had to let Lazenby out of his contract because he was not going to behave as they wanted him to unless they did so. For example, Lazenby’s wearing a beard and long hair in public, hanging out at nightclubs and bars, and saying he was quitting the role numerous times. This sort of thing was done by Lazenby so that he could get the 7 film deal he wanted, but minus all the Draconian rules it had contained within it. In order to do that he first had to get out of the original contract that he had signed.

You can read about the whole background to the dispute here.

Other actors who had been considered for the role of James Bond include Stanley Baker, Rex Harrison and David Niven, who all lost out to Connery.

Terence Stamp was said to have too many radical ideas; while Michael Caine, did not want to be typecast.

Oliver Reed came very close to winning the role, but his off-screen reputation frightened producers.

Timothy Dalton turned down the role twice before accepting it in 1986.

The unlucky Jon Finch turned down Live and Let Die, and would later lose his role as Kane in Alien after taking ill on set, being replaced by John Hurt.

Lewis Collins, best known as Bodie in the TV series The Professionals was considered to be too aggressive.

James Brolin was set to play Bond, before Moore agreed to return in Octopussy.

There was also Richard Burton, Cary Grant, James Mason, Patrick McGoohan, Rod Taylor, Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Adam West, Liam Neeson, Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor, who all turned the role down. A full list can be found here.
Composite photograph of the actors who auditioned to play James Bond in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’
For your eyes only, more pix of the other potential Bonds, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
James Bond movie posters in the style of Saul Bass
06:53 pm


James Bond
Saul Bass

A lot of concept art inspired by a specific artist completely fails to capture the spirit of their work, but I’ve been in love with Saul Bass’ aesthetic ever since I saw the opening credits for the 1963 Audrey Hepburn thriller, Charade, and these James Bond posters are dead-on. From the groovy color palette to the abstractions of geometry and scale, artist Alain Bossuyt really knows his Bass.

For reference, check out the video at the bottom for the opening credits of Charade.
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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