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Second only to the announcement of who will be playing 007 himself, the casting of the new "Bond Girl" is the greatest thrill of any new installment of film's longest running series. From Ursula Andress to Lea Seydoux, the women of the Bond franchise of captured the mystique of the super-spies world and defined femme fataledom for several generations. In tribute to the women of the 007 series, we present Hitfix's Two Minute History of Bond Girls. Tell us who's your favorite in the comments below. »
- Richard Rushfield
Jean-Paul Belmondo defined French cool at the beginning of the New Wave in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 classic “Breathless.” Actor Alain Delon and director Jean-Pierre Melville very consciously redefined it in 1967’s “Le Samourai,” in which Delon played a killer for hire always adjusting his fedora so it was just so. The actor was compared to James Dean.
But it was the hotly charismatic Belmondo who was more like Dean, who had been given to emotional outbursts in his performances. Delon was not only cool, he could also be cold.
Back when Delon was just starting out, he encountered David O. Selznick, perhaps while Selznick was shooting 1957’s “A Farewell to Arms” in Italy, or perhaps at Cannes. The producer offered him a contract provided that the nascent actor learn English, but Delon demurred.
His rejection of Hollywood helps explain why it may be hard for Americans to appreciate the extent »
- Carmel Dagan
Back in 2012, our staff decided to group together and come up with a list of the best films in the 007, James Bond franchise. With Spectre rolling out this weekend, we decided to republish the article. Let us know which is your favourite, and be sure to check out our review of Spectre here.
Directed by Terence Young
50 years later, and with twenty three “official” entries, From Russia With Love represents the very best of the Bond franchise. Skyfall is the closest to be considered, at best – almost equal to what was achieved in ’64 – but From Russia With Love is still unparalleled. Although it is the second in the series, and although it feels like no Bond film that followed, it is the film that solidifies all the Bond elements into a formula – a template that carries on, »
- Ricky da Conceição
Directed by John Glen
United Kingdom, 1983
1983 presented a unique challenge for the Bond franchise. For the first time since Ursula Andress strolled out of the water, there were going to be two Bond films in theatres in the same year. As if that wasn’t enough, Never Say Never Again was also going to see Sean Connery, the first man to ever play Bond and who had handed the reigns off to the current incarnation, reprise the role once again, pitting the two men most known for playing Bond, Connery and Roger Moore (George Lazenby’s one-time outing as the agent notwithstanding) against each other. It is against these conditions that Octopussy was made, with the necessity of having to prove itself anew. Fortunately, the movie delivers on several fronts, making for a thrilling film, albeit one with a curious third act. »
- Deepayan Sengupta
With the mad success of the James Bond films as produced by partners Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and (Canadian) Harry Saltzman, which had run from 1962’s Dr. No to 1965 Thunderball, it was only natural for the Hollywood system to create a great number of other spy genre pictures. After all, like it or not, copycats make for good business, oftentimes regardless of the quality of the films themselves. Without the shadow of a doubt, the most curious imitator of them all, one that has earned, for both right and wrong reasons, a cult status throughout the decades, was the brainchild of producer Charles K. Feldman. Determined to cash in on the 007 craze, Feldman did not just make a copycat of Bond, he tried to make a Bond film, albeit one »
- Edgar Chaput
1: Dr No – Opening Title Sequence
The schizophrenic title sequence introduces John Barry’s famous James Bond theme, but instead of transitioning into the now traditional pop song (which uses the title as a lyric), random portions of two calypso songs were used instead. This was also of course the first of Maurice Binder’s many fantastic title sequences, and while some of the standard conventions are absent (such as the silhouetted nude bodies floating about), we still do get the lines of white dots sliding across the screen before transforming into a gun barrel, through which Bob Simmons fires his gun. From then it’s on to a procession of primary colours and shapes and an Atari-like animated sequence. All in all, this remains one of the most distinctive opening title sequences of the series.
(Watch the clip here)
There’s little doubt »
- Ricky da Conceição
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Released September 1964 by United Artists
Even if you had never seen this film, just as with Ursula Andress rising from the waves like a bikini-clad version of Botticelli’s Venus in Dr. No, you’d recognize the iconic image. The girl, the bed, the gold paint. The sight of gilded Shirley Eaton spread out on the sheets is so evocative that – like Ursula – it was subjected to an ironic nod in a later Bond film. If Halle Berry wore the updated bikini in Die Another Day, instead of gold Gemma Arterton did sheet-duty wearing nothing but a coat of oil for Quantum of Solace.
Gold was the symbol of wealth in 1964, but in today’s world of global warming and fuel station queues, hydrocarbons have taken its place in the cultural lexicon. And »
- Cath Murphy
Directed by Terence Young
Author, Ian Fleming had been seeking out a movie deal for nearly a decade until the rights for his novels were finally bought by producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli. Little did they know they would change the landscape of spy-action cinema forever with the release of Dr. No.
Dr. No was the first James Bond novel turned into a film, though it was the sixth novel in the book series The film was adapted by Wolf Mankowitz (who went uncredited by request, fearing the film would bomb), Johanna Harwood (the first and only women screenwriter of the franchise), Berkeley Mather, and long time contributor Richard Maibaum. Arguably Dr. No is one of the closest cinematic interpretations of any Bond novel in tone and plot. The changes they made were mostly cosmetic save for some minor »
- Ricky da Conceição
Gun to your head - or, rather, powerful laser device pointed close to your groin - you could probably list all six actors who've played James Bond.
But Connery, Brosnan, Moore and so on are the just the tip of the (admittedly quite small) iceberg, as this list of the "other" Bonds proves...
1. Bob Holness
Best known for everyone's favourite pee-themed, letter-obsessed quiz show, Holness enjoyed a wide and varied career before he settled down behind the Blockbusters desk, once working as an airborne traffic reporter and briefly holding down a job in a South African printing press.
How he then ended up as secret agent James Bond 007 seems as great a mystery as "Who are the kind of parents that call their daughter Pussy Galore?" But he did, thanks to a 1956 BBC radio play based on Moonraker.
2. Barry Nelson
From the rooftops to the pavements, police stalked the circumference of London’s Royal Albert Hall Monday night, on high alert. Their presence foremost for Hrh Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry‘s presence, but inadvertently they acted as scene-setters for fictional spy royalty’s return.
As agent 007 arrived with his DB10 Aston Martin, he was ready to show off his latest audacious exploits. The world bow of “Spectre” took formation with its now seasoned Bond, Daniel Craig, suavely meeting and greeting along the vast red carpet. Craig remained tight-lipped as to whether he will return with helmer Sam Mendes for a further outing together. When asked, he simply replied with a cool, non-committal, “We’ll see.”
- Helen Jackson
When a film franchise lasts for more than five decades, it’s bound to gather a few unrealized projects along the way, and the James Bond series is no exception. Over the years, actors as varied as Michael Caine, Dick Van Dyke, Clint Eastwood and Liam Neeson have come close to playing the suave Agent 007, leaving fans to speculate on the vastly different directions the series might have gone in had they been cast.
Similarly, rejected theme songs from Johnny Cash, Blondie and Alice Cooper, along with discarded titles like “From a View to a Kill” (shortened by one word upon release) and “Licence Revoked” (changed when test audiences responded poorly to it) suggest an alternate history for the cinematic super spy. Even more curious, however, are the following four films which, to varying degrees, came close to actual production.
While A-list directors like Steven Spielberg »
- Matthew Chernov
As cinemas gear up to release the latest 007 film, Spectre, the Guardian’s film critic looks back at how its predecessors measure up
Sean Connery’s first outing in the Bond role. It gave us the gun-barrel titles and the Monty Norman theme. There was Ursula Andress in the bikini and the exotic Johnny Foreigner villain with an outrageous island lair. What’s not to indulge? Rating: ★★★★★
Continue reading »
- Peter Bradshaw
With the release of Spectre fast approaching, this week Neil Calloway looks at what the public consider the best in James Bond films…
So we’re all gearing up to the new Bond film – in Halloween week, appropriately enough, given its title. Ricky Church is doing his reviews of previous outings for the franchise for Flickering Myth. Daniel Craig did his best to publicise the film by admitting in a recent interview that he’d rather slash his wrists than make another Bond.
Of course, like a good Miss Moneypenny should, Naomie Harris said that Craig was being sarcastic, and a “Sony insider” revealed that the studio had told him to shut up and stop bashing Bond, with another “Hollywood insider” being quoted as saying “Craig is pretentious and thinks he’s better than Bond, that it doesn’t give him the creative range he needs.”.
Perhaps it is a »
- Neil Calloway
To celebrate the release of Red Sun – coming to newly restored DVD & Blu-ray 19th October – we have a copy on Blu-ray to giveaway!
Red Sun is one of the wildest, and weirdest westerns ever made, where a cowboy and a samurai team up on a revenge mission.
Hollywood hard man Charles Bronson from Once Upon a Time in the West and The Dirty Dozen plays The Gunfighter. French crime film superstar Alain Delon from Le Samourai and Le Cercle Rouge plays The Outlaw. Sex symbol Ursula Andress, famous for that iconic beach scene in Dr. No plays The Tigress. And Japanese screen legend Toshiro Mifune from Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood plays The Samurai! Together they were billed as ‘The greatest fighting force the West has ever known.’ It’s an audacious line up that works beautifully.
It’s also rated by no less an authority than Quentin Tarantino »
- Gary Collinson
Daniel Craig has officially been James Bond for a decade. Speeding across the Thames on a military boat, he was unveiled to the world's press as the new 007 on October 14, 2005. Since then he's ditched the dodgy suit, sharpened up his haircut and powered the superspy to new highs with more than $2 billion in box office returns.
Prepare to be shaken and stirred with this look back at Daniel Craig's 10 best Bond moments from the past 10 years.
1. Those blue swimming trunks
The Bond series began with a bikini-clad Ursula Andress emerging from the sea in Dr No, but Craig gender-flipped this iconic moment in a pair of sky blue trunks. But did you know it was all completely unplanned?
"It was actually by accident," Craig said back in 2008. "Where we filmed, off the Bahamas, it's just one of those places where there is a sand shelf and the sand shelf happens to be three-feet deep. »
22 best and worst Bond theme songs ranked: Do you agree?
Ah, Mr Bond! We've been... inspecting you. Yes, ahead of Spectre's release on October 26, Digital Spy has attempted the impossible: ranking all 23 films of the 007 franchise. From 1962's Dr No all the way to 2012's Skyfall, we've graded which films were 00-heaven - and which were, well, something of an oddjob.
Ok, we've ignored unofficial outing Never Say Never Again and that weird original Casino Royale with Woody Allen. Plus the radio version of Moonraker, starring Blockbusters' Bob Holness. But otherwise, read on for your definitive guide through a minefield of gadgets, girls and shaken martinis, starting with the abject worst. Violently disagree? Be sure to let us know...
23. Die Another Day (2002)
Ricky Church counts down to the release of Spectre with a retro review of Thunderball…
In the next film of the Bond franchise, the evil organization Spectre takes center stage in their most ambitious plot yet as they hijack two nuclear bombs, ransoming the safety of a major American and British city in Thunderball. Though still an enjoyable film, Thunderball is weaker than the previous three due to a slow moving plot and a main villain who isn’t quite as interesting as Bond’s other foes.
The plot is engaging enough that it raises Spectre’s threat much more by giving a deeper look at their operation and leadership, but most of the time its not that compelling. The narrative somewhat spins its wheels a lot as Bond repeatedly stakes out Emilio Largo’s headquarters and home only to be caught and make a drastic escape. This happens one »
- Ricky Church
In October of 1962, the world was introduced to its most famous international spy, James Bond 007 as played by Sean Connery in the film Dr. No. Based off the bestselling series of novels by Ian Fleming, James Bond travelled the world for MI6 to stop rival spy agencies, global catastrophes and would-be dictators, all the while meeting some of the world’s most beautiful women (who just happened to have the most ridiculous names imaginable). In the first film of the 53-year-old series, Bond is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a fellow British agent and his connection to American rocket tests as well as the mysterious Dr. No in Jamaica.
While Dr. No may not be the most exciting Bond movie compared to later entries, its one with a »
- Ricky Church
Two of director Philippe de Broca’s earliest renowned titles get new restorations and are available for the first time on Blu-ray, That Man From Rio (1964) and Up to His Ears (1965), the first two titles from a loose James Bond spoof trilogy featuring Jean-Paul Belmondo. Certainly ahead of his time, de Broca’s amusing adventure films are much more than the kind of lowbrow entertainment that would come to typify the genre known as spoof, and this became a notable inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones films, particularly 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Inspired by the adventures of Belgian cartoonist Herge’s Tintin adventures (which also provided the basis for a 2011 Steven Spielberg adaptation), a prized Amazonian statue is stolen from a Parisian museum. Three such statues left South American on an expedition that involved the late father of Agnes (Francoise Dorleac) and and two colleagues. Professor Catalan »
- Nicholas Bell
'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' star Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation' trailer: Movie stunt combo "Desperate times. Desperate measures," says Tom Cruise aka Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation trailer aka the Mission: Impossible 5 and/or MI5 trailer. Whatever you call it, that particular line could be read in a number of ways: Tom Cruise's superstardom is in the doldrums – at least that's what we hear from those who see reality only through U.S.-focused lenses – and he needs all the box-office help he can get. Hence, MI5. Hollywood is in dire need of a mammoth domestic blockbuster following a year of mediocre-performing tentpoles at the U.S. box office. Hence, MI5. The world's socioeconomic fabric is about to unravel. Hence, MI5 – so humankind can go with a bang. Not only with a bang, but with mirth as well. »
- Andre Soares
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