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55 Years of James Bond

It’s been 55 years since James Bond made his debut 55 years ago, when the first Bond film “Dr No”, premiered on the big screen in October 1962.

Ian Fleming wrote the original novel in 1958, which set in motion a multi-billion-dollar film franchise that is still going strong today and is arguably bigger than ever.

From the beginning, it was planned to be a series of Bond films. Fleming had written several novels featuring the character and options that had been taken out to adapt all of them. The first print debut wrote by Fleming was “Casino Royale” but the producers chose “Dr No” to be the first film because of its fast-moving plot, it’s exotic location in sunny Jamaica and it’s topical theme of space rocket launches.

Bond is sent to Jamaica in “Dr No”, which he investigates a disappearance of a fellow British agent. Following up leads and teaming up with local allies,
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Hugh Hefner, Playboy Founder, Dies at 91

Hugh Hefner, Playboy Founder, Dies at 91
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner died on Wednesday at the Playboy Mansion in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of West Los Angeles. He was 91.

The media mogul’s influence went far beyond publishing — he created the sexual revolution nearly single-handedly (with some help from the advent of the birth control pill and the rise of feminism).

After starting the status quo-shattering Playboy magazine in 1953, Hefner went on to launch TV and film companies, finance documentaries, and preside over the Hollywood social scene from his bubbling Jacuzzi at the mansion, a frequent location for industry events. The mansion, which had became somewhat run-down, was sold in 2016, but the terms of the sale specified that he was allowed to live there until his death.

He is survived by his wife, Crystal, and four grown children: Christie, who served as CEO of Playboy Enterprise for more than 20 years, David, Marston, and Cooper, who currently serves as Chief Creative Officer at the
See full article at Variety - Film News »

"Casino Royale"- 1967 Version, Rare Big Screen Showing, Moma NYC, Thursday August 17

  • CinemaRetro
There will be a rare big screen showing of the 1967 spoof version of the James Bond film "Casino Royale" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The screening is Thursday, August 17 at 1:30 Pm. The film features an all-star cast including Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Woody Allen, William Holden to name just a few. The film's legacy as a debacle in terms of a production that went out of control is well documented and was covered in-depth in Cinema Retro issue #6. Producer Charles K. Feldman employed numerous directors who worked on the movie simultaneously, but never together. The movie went over-schedule and over-budget but still did big business at cinemas. Even those who loathe the movie concede it boasts superb production values, a great musical score by Burt Bacharach and at least a few genuinely inspired moments of comedy. "Casino" may be a mess- but it's a grand,
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Elsa Martinelli, ‘The Indian Fighter Star,’ Dies at 82

Elsa Martinelli, ‘The Indian Fighter Star,’ Dies at 82
Rome — Italian actress Elsa Martinelli, who starred opposite Kirk Douglas in 1955 western “The Indian Fighter” and went on to gain international recognition working, among others, with directors Mario Monicelli, Roger Vadim, Orson Welles, Howard Hawkes, and Elio Petri died on July 8 in Rome. She was 82.

Born in the Tuscan city of Grosseto, Martinelli moved to Rome in the early 1950’s and started a career as a model, after her beautiful slim physique was noticed by fashion designer Roberto Capucci. She soon appeared in “Vogue” and “Life,” which is where she was noticed by Kirk Douglas’ wife Anne Buydens.

Martinelli in 1954 made her acting debut in Stendhal adaptation “Le Rouge et le Noir,” directed by France’s Claude Autant-Lara.

Her breakout role came the following year in Andre de Toth’s “The Indian Fighter, which Douglas produced.

“Sex in the person of Elsa Martinelli, Italian actress introduced here, and the relationship of her Indian maid character with Douglas
See full article at Variety - Film News »

National Bikini Day Salutes Hollywood, From Raquel Welch to Judi Dench

National Bikini Day Salutes Hollywood, From Raquel Welch to Judi Dench
It’s National Bikini Day on July 5, celebrating Louis Reard’s 1946 invention of the swimwear (of course it would be in France!). The swimsuit wasn’t an immediate hit, though, due to 1940s standards of modesty. But pop culture helped bring it to the masses, thanks to such early-1960s icons as Brigitte Bardot, Ursula Andress, and Raquel Welch.

In 1960, the novelty song “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini,” sung by Brian Hyland, became a No. 1 hit in the U.S. and the record company said bikini sales boomed as a result. And in 1962, Andress emerged from the water in the James Bond “Dr. No,” while Bardot appeared in “A Very Private Affair,” both in small white two-piece suits. And nothing was the same after that.

In 1964, American International Pictures released “Bikini Beach,” the third of its “Beach Party” movies starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. “Bikini Beach” featured surfers, bikers,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Hollywood Studios' First Gay Romantic Drama Back on the Big Screen

'Making Love': Groundbreaking romantic gay drama returns to the big screen As part of its Anniversary Classics series, Laemmle Theaters will be presenting Arthur Hiller's groundbreaking 1982 romantic drama Making Love, the first U.S. movie distributed by a major studio that focused on a romantic gay relationship. Michael Ontkean, Harry Hamlin, and Kate Jackson star. The 35th Anniversary Screening of Making Love will be held on Saturday, June 24 – it's Gay Pride month, after all – at 7:30 p.m. at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills. The movie will be followed by a Q&A session with Harry Hamlin, screenwriter Barry Sandler, and author A. Scott Berg, who wrote the “story” on which the film is based. 'Making Love' & What lies beneath In this 20th Century Fox release – Sherry Lansing was the studio head at the time – Michael Ontkean plays a
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

25 Sizzling Bond Girls, From Ursula Andress to Monica Belluci (Photos)

25 Sizzling Bond Girls, From Ursula Andress to Monica Belluci (Photos)
A look back at all the lovely allies and femme fatales who’ve crossed paths with 007 over the years. Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder, “Dr. No” (1962) Widely regarded as the first Bond Girl, Honey Ryder’s emergence from the ocean clad in a white bikini is considered one of the most iconic moments in 007 franchise history. Eunice Gayson as Sylvia Trench, “Dr. No” (1962) & “From Russia With Love” (1963) Sylvia Trench introduced herself to James Bond as “Trench, Sylvia Trench,” which inspired him to reply with his now iconic “Bond, James Bond” phrase. She’s also the first Bond Girl to appear.
See full article at The Wrap »

‘Casino Royale’ Actress Daliah Lavi Dies at 74

‘Casino Royale’ Actress Daliah Lavi Dies at 74
Israeli actress Daliah Lavi, who starred in 1967’s James Bond spoof “Casino Royale,” has died at her home in Asheville, N.C. She was 74.

Lavi was born in 1942 in Shavei Tzion in the British Mandate of Palestine. She studied ballet in Sweden, where she appeared in her first film “Hemsöborna” in 1955. She was fluent in several languages and starred in German, Italian, French, and Spanish films, in addition to English-language movies.

She gained notice in Vincente Minnelli’s “Two Weeks in Another Town,” and she received a Golden Globe for most promising newcomer (female) for her work. Her credits included “The Return of Dr. Mabuse” (1961); “The Demon” (1963); “The Whip and the Body” (1963); Richard Brooks’ “Lord Jim” (1965), starring Peter O’Toole; “Ten Little Indians” (1965); “Those Fantastic Flying Fools” (1967), “Nobody Runs Forever” (1968); and “Catlow” (1971), starring Yul Brynner.

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Lavi played a spy in 1966’s “The Silencers,” which starred Dean Martin as Matt Helm,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The 25 most iconic movie entrances

Robert Keeling Apr 25, 2017

Saluting the movie characters who make an impression, the minute they appear on the screen...

One thing that unites all of cinema’s most iconic characters is that they were able to make a memorable first impression. Whether it’s bursting onto the scene in a flurry of noise or slowly skulking their way into shot, there’s a fine art to ensuring a character makes an instant impact on screen. An iconic entrance is not just about a momentary impact however, it can also emphasise a character’s importance and help to cement their influence over the rest of the movie.

See related Westworld episode 10 review: The Bicameral Mind Westworld episode 9 review: The Well-Tempered Clavier

There are any number of contributory factors that can be blended together in order to make an entrance truly memorable. These include the accompanying music, the choice of camera shot, the
See full article at Den of Geek »

"Femme Fatales: Women In Espionage Films & Television, 1962-1973" By Tom Lisanti And Louis Paul, Revised And Updated Edition Now Available

  • CinemaRetro
Cinema Retro columnist Tom Lisanti co-authored (with Louis Paul) the book "Femme Fatales: Women in Espionage Films and Television, 1962-1973" for McFarland publishers. The book has just been issued in a softcover edition, revised and updated. Here is Tom Lisanti's story behind the creation of the book.

It was a long time coming, fifteen years in fact, but McFarland and Company finally released a soft cover edition of the very popular and well-received Film Fatales: Women in Espionage Film & Television, 1962-1973 by Louis Paul and myself. The book profiles 107 dazzling women (Ursula Andress, Raquel Welch, Dahlia Lavi, Carol Lynley, Elke Sommer, and Sharon Tate, among them) who worked in the swinging sixties spy genre on the big and small screens. Some include interviews with these sexy spy gals. This new edition contains some profile revisions and updates and a few new photos.

The idea for this book was all Louis Paul’s.
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Review: "Bob Hope: Entertaining The Troops", DVD Release From Time Life

  • CinemaRetro
By Lee Pfeiffer

Time Life has released "Bob Hope: Entertaining the Troops", a priceless presentation of Hope's famous Uso shows for American troops serving overseas. The two programs, presented uncut, are a wonderful time capsule of the era. At the time the Vietnam War was raging and the only glimpses concerned Americans got of the fighting men were grim images squeezed into the half-hour evening news during this pre-cable TV era. Thus, Hope's merry band of entertainers allowed some welcome views of the servicemen getting a rare and well-deserved laugh from the songs, skits and stand up presented by Hope and his troupe. Not surprisingly, the biggest reactions are afforded to the sex symbols who traveled with him. In this case, they include Connie Stevens, Lola Falana, Romy Schneider and Ursula Andress. Admittedly, the humor creaks with age but the spirit and good will is timeless. One of the
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Examining Hollywood Remakes: Casino Royale

  • Cinelinx
Our series on remakes continues, but there’s a twist this time. For a change, we’ll be looking at a good remake of a bad old movie. This week, Cinelinx looks at Casino Royale (2006).

Normally in these articles, we examine remakes of good movies to see if they’re worthy of their predecessor. Today, however, the original film is a dud while the remake is a winner. James Bond movies are generally hit-and-miss. Some are excellent and some are weak. The two adaptations of Casino Royale represent one of each. The 2006 remake with Daniel Craig is great. The original however…ugh!

The original version of Casino Royale (1967) bore very little relation to the actual book. While it started out as a straight adaptation (the first draft was written by Ben Hecht) it underwent a metamorphosis into a comedy/parody on the Bond films, and spy movies in general. Columbia Pictures
See full article at Cinelinx »

The 2 Minute History of Bond Girls

  • Hitfix
The 2 Minute History of Bond Girls
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.
See full article at Hitfix »

Alain Delon, The Superstar Who Redefined French Cool, Turns 80

Alain Delon, The Superstar Who Redefined French Cool, Turns 80
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
See full article at Variety - Film News »

The Best James Bond Films

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.

#1: From Russia With Love

Directed by Terence Young

Written by Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood

1963, UK

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,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘Octopussy’ delivers the thrills and villains in a jet-setting adventure, seemingly despite Bond’s presence

Octopussy

Directed by John Glen

Written by George Macdonald Fraser, Richard Maibaum, and Michael G. Wilson

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.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Too many cooks spoil the dish in ‘Casino Royale’ (1967)

Casino Royale

Directed by John Huston, Val Guest and co.

Written by Wolf Mankowitz, John Law and co.

U.S.A., 1967

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
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Best James Bond Scenes: Sean Connery Era

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)

2: Dr. NoCold Blooded Murder

There’s little doubt
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘Goldfinger’ – 24 carat quality

Goldfinger

Directed by Guy Hamilton

Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn

Starred: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman

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
See full article at SoundOnSight »

‘Dr. No’ – Arguably sexist and racist, but no doubt, terrific entertainment

Dr. No

Directed by Terence Young

Written by Richard Maibaum & Johanna Harwood

1962, UK

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
See full article at SoundOnSight »
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