Discussion in 'Community' started by Ender Sai, Dec 1, 2012.
Speaking of Thunderball... My post is coming shortly!
Goldfinger is a good movie, but I think it gets more praise than it deserves. Other movies were much better, each for different reasons. FRwL was probably the best Serious Cold-War Spy movie, whereas Living Daylights was the best re-imaging and updating the franchise, and For Your Eyes only was just one of the best Bond movies.
Wow, I am terrible at keeping promises!
So, after Goldfinger's staggeringly successful launch, the producers have a licence to print money. Bond-mania is in full effect, and the producer's Bond is a bona fide star.
How do you top Goldfinger's success?
The next film was one that was mostly intended to be the first and was Fleming's ninth novel. The story came about when Fleming was considering a Bond film or TV series. His friend Ivar Bryce introduced him to a young Irishman named Kevin McClory. Fleming and McClory collaborated on the story though Fleming became disinterested in the project, especially after McClorys' first feature film bombed. McClory, to protect his interest and try and pique Fleming's, brought in Jack Whttingham to help.
Fleming promptly took the core idea, which he contended was his, and shaped it in the novel. McClory, based on this input, took umbrage and sued Fleming for credit and rights - hence why Dr No was the first Bond film. The issue created such stress that Fleming, who had already lived large, suffered his final heart attack in 1963. Filming could only proceed with McClory receiving producer and screenwriter credits.
For more information, see this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderball_(novel)#Controversy
Following its predecessor's lead, Thunderball opens with a pre-credits sequence that has no bearing on the rest of the film. Bond is sent to a health clinic to detox, known as Shrublands. There, he uncovers a few strange incidents which, we later learn, are related to the wider plot. Bond is put in a traction machine that nearly kills him, and like a PIMP he comforts the nurse, who is scared of losing her job, with the line "I suppose my silence could have a price". Yep. He did that. He coerced sex out of a woman (who naturally fell for him anyway).
The plot Bond has stumbled upon involves the theft and ransom of two NATO nuclear weapons from an RAF Vulcan. The pilot, we later learn, was the brother of Largo's mistress and my personal favourite Bond girl, Domino (Seriously. Claudine Auger. ). Except, not - it was someone who had surgery to impersonate him. Whatever. Nobody else is worried about this plot point and I don't know why they changed the novel's plotline that he was, simply, corrupt...
Bond, acting on what he saw at the clinic when he wasn't getting shpeshul shervice from the nurses, notices that the pilot's photographed with a sister who is currently in the Bahamas; and that this is within the Vulcan's range. SPECTRE, Bond's old nemesis, have stolen the bombs and Bond figures this out reasonably quickly by engineering some meetings with Emile Largo, the villain. Bond, after a narrow escape from SPECTRE assassin Fiona Volpe, is able to enlist both the American Navy and Domino's help in confronting Largo in what's arguably the best action sequence in the Bond franchise.
I'm sorry, I so prefer this to Goldfinger! The locale is more exotic, some of the set pieces are, in my view, just better - for example, Connery swimming between the two pools at Largo's house (Palmyra) where you can see how close he got to those sharks, and how terrified he was! - and it feels so much more polished and international that it's predecessor. The entire score by John Barry is one of his best, and the underwater music is one of my favourite cues from a Bond film ever and was used as background music/ambience on the official 007 site for a long, long time.
The women, too. I know Honor Blackman holds a special place in many people's hearts, but come on people! Look at this bevvy of beauties!
OK so Martine Beswick - a fighting gypsy from FRWL - looks plain wrong here. The rest? Yeah. I thought so.
Connery is getting more by the numbers but the end is the next film, truly.
I suspect with Bond films, the order in which you saw them matters greatly for how fondly you remember some of them. The Living Daylights was my first, in 1987 and Thunderball was my second. I find it the most re-watchable of the Connery films, despite liking FRWL more (and despite finding the Craig films, LTK and OHMSS as much better movies).
Oh! And the car porn. There's the DB5, which in my opinion stands 3rd in line of the most beautiful cars ever made. #1 is the Ferrari 250 GTO, but #2 the E-Type Jag, featured at the clinic:
L - R: A Volga (lol); a Ford Fairlane; a Jaguar XKE (aka the E-Type Jaguar, first gen by the look of the lights... god damn but that is gorgeous ) and the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II (I think it's the Cloud). Partially obscured, the plate for the Rolls reads "Cub 1" - Cubby Broccoli's car.
Plus, Fiona Volpe's aqua-and-white Mustang...
This was really the first film to have a lot of really hot cars in it (Goldfinger had the Rolls, Aston and Mustang, but the Jag, people!).
Tricky one here. Connery is starting to try a little less hard in the role (or, to be fair, the role stopped challenging him as an actor) but the novel is probably the most faced paced of the bunch so he hasn't a lot to work with. He's tough when he needs to be (killing Vargas, for example), and ruthless too (putting Fiona in the way of the bullet at the Junkanoo.
But I think at this point, Bond's so established that we really don't get any insights into him. This changes, but not for some time. It's a pity, because when Connery is in the zone in this he is great.
How it fits in the series
Thunderball is unique in two ways. First; it was the first film-specific script. By this, I mean the script was based on a novel that was squarely intended to be a screenplay. So it flows a lot differently and showed the producers what this kind of action yields. Secondly - it was the first model out of the mold since Goldfinger, so you get a sense of whether the formula works. It does, very clearly.
The quips are more obvious here and, like Goldfinger, completely destroy the sinister deed that preceded them. Case in point? After Volpe's shot, Bond drops her off and says "My friend needs to sit this out. She's just dead".
Anyway, it sucks the menace out of a cold blooded act and I get that the producers did this to get the censors on board, but it made way for Roger Moore's take on Bond and we could have lived without him, frankly...
But we have more gadgets here - the radioactive homing pill, the Geiger counter watch (a Breitling, to be precise), the jetpack, and idiotic water jets out of the back of the DB5 - all elements which would be layered upon until we got the gadget excesses of the Moore and Brosnan eras...
It's very much a clear Bond film with so many of the familiar elements.
Overall rating: 004/007
Underwater scenes were terrible. That's all I really remember, other than the awesome opening.
I agree totally. The underwater scenes are just way to slow and uninteresting. They have no energy at all.
Connery nails a couple of great moments. The bit when he lets the woman take the bullet is well-done. Even better is his rant about his sexual behavior: My dear girl, don't flatter yourself. What I did this evening was for Queen and country. You don't think it gave me any pleasure, do you? Now that's cold and Connery kills the moment. But those two moments are essentially the only parts of this movie that I actually liked. I think it's a giant hole in the screen and the moment when the franchise jumped (if you'll pardon the pun) the shark.
Hey, Rogue1-and-a-half - can you edit the thread title to reflect the new film?
I am clearly in the minority here, as I loved the underwater scenes. I used to dive a bit when I was in my late teens/early 20s so I may be looking at them through a biased lens here; for me, there's not enough underwater stuff in the Bond films and I don't count the fake diving in FYEO, if you're wondering!
I agree that those moments are Connery's best, and it's a pity because what could have been cold revenge on Count Lippe seems petty and childish.
However, I think that by Goldfinger the battle's lost. If I must surrender to the Bond rollercoaster, I'd rather do it for this film than for Goldfinger.
Incidentally, it's not Fleming's best novel, but it's very, very readable.
I recently rewatched Thunderball and I have a stronger opinion of it, while still thinking it is heavily flawed. First, it has one of my favorite Bond anti-women in Fiona Volpe, played to perfection by Luciana Paluzzi. The seeds of Xenia Onatopp are planted here with the raw animal energy she portrays. She seems dangerous, unlike some villains would throughout the series run. And she is drop dead gorgeous to top it all off. But Rogue's comments above hit it spot on, we get that great moment where Bond tells her he got no pleasure out of sleeping with her, it was all for King and Country. That is the raw, emotionless Bond shown in Dr. No.
But the rest of the movie, while containing interesting bits (I like pretty much everything set at the rehabilitation clinic), is a slog to get through. Largo just isn't that great a villain, and we have little to no connection to the heroine of Domino, who could have been a great tragedy of this film if they had played it better. The underwater scenes, while stunning to look at considering they came from 1965, become boring very quickly, even in the climactic battle. This is the weakest Bond so far, even with a few good-to-great moments.
1. From Russia With Love
Based on my Internet wanderings, I've determined there are two types of Bond fans: those who fancy Thunderball as the last of the iconic "First Four," and those who mark it as the beginning of the series' steep decline into sheer stupidity (OHMSS being the noble exception).
I hold the latter view. Thunderball is an ordeal; far from the worst installment, but perhaps the most dull and languid. Connery is on auto-pilot. The villain thoroughly unremarkable. The narrative drive non-existent. Had this been followed up by OHMSS, the banality might actually have been proper, the calm before the storm, as it were. As it stands, Thunderball fails miserably.
Wake me up when the ninjas storm the volcano base.
Yeah, have never been able to fathom the love for Thunderball. In fact I don't think there's a Bond film that bores me as much as it until we hit TND/TWINE. To clarify, I don't get bored by the poorer elements of Moore's tenure... just annoyed.
TB suffers from the same thing as TND, insofar as we know more about the villain's gambit than Bond does for the first two acts of the film. There's nothing fun about watching James Bond play catch-up.
My central misgiving: Bond has become invulnerable. Note the scene where, in the span of sixty seconds, Connery is tortured on the traction rack, passes out, wakes up, shakes his head, and proceeds to screw the nurse in the shower. Such a truncated series of reactions essentially strips all tension from the movie. Bond can not die. Or even feel pain, for that matter.
Clearly, we're a long way from Dr. No and From Russia With Love.
During my recent reviewing of the whole series, Thunderball was the first movie I couldn't bring myself to finish watching. I loved the movie as a kid, but I can't stomach the absurdly long underwater scenes anymore.
I watched some of Goldfinger a few weeks ago, I still love it, but I definitely understand where Ender and others are coming from: it, Thunderball and especially YOLT established much of of the groundwork for what the series would become under Moore, especially the quippy remarks, the wild schemes and the big bang finish. It's hard to watch those without being reminded of what that would evolve into in the Moore films. I think that' why FRWL stands up so well: very few of those Bond cliches. thus no reminders of the Moore years.It takes a bit of effort, but it is possible to watch Goldfinger and somehow turn off those Moore reminders, though. And it's well worth the effort.
Well... he gets shot. Which doesn't happen often.
Then again, that serves only to provide a blood trail.
I forgot two things in my post! I forgot to give my Live or Let Die rating and also to add Thunderball to my running ranking of the films. Not that, given my post, either of these things will be a great surprise, but here they are anyway.
Live or Let Die? Obviously, let this sucker die.
2. From Russia with Love
3. Dr. No
1. From Russia with Love
3. Dr. No
2) Dr No
Sorry i'm late for this one, just got caught up with a few things.
This would have been a difficult film back then to attempt to make when following the success of Goldfinger. Not only had they further developed the style of 007, Saltzman and Broccoli had demonstrated how imagination and film can comfortably go hand in hand. Thunderball does feel like a logical followup to Goldfinger because it builds upon the foundations set down for it earlier. Personally, I find this to be a stronger film than its predecessor. The pacing has more brevity to it while not forgetting to tell the story, they've pared down on some of what made Goldfinger a little too fancy plus we had a villain that we could invest in a little more because of his seemingly more subdued nature.
While Thunderball does apply some of the lessons learned from Goldfinger, it does begin with a more back to basics approach albeit the pre-credits sequence that is disconnected to the core plot. Connery is of course more confident in the role plus also noticeably aged a tiny bit more. However, at no point does his presence feel weathered or tired. Instead, it just makes him more cunning. I particularly refer to the scene at the Kiss Kiss Club where, while dancing, he takes in his surroundings, he coldly but surreptitiously uses Volpe as a shield. Connery's portrayal in these moments are understated and ultimately convincing. Arguably, this could be his best performance yet in the role.
For me though, what prevents Thunderball from being the definitive Connery-Bond film is the fact that the final confrontation suffers precisely from what its predecessor did; length. This is especially the case for an underwater sequence where the movements are slower and more gradual. It felt particularly long especially for the fact that when you really think back on all that action, not all that much really happened. This is why I would have just been happy by somehow having the yacht chase in the end as being the final sequence because it does a fine enough job of bringing Bond face to face with Largo in the same way that we all seemed to have admired the raw, gritty fist fight in the carriage during From Russia With Love. But, I must also say that the impact of what could have been a much grittier fight was spoiled by the use of sped of footage because it didn't add to the intensity or dramatic quality of the fight, it simply sped it up. However, the final kill was a very satisfying and fitting finish.
Despite nit-picking, this is a much tighter and "neater" 007 film where the sequences nicely carry the narrative as the scenes progress. Connery is at his best in the role in being both his most charming and dangerous. The locations were lush with some terrific cinematography which are complimented very nicely by the High Definition transfer on blu-ray.
4 out of 5
1. From Russia With Love
4. Dr. No
Interesting thread, will try to follow it.
Quick comment, the pre-credit sequence in Thunderball isn't totally disconnected from the rest of the film as the person that is killed is part of SPECTRE and his death is mentioned in the scene in SPECTRE's base.
So both scenes bring SPECTRE back after one films absence but Bond killing SPECTRE no 6 doesn't really affect the plot. It seems that even SPECTRE doesn't know it was Bond, which is a bit odd given the car and jetpack.
Bye for now.
Finally caught up.
I've never been a major Bond fan, but a couple of weeks ago, I watched the Daniel Craig trilogy for the first time and enjoyed them all, so I decided to watch from the start.
Dr No was a fun romp and a nice introduction to the character
From Russia With Love was very enjoyable. Loved all the stuff on the train
Goldfinger was awesome. Enthralling from start to finish
Thunderball......I've not been able to finish it. Got about 45 minutes in then turned it off because I was bored. And now I know I'll have to watch that first 45 minutes again as I can't remember what happened. I might just skip it.
Does anyone else get a kick out of the lyrics to Thunderball? Tom Jones is mincing no words in informing us that James Bond is a sociopath.
I can only imagine what they rejected...
Heeeeee'll bang your wife
And slash your throoooaaat!
It's as connected as Goldfinger was, in terms of Bond exiting (Cuba?) for Miami. Which is to say... not really but I guess so?
Not so much that he's a sociopath, but that he's so fully committed to defending Queen and Country that he'll do whatever is necessary to fulfill that duty (hence, "But he thinks/that the fight is worth it all".)
It has been a while since I've seen Goldfinger but is it said whose place it is that he blows up or who the guy he kills is or why he does this?
In Thunderball we understand why he kills this guy and later in the film this event is referenced. I am not sure but is it established in the pre-credit sequence that the person that Bonds kills works for SPECTRE? If not then that is established in the scene at SPECTRE headquarters.
As I said, it doesn't really affect the plot but the event is at least talked about which doesn't always happen.
But perhaps a better question would be, which pre-credit sequence do you think is the most disconnected from the rest of the movie and which is the least? And where does this scene fit on that scale?
Bye for now.
There are plenty that spring to mind as totally disconnected - FYEO is a great example. They went through a real period there of just throwing random pre-titles in that served the story in precisely no fashion - regretfully under the John Glen era (i.e. FYEO, Octopussy, The Living Daylights).
Incorrect on "TheLiving Daylights". The pre-credit sequence introduced the "Death to Spies" plot that Pushkin would get framed for. Actually, the majority of the pre-credit scenes have at least some connection, however tenuous. The only ones I can think of that are the least connected are "For Your Eyes Only" and "Octopussy".