Show contents, with start times:
- Series Spotlight: James Bond, Part 5 (1:39)
- Trivia Question: Commissioning the Authors of “Les Diaboliques” (16:50)
- Film Spotlight: Jackie Brown (18:00)
- Top 6: Surprisingly Good Movies (31:59)
- DVD Preview: November/December 2006 (44:17)
- Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of Next Week (56:12)
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Series Spotlight: James Bond, Part 5
An abridged version of Sam’s listing of the gadgets, cars, and guns in the James Bond films:
- Dr. No: Bond is issued his Walther PPK, replacing his Beretta until Tomorrow Never Dies, when he gets a Walther P99.
- From Russia With Love: A briefcase with secret compartments and weapons. Badguys have a watch and a shoe that can kill people.
- Goldfinger: The Aston Martin DB5, with fun accessories.
- Thunderball: A rebreather, an air jetpack, and a water jetpack.
- You Only Live Twice: Little Nellie, an armed gyrocopter that breaks down into convenient travel-sized containers.
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: Radioactive lint.
- Diamonds Are Forever: Ford Mustang and a moon buggy. A mousetrap you can put in your pocket.
- Live and Let Die: Magnetic watch that can deflect bullets, and a coffee maker that makes coffee.
- The Man With the Golden Gun: An AMC Hornet, a car plane, a prosthetic nipple, and a gentleman’s accessories kit that assembles into a really stupid gun.
- The Spy Who Loved Me: A ski pole gun, a Lotus Esprit submarine, and a jet ski.
- Octopussy: A yo-yo saw and a crocodile submarine.
- A View To a Kill: SNOOPER and a submarine iceberg.
- The Living Daylights: A Harrier, a keychain that responds to whistles, and a sofa that eats people.
- Licence To Kill: Explosive toothpaste.
- Goldeneye: The return of the Aston Martin DB5, along with a BMW Z3.
- Tomorrow Never Dies: BMW motorcycle and a mobile phone stun gun.
- The World Is Not Enough: X-ray glasses and a machine gun bagpipe.
- Die Another Day: Bond’s 20th gadget watch and reappearances of several gadgets from previous films.
We also talk about all three filmed versions of Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, written in 1953. The novel was substantially darker than its sequels, but this is not reflected in either of the first two adaptations.
- The 1954 Version
- The screen rights to the novel were sold to CBS. CBS adapted the story as an episode of their Climax Mystery Theater show.
- The nationalities of Bond and Leiter are reversed. Barry Nelson plays an Americanized “Jimmy Bond.” Felix Leiter, the American CIA agent in the novel, becomes the British agent Clarence Leiter.
- Peter Lorre plays the villain, Le Chiffre.
- Linda Christian plays the first Bond girl, Valerie Mathis (Vesper Lynd in the novel).
- The show was performed live, resulting in a few oddities like missed cues. But the rumor that Peter Lorre can be seen getting up and walking off-stage after his character is supposed to be dead is not true. This really happened, but with a different actor in an earlier episode of the show.
- The 1967 Version
- Producer Charles K. Feldman wanted to collaborate with EON on a series version of the story. But he was turned down, so he made a comic parody instead.
- The film had five different directors, working independently of each other, each shooting separate stories with little overlap. Not surprisingly, the film feels disjointed.
- An advertising blitz claimed that the film had seven James Bonds. Really there is only the “real” James Bond (David Niven), his evil nephew Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen), and assorted other characters that impersonate Bond for one dubious reason or another.
- Most noteworthy among the impersonators is a character played by Peter Sellers. Originally, the movie was going to center entirely around the Sellers character, but Sellers wanted to play Bond straight and grew frustrated at all the goofy lines he was given. Tension on the set escalated, and ultimately he was fired, leaving the producers with a segment of story without any beginning or end. Bizarre editing wedges the completed Sellers footage into the final film.
- Orson Welles plays Le Chiffre. Welles insisted he perform magic tricks during his scenes.
- Ursula Andress, the definitive Bond girl (from Dr. No), plays Vesper Lynd.
- The film is mostly terrible, but it does have its share of silly, insane fun, and it remains a sentimental favorite of Sam’s.
- The two legitimately “good” portions of the movie are (1) Woody Allen’s comic performance, and (2) the music, both the score by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and The Look of Love, the hit song by Dusty Springfield.
- The 2006 Version
- EON Productions (the production company of the official Bond films) finally acquires the rights to Casino Royale in a deal with Sony that also frees Sony up to be able to make the Spider-Man movies.
- The 21st official Bond film, which opens on November 17, is a reportedly faithful adaptation of the novel. It stars Daniel Craig as James Bond. Reportedly, it is a “reboot” of the Bond franchise, toning down the gadgetry and over-the-top action in favor of a more subdued, edgy spy story — much like how the series was revamped between Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only.
- We would have liked to have seen Clive Owen cast in the role of Bond, but we think Daniel Craig will be good, possibly great in the role and silence a lot of the protests that immediately followed the news of his casting.
- We do, however, question the choice of Martin Campbell to direct. Campbell directed Goldeneye and the two recent Zorro movies with Antonio Banderas, which are high action movies, not so much gritty thrillers.
Trivia Question: Commissioning the Authors of “Les Diaboliques”
Stephen is still convinced that Sam implies the mystery director is French. It’s worth remembering, though, that Stephen often has trouble paying attention when people who are not him are speaking.
Film Spotlight: Jackie Brown
Quentin Tarantino is an interesting director. Many love him more than they should, and a smaller but more vocal group despise him unreasonably. Very few people were overly taken with his third feature, Jackie Brown (1997), but both Stephen and Sam feel it’s his strongest film after Pulp Fiction (1994).
Pam Grier plays the title character, a flight attendant reduced to running money for a small-time arms dealer played by Samuel L. Jackson. Robert Forster plays the bail bondsman Jackson’s character uses to bail out Grier after she’s busted by the feds, and Forster becomes part of Grier’s plan to play the feds and Jackson against one another. The movie is based on an Elmore Leonard novel — Leonard is the celebrated novelist who wrote the books that became Get Shorty (1995) and Out of Sight (1998) — and deftly tells a complex story of crime in a creative way.
Stephen feels that Jackie Brown is QT’s most mature film, an intelligent crime drama for adults that is subtly about aging as much as it is about scamming money (though there’s plenty of that too).
Top 6: Surprisingly Good Movies
DVD Preview: November/December 2006
- The Flower Drum Song (1961). DVD available now.
- The Ultimate James Bond Collections: Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4. Features the first 20 official Bond films. Volumes 1 and 2 are available now, with 3 and 4 available Dec. 12.
- Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 4. A four disc set featuring a variety of cartoons from various years. DVD available now.
- Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (1980) DVD release on Nov. 28.
- Cinema Paradiso Limited Collector’s Edition (1990). DVD available now.
- Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection. Includes seven films. DVD release on Nov. 21.
- A Fish Called Wanda Deluxe Edition (1988). DVD available now.