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TopBilled’s Essentials


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#1 LawrenceA

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Posted Yesterday, 10:31 AM

I'm glad to see some of you have discussed the AIDS issue, because that was in fact in the forefront of the producers' minds when they decided to tone down Bond's sexual conquests. Critics and naysayers had been beating the war-drums against the Bond franchise as far back as Thunderball in 1965, and after every film, there would be articles decrying this or that aspect of the series. While the producers tended to shrug most of it off, they did pay attention to societal trends and tried to match them as well as possible in order to meet the audiences expectations. The AIDS crisis made bed-hopping look not only foolish, but downright dangerous and irresponsible. 

 

Looking at the cast in The Living Daylights, there are a few worthy of mention. Longtime series regular Walter Gotell makes his final appearance as Soviet General Gogol, the USSR's counterpart to M. His character is shown to be retired into a diplomat's position, and his former job has now fallen to General Pushkin, played by familiar character actor John Rhys-Davies. This would be a one-time showing, though, as Bond's next film would leave out the Cold War settings, and when the series was re-started in 1995 with Pierce Brosnan, the Russian contact would be played by Robbie Coltrane.

 

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John Terry has the role of Felix Leiter. Felix is Bond's longtime American contact in the CIA. He's memorable in the series as having been recast so many times. He first appeared onscreen in 1962's Dr. No, the first Bond film, played by Jack Lord. After that he was played by Cec Linder (Goldfinger), Rik Van Nutter (Thunderball), Norman Burton (Diamonds are Forever), and Bernie Casey (Never Say Never Again). The first actor to play Leiter twice was David Hedison, who played the role in 1973's Live and Let Die and then again 16 years later in 1989's Licence to Kill. The character remained off-screen throughout the Brosnan years (more on that next), but would return in the Daniel Craig era, played by actor Jeffrey Wright in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

 

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Joe Don Baker, who appears in The Living Daylights as the villainous Brad Whitaker, would later join a rarefied club: performers who have played more than one major character in the James Bond series. The first notable example was actor Charles Gray, who had a small but memorable role in You Only Live Twice, and then landed the role of Bond arch-nemesis Blofeld in Diamonds are Forever. TopBilled discussed Maud Adams, who appeared in both The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy. And now Baker, who, after playing this role, would return during the Brosnan years as Bond's new CIA contact, Jack Wade, in both GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies.

 

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Finally, regarding the movie's theme song: I stand among the minority in preferring this song, from Norwegian new wave pop group A-ha, to the previous Duran Duran theme (although I like them both). Once again, the song was co-written by the film's composer, John Barry. This co-writing set-up actually caused the producers' original theme performers to refuse: the English pop group Pet Shop Boys, who were only interested if they could compose the entire film score. This Bond film also features 2 songs from The Pretenders, one incidentally during the film, the other during the end credits. The producers considered The Pretenders for the theme performers, as well, but opted for A-ha and their new wave sound in an attempt to match the success of the previous Duran Duran hit. While the song reached number one in the band's native Norway, it only reached #5 in the UK, and a dismal #113 on the US charts.

 


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#2 TopBilled

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Posted Yesterday, 09:54 AM

I did notice that Larry Hagman's JR Ewing cut down a bit on his bed-hopping during the second half of the decade on Dallas too. I think around 1988 or so he had to marry that pretty young thing after doing the deed. At least he grew to appreciate her after she left him. This was also after The Golden Girls and Designing Women had important AIDS-centric episodes, proving you don't have to be "gay" in order to be vulnerable. In fact, it was only after enough of these shows focusing on heterosexuals as victims or potential victims that the Bush administration finally decided to fund the research after Reagan hardly budged. Sadly those were the times...

 

However, there is a homoerotic relationship in LICENCE TO KILL which I will cover in my review about that film next week. So the sex is still implied in the Bond films of the late 80s but it is just depicted more discretely. This seems like a very conscious attempt to go in a different direction than the Connery and Moore eras, and I wouldn't doubt the producers and writers had long discussions about how the sex scenes would be changed in the Dalton films. Plus I wonder if Dalton had input about the way the sex scenes would be presented. In LICENCE TO KILL, you would almost think you are watching a production code romance from the 1940s when he plays the triangle with the two girlfriends. It is certainly subdued with a lot left to the imagination.


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#3 Jlewis

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Posted Yesterday, 09:45 AM


Another noticeable change in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS is they've toned down the sex (perhaps in response to the AIDS epidemic). Bond only has one girlfriend in this picture. In LICENCE TO KILL, he has two girlfriends but it is developed more as a romantic triangle. With Dalton in the role, he is no longer bed hopping as much. In fact one of his love scenes in LICENCE TO KILL just fades to black as soon as he and a girl begin to get amorous on a boat. They barely kiss. And he's never really tearing their clothes off, like Moore would do. The focus is on stunts and non-sexual physical action.

 

I did notice that Larry Hagman's JR Ewing cut down a bit on his bed-hopping during the second half of the decade on Dallas too. I think around 1988 or so he had to marry that pretty young thing after doing the deed. At least he grew to appreciate her after she left him. This was also after The Golden Girls and Designing Women had important AIDS-centric episodes, proving you don't have to be "gay" in order to be vulnerable. In fact, it was only after enough of these shows focusing on heterosexuals as victims or potential victims that the Bush administration finally decided to fund the research after Reagan hardly budged. Sadly those were the times...


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#4 TopBilled

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Posted Yesterday, 09:07 AM

Most of the 007 I have seen either on TV or video/DVD, but this is one of the few I saw on the big screen when it came out, the same summer as Kevin Costner's boring No Way Out and the horrendous (if much beloved) Dirty Dancing. What really impressed me at the time were the airplane scenes, which were genuinely spell bounding on a LARGE screen. No, this was not CinemaScope or Cinerama, but the Panavision still impressed.

 

Timothy Dalton was new, so they had to emphasize the stunts. The same was true back when George Lazenby signed on to replace Sean Connery in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, a film that took roughly half a year to shoot just to get all of the stunts right, especially anything on snow and ice. Lazenby was no Connery any more than Dalton was Moore. The one plus was that Lazenby at least smiled a lot. Dalton was... well... at least he displays a good memory of where the next restaurant is available for his selected dame. Consider Dalton the "engineering mind" better suited to mathematics than romance among the Bonds. At least they used him twice.

 

I think the Bond films have always tried to be "contemporary" and appeal to modern audiences. They do this by capitalizing on current trends. The increased violence in A VIEW TO A KILL (which Roger Moore complained about) is an example, because in the mid-80s, excessive shootings and high body counts were the norm in the Rambo series and the Beverly Hills Cop series.

 

In THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS they tried to get back to focusing on espionage. With a new actor in the role, they could re-set the character. But as I indicated in my review they seem to be trying to exploit the Indiana Jones trend this time around-- where our hero has a daring aerial sequence with more death-defying stunts than ever. I am sure it was amazing to watch on screen in a theater. In fact the whole elongated scene where Bond and his girl fly out of Afghanistan helps lift the franchise out of the ordinary and puts it into the realm of the extraordinary. The producers were not only exploiting what audiences wanted to see in other movies, but they were doing it better than the makers of those other franchises. 

 

As for Dalton, I read that he was a bit reluctant to sign on. He probably worried it would typecast him and affect his stage work and opportunities for different screen roles. By the time we get to his second Bond picture, he seems considerably more relaxed, like he's enjoying it more. Though he still plays the character a bit coolly and detached in LICENCE TO KILL.

 

Another noticeable change in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS is they've toned down the sex (perhaps in response to the AIDS epidemic). Bond only has one girlfriend in this picture. In LICENCE TO KILL, he has two girlfriends but it is developed more as a romantic triangle. With Dalton in the role, he is no longer bed hopping as much. In fact one of his love scenes in LICENCE TO KILL just fades to black as soon as he and a girl begin to get amorous on a boat. They barely kiss. And he's never really tearing their clothes off, like Moore would do. The focus is on stunts and non-sexual physical action.


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#5 rayban

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Posted Yesterday, 07:48 AM

Most of the 007 I have seen either on TV or video/DVD, but this is one of the few I saw on the big screen when it came out, the same summer as Kevin Costner's boring No Way Out and the horrendous (if much beloved) Dirty Dancing. What really impressed me at the time were the airplane scenes, which were genuinely spell bounding on a LARGE screen. No, this was not CinemaScope or Cinerama, but the Panavision still impressed.

 

Timothy Dalton was new, so they had to emphasize the stunts. The same was true back when George Lazenby signed on to replace Sean Connery in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, a film that took roughly half a year to shoot just to get all of the stunts right, especially anything on snow and ice. Lazenby was no Connery any more than Dalton was Moore. The one plus was that Lazenby at least smiled a lot. Dalton was... well... at least he displays a good memory of where the next restaurant is available for his selected dame. Consider Dalton the "engineering mind" better suited to mathematics than romance among the Bonds. At least they used him twice.

Timothy Dalton wanted to bring us a new James Bond.

 

He was able to do that in his next film.


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#6 Jlewis

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Posted Yesterday, 06:30 AM

Most of the 007 I have seen either on TV or video/DVD, but this is one of the few I saw on the big screen when it came out, the same summer as Kevin Costner's boring No Way Out and the horrendous (if much beloved) Dirty Dancing. What really impressed me at the time were the airplane scenes, which were genuinely spell bounding on a LARGE screen. No, this was not CinemaScope or Cinerama, but the Panavision still impressed.

 

Timothy Dalton was new, so they had to emphasize the stunts. The same was true back when George Lazenby signed on to replace Sean Connery in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, a film that took roughly half a year to shoot just to get all of the stunts right, especially anything on snow and ice. Lazenby was no Connery any more than Dalton was Moore. The one plus was that Lazenby at least smiled a lot. Dalton was... well... at least he displays a good memory of where the next restaurant is available for his selected dame. Consider Dalton the "engineering mind" better suited to mathematics than romance among the Bonds. At least they used him twice.


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#7 TopBilled

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Posted Yesterday, 04:14 AM

Essential: THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (1987)

 

In THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS Timothy Dalton makes his first appearance as James Bond. With any actor new to the role there are going to be sight adjustments– ones the producers have to make to accommodate the replacement star, and ones the audience has to make in order to accept him as 007. In this case Dalton has the unenviable task of following Roger Moore who put his indelible stamp on the character.

 

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Dalton doesn’t convey Moore’s brand of humor or on-screen style. But the screenplay was finished before Dalton signed on, so the material was not exactly written to his strengths as a performer. Also, I don’t think the humorless stretches in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS can be blamed on Dalton; he has been tasked with a more serious adventure and cold war drama. This installment gives viewers political intrigue and realism. And I would say Dalton is a good choice in presenting a harder edged, grittier side of the character.

 

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In fact it feels like 007 is more mysterious. Dalton’s sexuality differs from Moore and the other predecessors. His Bond isn’t direct with women like we’ve seen in the previous films. Dalton is not necessarily reserved but he comes across as a private person. And actually, it makes sense for this type of character who should be cautious about the kinds of women he can trust and be intimate with.

 

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Dalton brings stage experience to his acting; and his performance is more theatrically constructed than the other Bonds. He keeps the character coolly detached from the situations and a bit sharper, which in a story about tensions with the Russians would be appropriate. Yet there are still vulnerable touches the actor adds, which I believe are Dalton’s own traits coming through once the defenses are down.

 

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The Bond girl is British actress Maryam d’Abo, playing a cellist named Kara. Despite her introduction as a sniper, it is soon revealed that she is only pretending to shoot someone. She is not a killer, but a musician trying to help her boyfriend escape the KGB. She is a loving woman, which Bond can see despite the coldness in his heart. In the next part of the story, they get to know each other and he warms up to her. He realizes he can rely on her when they are trying to escape some Russians– they go on the run through the Czech wilderness and across the border into Austria.

 

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It is just the two of them, plus a cello she’s brought along for her next concert, in Bond’s all-purpose Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Eventually they have to ditch the vehicle and “sled” down a mountain on her cello case. It’s a fun breathtaking sequence, and we begin to root for them as a couple, even though she still has a dangerous boyfriend who will complicate things.

 

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Jeroen Krabbe plays the boyfriend, a creep named Koskov. He’s in cahoots with a rogue arms dealer portrayed by Joe Don Baker. Baker seems to be giving his best Brando imitation as a self-appointed Napoleonic warrior who calls himself a general– though we might question how legitimate those credentials are. Koskov is his ally and is a renegade Soviet who finds Kara disposable after a certain point, which of course clears the way for Kara to enjoy a more meaningful romance with Bond. Ultimately Kara and Bond come face to face with Koskov during a game of cat-and-mouse in Afghanistan. There’s a thrilling airplane sequence which seems to have been inspired by Indiana Jones.

 

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As things come full circle, the emphasis is on espionage. It all leads to the general’s gruesome death in a standoff with Bond that takes place in a dimly lit war room. Though the action in Afghanistan occurs during the daytime, many of the film’s key scenes occur at night. Visually and thematically, the picture has an overall dark tone. I’d say it is a spy-noir. Of course, you can either agree or disagree. But if you disagree too much, I might have someone knock the living daylights out of you.

 

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THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS is directed by John Glen and can be streamed on Dailymotion.


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#8 TopBilled

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 04:48 PM

I will be reviewing this Bond film on Saturday:

 

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#9 TopBilled

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 11:54 AM

Thanks Larry for the great follow-up (as usual).

 

Love the Duran Duran song.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#10 LawrenceA

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 11:33 AM

You're exactly right about the patchwork script, TopBilled. I think the producers and writers probably kept (and maybe still do) a notebook filled with action scenarios, and then they try to fashion a script around those, which doesn't always work. And I hadn't recalled the notion of David Bowie as the villain. I agree that would have been more interesting, although I like Christopher Walken, too. A bit of trivia related to his casting: he was the first Oscar winner cast as a Bond villain. There had been some nominees, either previous to their Bond outing (Telly Savalas, Lotte Lenya) or after (Robert Shaw), but never a winner. That wouldn't be repeated until 2012's Skyfall with Javier Bardem, and 2015's Spectre with Christoph Waltz.

 

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There are a few notable supporting and minor roles. The one that jumps out the most is Patrick Macnee as Sir Godfrey Tibbett, a friend of Bond's who helps him infiltrate one of Zorin's properties. Macnee, who appeared in many films and TV shows, was best known (especially to British audiences) as John Steed on TV's The Avengers from 1961-1969. Many viewers were thrilled with the idea of James Bond and John Steed sharing the screen, although in the film it didn't add up to much.

 

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As TopBilled mentioned, Grace Jones co-starred as the villain (?) May Day. At the time, Jones was dating a tall, Swedish martial arts champion and Fulbright Scholar in chemical engineering (yes, really!) named Dolph Lundgren. When she was cast in he movie, Jones approached the producers about finding a small role for Lundgren, who was interested in breaking into acting. With his 6'5'' height and athlete's physique, they readily agreed, and the producers cast him as an agent of returning Soviet General Gogol (Walter Gotell). And so this became Dolph Lundgren's film debut.

 

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While this was Moore's final outing as Bond, it was also a sad farewell to another iconic cast member: Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny, M's secretary and frequent verbal sparring partner of Bond. Maxwell had played the role in 13 previous films, starting with Dr. No back in '62. Maxwell had won the Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer back in 1947 for That Hagen Girl, although it didn't lead to stardom. Her role as Moneypenny became a source of continuity through the series, and while it has been recast since Maxwell's leaving (with Caroline Bliss, Samantha Bond and Naomie Harris), it hasn't been the same.

 

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Finally, the theme song to A View to a Kill may be the best thing about the movie (depending on your music tastes). Duran Duran was one of the biggest pop groups in the world at the time, and the kings of MTV, which was coming to dominate the music industry. One of the members of the band actually approached producer Cubby Broccoli about doing a theme. The band co-wrote the song with composer John Barry, and the resultant single became a #1 hit in the US (and #2 in the UK). It has continued to be one of the best selling Bond themes, and the most well-known, with the possible exceptions of "Goldfinger" and "Live and Let Die".

 


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#11 TopBilled

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 10:53 AM

Essential: A VIEW TO A KILL (1985)

 

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Roger Moore’s last film as super agent James Bond is a bit of a letdown, though it is still worth watching. I’d say it’s a case where the parts do not really equal a whole. It has one of the most diverse casts, the last half takes place in and around San Francisco, and as we’ve come to expect, there are some great stunts (involving axe-wielding along the Golden Gate bridge). But it seems like there was a better intentioned film than the one that was actually produced.

 

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First I think the idea Bond would be caught up in technology-related crimes in the Silicon Valley is an inspired one. In the mid-80s, people were looking ahead and wondering what might happen if computerized technologies fell into the wrong hands. A bad guy like Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) sort of represents those fears. But unfortunately Zorin is not crafty enough. He doesn’t come across as smart or resourceful as other Bond villains, especially with so much power and money at his disposal.

 

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Originally David Bowie was who the producers had in mind when they were devising the villain for A VIEW TO A KILL. It’s a shame Bowie turned them down, because he would have had a flair that would not have been upstaged by Grace Jones, who plays May Day, Zorin’s partner in crime. But since we don’t have Bowie, and a lot of the picture’s “charm” relies on Jones, we have to just accept what we're given. Though we might ask why the writers thought it was a good idea to insert a scene where she and Bond go to bed.

 

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We know Bond has an appetite for different types of women, but she doesn’t quite seem his type; and more importantly, he doesn’t seem to be her type. It’s kind of far-fetched to expect them to hit it off. What’s even more far-fetched is her weird change of heart near the end, where she agrees to help Bond defeat Zorin. It leads to her death, and she seems too intelligent to sacrifice herself and come to such a foolish end.

 

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Another female character involved in the story is heiress Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts). She’s the main Bond girl, and Zorin has been after her assets for a long time. Unfortunately, Roberts doesn’t seem to have a lot of screen chemistry with Moore. In interviews he has given, Moore doesn’t seem to care for this picture as much as his previous turns. He’s made jokes about being too old, and he also does not like the excessive violence. Certainly, there are increased shootings in this installment. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Bond being older, or his being involved in a deadlier, more violent adventure. I don’t even have a major problem with a weak villain or a miscast Bond girl. All those things hurt the picture, but a Bond film can still succeed in spite of them.

 

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I think the bigger issue is the parts do not seem to fit together like they should. It’s almost like we have standalone sequences torn out of different scripts. Then someone tried to glue them together to create one huge exciting piece of entertainment. A perfect example is the firetruck chase scene, which attempts a bit of Keystone Kops comedy with Bond at the wheel, driving like mad through the city. Those ten minutes feel like they belong in another movie. In a Bond picture we need the parts to connect. Other productions in the franchise have self-indulgent sequences but there is usually a transition or an overall theme to bring it together. Moore deserved a better swan song. Anyone who plays the world’s greatest man 007 times should have a grand sendoff.

 

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A VIEW TO A KILL is directed by John Glen and can be streamed on Dailymotion.


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#12 TopBilled

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 02:26 PM

Excellent write-up, TopBilled. Thanks to frequent showings on HBO back in the 1980's, I think Octopussy is the Bond film that I've seen the most often. That title certainly stands out in movie history, too. I recall that when it was released to theaters, my local theater owner placed masking tape over the name and wrote "JAMES BOND" in black magic marker. I asked him why, since he didn't seem to be the prudish type, and he said that he'd had multiple complaints about it. Simpler times! Although I doubt a modern film would attempt a title like that, either.

 

Thanks Larry for your comments, and for going over some of the other actors who make strong impressions in OCTOPUSSY. 

 

Tomorrow I will be reviewing Moore's last Bond picture. I admit I am not as positive about it as I am about his other ones. 

 

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#13 LawrenceA

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 03:05 PM

Excellent write-up, TopBilled. Thanks to frequent showings on HBO back in the 1980's, I think Octopussy is the Bond film that I've seen the most often. That title certainly stands out in movie history, too. I recall that when it was released to theaters, my local theater owner placed masking tape over the name and wrote "JAMES BOND" in black magic marker. I asked him why, since he didn't seem to be the prudish type, and he said that he'd had multiple complaints about it. Simpler times! Although I doubt a modern film would attempt a title like that, either.

 

octopussy_james_bond_in_pictures_8.jpg

 

Octopussy features a few memorable secondary characters, as well. Kristina Wayborn plays Magda, Octopussy's second-in-command. I've always thought she was one of the prettier Bond girls. The Bond producers noticed her when she portrayed Greta Garbo in a TV movie, The Silent Lovers.

 

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Kabir Bedi plays Gobinda, the turban-sporting bodyguard of Jourdan's Kamal Khan. Bedi is a true star of the world, leading films in India, Italy, the UK and the US. He's best known for starring in a European mini-series, Sandokan, which was a smashing success in multiple languages. He also had a role on TV's General Hospital!

 

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Steven Berkoff plays the Soviet General Orlov. Berkhoff is a noted actor and playwright, and has a reputation for outlandish behavior both on and off the stage. He's appeared in many films over the years, from A Clockwork Orange to his Octopussy follow-up, portraying the main villain in 1984's Beverly Hills Cop.

 

octopussy-villain-2.jpg

 

Finally, the Bond theme this time was "All Time High", sung by Rita Coolidge. The song was written by John Barry, returning to the series after the last film employed Bill Conti, with lyrics by Tim Rice. I remember wondering what a song entitled "Octopussy" was going to sound like, but they decided not to mention the title. As usual, the end performer was not first choice. First looked at was Mari Wilson, a British singer coming off of a Top 10 UK hit single, but her US name recognition was next to nothing, so next they considered pop star Laura Brannigan. That choice fell through for reasons unknown, and the producers went with Coolidge, who, to be frank, was considered washed up at this point. Lucky for everyone, the song was a hit, going to #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts and kickstarting a second act in Coolidge's singing career.

 


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#14 TopBilled

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 12:09 PM

Essential: OCTOPUSSY (1983)

 

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Roger Moore returns for a sixth time as James Bond in OCTOPUSSY. It’s a different story, somewhat darker in tone than it’s predecessor– a bit sexier and more glamorous. Moore is starting to show his age (he will have plastic surgery before he makes his next and last Bond film); and he’s not as fit as he was when he starred in his first Bond picture. But he makes up for these inadequacies in grand style and in his genuine understanding of the character. As expected, he brings finesse to the more outlandish plot points and carries it all off with complete conviction.

 

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One thing I love about this film is its powerful lead female, the title character Octopussy. She’s portrayed by Maud Adams, whom I have to admit is my favorite of all the Bond girls. They’ve colored her hair a darker shade to make it seem like the character has been influenced the culture of India (where she’s based); and also probably to distinguish her from the blonde tresses she sported as another character in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN.

 

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In some Bond offerings, Moore does not have a lot of chemistry with the leading ladies because they tend to be too young or miscast; but his chemistry with Adams is enjoyable to watch. They’re good friends off camera, which gives their scenes together a real dimension whether they’re supposed to be enemies or lovers– and in this story, they’re both.

 

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One thing that doesn’t work so well is the casting of Louis Jourdan as a “villain” interested in a faberge egg. His character is quite emasculated around Adams, and it’s difficult to tell if this was intentional. As a result, Jourdan lacks menace in scenes where he is supposed to be a formidable opponent for Bond, whether they’re playing high-stakes backgammon or having an outdoor chase atop elephants.

 

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At one point we see Jourdan aiming a rifle at our hero with the goal of killing him; but I wouldn’t even imagine Jourdan harmed a fly during that little adventure. Jourdan is too polished, too clean to really make us think he would ever get his hands dirty chasing an agent through a jungle. We see him again during the climactic finale where he’s trying to outfox Adams and steal some gems, but he still comes across as an amateur rogue.

 

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Some critics find fault with the last sequence. I agree the film works better in its Indian locale. When it heads to Europe for a circus show (in which Moore gets to dress up as a clown), things get bogged down. The circus sequence is 45 minutes long, and it drags out to the point that we almost don’t care anymore about the outcome, practically forgetting how it all connects back to a sequence near the beginning of the movie.

 

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In 1983 there were two Bond films in release. This is because a different set of producers remade THUNDERBALL, and Sean Connery appeared in NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. OCTOPUSSY premiered in June and grossed $183 million; while Connery’s flick hit screens in October, grossing $160 million. It’s a shame they couldn’t get together and make a more original story about two Bonds, where we might see Moore and Connery playing opposite each other in a mystery about which one was real and which one was an impostor. It might have been kind of comical to see them side by side, letting us figure out how Bond should really act. The story might have gone in more interesting directions, as many directions as the tentacles of an octopus. Box office might have been at an all time high.

 

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OCTOPUSSY is directed by John Glen and can be streamed on Dailymotion.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#15 TopBilled

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 09:45 AM

I only just started to read your thread from the beginning and I really like it. I am not a big Bond fan and Moore isn't a favorite but I am guessing you may persuade me to change my mind by the time I am done reading the reviews.

 

Thanks for writing these.

 

BTW, I agree with your love for Ann Sothern as you noted in one of the earliest reviews.  

 

That's a very nice comment. I appreciate it.

 

Tomorrow I will be reviewing 

 

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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#16 yogiboo

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 10:21 PM

I only just started to read your thread from the beginning and I really like it. I am not a big Bond fan and Moore isn't a favorite but I am guessing you may persuade me to change my mind by the time I am done reading the reviews.

 

Thanks for writing these.

 

BTW, I agree with your love for Ann Sothern as you noted in one of the earliest reviews.  


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#17 LiamCasey

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 03:00 PM

Nice write ups by both TopBilled and LawrenceA. For Your Eyes Only (1981) is my favorite of Roger Moore's James Bond films.


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#18 LawrenceA

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 02:08 PM

Nicely done once again, TopBilled. For Your Eyes Only is reportedly Moore's own favorite of his times as Bond, mainly because of what you mentioned, that the film was more grounded and less outlandish. The emphasis on stunt work is also expected as John Glen took the reins as the film's director. Glen had been second unit director, specializing in action sequences, on 3 of the previous Bond films, and he would go on to direct the next 4 movies.

 

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Among the supporting cast is Lynn-Holly Johnson, who had been a champion ice skater in the 1970's. She started acting in 1978's Ice Castles, and unsurprisingly, she plays an ice skater here, as well. She also gets the corny/funny Bond Girl character name of the film, Bibi Dahl (Baby Doll).

 

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The chief henchman of Julian Glover's villain character of Kristatos, is Locque, played by Michael Gothard. He's the one that Bond kicks over the cliff. Gothard made a visually compelling bad guy, with his geometric glasses. The actor came to a tragic end, though, committing suicide in 1992 at age 53.

 

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Finally, For Your Eyes Only featured a theme song by Sheena Easton. The producers considered her photogenic enough that she was the first theme song performer featured in person in the opening credit sequence. As usual, though, she wasn't the first choice. Blondie was first approached, and they even recorded their own song, but the producers insisted that the song written by composer Bill Conti be used, so Blondie backed out. The Easton song reached #4 on the US charts, and received an Oscar nomination for Best Song.

 


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#19 TopBilled

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 01:39 PM

Essential: FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981)

 

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It had been two years since MOONRAKER, and this time the producers decided to bring 007 back down to earth. Aside from an opening sequence that is unrelated to the rest of the movie, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY is very logically plotted and provides consistent thrills.

 

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What works so well in this installment is the stupendous stunt work. Sometimes it’s like the rest of the material takes a backseat. I’d compare it to going to a circus where you just sit back and let the flying trapeze artists take over and wow you with their own brand of magic or razzmatazz. After some fancy helicopter flying in the pre-opening credit sequence, there is an amazing ski chase that has to be seen to be believed; as well as great underwater stunts that occur later in the picture. Plus there’s a heart-pounding finale where Bond and his friends climb a steep mountain, and one character falls off the side of it.

 

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When not watching the stunts, our eyes are focused on the acting. The Bond girl is Carole Bouquet– she’s playing the daughter of a murdered tycoon who wants to avenge her father’s death. Meanwhile the story’s main villain comes in the form of Julian Glover. Glover’s character is presented as an ally in the early part of the story but gradually his true colors are revealed. In addition to these two we have Topol in a role about as far removed from Tevye as you can possibly imagine– he’s a pistachio munching businessman with a penchant for adventure who assists Bond and the girl on various capers.

 

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There is quite a bit of cheeky humor this time around. Moore is given lines that mock his opponents and says things to the opposite sex that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Of course, this occurs in all the Bond films. But I think because this is the fifth one he’s done, Moore is a lot more sardonic at this point, and he’s having fun with the situations and the dialogue.

 

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Finally I should mention a scene where Bond has to be more ruthless than usual. In fact Moore tried to have this part of the script changed, then realized it worked for the character. It’s where he’s chased some nefarious dude to the edge of a cliff and as the man’s car teeters over the side and he begs for mercy, Bond just sort of reaches out with his foot and kicks him down into the abyss. Some people get kicked to the curb and some get kicked a little further.

 

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FOR YOUR EYES ONLY is directed by John Glen and can be streamed on Dailymotion.


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#20 TopBilled

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:58 PM

Tomorrow

 

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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).





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