Posts tagged “bernard lee

Moonraker (1979)

James Bond film #11 (Roger Moore Bond)

Moonraker (1979)

After the success of Star Wars in 1977, Cubby Broccoli decided to jump in on the emerging science fiction craze and choose Moonraker as the next Eon Productions Bond movie. Roger Moore returns for his fourth Bond film, investigating a stolen space shuttle that leads him to Hugo Drax of Drax Industries. Drax’s plan is very similar to Stromberg’s from The Spy Who Loved Me (10) – he plans to destroy humanity and repopulate the Earth as he sees fit. There are a few slight differences – instead of nukes, he’s planning on using poison, and instead of hiding out underwater, he’s planning on chilling in space during the apocalypse – but this déjà vu is symptomatic of Moonraker‘s tendency to coast on the coattails of its spectacular predecessor.

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The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

James Bond film #10 (Roger Moore Bond)

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Released in 1977, The Spy Who Loved Me comes three years after The Man With the Golden Gun, the longest gap between Bond films so far. The series benefits from this brief hiatus – instead of feeling like the same movie we’ve seen nine times already, there’s something fresh to this film. Starting with an amazing pre-credits scene and never letting up, The Spy Who Loves Me brings  a new standard of excitement and artistry to a series 10 films deep.

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The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

James Bond film #09 (Roger Moore Bond)

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Roger Moore returns as James Bond in 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun to uncover a devious plot by an assassin with a third nipple. It was  a year in which the effects of the energy crisis were still at the forefront of Britain’s collective consciousness, so Francisco Scaramanga’s plot involves using newly-developed solar energy to take control of the world. Though Moore made an impressive entrance to the series with Live and Let Die, Golden Gun plays like an attempt to emulate the Connery films. The resulting film is a disappointing follow-up and the worst Bond film in the series so far.

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Live and Let Die (1973)

James Bond film #08 (Roger Moore Bond)

Live and Let Die (1973)

James Bond is dead. Long live James Bond.

Bond never really died, of course (the closest he ever came was when he faked it in You Only Live Twice), but with the conclusion of the Connery era, we begin a new chapter in the series with Roger Moore as our sexy super spy. While George Lazenby’s stint mostly stuck to the conventions of Connery’s Bond, Moore ushers in a radical departure with Live and Let Die, a 70s-tastic blaxpoitation film. In it, Bond uncovers a plot involving a Caribbean dictator and the heroin trade, taking him to such locations as Harlem and New Orleans and causing him run-ins with oracles and Voodoo Loas.

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Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

James Bond film #07 (Sean Connery Bond)

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

After George Lazenby’s solo run as James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli were told to get Connery back in the suit at any cost – and that cost ended up being 1.25 million pounds, an amount that equals out to about $32 million in today’s dollars. Having spent so much on their lead actor (in fact, the highest salary to an actor for a role ever at the time), the pair of producers aimed to recreate the commercial success of 1964’s Goldfinger, hiring that film’s director (Guy Hamilton), using Shirley Bassey to sing the title song again, and originally centering the story around Auric Goldfinger’s twin. After Broccoli dreamt of recluse Howard Hughes getting replaced by an imposter, however, the plot was changed to that fantastical idea, creating the character of Willard Whyte and setting most of the story in Las Vegas.

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On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

James Bond film #06 (George Lazenby Bond)

Film #23: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

All right. Back to Bond. Mostly, anyway -1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service marks the first time in the Eon Productions series that Mr. Bond is played by someone other than Sean Connery. This time around, newcomer George Lazenby fills the role for the longest Bond film that isn’t Casino Royale. It wasn’t until midway through production that Lazenby decided he’d only play Bond once, having been convinced by his agent that 007 would become irrelevant in the 70s. The film’s length and the fact that it features an isolated Bond actor puts it in a unique position amidst the Bond canon, and at times the film seems uncomfortable with itself as it struggles with the new Bond incarnation.

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You Only Live Twice (1967)

Film #15: You Only Live Twice (1967)

James Bond film #05 (Sean Connery Bond)

Sean Connery is back as James Bond in the fifth film of the series, You Only Live Twice. SPECTRE’s back again, trying to goad the US and the Soviets into a war by eating up their astronauts with a big ole hungry spacecraft. Despite the fact that SPECTRE just stole two atomic bombs in Thunderball, the Americans and Soviets blame each other, so of course it takes level-headed Britain to take care of things. Noting that the mysterious hungry hungry spacecraft landed somewhere in the sea of Japan, they dispense their top agent to the land of the rising sun to see what’s up. During his mission, Bond finally comes face-to-face with SPECTRE’s number 1, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, as played by Donald Pleasance and as spoofed by Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers series.

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Thunderball (1965)

Film #15: Thunderball (1965)

James Bond film #04 (Sean Connery Bond)

After their absence from the third Bond movie Goldfinger, SPECTRE is back in Thunderball to screw with the world and try to kill James Bond in the process. This time, hook-nosed, eye-patched #2 Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) hijacks two atomic warheads from NATO and threatens to destroy Miami unless he gets 100 million pounds in diamonds. It’s a classic hostage situation that must have reminded audiences of the contemporary Cuban Missile Crisis, and it’s a great return for an evil organization that uses Cold War fears to enrich themselves.

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Goldfinger (1964)

Film #14: Goldfinger (1964)

James Bond film #03 (Sean Connery Bond)

Goldfinger, the third in the Eon Productions James Bond series, sees Connery return to the role for what many consider the quintessential 007 film. Amidst the usual babes and bad guys, Bond is after eponymous villain Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), who plans to attack the United States’ gold depository at Fort Knox. Goldfinger takes the formula that From Russia With Love established and adds many things that would become staples of the series. It’s also chock-full of iconic lines and scenes. Many things that spoof Bond pull dialogue and imagery from this third installation, so if you’re watching this for the first time (like I was), you’ll undoubtedly be stricken with a constant sense of déjà vu.

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Dr. No (1962)

Film #11: Dr. No (1962)

And all of a sudden, I started the James Bond series. I don’t know how long it will take me to get through all 22 films, but join me as I do it. Or else.

James Bond film #01 (Sean Connery Bond)

Dr. No was the first movie based on Ian Fleming’s series about British secret agent James Bond. This is the one, man. The one that started it all. The first step down a road that would eventually see 22 (and counting) movies, 6 different actors taking up the role of Bond, and nearly $5 billion in domestic box office revenue. Coming just after the fll of the studio system, this is the movie that created the secret agent genre, pitting a ridiculously adept protagonist against the forces of evil in the political world. It’s now been fifty years – a full half a century – since Dr. No was released, and there’s simply no other way to view this film than with the knowledge that it was the start of something huge.

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