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All The James Bond Films in Boxed Set

Barry

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All The James Bond Films in Boxed Set
« on: June 15, 2019, 01:34:27 PM »
Please forgive me, I got carried away!  But we were discussing what 4k movies we would like to see.

I am a James Bond fan, books and movies, and I suspect that when the next Bond arrives, we will get a box set of the 25 films that Eon Productions have made in 4k. Currently there is a blu-ray set. .This leaves out three productions that were NOT made by them. I thought it would be fun to list all 27  and how they represent the books.

The Bond movies are all photographed well and the video in the current individual discs and the box set the video varies a bit, but is mostly very good. Some of the Roger Moore movies look a bit faded. In general the extras are not very extras, but they were on the DVDs that came out a decade ago. I wished they placed those bonus features on the blu rays.

A note on SURROUND SOUND!  On home DVDs, has been two kinds of surround sound: 1. The James Bond Surround and 2: The George Lukas surround (THX):
1.  The James Bond surround realizes that you are in a movie theater and what you are watching is in front of you. Therefore, in less a plane goes overhead or there is an explosion off screen, most of the surround is left and right in front of you.
2.  The George Lukas surround sound places you in the middle of the action, so the surround is all around you, not mostly in front. The later Bond movies go this way too.

The first production of James Bond was “Casino Royale” that appeared on CBS TV in 1954. (this is also available on blu ray)  It was a live, one hour, broadcast that starred Barry Nelson as an American Agent “Jimmy Bond.” Great to watch for what we know is coming, but it was badly done. Ian Fleming, now a husband and father, wanted Bond to be bought by the movies, on a TV series (which were new then)  to make some money. CBS said it was too violent and too sexy. This is exactly what made it a hit a half a century later. In the book Moonraker, they mention that secret agents should be 35-45 years old and then retire. This will not be true of the actors who take on the role!


When Eon productions, Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman began their franchise, Casino Royale, Bond’s origin novel, was not available. So they began with Doctor No, the sixth book.  This 1962 movie was low budget and appeared mostly in drive in in the U.S.  I followed the book closely, but instead of fighting the Russians, Dr. No worked for SPECTRE, who wasn’t intruded in the books until Thunderball, Flemings ninth.  Flemings was a snob and a racist and many of the racist elements appear here.  Direct Terrace Young, who does not get enough credit, changed the snobbishness to Sophistication and worked so well, especially with Sean Connery. In Bond’s opening scene with M (Bond’s boss) they discuss an assassination attempt on Bond that occurs in the NEXT movie! But previous book! ***1/2 stars out of four.  Three Bond Formulas are introduced:
1.  A beautiful girl is introduced and spend the last half of the move being rescued by Bond
2.  Bond is captured and the villain MUST tell him every detail of his plan.
3.  The movie ends with Bond and the girl together, usally on water or some other secluded place.

From Russia With Love: (1963)  Simply one of the best Bond movies, with a great cast and great villains.  More serious than most it also uses SPECTRE which was not yet in the bond books. ****

Goldfinger: (1964). Again, one of the best and most entertaining movies, even the music is famous. It closely follows the book, substituting a laser for a saw.  Here they show that a movie can be better than a book. That is, in the book Goldfinger attempts to rob Fort Knox, a long process. In the movie he tried to blow it up! ****
Formulas introduced:
1.  The film begins with a “mini-movie” that has nothing really to do with the main plot.
2.  Bond meets beautiful girl at the beginning of the movie and see does not live to see her name in the end credits. They are often very pretty and cannot act.
3.  Villain has an interesting Henchman.

Thunderball, in 1965, remains to this day, the biggest ticket seller of the Bond films.  It does follow the book and other Bond movies lift scenes from this. In 1959, trying to get a movie contract, Fleming wrote this screenplay with Kevin McClory and there will be 50 years of legal hell. McClory sued and got the rights to the screenplay while Fleming got the rights to the book. Thunderball, the book, introduced Blofeld and SPECTRE.  A bit too long and not as memorable as the last two, but still fun. McClory is listed as the producer of this film. This was the first movie shot in surround, by the way.***

Casino Royale 1967. Colgems (Columbia Pictures) bought the rights to Casino Royale from CBS and produced one of the worst movies ever made. Allegedly a satire, it ain’t funny. The music, however is great and the song “The Look of Love” comes from this movie.  More on this picture later! Zero stars

You Only Live Twice: 1967.  This is the first Bond Movie that has nothing to do with the book, except the location and the names of some characters.  In the books, On Her Majesty’s Secret Serviced came first, where James Bond wife is murdered by Blofeld.  In the book YOLT Bond goes after his wife’s killer. Shot out of sequence, this does not touch on that plot at all. Instead it has a plot about stealing rockets. A watchable ** ½

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969: one of the Best Bond movies, even with the worst James Bond, here played by George Lazenby.  The movie follows the book closely and Diana Rigg is beautiful and perfect. BUT!!!!  The movie was supposed to end with the marriage of Bond and Tracy (Rigg). And the NEXT movie was to begin with Blofeld killing Tracy.  BUT Lazenby, after one movie, thought that he was too big a star to do a second movie and quit. So they had to tack on the sad ending to the movie.  The movie is still great and ends like the book, but the sad ending really hurt at the box office. ****

Diamonds are Forever, 1971, doesn’t work well.  After the last fiasco the movie studio (not the producers, wanted Connery back. He was now a bit too old and too heavy.  The movie pays little notice to OHMSS. And, as with YOLT takes the location and characters from the book and nothing else.  Two important points:
1.  This is the first Bond movie that Bond plays more like a super-hero than the spy he was. The humor, which overwhelms the Roger Moore movies, actually starts here. The plots are more silly than threatening.
2.  Remember McCloy?  He claims the legal rights to Blofeld and SPECTRE. They will not be used in a Bond movie for over forty years!
This was a ** ½ star movie for me.

Live and Let Die, 1973.  Roger Moore takes over and, frankly, these are the worst of the Bond movies. He does not have the power or sophistication of Connery, but after Lazenby the producers did wasn’t an actor.  He plays the part like a comic strip character, not a secret agent.  The humor goes overboard. Again, this doesn’t follow the book closely, but uses the locations and characters.  Sadly, the book is filled with great racist comments and the movie includes a lot of them. It is painful to watch but Jane Seymour is a sight for sore eyes. * star.

The Man with the Golden Gun, 1974, continues the worst portrayal and writing for a Bond movie. The movie even looks rushed. Christopher Lee is such a great actor and a relative of Ian Fleming, but he cannot overcome a bad script.  Again, this has little to do with book except setting and character names. Another * movie.

The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977. The actual book was really a long short story where Bond has a cameo. Here the girl is a Russian Spy, which has nothing to do with the book. It steals a lot from Thunderball. The highlight is the incredible beginning and the introduction of the villain, Jaws. **1/2 stars.

Moonraker, 1979. The book was a story of a villain named Drax who want to launch a missile with a bomb on it. However, Star Wars became such a big hit, the producers wanted to make this a space, sci-fi movie.  The beginning, Bond thrown from an airplane without a parachute is fantastic.  And then it gets really silly. Jaws returns, the first time in a bOnd movie that the original actor returns as a villain. ** stars

For Your Eyes Only, 1981, was originally a book containing five short stories. Three of them are written into the script here. It is the best, and most serious of the Roger Moore films. For that reason, Moore wrote, it is his least favorite, but it my favorite.  It lifts scenes from the book of Live and Let Die too. ***stars.

Octopussy, 1983. This was a short story that is quickly mentioned in the movie, which has nothing to do with the story. It does steal from Goldfinger. Just silly, but with really pretty women and silly scenes. *1/2 stars.

Never Say Never Again, 1983. Remember McClory?  Well, he owned the Thunderball script and was legally able to make a remake of the original without the aid of EON productions. He hired Sean Connery, now 53, who now hated the original producers, and they produced a boring movie. I had seen it before.  Everything seemed wrong and out of step for me. (Except for Kim Bassinger.) This came out the same year as Octopussy and did not do as well.

Connery, to this day, feels that he should have royalties on all James Bond movies not just the ones he was in because he started it all.  The producers disagree and he has lost in court. This is why he does not do DVD extras.

A View to a Kill, 1985. Moore’s last picture. Just bad. It has nothing to do with the short story that the title came from. 0 stars.  Broccolli, the producer does not want to embarrass Moore by “firing” him. Instead he asks Moore to announce his retirement.

The Living Daylights, 1987. UA, the movie studio is in financial trouble and is sold to MGM, who is in financial trouble. These causes severe problems in budgeting and money for advertising.  So the next two Bond films do not do well and the blame is placed on their new Bond, Timothy Dalton. (Piece Bronson was originally slated to do Bond, but his contract with NBC could not be broken.)
This movie is sort of a generic Bond, with every cliché and formula being used. It borrows a bit from the short story it is named after. Timothy Dalton, at this point, is the closest to the serious Bond in the books, but is the audience ready for him?  (I liked his performance very much.)  This movie moves back into the politics of the cold war, where Bond should be.  But as serious as Dalton is, the movie gets frivolous.  ** ½  stars.

License to  Kill, 1989: The most controversial and violent Bond film to date, it was rated PG 13. The story, about drugs, takes very violent scenes from the movie Live and Let Die. Some bad casting, Wayne Newton and Talisa Soto.  I liked that it was not following the Bond formulas too closely. Dalton, blamed for the lack of success of the last two movies, is asked to announce that he is leaving. ***stars.

Goldeneye: 1977: The financial problems of MGM cause a six year gap in the Bond films. Pierce Bronson, a fine actor, finally gets his chance as Bond.  For me he was not quite suited for the role. He was too slight and not fearful enough.  He replaced Sean Connery rather than played James Bond.  With the cold war over they “jiggered” his part to make him seem more like an anachronism. Judy Dench as M is just wonderful. Again, this is a formula movie. (Goldeneye was the name of Ian Fleming’s home in Jamaica.)

Tomorrow Never Dies: 1997: an interesting idea, that a media mogul (Obviously  Rupert Murdock) would make news to supply his media outlets and sell papers. Too much formula, but Terri Hatcher, someone who could act, is the girl who will die in the second reel. **1/2.
The World is Not Enough, 1999.  This was a more interesting film, primarily due the casting of Sophie Marceau and the expansion of Judy Dench’s M.  M. finally gets to see Bond in action and what he has to go through both physically and emotionally. This turns her character a great deal from what she thought of Bond in Goldeneye.  Denise Richards, the pretty girl who can’t act, survives to the end.  Many wished she hadn’t. ***

Die Another Day, 2002: The first hour of the movie was terrific 4 stars. It broke from formula and showed the acting chops of Bronson as he is captured by the enemy. It then becomes pure formula, complete with an invisible car and very below par  Rosamund Pike’s first film and she and Halle Berry are top notch! I guess *** stars. (four for the first hour, one for the second.)

Casino Royale: 2006: Sony had partnered with McClory and owned the movie rights to Casino Royale when it bought Columbia pictures.  But Sony did not have the right to make another movie of it.  So they traded their rights to CR to MGM for their rights to Spider-Man. So Sony made Spider-Man and MGM made this.  Bronson was set up to do another movie, but Casino Royale gave them a chance to start over, so Daniel Craig was hired.  The opening of this film was still a Bond mini movie, but the movie mostly followed the book, except they played Baccarat (something like Blackjack)  in the book, poker in the movie. Daniel Craig is definitely the James Bond Ian Fleming had in mind. ****

Quantum of Solace, 2008, had nothing to do with the short story on which it is based. (that was about a marriage gone wrong.) It connects to the first movie but this, for me, was horrible and made no sense. The producers are hoping for and preparing for a big reveal to come soon.

Skyfall, 2012: A great movie, practically because Judy Dench as M is fully in it.  The movie borrows a lot form the books, especially James Bonds biography from OHMSS. There is little formula here, it is a brand new plot and what happens to Judy Dench is unexpended.  Bond movies are also usually as good as the villains, and Javier Bardem is cold and ruthless and perfect. *** ½

Spectre: 2015:  McClory died in 2006. On 15 November 2013 MGM … had acquired all rights and interests of McClory's estate bringing "amicable conclusion the legal and business disputes that have arisen periodically for over 50 years.” So this movie links all the Craig movies together using SPECTRE, which they could not use since Diamonds are Forever. MGM also acquired the rights to Never Say Never Again. Scenes are taken from Thunderball in particular, and a few other books. I was surprised I did not like this movie more. They “pretended” that the identity of Blofeld would be a big reveal, but every Bond fan knew who he was so a lot of the suspense was gone. *** stars.


« Last Edit: June 15, 2019, 09:12:15 PM by Barry »
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AVSCraig

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Re: All The James Bond Films in Boxed Set
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2019, 01:38:42 PM »
Casino Royale 1967.

That film makes more sense if you take 20,000 micrograms of LSD first. 8):-X
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AVSCraig

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Re: All The James Bond Films in Boxed Set
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2019, 01:41:22 PM »
Personally, the only ones I really want on 4K are the first 4 and the last 4. I love all the Daniel Craig ones, and the first 4 are classic. 
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Re: All The James Bond Films in Boxed Set
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2019, 05:02:31 PM »
Agree with your breakdowns. Especially the one for 'Die Another Day'. 
First half of that film is excellent, but the second half was like a left over Roger Moore script. Crazy.

TRainH2O

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Re: All The James Bond Films in Boxed Set
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2019, 07:20:50 AM »
Great writeup, Barry.

The original Casino Royale is one that I haven't seen. I did find a clean copy of the film's soundtrack on vinyl at a local "thrift" store, for $1. The album cover initially caught my eye but after giving it a spin, "The Look of Love" by Dusty Springfield sounds absolutely fantastic. Of course, the rest of the album is crap but WOW, that one track sounds good.

AVSCraig

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Re: All The James Bond Films in Boxed Set
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2019, 05:50:53 PM »
Great writeup, Barry.

The original Casino Royale is one that I haven't seen. I did find a clean copy of the film's soundtrack on vinyl at a local "thrift" store, for $1. The album cover initially caught my eye but after giving it a spin, "The Look of Love" by Dusty Springfield sounds absolutely fantastic. Of course, the rest of the album is crap but WOW, that one track sounds good.



I have not seen this one in a long time, but the cast is nuts - Woody Allen, Peter Sellers, David Niven, Ursula Andress,
Orson Welles, Deborah Kerr, Charles Boyer, William Holden, John Huston, Jacqueline Bisset - Peter O'Toole is even in it.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061452/fullcredits/?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm

This is interesting - https://youtu.be/WOzSpxVm0BM

« Last Edit: June 16, 2019, 07:34:32 PM by AVSCraig »
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TRainH2O

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Re: All The James Bond Films in Boxed Set
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2019, 07:08:26 AM »
Daniel Craig is definitely the James Bond Ian Fleming had in mind. ****
Finally, a Bond expert agrees with what I have been preaching for quite some time.

Craig IS Bond as Bale IS Batman. The studios need to pay, beg, blackmail, or whatever it takes to keep those two actors in those roles.

AVSCraig

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Re: All The James Bond Films in Boxed Set
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2019, 07:48:04 AM »
At least Daniel Craig is doing one more Bond film. And I agree - the Nolan Batman films are the best. They look / sound amazing on 4K too. 
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