Tuesday, October 23, 2012

James Bond chapter III

The James Bond film series is a British series of spy films based on the fictional character of MI6 agent James Bond (code designation "007"), who originally appeared in a series of books by Ian Fleming. Earlier films were based on Fleming's novels and short stories, followed later by films with original storylines. It is one of the longest continually-running film series in history, having been in ongoing production from 1962 to the present (with a six-year hiatus between 1989 and 1995). In that time Eon Productions has produced 22 films, at an average of about one every two years, usually produced at Pinewood Studios. The series has grossed just over US$5 billion to date, making it the second-highest-grossing film series (behind Harry Potter), and the single most successful adjusted for inflation. Six actors have portrayed 007 in the Eon series, with the Sean Connery films largely setting the style and mood of the series, and Roger Moore starring in the most films.
Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman co-produced the Eon films until 1975, when Broccoli became the sole producer. Since 1995, Broccoli's daughter Barbara and stepson Michael G. Wilson have co-produced them. Broccoli's (and until 1975, Saltzman's) family company, Danjaq, has held ownership of the series through Eon, and maintained co-ownership with United Artists since the mid-1970s. From the release of Dr. No (1962) up to For Your Eyes Only (1981) the films were distributed solely by United Artists. When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer bought United Artists in 1981, MGM/UA Entertainment Co. was formed and distributed the films until 1995. MGM solely distributed three films from 1997 to 2002 after United Artists retired as a mainstream studio. From 2006 to present MGM and Columbia Pictures have co-distributed the film series, following the 2005 acquisition of MGM by a consortium led by Columbia's parent company, Sony Pictures Entertainment. In November 2010, MGM filed for bankruptcy. Following MGM's emergence from bankruptcy, Columbia has been co-production partner of the series with Danjaq.

Independently of the Eon series, there have been three additional film or television productions with the character of James Bond – a 1967 satirical film spoof, Casino Royale, based on the novel of the same name, a 1983 remake of Thunderball entitled Never Say Never Again starring Sean Connery and a 1954 American television adaptation, Casino Royale.
A contest was set up to "find James Bond", and six finalists were chosen and screen-tested by Broccoli, Saltzman, and Fleming. The winner of the contest was a 28-year-old model named Peter Anthony, who, according to Broccoli, had a Gregory Peck quality, but proved unable to cope with the role. The producers turned to Sean Connery, who ended up playing Bond for five consecutive films (and more subsequently).

Dr. No - Sean Connery - 1962
Connery was not Broccoli or Fleming's first choice, but they accepted him after being rejected by Patrick McGoohan and rejecting Richard Johnson, James Mason, Rex Harrison, David Niven, Trevor Howard and Broccoli's friend Cary Grant for various contractual impasses. Cary Grant was the first choice, but would only sign for one film instead of two; James Mason, the second choice, would only sign for two instead of three. Broccoli later said, "I wanted a ballsy guy...Put a bit of veneer over that tough Scottish hide and you've got Fleming's Bond instead of all the mincing poofs we had applying for the job." Already balding, Connery wore a toupee in all his Bond films. Connery stated that "the character is not really me, after all." Ian Fleming, after seeing the preview screening of the first film, Dr. No, told his research assistant, "Dreadful. Simply dreadful." Dr. No received mixed reviews, some quite hostile, and even received a rebuke by the Vatican. Fleming eventually warmed up to Connery sufficiently to establish a Scottish ancestry for Bond in the late novels.

In the film, James Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the death of a fellow British agent. The trail leads him to the underground base of Dr. Julius No, who is plotting to disrupt an early American manned space launch with a radio beam weapon.

From Russia With love - Sean Connery - 1963
The second spy film in the James Bond series, and the second to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. In the film, James Bond is sent to assist in the defection of Soviet consulate clerk Tatiana Romanova in Turkey, where SPECTRE plans to avenge Bond's killing of Dr. No.

Goldfinger - 1964 - Sean Connery
In this the third film in the James Bond series and also the third to star Sean Connery as Bond.
Bond investigating gold smuggling by gold magnate Auric Goldfinger and eventually uncovering Goldfinger's plans to attack the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. Goldfinger was the first Bond blockbuster, with a budget equal to that of the two preceding films combined. The film also stars Honor Blackman as Bond girl Pussy Galore and Gert Fröbe as the title character Auric Goldfinger, along with Shirley Eaton as famous Bond girl Jill Masterson.
Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore: Goldfinger's personal pilot and leader of an all-female team of pilots known as the Flying Circus. The character's name follows in the tradition of other Bond girls names that are double entendres: concerned about censors, the producers thought about changing the character's name to "Kitty Galore", but they and Hamilton decided "if you were a ten-year old boy and knew what the name meant, you weren't a ten-year old boy, you were a dirty little bitch."

Thunderball - 1965 - Sean Connery
The film follows Bond's mission to find two NATO atomic bombs stolen by SPECTRE, which holds the world ransom for £100 million in diamonds, in exchange for not destroying an unspecified major city in either England or the United States (later revealed to be Miami). The search leads Bond to the Bahamas, where he encounters Emilio Largo, the card-playing, eye-patch wearing SPECTRE Number Two. Backed by CIA agent Felix Leiter and Largo's mistress, Domino, Bond's search culminates in an underwater battle with Largo's henchmen. The film had a complex production, with four different units and about a quarter of the film consisting of underwater scenes. Thunderball was the first Bond film shot in widescreen Panavision and the first to have over a two-hour running time.

You Only Live Twice - 1967 - Sean Connery
Is the fifth film in the James Bond series and the fifth to star Sean Connery. The film's screenplay was written by Roald Dahl. It is the first James Bond film to discard most of Fleming's plot, using only a few characters and locations from the book as the background for an entirely new story.
In the film, Bond is dispatched to Japan after American and Soviet manned spacecraft disappear mysteriously in orbit. With each nation blaming the other amidst the Cold War, Bond travels secretly to a remote Japanese island in order to find the perpetrators and comes face to face with Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service - 1969 - George Lazenby
Is the sixth spy film in the James Bond series, based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. Following the decision of Sean Connery to retire from the role after You Only Live Twice, Eon Productions selected an unknown actor and model, George Lazenby to play the part of James Bond. During the making of the film, Lazenby decided that he would play the role of Bond only once.
In the film, Bond faces Blofeld (Telly Savalas), who is planning to sterilise the world's food supply through a group of brainwashed "angels of death" unless his demands for an international amnesty (from his activities in the previous films, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice), his title of the Count De Bleuchamp to be recognised and to be allowed to retire into private life are all met. Along the way, Bond meets, falls in love with, and eventually marries Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg).

Diamonds Are Forever - 1971 - Sean Connery
In this seventh film in the James Bond series by Eon Productions, and the sixth and final Eon film to star Sean Connery, Bond impersonating a diamond smuggler to infiltrate a smuggling ring, and soon uncovering a plot by his old nemesis Blofeld to use the diamonds and build a giant laser. Bond has to battle his nemesis for one last time, in order to stop the smuggling and stall Blofeld's plan of destroying Washington DC, and extorting the world of nuclear supremacy.
After George Lazenby left the franchise, producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli tested other actors, but studio United Artists wanted Sean Connery back, paying a then-record $1.25 million salary for him to return. The producers were inspired by Goldfinger, eventually hiring that film's director, Guy Hamilton. Locations included Las Vegas, California, Amsterdam and Lufthansa's hangar in Germany. Diamonds Are Forever was a commercial success, but received criticism for its humorous camp tone.

Live And Let Die - 1973 - Roger Moore
Is the eighth film in the James Bond series, and the first to star Roger Moore as James Bond.
The film is adapted from the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. In the film, a Harlem drug lord known as Mr. Big plans to distribute two tons of heroin free to put rival drug barons out of business. Mr. Big, however, is revealed to be the disguised alter ego of Dr. Kananga, a corrupt Caribbean dictator, who rules San Monique, the fictional island where the heroin poppies are secretly farmed. Bond is investigating the death of three British agents, leading him to Kananga, where he is soon trapped in a world of gangsters and voodoo as he fights to put a stop to the drug baron's scheme.

The Man With The Golden Gun - 1974 - Roger Moore
The ninth film in the James Bond series and the second with Roger Moore as James Bond. In the film Bond sent after the Solex Agitator, a device that can harness the power of the sun, while facing the assassin Francisco Scaramanga, the "Man with the Golden Gun". The action culminates in a duel between them that settles the fate of the Solex.
The film was set in the face of the 1973 energy crisis, a dominant theme in the script—Britain had still not yet fully overcome the crisis when the film was released in December 1974. The film also reflects the then-popular martial arts film craze, with several kung-fu scenes and a predominantly Asian location, being shot in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Macao.

The Spy Who Loved Me - 1977 - Roger Moore
Film number ten in the James Bond series, and the third to star Roger Moore.
The storyline involves a reclusive megalomaniac named Stromberg who plans to destroy the world and create a new civilisation under the sea. Bond teams up with a Russian agent Anya Amasova to stop Stromberg. Curd Jürgens and Barbara Bach co-star.
It was shot on location in Egypt and Italy, with underwater scenes filmed at the Bahamas, and a whole new soundstage being built at Pinewood Studios for a massive set which depicted the interior of a supertanker. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards.

Moonraker - 1979 - Roger Moore
Bond film eleven. Bond investigates the theft of a space shuttle, leading him to Hugo Drax, the owner of the shuttle's manufacturing firm. Along with space scientist Dr. Holly Goodhead, Bond follows the trail from California to Venice, Rio de Janeiro, and the Amazon rainforest, and finally into outer space to prevent a plot to wipe out the world population and to re-create humanity with a master race.
Moonraker was noted for its high production cost, spending almost twice as much money as predecessor The Spy Who Loved Me, and it received very mixed reviews. However, the film's visuals were praised, with Derek Meddings being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and the film eventually became the highest grossing film of the series with $210,308,099 worldwide, a record that stood until 1995's GoldenEye.
For Your Eyes Only - 1981 - Roger Moore
Is the twelfth film in the series, and the fifth to star Roger Moore agent James Bond.
In the plot, Bond attempts to locate a missile command system while becoming tangled in a web of deception spun by rival Greek businessmen along with Melina Havelock, a woman seeking to avenge the murder of her parents.

Octopussy - 1983 - Roger Moore
Thirteenth. Bond is assigned the task of following a general who is stealing jewels and relics from the Russian government. This leads him to a wealthy Afghan prince, Kamal Khan, and his associate, Octopussy. Bond uncovers a plot to force disarmament in Europe with the use of a nuclear weapon.

A View To A Kill - 1985 - Roger Moore
A View to a Kill is the fourteenth film of the James Bond series, and the seventh and last to star Roger Moore as James Bond. It was the third James Bond film to be directed by John Glen, and the last to feature Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny.
 Despite being a commercial success, with the Duran Duran theme song "A View to a Kill" performing well in the charts and earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Song, the film received a mixed reception by critics and was disliked by Roger Moore. For some the worst James Bond movie ever, but A View to a Kill was rescued by two things: The Duran Duran song, one of the best James Bond theme songs; and Grace Jones as the superstrong May Day.

The Living Daylights - 1987 - Timothy Dalton
Film fifteenth and the first with Timothy Dalton as Bond. The beginning of the film resembles the short story, in which Bond acts as a counter-sniper to protect a Soviet defector, Georgi Koskov. He tells Bond that General Pushkin, head of the KGB, is systematically killing British and American agents. When Koskov is seemingly snatched back, Bond follows him across Europe, Morocco and Afghanistan.

License To Kill - 1989 - Timothy Dalton
Film number sixteenth and the first one not to use the title of an Ian Fleming story. It also marks Timothy Dalton's second and final performance in the role of James Bond. The story has elements of two Ian Fleming short stories and a novel, interwoven with aspects from Japanese Rōnin tales. The film sees Bond being suspended from MI6 as he pursues drugs lord Franz Sanchez, who has attacked his CIA friend Felix Leiter and murdered Felix's wife during their honeymoon.  
Budgetary reasons made Licence to Kill the first Bond not to be shot in the United Kingdom, with locations in both Florida and Mexico. The film earned over $156 million worldwide, and enjoyed a generally positive critical reception, with much praise for the stunts, but some criticism on Dalton's interpretation of Bond and the fact that the film was significantly darker and more violent than its predecessors.
After the release of Licence to Kill, legal wrangling over control of the series and James Bond character resulted in a six-year long delay in production of the next Bond film.

Goldeneye - 1995 - Pierce Brosnan
Released after a six-year hiatus in the series caused by legal disputes, during which Timothy Dalton resigned from the role of James Bond and was replaced by Pierce Brosnan. It was the first Bond film made after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, which provided a background for the plot.
GoldenEye is the seventeenth spy film in the James Bond series, and the first to star Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. The film was directed by Martin Campbell and is the first film in the series not to take story elements from the works of novelist Ian Fleming. The story was conceived and written by Michael France, with later collaboration by other writers. In the film, Bond fights to prevent an arms syndicate from using the GoldenEye satellite weapon against London in order to cause a global financial meltdown.

The film accumulated a worldwide gross of US$350.7 million, considerably better than Dalton's films, without taking inflation into account. Some critics viewed the film as a modernisation of the series, and felt Brosnan was a definite improvement over his predecessor. The film also received award nominations for "Best Achievement in Special Effects" and "Best Sound" from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Tomorrow Never Dies - 1997 - Pierce Brosnan
Film number eighteenth and the second with Pierce Brosnan. It follows Bond as he tries to stop a media mogul from engineering world events and starting World War III.
The film was produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and was the first James Bond film made after the death of producer Albert R. Broccoli, to which the movie pays tribute in the end credits. Locations included France, Thailand, Germany, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and the South China Sea.

The World Is Not Enough - 1999 - Pierce Brosnan
Nineteenth and the third to star Pierce Brosnan as agent James Bond. The title is taken from a line in the novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
The film's plot revolves around the assassination of billionaire Sir Robert King by the terrorist Renard and Bond's subsequent assignment to protect King's daughter, Elektra, who had previously been held for ransom by Renard. During his assignment, Bond unravels a scheme to increase petroleum prices by triggering a nuclear meltdown in the waters of Istanbul.
The World is Not Enough was the first film in the Eon Productions Bond series to be officially released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer instead of United Artists, its original distributor.

Die Another Day - 2002 - Pierce Brosnan
The twentieth spy film in the James Bond series, and the fourth and last film to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond; it is also the last Bond film of the original timeline before the series was rebooted in 2006 with Casino Royale. In the pre-title sequence, Bond leads a mission to North Korea, during which he is betrayed and, after seemingly killing a rogue North Korean colonel, he is captured and imprisoned. More than a year later Bond is released as part of a prisoner exchange. Surmising that someone within the British government betrayed him, he tries to earn redemption by finding his betrayer and by killing a North Korean agent he believes was involved in his torture.

Casino Royale - 2006 - Daniel Craig
Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film marks the third screen adaptation of Ian Fleming's 1953 novel of the same name, which was previously produced as a 1954 television episode and a 1967 satirical film. Casino Royale is set at the beginning of Bond's career as Agent 007, just as he is earning his licence to kill. After preventing a terrorist attack at Miami International Airport, Bond falls for Vesper Lynd, the treasury employee assigned to provide the money he needs to bankrupt terrorist financier Le Chiffre by beating him in a high-stakes poker game. The story arc continues in the following Bond film, Quantum of Solace (2008).

Casino Royale reboots the series, establishing a new timeline and narrative framework not meant to precede or succeed any previous Bond film. This allowed the film to show a less experienced and more vulnerable Bond and for the first time in the series the character of Miss Moneypenny does not appear. Casting the film involved a widespread search for a new actor to portray James Bond, and significant controversy surrounded Craig when he was selected to succeed Pierce Brosnan in October 2005.
Casino Royale premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square on 14 November 2006. It received largely positive critical response, with reviewers highlighting Craig's performance and the reinvention of the character of Bond. It earned over £372 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing James Bond film to date.

Quantum of Solace - 2008 - Daniel Craig
Film twenty-second and is the direct sequel to the 2006 film Casino Royale. In the film, Bond battles wealthy businessman Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a member of the Quantum organisation, posing as an environmentalist who intends to stage a coup d'état in Bolivia to seize control of the nation's water supply. Bond seeks revenge for the death of his lover, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), and is assisted by Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), who is seeking revenge for the murder of her family.

Skyfall - 2012 - Daniel Craig
Skyfall is the twenty-third spy film in the Eon Productions James Bond series, produced for MGM, Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment. It features Daniel Craig's third performance as James Bond, and Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva, the film's villain. The film was directed by Sam Mendes and written by John Logan, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
Mendes was approached to direct the film following the release of Quantum of Solace in 2008. However, production was suspended when MGM encountered financial troubles, and would not resume until December 2010. During this time, Mendes remained attached to the project as a "consultant", though original screenwriter Peter Morgan left the project during the suspension. Once production resumed, Logan, Purvis and Wade continued writing what would be the final version of the script, incorporating Morgan's ideas in it. Filming began in November 2011, and primarily took place in the United Kingdom, China and Turkey.
Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
SKYFALL will be in cinemas in the UK from October 26th, 2012 and in US theatres from November 9th.

James Bond 007 - Intro sequence collage from 1962-2006

Bond girl
A Bond girl is a character or actress portraying a love interest of James Bond in a film, novel, or video game. They occasionally have names that are double entendres or puns, such as Pussy Galore, Plenty O'Toole, Xenia Onatopp, or Holly Goodhead. Bond girls are considered "ubiquitous symbol[s] of glamour and sophistication."

There is no set rule on who a Bond girl will be or what role she will play. She may be ally or enemy, pivotal to the mission or simply eye candy. Despite this broad scope there are female characters such as Judi Dench's M and Miss Moneypenny who are not Bond girls.
Ursula Andress as "Honey Ryder" in Dr. No (1962) is often considered the quintessential Bond girl. She was preceded by Eunice Gayson as "Sylvia Trench" and Zena Marshall as "Miss Taro" in the same film.

There have been many attempts to break down the numerous Bond girls into a top 10 list for the entire series; characters who often appear in these lists include Anya Amasova, Pussy Galore, Countessa Teresa di Vicenzo and Honey Ryder, who is often at Number 1 on the list.

Entertainment Weekly put "Bond bathing suits" on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "And you thought spies were supposed to be inconspicuous! Halle Berry's orange bikini in Die Another Day (2002) and Daniel Craig's supersnug powder blue trunks in Casino Royale (2006) suggest that neither 007 star can keep a secret."

No comments: