Thursday, April 23, 2015

You Only Live Twice (1967) | Bond

Actors and Allies

After such a wonderful, relaxed performance of Bond in Thunderball, Sean Connery is clearly fed up with the part in You Only Live Twice. He was frustrated with Saltzman and Broccoli for not cutting him a larger slice of the enormous financial pie the Bond series was creating, but he was also irritated by the shoot in Japan and the large crowds of fans who continually disrupted the process. Part of the problem with YOLT's Bond is the script - Dahl's isn't nearly as charming as the one for Thunderball - but Connery looks bored with the whole deal. There are moments of levity, but mostly he's phoning it in. It's especially noticeable in the action sequences where he can barely be bothered to aim.

The Moneypenny scene is again mutually playful. Later on, Tanaka will suggest that Moneypenny is interested in more from Bond, but I don't see that in Lois Maxwell's performance. And I like that Bond calls her "Penny," which I'm guessing isn't her first name, but just a nickname. I don't think that ever comes up again though.

Speaking of Tiger, Tetsurō Tamba was a great choice to play him and he's what I imagine now when I read the book. His ninjas are the worst though. The polar opposite of stealthy, especially when they invade the SPECTRE volcano.

Q shows up and he's cranky as usual, but there's no real animosity between him and Bond.

And then there's Henderson. I mentioned yesterday how he's different from the crude bigot in Fleming's novel, but I still don't like him. Charles Gray's performance is a cartoon. He's a spoof of a stuffy Englishman and impossible to take seriously. And of course there's the famous blunder in which Henderson offers Bond a "stirred, not shaken" martini. Bond's too polite to correct him, but geez, Henderson. You had one job. (Well, that and get murdered.)

Best Quip

"Bon appétit," as the piranhas are eating Blofeld's henchman, Hans.

Worst Quip

"Just a drop in the ocean," in response to Tanaka's fishing for a compliment after dropping some bad guys from a helicopter into the ocean.


Bond doesn't have many British-issued gadgets in You Only Live Twice. Tanaka and SPECTRE both have a few, most notably the cigarette rockets that Tanaka loans Bond, but the only ones provided by Q-Branch are a safe-cracking device and Little Nellie.

The safe-cracker is lame, because it's never mentioned before Bond conveniently pulls it out of a coat pocket to use. There's no reason for him to be carrying it since he'd gone out that evening just to meet with Henderson.

Little Nellie is cool though. The gyrocopter is outfitted with machine guns, missiles, rocket launchers, flame guns, a smoke machine, and aerial mines; almost all of which get used in the excellent dogfight with SPECTRE helicopters.

Top Ten Gadgets

1. Aston Martin DB V (Goldfinger and Thunderball)
2. Jet pack (Thunderball)
3. Little Nellie (You Only Live Twice)
4. Rocket cigarettes (You Only Live Twice)
5. Attaché case (From Russia With Love)
6. Propeller SCUBA tank with built-in spearguns (Thunderball)
7. Rebreather (Thunderball)
8. Camera-tape recorder; mostly because it reminds me of a camera my dad used to use (From Russia With Love)
9. Seagull SCUBA hat (Goldfinger)
10. Book tape-recorder (Thunderball)

Bond's Best Outfit

I do dig a light gray suit.

Bond's Worst Outfit

Pink shirt. Gray, high-waisted, sansabelt slacks. Brown sandals.

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