Category: Films

“OHMSS50”: Exclusive chat with Vic Armstrong (2019)

INTERVIEW

 
On Monday October 5, 2020, Vic Armstrong turns 74. The legendary English stunt performer began his Bond career at the age of 20 when he was the first ninja to slide down a rope into Blofeld's volcano lair in "You Only Live Twice" (EON 1967).

Vic Armstrong since doubled for George Lazenby in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (EON 1969), Roger Moore in "Live and Let Die" (EON 1973) and Sean Connery in "Never Say Never Again" (Taliafilm 1983) before graduating to second unit director and stunt co-ordinator on three of Pierce Brosnan's Bond films: "Tomorrow Never Dies" (EON 1997), "The World is Not Enough" (EON 1999) and "Die Another Day" (EON 2002).

> Read our previous interview with Vic Armstrong from "Bond in Motion" (2014)

Bond•O•Rama.dk met up with Vic Armstrong again in Switzerland in June 2019 during the "OHMSS50" anniversary celebration at Piz Gloria/Schilthorn. We had a chat about Vic's second unit work on "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" back in 1969 and some of the other exotic Bond locations he has had the privilege of working on.

Vic Armstrong at Piz Gloria, June 2019. Photo credit: Brian Iskov/Bond•O•Rama.dk

Of all the filming locations you've worked on for the Bond films, which one is your favourite?
They're all fantastic, but this [Piz Gloria and Schilthorn] is iconic. I was here for three-four months [for "OHMSS" in 1969]. It just went on and on with the second unit. We stayed through. The snow came, and it melted while we were still shooting. Fabulous.

I'd only been in the business about five years when I got the call to come here, and I was one of the second group of stuntmen to arrive. We came here basically to do the attack at the Schilthorn where the helicopters come in and we jump out with the flamethrowers, jump into the snow, then run up and attack Blofeld. So we did that. Then we did the car chase down in Lauterbrunnen, and then I stayed up with the second unit and we did all the rest of it. I remember the first night I arrived it was dark when I got here, and they sent us down to Stäger [the local sporting goods store] to get fitted for ski equipment. They said, "Would you mind learning to ski?". Fine, well, I am paid to do that, you know! So they kitted us out with all the ski gear and I walked back to the hotel. It was a moonlit night in the winter, and it was absolutely stunning. I was looking across at the Eiger ... Ah. It was bright as daylight. Just amazing. I've never forgotten that.

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“Tomorrow Never Dies”: Danish release poster (1997)

The 18th James Bond 007 film from EON Productions, "Tomorrow Never Dies", was released into Danish cinemas on December 19, 1997. Local distributor United International Pictures issued this version of the international release poster.

Original poster design: Randi Braun, Mark Belin. Repro/print: Pro Grafica.

● Danish teaser poster for "Tomorrow Never Dies"

Scan courtesy of movieposter.dk.

“The Man with the Golden Gun”: The case of the Danish saxophone solo (2020)

BOND MUSIC

Did John Barry compose the saxophone solo heard in “The Man with the Golden Gun”? Or was he in fact using a library cue without crediting the Danish creators Ib Glindemann and Jesper Thilo? Bond•O•Rama.dk examines the evidence.

In 2012, Ib Glindemann, a veteran Danish composer and arranger of film scores and big band jazz, claimed that the saxophone intro of the John Barry track “Getting the Bullet” on the soundtrack album of “The Man with the Golden Gun” (1974) is in fact not “one of Barry’s signature sexy saxophone solos” as Jon Burlingame puts it in his book “The Music of James Bond” but a cue that Glindemann composed as library music for the American market in the early 70’s.

Glindemann said that the tenor saxophone solo was performed by Jesper Thilo, a well-known Danish jazz musician. Thilo later confirmed his participation and even recalled performing the cue in a recording studio on Dortheavej in Copenhagen some 40 years ago.

“Yes - that’s me. I remember performing that solo,” Jesper Thilo said when Bond•O•Rama.dk played back the audio track from “The Man with the Golden Gun” to him in 2012.

The tenor saxophone part is featured on the film’s soundtrack while James Bond (as played by Roger Moore) is courting the belly dancer Saida (Carmen du Sautoy) backstage at a Beirut nightclub.

Film composer Søren Hyldgaard eventually tracked down further details from Glindemann. The cue in question is supposedly titled “Saxophone A” and  was sourced from a Chappell Production Music LP from 1973/74.

The compressed production schedule on “The Man with the Golden Gun” meant that John Barry had to come up with 57 full minutes of score in only three weeks' time. One tantalizing theory is that the pressure caused Barry to simply filch Glindemann and Thilo’s cue, take credit for it and hope no-one would ever notice!

Barry passed away in 2011, and neither Hyldgaard nor Glindemann managed to locate a copy of the Chappell LP before their deaths in respectively May 2018 and April 2019. Now, film score enthusiast Jesper Hansen from The Danish Film Music Archive has looked into the matter.

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