Category: Miscellaneous

“Thunderball”: Politiken’s film review (1965)

Danish daily Politiken’s review of ”Thunderball”, 18th December 1965

The stolen nuclear bombs

World premiere of the latest James Bond film

"James Bond needs no introduction; after all, he's the hero of our times for better or worse. But as we're now treated to a world premiere of his new film, ”Thunderball”, it must be said that his latest adventure is very much of a technological bent. Sure, there are lovely girls aplenty, and this particular year, the beautiful coupling of technology and erotica is something that we should know everything about, but the girls are of a rather synthetic quality; they hardly arouse any interest among Bond or the audience, and this year, we can't be ignorant of the fact that technology and irony ought to be merged, but in a showdown between technology, wit, and romance, technology (in this film) takes the lead.

This makes sense in our cold, technological spy era. Yes, it's inhuman, and therefore not really thrilling, but seeing this much technology – that actually works! – is amusing nonetheless. In his previous film, Bond had a car that could do just about everything; now he's equipped with advanced frogman gear that would make any mermaid smack her tail with envy.

This time, he battles the international crime syndicate Spectre, who has kidnapped two nuclear bombs and is demanding a ransom of several millions. Bond is not only given a car that any one of us would find useful while driving under the influence; he also gets a radioactive pill which, when swallowed, states your position; a wristwatch of wonders, clever weaponry, and a good deal of equipment for going under water. The latter turns out to be a good idea, inasmuch as the gangsters have hidden the bombs at the bottom of the sea, and the majority of the film places us among sharks and other minnows. The engineers behind this endeavor might have become so pleased and impressed with their undersea prowess that they've overdone it a bit; the film feels longish and somewhat monotonous in spite of all its ingenuity, but even so, seeing all this technology in action beneath the waves, where frogmen shoot each other down with arrows during the climax, is diverting. Could this be the first undersea fight in history?

The plot as such should be experienced rather than retold. It has a few charming implausibilities of its own and a steadily increasing tension. Once more, Sean Connery plays James Bond with a relaxed, off-hand charm, indifferent as well as efficient; villains, women, and sharks make up the supporting cast. The film is not top-drawer Bond, but otherwise it's self-recommendatory. Its success is guaranteed and bound to be huge."

Review written by Bent Mohn
Translation by James Bond•O•Rama.dk

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Bond•O•Rama meets George Lazenby, pt. 2: “James Bond in Oslo” (2016)

PHOTO REPORT

Last night, 1 September 2016, George Lazenby – the 76-year-old former ex-James Bond from Australia – visited Oslo, the capital of Norway. James Bond•O•Rama.dk reports from the event.

James Bond in Oslo banner

The event "James Bond in Oslo" featured a gala showing of George Lazenby's only James Bond film, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969), digitally restored in 4K.

Before the gala screening at Vika Kino, George Lazenby participated in an onstage Q&A moderated by former Bond girl Maryam d'Abo (Kara Milovy in "The Living Daylights", 1987).

Maryam d'Abo og George Lazenby i Vika Kino, Oslo 01.09.2016 - © Brian Iskov
Maryam d'Abo and George Lazenby at Vika Kino, Oslo 01.09.2016 - © Brian Iskov

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Bond•O•Rama meets George Lazenby, pt. 1: Malmö (2014)

SPECIAL REPORT

On September 1, Bond•O•Rama will be interviewing George Lazenby in Oslo, Norway. The following report chronicles our previous meeting with the former James Bond 007 at the SciFiWorld fair 2014 in Malmö, Sweden.

Being a film journalist and lifelong James Bond 007 fan, I have had the pleasure of shaking hands with Pierce Brosnan and locking eyes with Daniel Craig's steely blue glare. But I never dreamed that I would get to meet the anomaly that is George Lazenby: The man who played the part just once, only to spend his entire life trying in vain to distance himself from it.

Read Bond•O•Rama's interview with Pierce Brosnan (2012)

Brian "Brie" Iskov and George Lazenby, Malmö 2014. © Photo: Private collection

George Robert Lazenby was born on 5 September 1939. The brown-eyed Aussie made film history as the male model who filled in for Sean Connery as James Bond 007 in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the sixth film in the EON Productions series.

I'd never been an actor before. I became James Bond through my arrogance and ignorance and not knowing I couldn't do it.

- George Lazenby

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“Shaken Not Stirred”: Flyer for The Royal Danish Ballet (2001)

From 19 to 25 May 2001, The Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen performed three contemporary ballet choreographies as an end of season show called "Shaken Not Stirred".

The flyer, pictured below, was heavily influenced by the James Bond films, as was the third and final part of the performance, entitled "Off the Record". Artistic director Aage Thordal-Christensen choreographed this "highly dramatic and strongly sensual dance inspired by 70's spy thrillers".

The use of original music scores from EON Productions' film franchise was nixed due to rights issues. Instead, Norwegian-Danish DJ duo Ben Horn (Mikkas and Lars B) put together a suite of "classical music with elements of new electronic genres such as electronica, two-step and drum'n' bass".

Kgl Ballet Shaken Not Stirred 2001

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“The Program” (2015): Michael G. Wilson’s cameo performance

"The Program", a French-British co-production directed by Stephen Frears ("The Queen", "Philomena"), is released in Danish cinemas today.

"The Program", which premiered in the UK on 16 October, tells the story of professional cyclist Lance Armstrong (played by Ben Foster) and his fall from grace. Armstrong defeated his early cancer diagnosis and went on to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles, all the while denying his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

A special point of interest for fans of James Bond 007 comes during a brief sequence in which Lance Armstrong receives some hard-hitting news from an oncologist at an American clinic.

The doctor is played by none other than Michael Gregg Wilson, who is of course best known as one of the two main producers behind EON Productions' James Bond film franchise. Wilson is credited in the end crawl of "The Program" for his performance as "Lance's Doctor".

The 73-year old Michael G. Wilson has been involved as a writer and/or producer on every James Bond film from EON Productions since "Moonraker" in 1979.

Stephen Frears, instruktør af "The Program" (Foto: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for TIFF)
Stephen Frears, director of "The Program" (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for TIFF)

"Listen, you have to suck up to anyone you can!" Stephen Frears joked, when Bond•O•Rama.dk asked him about Michael G. Wilson's cameo part in "The Program" during Toronto International Film Festival, where the film had its world premiere in September 2015.

Stephen Frears continued:
"Lance Armstrong went to a hospital in America. It was a very, very distinguished doctor who treated Lance, and I thought I'd better find somebody substantial to play him. I just didn't want to be frivolous about the doctor."

At the Danish gala premiere of "SPECTRE" at the Imperial cinema in Copenhagen 27 October 2015, Bond•O•Rama.dk had the chance to ask Michael G. Wilson himself about his guest appearance in "The Program" (watch video below).

"Well, he asked me to play a doctor, yes. The oncologist. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it," Michael G. Wilson said. He then inquired if I had seen "The Program", which I confirmed.
"Oh, good. Well, alright. Don't give me any reviews," Wilson added, laughing.

Michael G. Wilson also reminisced about his brief cameo apperances in the James Bond film series. To date, Wilson has appeared as an extra or a bit player in 16 of the EON Bond films, starting when he was a teenager helping out his stepfather, Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, on the American leg of the "Goldfinger" shoot in 1964.

"I was only there for three weeks. We went to Fort Knox, and I worked there as a runner. Third assistant director kind of thing," Michael G. Wilson told Bond•O•Rama.dk.

"It was a necessity at one time, when I was in "Goldfinger", I had to appear just to fill out the background. But you know, it became sort of something that we did; [it] became a tradition".

Watch the full-length video interview with Michael G. Wilson from the Danish "SPECTRE" gala

In the current Bond smash "SPECTRE" (2015), Michael G. Wilson has a "blink-and-miss-it" walk-on part. He can be glimpsed shaking hands with Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott). The young man accompanying Wilson in this sequence is his son, Gregg Wilson, who is also the film's associate producer. If Michael G. Wilson should ever choose to retire, Gregg Wilson is expected to carry on the EON Productions' James Bond franchise as Barbara Broccoli's main producing partner.

The relationship between Michael G. Wilson and Stephen Frears goes back to 2003, when Wilson and his half-sister and fellow producer, Barbara Broccoli, considered doing a spinoff movie starring Jinx, the Halle Berry character from "Die Another Day" (2002).

Stephen Frears was slated to direct "Jinx" for a short while ("About ten minutes!" Frears chuckled when Bond•O•Rama.dk asked him about it). EON's regular writing duo Robert Wade and Neal Purvis delivered a first draft in 2003, but MGM decided not to go forward with the project, apparently to the dismay of Wilson and Broccoli.

● Read Variety's original news item about "Jinx" (October 2003)

THE PROGRAM title