Archive for For Your Eyes Only

The dark history of For Your Eyes Only

Posted in James Bond with tags , , , on January 22, 2008 by Deborah Lipp

It seems a dark cloud hangs over the movie For Your Eyes Only, which has a strangely high occurrence of tragic loss.

Most Bond fans know that Cassandra Harris, who played Countess Lisle in For Your Eyes Only, was the wife of Pierce Brosnan, and died tragically young (age 43) of ovarian cancer.

Most fans also know that FYEO is the only Bond film without an appearance by M. Bernard Lee, who played M in all the previous films, had just died. Rather than replace him hastily, the Chief of Staff briefs Bond while M is “on leave.”

Michael Gothard, who played Locque, and Jill Bennett, who played Jacoba Brink, both committed suicide; Bennett in 1990 and Gothard in 1992.

And Toby Robins, who appeared briefly as Melina’s mother, died of breast cancer at the age of 56.

What is a Bond song?

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

This seems like a stupid question, but any Bond fan interested in a discussion of Bond songs actually has to ask it.

Is a Bond song the song that plays during the title sequence? That includes the James Bond Theme, which plays during the titles for Dr. No, but most people don’t include Three Blind Mice, which also plays during that film’s titles. For myself, I’m inclined not to include the Bond Theme, since it’s in all the movies, whereas all other Bond songs are tied to one movie.

Another definition is the song that Eon puts out in the hopes of charting. In that case, the Dr. No song is Jump Up Jamaica, which was a huge hit in Jamaica as a movie tie-in song.

Thing is, if people like a song they want to say it goes on the list of Bond songs, and if they don’t, all of a sudden it doesn’t belong. In terms of mid-movie songs, obviously We Have All the Time in the World from OHMSS has to be included, right? Then why not the odious Make It Last All Night from FYEO? If closing credit songs are included, that should mean Surrender from TND and The Experience of Love from GoldenEye, but to tell you the truth, people only really want to include Surrender.

A comprehensive list normally includes Mr. Kiss-Kiss, Bang-Bang, which wasn’t even in any movie, but what about well-loved covers of Bond songs, like Guns n Roses doing Live and Let Die?

It’s all very confusing. Here’s what I decided. My book includes every Bond song that appears in a Bond movie (including mid-movie snippets like Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown?) and closing credits songs (If There Was a Man), but not covers or extras. Except Mr. Kiss-Kiss, Bang-Bang, which I allow as a special exception.

See all that? And I haven’t even discussed the music yet!

Top Bond Films

Posted in Best & Worst with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

From my surveys of a few hundred hardcore Bond fans, asking for a top five, the top ten vote-getters are:
1. Casino Royale (2006)
2. From Russia With Love
3. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
4. The Living Daylights
5. Goldfinger
6. For Your Eyes Only
7. Thunderball
8. Licence to Kill/Dr. No (tie)
10. The Spy Who Loved Me

From the IMDb’s survey of over 11,000 users, asking only for one favorite Bond film back in December of 2006, the top ten vote-getters were:

1. Casino Royale (2006)
2. Goldfinger
3. GoldenEye
4. From Russia With Love
5. Dr. No
6. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
7. The Spy Who Loved Me
8. Live and Let Die
9. You Only Live Twice
10. Thunderball

Could Blofeld Ever Return?

Posted in Ian Fleming, James Bond with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

In comments, Zippertuck asks:

I am a bit confused as to exactly when CR takes place and wondering, even though he was shoved down a smokestack in FYEO, if Blofeld could ever return for an more appropriate death? Never ever liked how Bond never truly got to avenge the death of his wife in true Bondian fashion as happened in the novel YOLT.

Great question. I’m going to deal with CR and chronology in a future post. For now, let’s talk about Blofeld.

In order to understand what happened to Blofeld in the films, you need a little bit of familiarity with the lawsuit over Thunderball. The short version is that Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham, and Ian Fleming collaborated on a television screenplay, but it never went anywhere. Sometime later, Fleming used the abandoned screenplay as the basis for the novel Thunderball. McClory and Whittingham sued. As a result, McClory established ownership of the right to make movies out of Thunderball (which he exercised when he made Never Say Never Again; a remake of TB). (Whittingham signed over his rights to McClory.)

The settlement also gave McClory the rights to unique elements of the novel, including the character of Blofeld. When McClory couldn’t finance filming TB on his own, he made a deal with Eon to co-produce TB, and that deal prevented him from remaking the movie for twelve years. During those twelve years, Eon continued to use Blofeld and SPECTRE. Blofeld was slated to be the villain for TSWLM, which fell outside those years, and that was changed to Stromberg for legal reasons. That was the end of Blofeld in the Bond films.

When John Glenn directed his first Bond film, FYEO, he wanted to resolve the issue of Bond’s revenge upon Blofeld. Thus, the “Man in Wheelchair” character was introduced into the teaser, allowing Bond to kill an unnamed enemy clearly designed to be Blofeld. (Glenn’s memoir, For My Eyes Only, explains that Blofeld was in a wheelchair because he had been injured in OHMSS. I guess he forgot that Blofeld walked just fine in DAF. Maybe he doesn’t see the ones he doesn’t work on.)

Kevin McClory died last year. It is unclear where the rights now reside, but it seems unlikely that SPECTRE or Blofeld will ever return.

Michael Lamont, RIP

Posted in James Bond with tags , , , on September 1, 2007 by Deborah Lipp

Via Commander Bond, I learn this morning of the untimely death of art director Michael Lamont at the age of 59.

007 Nederland reports the very sad news that Michael Lamont, James Bond art director and brother of Peter Lamont, passed away in July, aged 59.

Michael Lamont joined the 007 production crew for 1981’s For Your Eyes Only as an additional art director, and worked in the art department on every James Bond film since, with the exception of Tomorrow Never Dies. Most recently, Michael Lamont worked in the model unit for three of Pierce Brosnan’s 007 films and Casino Royale. In addition to his considerable contribution to the world of 007, Lamont boasted a very impressive resumé, including work on The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Aliens, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone and Batman Begins.

Michael Lamont was also part of the Casino Royale production team that won the Excellence in Production Design Award at the 2007 Art Directors Guild awards.