Sunday, 1 May 2011

Oh, I travel... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.

Thunderball (1965)
Chosen by Blogalongabond which has lots to say on the movie

So I am slightly late with this one, a not very well regarded Bond film but the first one I owned (and indeed one of my only films as a child on purchased video), I used to watch this every week and knew the dialogue off by heart so it holds a special place for me.

Bond's Intro: Still wearing the hat for the gun barrel bit we then see a coffin with the initials JB (continuing a preoccupation with Bond's death in these pre creds, we get another one next film), naturally a clumsy fake out which leads into a clumsy fight but i like it's low key struggle even if we are clearly verging on parody levels here as Bond fights a grieving 'widow'. 
And remember always have an exit strategy, especially one as cool as using a jet pack.
Theme Song and Credits: Our first nudes! In fact on dvd you can almost make out the naked swimmers taint. Tom jones song is basically a male version of Goldfinger, if you listen closely you can hear the clunk as Jones passes out hanging on to that last note and hits the floor. Solid song though i think i prefer Dionne Warwick with kiss kiss bang bang

The Ladies: Oh my, Fiona Volpe! A riposte to the clumsy turning of Pussy Galore her "But of course, I forgot your ego, Mr. Bond. James Bond, the one where he has to make love to a woman, and she starts to hear heavenly choirs singing. She repents, and turns to the side of right and virtue..." is an absloute delight. A sexy strong presence, she seems as handy with a gun as she does ordering around faceless goons or seducing Bond.
Domino is not nearly as interesting but looks good in black and white (constantly - we get it her name is Domino, I don't go around dressed as a Blacksmith for christ's sake).
Pat Fearing is a bit of a nothing role made uncomfortable by Bond's forcing himself on her and blackmailing her into sex.
And poor ol' Paula Caplan serves no purpose except to die.

The Baddies: Largo is an Eyepatch in search of a character but looks the part and feeds people to sharks (in fact I think he may have a bit of a pathological desire for this as instead of simply drowning Bond or just shooting him he creates an escape route to let the sharks in - Blofeld really needs to start doing psych checks before he hires someone) so is pretty cool.
We get a bit more of best boss ever Blofeld but the rest of the baddies are some ugly henchmen with little personality even the slightly prettier version of Rondo Hatton they have.
But my favourite henchmen may have to be the guy at the end. They are being chased by the navy, have a British Secret Service agent on board fighting but still he thinks it's time to bring up the champagne for a little celebration. That's optimism right there.

License to Kill: Bond is still a strange spy. He gets into a war of pranks with Count Lippe (we never got to him swapping the shampoo for glue) and then Volpe finishes all that. He announces to Largo who he is (despite punching Leiter for saying 007 in front of a goon) but Domino gets to sort all that out. Still he has his moments, he may have co-incidently stumbled onto the pilot doppleganger scheme but he knows to follow it up and is mostly competent in his bumbling way to finishing the job. 
I love that he has no idea who Kutze is at the end, he really is a terrible secret agent.

Bond hates women: He does punch a widow in the face - so ok it turns out to be a spectre agent but still. As mentioned he blackmails Pat fearing into having sex with him.
'Most girls just paddle around. you swim like a man.' he tells Domino in a horrible reverse compliment. When Volpe is giving him a lift it seems strange he would be nervous at speed, I think it is clear he just hates female drivers.

Bond's Crazy knowledge: Recognises a Tong tattoo after a brief glimpse.

Bond's a big fat snob: 'you shouldn't have opened that car door yourself' 
00's killed: It's not specified but two colleagues are mentioned as being killed by Jacques Bouvar (maybe 00s, although nine seats look pretty full when the Operation Thunderball briefing is being given)
Mini Overview: It relies on some contrived plotting and has a whole lot of characters doing nothing but Thunderball is a blast anyway. The big underwater sequences are splendid and coupled with Fiona Volpe make for terrific fun. 
There's quite a few plot holes but the thing that really bothers me is how do they board the plane at the end?

1 comment:

  1. "An eyepatch in search of a character" is one of those glorious statements I really wish I had thought up myself. Good stuff, sir!