Sunday, 19 July 2015


Plot-wise, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE was a
remake of Dr. NO, but with a far bigger budget. The
idea of JAMES BOND becoming Japanese is ludicrous,
and while it may work in the book (if it's even in the book
- I forget), on screen it's like an idea from a 'CARRY ON'
film.  There are some good moments, but, as was evident
starting to look a little tired of the role.  By the time he
returned in DIAMONDS Are FOREVER, the
role was looking tired of him.

Enjoy the trailer.


TC said...

I first saw this one in the early 1970's, when it was re-released on a double bill with Thunderball. I must have been 12 or 13, and they were the first real James Bond movies I had ever seen. (Although I had seen some of the various imitators, like Man From U.N.C.L.E., on TV.) Later, after seeing the earlier Bond movies, I realized just how formulaic and repetitious the Bond series had become by the time these two were made.

With You Only Live Twice, the producers were really looking back, trying to repeat whatever had worked before. Not only is the premise (SPECTRE sabotaging the space program) a remake of Dr. No, they also bring in a red haired femme fatale, because Fiona Volpe was such a big hit in the previous movie. (I think Karin Dor was unfairly lambasted by the fans and critics, who compared her to Luciana Paluzzi instead of judging her performance on its own merits. She's the George Lazenby of Bond villains.)

The plot makes little or no sense. Helga stages a plane crash to kill Bond instead of simply shooting him or slitting his throat. When Bond investigates the volcano, they send helicopters to shoot him down. If they had left him alone, he would have gone back and reported that he did not find anything suspicious. And even if they had succeeded in shooting him down, wouldn't the British and Japanese secret services both just send more agents to investigate his death?

Blofeld recognizes Bond because "only one man we know carries a Walther PPK." Isn't it standard issue for the British Secret Service? (That was implied in "Dr. No.") And Blofeld's "surprise victim" ploy (berating one henchman, then killing the other) was already becoming a cliche. And when 007 and Blofeld finally meet face-to-face for the first time, you could almost wish they hadn't. It was an anticlimax.

And, yes, the 6'2" Connery trying to pose as a Japanese was laughable. He was not even forty when this film was made, but looked a lot older. Even comparing YOLT to Thunderball, just two years earlier, it's surprising how much weight he had put on, and how visibly he had aged.

B Smith said...

What an odd trailer...the main plot of the film - Russian and American space capsules are disappearing - is ignored completely.

Imagine a trailer for Jaws which has scenes of Brody and the mayor arguing, Quint talking about the Indianapolis, the meeting to decide about what to do about the shark, and a bunch of teenagers having a night-time party on the beach.....but no shark whatsoever!

I have to admit this is my favourite Bond film, though (it was the first one I saw on the big screen when it first came out); it may be a remake of Dr No, but by time it came along they had the budget to do this bigger, but not too ludicrously so. A pity the shots of the SPECTRE rocket relanding look so...well, Derek Meddings could have done it better even then.

Kid said...

I think Connery was in his early 40s (41-42) when he returned for Diamonds Are Forever, TC, yet he looked as if he was in his mid-50s. Roger Moore, who's around 3 years older than Connery, was 45 when he did Live & Let Die, yet looks far younger than Sean did at the time.


Funny you should say that, BS, because the producers considered using the Andersons for the movie, but I'm not sure why it didn't happen. Derek Meddings finally came on board for The Man With The Golden Gun in 1974. In YOLT, you can actually see the cable lowering the rocket into the base, and the volcano eruption at the end of the movie is extremely poorly executed.

baab said...

The theme tune has been one of my most enjoyed pieces of music since the first time I heard it.
I often wander around singing or whistling it.

Kid said...

Before I got the original soundtrack LP, the first version I heard of it (apart from hearing it when I saw the movie) was on The World Of James Bond Adventure with Roland Shaw & his Orchestra, on the Decca label. It's probably the best soundtrack cover album of Bond themes ever recorded.

baab said...

I went and had a listen to Roland Shaw & his Orchestra's version.
It started okay but when the vocals came in I had to switch it off.
As usual,first impressions win with me when it comes to music.
I am curious as to which version of,for example,You only live twice,Do you prefer?

Kid said...

I'd have to listen to them both again to compare (although I suspect it would be Nancy's), but I can say that I prefer Roland Shaw's version of The Look Of Love - that's probably because I heard it before the original 'though.

DeadSpiderEye said...

I think Barry must've used Nancy's cues for the recording when he does his version because all the covers I've heard have been painfully flat timing.

Kid said...

Nancy did have a curious voice, sometimes verging on being off-key. I believe Shirley Bassey did a version of the song first, but the producers decided to go with someone different.

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