“Do you mind if my friend sits this one out? She’s just dead.”

My boyfriend and I recently watched two more films in our Bond marathon, which makes a grand total of five watched with another 17 left to go before Skyfall is released. Skyfall is due for release in the UK at the end of October, so we’ve still got about eight months to see the remaining 17.

Thunderball (1965)

THE VITALS

Director: Terence Young
James Bond: Sean Connery
Notable villain(s): Emilio Largo, Ernst Blofeld
Notable Bond girl(s): Domino, Fiona Volpe

Ever since this Bond marathon began I’ve been itching to watch Thunderball. You see, one of the first things I said when I received the James Bond Ultimate DVD Collector’s Set for Christmas was: “Which is the one with the sharks in?”

Thunderball, aka the-one-with-the-sharks-in, sees 007 take on SPECTRE agent Emilio Largo as he tries to recover two nuclear warheads stolen by Largo.

Set in the beautiful Bahamas, Thunderball really does have it all. There are beautiful girls aplenty – most notably Domino, Largo’s mistress, and Fiona Volpe, a SPECTRE agent – as well as more of Q’s gadgets and a fantastic underwater battle. Add to that Largo’s collection of rare sharks that Bond nearly falls prey to and you’ve got yourself one of the best Bond films, in my opinion.

★★★★

You Only Live Twice (1967)

THE VITALS

Director: Lewis Gilbert
James Bond: Sean Connery
Notable villain(s): Ernst Blofeld
Notable Bond girl(s): Aki, Kissy

Following on from his escapades in Barbados, 007 now takes on the heat of Japan to find out what is happening to spacecrafts that have been hijacked by an unidentified spacecraft – he certainly get about, doesn’t he?

While it does feature a far-fetched plot – perhaps kidnapped spacecrafts wouldn’t have seemed so OTT in the 1960s? – You Only Live Twice does also ground Bond. For the majority of the film he is in Japan instead of hopping from country to country. He also develops a very close relationship with Tiger Tanaka, the head of the Japanese secret service.

You Only Live Twice is also the film that finally introduces us to the head of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. One of the most notorious, if not the most notorious, Bond villains, Blofeld secret hideout is second to none. A fake volcano that hides a secret rocket base? Awesome!

★★★★

Current order of preference: Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Dr. No, From Russia With Love.

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15 thoughts on ““Do you mind if my friend sits this one out? She’s just dead.””

  1. From Russia With Love appears to be many people’s favourite (or one of their favourites) but like you I’m not as fond of it as I am other Sean Connery bond films.

  2. Hi, Claire and company:

    ‘Thunderball’ is a very good Bond film. Specifically for its ditching of an RAF Vulcan bomber (even if it was a model and exceptionally well executed) in the Caribbean. Along with above average underwater stunts. A decent bad guy with Largo and an okay Bond Girl with Domino.

    Definitely on my Top Ten Bond films, but on the low end. Beneath ‘From Russia With Love’ (#1), ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’.

    Avoid ‘Never Say Never Again’ the lamely ridiculous re-make of ‘Thunderball’ at all costs!

    1. That’s what I love about these early Bond flicks – to the 21st century audience they’re tame, enjoyable romps that are a little on the camp side, and I love them!

  3. Not a massive Thunderball fan: largo is essentially ‘number 2’ and Vargas is the worst henchman ever. The mute underwater fight was the final nail in the coffin for me.

    YOLT on the other hand. It had me at “the underground volcano lair is a full-scale, real, working set!!!”

    1. I agree with you there, Vargas is a rubbish henchman. I’ve got to say that I like Largo. Maybe it’s the eye patch! 😛

      YOLT definitely features the best movie villain’s lair! I’m not sure how – or if it’s even possible – to top it.

  4. Thunderball is easily my least favourite Bond film, I felt that the whole plot was sluggish, and underwater battle at the end is so slow and syrupy that it’s hard to maintain any interest in it. You Only Live Twice is one of my favourites though, apart from the bizarre “turning Japanese I really think so” section, it has everything.

    1. Haha, you’ve got that “turning Japanese I really think so” song stuck in my head now, Russ 😛

      Like I said, Bond is much more grounded in YOLT and it’s interesting seeing him with the same people with a long period of time. He shows a lot more emotion!

    1. Thanks, Mike!

      Well, I’ve seen the Craig and Brosnan ones so it’s only really the Moore ones that I’ve missed. He played Bond for 12 years, though, so it’s about time I watched them!

  5. Thunderball is pretty much the first Bond film to fit the modern template – interesting that it was originally written as a screen play not a book. It’s OK but I think the underwater sequences go on too long (which probably explains why there are three different versions of them in different cuts of the film). YOLT is better although in many ways it’s a Roald Dahl film rather than a James Bond film (and I don’t just mean in the scripting department). Interestingly, the plot macguffin is practically the same as that in Dr No and has been used a few times since. We can blame Connery’s departure for the fact that they did it out of order. I’ve never managed to get the internal history to make sense as a result.

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