Friday, April 22, 2016
So many screenwriting hands in the fire (Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins receive ultimate credit) means the story doesn’t always hang loose, and some of the visuals are a little sloppy, particularly the process shots. Still, what is here is pretty fun, mostly exciting, and occasionally funny.
Sean Connery’s James Bond is sent to Nassau to investigate the theft of two nuclear bombs, which SPECTRE is holding for ransom. Though we see M (Bernard Lee) giving orders to several 00 agents on the same case, the film never checks in with them. Since we know SPECTRE operative Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) is in the Bahamas with the bombs, what the devil are M’s other agents doing all this time?
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON crewmen Ricou Browning and Lamar Boren handle the copious underwater photography, which includes a busy climax featuring dozens of extras in distinctively colored wetsuits killing each other — exactly the way a James Bond film should end. Connery was still enjoying the role of Bond, while on the other end, a dubbed Celi is a little wet as Largo.
THUNDERBALL includes an appearance by (a partially seen) Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who would be the main heavy in the next film, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, with the face of Donald Pleasence. John Barry composed the iconic score and co-wrote the theme song with Don Black, which Tom Jones performed. Because of the odd legal arrangements involving the title, McClory was able to produce a remake in 1983 called NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN and somehow convince Connery to star in it.