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Entries in Bond James Bond (39)

Tuesday
Apr082014

From Russia With Love's Visual Style

On the 50th anniversary of "From Russia With Love"'s US release our friend and James Bond expert Deborah Lipp (she even wrote a book about him!) is here to talk 007...

Sean Connery in "From Russia With Love" released 50 years ago today in the States

After 23 official films and 2 unofficial ones, From Russia With Love, the second James Bond adventure, remains the greatest of them all. Considered an iconic film in many ways, it may surprise the casual Bond viewer to note that certain "iconic" aspects of the Bond franchise were missing from or created in this film.

Let's focus on From Russia With Love's extraordinary visual signature on this anniversary

The first James Bond film, Dr. No, featured the production design of Ken Adam. Adam is justifiably famous. In Dr. No, he designed such sets as the nuclear launch room, and, needing one last set when the budget ran out, came up with an exquisitely simple interrogation room, as perfect as any of his more elaborate work. Adam worked on a total of seven Bond films, creating such sets as Goldfinger's Fort Knox and the hollowed-out volcano lair in You Only Live Twice. He is considered synonymous with the look of James Bond movies, but he didn't do From Russia With Love. He was busy working on Dr. Strangelove—go ahead and revisit the war room scene in Kubrick's film and ask yourself if it doesn't look an awful lot like a James Bond movie.

No, art direction for From Russia with Love was done by Syd Cain. Cain is kind of impressive. Like Ken Adam, he did multiple Bond films and worked with Stanley Kubrick (in Cain's case, on Lolita). 

The eye-popping chess tournament scene in From Russia with Love, in which the chess game takes place on a raised dais above a checkerboard floor mimicking the chessboard itself, is Cain's work. The movie also featured Blofeld's yacht-based lair, extensive scenes on the Orient Express, and location footage in Istanbul augmented by opulent set design. In fact, opulence is a good word to hang on Cain's work, and FRWL is an opulent movie.

Another iconic visual element in Bond films is the title sequence. Title design by Maurice Binder is considered part of the Bond signature, and Binder was there from the beginning. Dancing girls, silhouettes, sinuous animated movement, and the famed gunbarrel sequence were all Binder's designs. He did the title sequences for every Bond film from the first one in 1962 through License to Kill in 1989. Except two: From Russia with Love and Goldfinger. Robert Brownjohn did those. 

FRWL's title sequence features the credits projected on the mostly-nude body of a bellydancer. It's beautiful and so very Bond, so typical of Binder's signature work that you may wonder if Brownjohn wasn't influenced by the first Bond title sequence. He wasn't: Dr. No's titles are a psychedelic explosion of colored dots. Male and female dancing silhouettes come in around the 1.40 mark, and by 2.15 we're into the "Three Blind Mice" sequence—three blind beggars who turn out, as the movie begins, to be assassins. Nope, the sensual body of a woman in Bond titles wasn't made iconic by the iconic Bond title designer. 

From Russia With Love is great for many reasons: Plot, dialog, cast, and locations all play important roles. But the visual style is a key component. How interesting, then, that it stands separate from what we think of as "the" Bond style.

 

Friday
Nov082013

M Battles the MPAA 

Look, we're all well aware of Harvey Weinstein's history with Oscar campaigning. It's known, it's out there, they've even written books about it. So let's not pretend we're all delicate petals who are shocked by the man's efforts at drumming up heat for his annual roster of year-end awards contenders. Every studio does, most just don't do it on quite the same scale. And let's face it, sometimes his schemes are for the greater good to allow films to be discovered by more audiences. Having said that, however, I think we can all agree that he has well and truly outdone himself this time.

The story is still developing - we'll be sure to share the entire video when it surfaces on Funny or Die - but Harvey Weinstein appeared on CBS This Morning  yesterday to launch a campaign against Philomena's R rating from the MPAA due its use of "two f words". He uses words like "gentle", "humour" and "joy" to describe  Philomena  whilst comparing it to The King's Speech, which also went through a very public ratings controversy. None of this is news. Who he recruited to do battle with the Motion Picture Association of America, on the other hand, is news. Oh boy, is it news. Strange news. Odd news. Just watch for yourself.



That's right, M! Back from the grave of Skyfall's manor, Judi Dench in character as James Bond's boss has come out swinging. To quote Harvey himself on the TV, there's a "Kafka-esque absurdity" to it, don't you think? The MPAA may be able to resist Harvey, but can they resist Dench? Goodness gracious. Oscar season just entered a whole new level. We're through the looking glass, people. This is almost as good as the time David Lynch took to the streets of LA with a cow to campaign for Laura Dern and Inland Empire! As mentioned before, there's more to come, but this is the teaser that Harvey premiered yesterday. I think we can all agree that we're looking forward to seeing how this story develops.

And because I know y'all love you some Julie Andrews...

 

Friday
Jul122013

Cinema Swimwear: Dr No

This summer The Film Experience is launching its own swimwear line! *not really

Back to Results | You are in: Swimwear

larger viewThe Honey Ryder Bikini With Knife Belt
★★★★★ - 37 Reviews

Product Details
Ursula Andress has said the design is her own; that the bathing suit created by Tessa Prendergast (neé Welborn) was entirely unsatisfactory. This is a sturdy model, suitable for snorkeling, diving for shells, escaping mechanical “dragons,” knife fights, and singing quietly to yourself. The suit is mandatory only if you're being filmed -- the book version of Dr. No prefers you do the diving in the nude.

Looking for that perfect bikini to catch James Bond and global moviegoers' eyes?

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May292013

Sky Falling For A Second Time

JA from MNPP here, with the word that Sam Mendes is back in talks to direct another James Bond movie, after having removed himself from the conversation back in March. I found the news that he wasn't doing it earlier this year more surprising than this news today that he is - Skyfall was the biggest moneymaking Bond ever, not to mention scoring the franchise its first Oscar since 1965, and it seemed pretty cut and dry that he'd want to help Daniel Craig back into his blue trunks for another go-round (wouldn't we all). 

 

Personally I had sort of a weird reaction to Skyfall - I loved it the first time I saw it, only to sense a precipitous decline with subsequent viewings - it didn't hold up for me at all, once that initial thrill wore off. But it sure was beautiful to look at, the cast was great, and with it ending right where the first Bond movie Dr. No began maybe Mendes can make a slightly less bloated, less self-serious movie this time. And maybe give the terrific Naomie Harris something real, besides Daniel Craig, to chew on!

 

On the real down-side, I totally want Kate Winslet to be a Bond girl, and I don't think it's going to happen with Mendes leading the charge (I don't care what their pr people tell me - nobody's post-marital relations are that good). What do we think about Mendes heading back into Bond waters? are we sad that Nicolas Winding Refn isn't happening?
.
Thursday
Mar072013

Linker's Game

Pajiba on the fall of the once brilliant Orson Scott Card. How is this the same man that wrote Ender's Game (coming soon to a movie theater near you)?
New York Times "Nora Ephron's Final Act" this piece about her death was written by her son.
Gothamist chooses the 12 Best Movie Theaters in NYC. Solid choices though I do think Film Forum and Lincoln Plaza are just so uncomfortable seating-wise, and the latter isn't one-of-a-kind like Film Forum so I try to never go there.

Vulture a sitcom smackdown between Sex & The City and 30 Rock. As someone who loves both shows, I thought this was a fascinating comparison but the readers got really super ultra angry
CHUD on the upcoming werewolf Netflix series Hemlock Grove. (I do think it's interesting that Netflix is moving into production but I fear for audiences. After years of getting a lot of things for free the model seems to be moving towards having about 14 different subscriptions to see all the stuff you wanna see.)
In Contention I've tried to write about everything that's going on with Steven Spielberg a million times this week (He's so busy! Those Lincoln losses must have lit a fire) but I'm giving up and now linking you over to Tapley who will explain it all.

two thing that are not happening
In closing I'll just be let it know that I think it's very smart that Sam Mendes has opted to pass on directing Bond 24 which is wise since the series might not be able to top Skyfall given the billion dollar gross and the 50th anniversary hoopla and the Oscar stats which more than doubled the franchise's entire history with the Academy! I think it's very sad that Disney is not developing any handdrawn animated feature.