Scenes That I Love: The Underground Chase From Skyfall

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy birthday to director Sam Mendes!

Now, it’s true that Sam Mendes won an Oscar for directing American Beauty and he probably came close to winning a second one for his work on 1917.  However, my favorite Mendes film remains Skyfall.  Skyfall is one of the best of the Bond films and I say this as someone who was not really a fan of Daniel Craig’s mopey interpretation of the character.  Based on his previous films, Sam Mendes may not have been the first name that come to mind when people talked about someone who could make a great Bond film but, with Skyfall, he did just that.

Here, in a scene that I love, James Bond pursues Silva (Javier Bardem) through the London Underground.  It’s very suspenseful, very droll, and, most importantly, very British.

Here’s The Final Trailer for No Time To Die!

In a little over a month, No Time To Die is finally going to be released!

Can you believe it?  A part of me feels like we’ve been waiting for this film for close to a 100 years.  No Time To Die was first announced in 2016 and, like a lot of people, I was surprised and excited to hear that it would be directed by Danny Boyle.  Boyle, however, left the film due to creative differences and was replaced by an equally intriguing choice, Cary Joji Fukunaga.  All of the behind-the-scene turmoil and the constant rumors of Daniel Craig being tired of playing Bond gave the impression that No Time To Die was a trouble production and the frequent changing of the film’s release date didn’t help.  Of course, the truth of the matter is that No Time To Die was one of the many big films that was delayed by the pandemic.  Still, it has been six years since James Bond was last seen on a movie screen.

No Time To Die is going to be Daniel Craig’s last outing as Bond.  There have been rumors of Craig’s Bond dying and someone else stepping up to assume both his name and his rank.  I think it’s more probable that Bond either retires or fakes his own death like Bruce Wayne did at the end of The Dark Knight trilogy.  The Craig Bond films have borrowed more from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films than most critics have acknowledged.

The final trailer for No Time To Die dropped yesterday.  It seems to promise a lot of typical Bond stuff — glamorous locales, elaborate action scenes, and Ben Whishaw.  It also features Craig’s rather angsty interpretation of Bond.  (I’ve always felt that Craig tends to get a little bit too angsty as Bond, to the extent that he actually crossed the line from troubled to whiny in SPECTRE.)  Lea Seydoux reprises her SPECTRE love interest role and Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld also makes an appearance in the trailer and it would appear that we’re still doing the whole, “Every Craig film is a part of a bigger story” thing.

Rami Malek is also prominently featured, playing a villain.  Hopefully, this villain won’t be another lost relative of Bond’s.  That was a narrative decision that made absolutely no sense in SPECTRE….

You may have, at this point, guessed that I’m hoping this film will be more like Casino Royale and Skyfall than like Quantum of Silence and SPECTRE.  My feelings on the Craig films have been mixed but I’m an unapologetic fan of the Bond franchise so I can’t wait to finally see the new movie.

No Time To Die will be released on October 8th!  I’ll be there!

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Guy Hamilton Edition

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

98 years ago today, the British director Guy Hamilton was born.  Though Hamilton rarely seems to get as much credit as Terence Young, he was one of the most important of the early James Bond directors.  With Goldfinger, he set the template the many subsequent Bond films would follow: an over-the-top villain, nonstop action, and one liners.  (“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”  Not to mention, “I must be dreaming.”)  Hamilton went on to direct Sean Connery’s final Bond outing and he also directed the first two films to star Roger Moore as 007, all three of which are rather underrated in my opinion.  Guy Hamilton’s Bond films reminded us that James Bond’s cinematic adventures work best when they’re fun to watch, which is something that I think the modern Bond films would be well-served to consider.

In honor of Guy Hamilton’s contributions to my favorite film franchise, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Films

Goldfinger (1964, dir by Guy Hamilton)

Diamonds are Forever (1971, dir by Guy Hamilton)

Live and Let Die (1973, dir by Guy Hamilton)

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974, dir by Guy Hamilton)

Here’s The 2nd Trailer For No Time to Die!

Here is the 2nd trailer for what will probably be Daniel Craig’s final outing as British secret agent James Bond, No Time To Die!

Speaking as someone who has had mixed feelings about Daniel Craig’s tenure as Bond (I loved Skyfall and I liked Casino Royale but Quantum of Solace and SPECTRE rank as two of the worst Bond films of all time), I have to say that this trailer looks pretty good.  If nothing else, I’m happy to see an emphasis on action as opposed to the whiny angst that overtook SPECTRE.

As critical as I’ve been of Daniel Craig’s interpretation of the character, he’s a good actor and he’s got an underappreciated talent for comedy.  Oddly, the Bond films haven’t really taken advantage of that talent.  Craig has been the grim and serious Bond. which may be true to Ian Fleming’s original conception of the character but which hasn’t always made him a compelling cinematic hero.  Hopefully, Craig will actually get a chance to have some fun with the role in No Time To Die.


Film Review: Becoming Bond (dir by Josh Greenbaum)

In 1968, after Sean Connery announced that he would no longer be playing the role, there was a worldwide search for a new actor to play the role of James Bond.

Several actors were mentioned as a replacement, some of them better known than others.  Future Bonds Timothy Dalton and Roger Moore were both considered.  Oliver Reed was considered but ultimately not chosen because he was considered to be a bit too “rough” for the refined Bond.  Another intriguing possibility was Terrence Stamp but he was ultimately rejected because it was felt he would want too much creative control over the character.  Michael Caine turned down the role because he had already played a secret agent in three films and he didn’t want to run the risk of getting typecast.  As the start date for production on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service approached, the producers needed someone who looked good, was convincing in the action scenes, and who maybe could act.

In the end, they picked George Lazenby, an Australian-born model who had never acted before.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the inexperienced Lazenby’s performance was not critically acclaimed.  After all, he was not only stepping into an iconic role but he was also replacing one of the most charismatic actors around, Sean Connery.  In retrospect, critics have come to appreciate On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and, to a certain extent, even George Lazenby’s performance as well.  Lazenby may not have had Connery’s confidence but On Her Majesty’s Secret Service would not have worked with a confident Bond.  For this film, which found Bond feeling underappreciated by M and retiring from the spy game so he could marry Tracy, a more vulnerable actor was needed and Lazenby fit the bill.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service would be the only time that George Lazenby would play James Bond.  Despite being offered a million pound contract to portray Bond in another film, Lazenby publicly walked away from the role and Sean Connery returned for Diamonds Are Forever.

Why did Lazenby walk away from the role?  It depends on who you ask.  Some say that he was stunned by the bad reviews.  Some say that he let his fame go to his head and he decided that he was bigger than Bond.  At the time, Lazenby said that he considered Bond to be a “brute” and that he was all about peace.  A hippie Bond?  I think even Daniel Craig’s version of the character would take issue with that.

The 2017 documentary, Becoming Bond, takes a look at the events that led to George Lazenby becoming Bond.  The film is framed around a lengthy interview with Lazenby and includes several dramatized recreations of his past life.  (Live and Let Die‘s Jane Seymour appears as Maggie Abbott, the agent who encouraged Lazenby to pursue the role of Bond.)  The film opens with Lazenby’s unruly childhood in Australia and follows him as he goes from being a high school drop out to an auto mechanic to a car salesman.  Eventually, he follows his girlfriend to London and, somewhat randomly, he falls into being a model.  He finds minor fame selling candy in commercials and then, eventually, he finds bigger fame as James Bond before being reduced to being the answer to a trivia question after he walks away from the role.

The film’s biggest strength is that George Lazenby is a charmer.  Still a handsome rouge even in his late 70s, Lazenby narrates his story with the skill of a born raconteur.  Listening to him talk, it’s possible to understand how someone could have looked at the young Lazenby and viewed him as being a potential James Bond.  In fact, he’s got so much charm that it takes a while to realize that his stories occasionally contradict themselves.  At one point, the film’s unseen interviewer stops him to ask if all of his stories are actually true.  Lazenby merely smiles.

The film is full of details about Lazenby’s life before Bond and also all of the the trouble that he went through to even be considered for the role.  (Lazenby claims that he stole one of Sean Connery’s suits and wore it to the audition.)  Unfortunately, it doesn’t really tell us much about why Lazenby left the role, other than the fact that it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Lazenby does talk about the restrictions that were put on him by the film’s producers.  For instance, he was told that he couldn’t come to the film’s premiere unless he cut his hair and shaved his beard because “Bond doesn’t have a beard.”  In the end, though, Lazenby seems just as confused as any of us as to what exactly it was that he was thinking when he turned down a second Bond film.  One gets the feeling that it ultimately came down to not wanting to be told what to do, which is something I can respect even if it does seem like Lazenby was a bit short-sighted.  (Connery had similar objections but still stuck with the role long enough to make enough money to ensure that he could spend the rest of life doing what he wanted to do.)

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t go into much detail about Lazenby’s life after Bond.  He mentions that he got married and he sold real estate.  He doesn’t talk much about the films that he made after On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and that’s unfortunate because, even though none of this films were considered to be major productions, it was in those films that Lazenby proved that he actually could act and that he deserved better than to just be remembered as a cautionary tale.  Check out his grieving father in the 1972 giallo, Who Saw Her Die?  Or the blackmailed politician that Lazenby played in 1979’s Saint Jack.  If nothing else, those roles would eventually provide Lazenby with a bit of redemption as modern viewers discovered not only those films but also Lazenby’s talent.  Unfortunately, that part of Lazenby’s story goes untold.

Becoming Bond is available on Hulu.  While I wish it had gone into a bit more details about Lazenby’s post-Bond life, it’s still required viewing for any fan of 007.

Song of the Day: The James Bond Theme, performed by The BBC Concert Orchestra under Keith Lockhart

One hundred and eleven years ago today, Albert R. Broccoli was born in New Your City.

Broccoli would eventually enter the film business, going from working as an assistant director with Howard Hughes to eventually become a very successful and highly respected film producer.  Today, Broccoli is best-known for producing the James Bond films.  Though Broccoli passed away in 1996, his daughter, Barbara, has continued to co-produce the films in the years since his death.  In short, if not for Albert Broccoli, James Bond probably never would have become a film icon and that would have been a tragedy.

In honor of his birthday, we present to you a song of the day!  In the clip below, The BBC Concert Orchestra performs Monty Norman’s iconic James Bond theme music.


Scenes That We Love: James Bond Meets Honeychile Ryder in Dr. No

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy 84th birthday to Ursula Andress!

Ursula Andress was one of the very first Bond girls, appearing opposite Sean Connery in Dr. No.  Andress played the role of Honeychile Ryder, who was good with a knife and totally willing to trespass on Dr. No.’s beach.  Andress set the standard by which almost all future Bond girls would be judged and the scene where Bond and Ryder first meet remains one of the most famous in the Bond franchise.  It was such a culturally-defining moment in 1962 that it apparently led to rocketing sales of bikinis.  Up until this film came out, bikinis were apparently considered to be too risque to be worn anywhere other than France.

(Personally, I’m thankful that Andress and Dr. No made bikinis popular.  I look good in a bikini and, even if I don’t swim, I do like lying out by the pool and pretending like I’m capable of tanning as opposed to just burning.)

Of course, in the original novel, Honey Ryder is naked (except for a belt and a knife) when Bond first sees her.  Personally, I think that’s a bit much.  I prefer the scene as it plays out in the movie, where everyone is flirtatious and fashionable.

Though Dr. No is best known for turning Sean Connery into a star, it also did wonders for Ursula Andress’s career.  Whereas she had previously been best-known for briefly dating Jams Dean and being married to John Derek, Andress was now an actress who was able to pick her roles and to become financially independent, a development she would later tell the Daily Independent that she owed to “that white bikini.”  Andress also appeared in Playboy several times, even after becoming a star.  When she was asked why, she replied, “Because I’m beautiful,” and I have to say that I absolutely love that answer.

Anyway, from 1962, here’s a scene that we love:

Happy birthday, Ursula Andress!

James Bond returns in the No Time to Die Trailer

Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond is almost upon us. With True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga taking over the direction this time, No Time to Die brings a mix of new faces and returning favorites. Though not much is truly known of the story, it looks like Bond’s relationship with Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) may be on a rocky road, enough to bring him back into service.

Rami Malek is also on board as the villain, which I’m personally excited for, and Ana de Armas (Knives Out) teams up again with Craig, though we’re not exactly sure who’s side she’s on. Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) looks to be a new member of the Double O ranking. Coming back are Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Jeffrey Wright, and Naomie Harris.

No Time to Die opens in cinemas in April 2020.  Enjoy!

I Guess This Is Meant To Be A Teaser For James Bond 25

So, believe it or not, we’ve got a teaser for the next James Bond film.

Yes, even though the film itself is still being filmed, we have a teaser.  It’s not much of a teaser, to be honest.  Mostly, it’s a behind-the-scenes sort of thing.  So, if you had any doubt as to whether or not the production team was actually filming in Jamaica, now you know that they are.  Daniel Craig, Jeffrey Wright, Rami Malek, and a few others are briefly glimpsed.

Again, it’s not much of a teaser but I guess it was felt that something had to be done to combat the bad buzz that this film has been dealing with ever since Danny Boyle left the project.  It’s as if this teaser was specifically shot to say, “Yes, this is a real movie and no, Daniel Craig isn’t miserable and pissed off about playing the role again.”

I’ve seen some online speculation that Rami Malek is going to be playing Dr. No.  I sincerely hope not.  There’s no need to remake the old Bond films.  They’re still a lot of fun.  Plus, I still haven’t gotten over how they ruined Blofeld in SPECTRE.

Apparently, this is going to be Craig’s last outing as Bond.  I have no problem with that.  Craig’s a good actor but he’s always been a bit bland in the role.  At heart, Craig’s a character actor (just check out Lucky Logan if you want to see Craig at his best) and Bond needs to played by a star.

Anyway, here’s the teaser:

Christmas With 007: ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (United Artists 1969)

cracked rear viewer

(Okay, so technically ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE isn’t a Christmas Movie. But neither is DIE HARD, though many consider it to be because it’s set during the holiday season. Well, so is this film, and it’s as close as you’ll get to a James Bond Christmas Movie, so I’m gonna go with that!)

ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE was the first Bond film to not star Sean Connery . Instead, newcomer George Lazenby was given the plum role of 007. Lazenby was a model whose claim to fame was a British TV commercial for a chocolate bar; despite having virtually zero acting experience, producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli offered him an audition and gave him the part. Critics of the time derided Lazenby’s performance, more due to the fact that he wasn’t Sean Connery than anything else. Looking back on the film, he isn’t bad at all; he handles the…

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