The year was 1963. John F. Kennedy was
president, TOM JONES won Best Picture and "Combat" was the top action series on
ABC. With little fanfare, United Artists launched, in wide release, a spy movie called DR.
NO with an unknown British actor in the leading role. Theatre owners grumbled that it
starred "that limey truck driver" and if you had called a theatre in Los Angeles
that week and asked what was playing, a manager might have mispronounced his name as
"Seen Connery." They may have grumbled at the films lack of star power and
marquee value, but they couldnt argue with its box office returns, which reached new
heights at Christmas 1965 when the Bond film THUNDERBALL brought in the type of numbers we
see today for SPIDER-MAN and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. Since then, Bond has endured
through multiple interpretations and against a changing global-political landscape, right
up to his hard-edged current incarnation as embodied by Daniel Craig.
The American Cinematheque will present four Sean Connery Bond classics, as well as a
double feature of the best Roger Moore Bond films.
Friday, January 1 - 7:30 PM JAMES BOND
Double Feature: DR.
NO, 1962, MGM Repertory, 111 min. Dir. Terence Young. Now almost taken for
granted, this initial adaptation of Ian Flemings spy novels was a subversive breath
of fresh air, depicting for the first time a secret agent who was an unapologetically
suave, promiscuous - not to mention homicidal - hero. Sean Connery proved amazingly
popular as the ultimate sexy beast, James Bond, ushering in the 1960s spy film craze. One
of the best of the Bond films, with its Caribbean locale, Ursula Andress sensual
presence as the feral nature girl and Joseph Wiseman (who just passed away in October) as
the evil mastermind with black metal hands. Trailer
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, 1967, MGM Repertory, 117
min. Director Lewis Gilbert directs the fifth movie starring Sean Connery as 007. To give
Bond a headstart on the opposition, his death is faked. Hes then sent to Japan to
track down SPECTREs missile silo and liaison with Japanese secret service honcho
Tetsuro Tanba and operatives Mie Hama and Akiko Wakabayashi (two of Toho Studios
most charismatic contract actresses of the era). Karin Dor, veteran of numerous
German-lensed krimis pictures also appears as a villainess. To cap things off, the
great Donald Pleasence is Blofeld. With a script by Roald Dahl (author of The Fantastic
Mr. Fox) and Ken Adams most sleekly spectacular production design ever. Trailer James
Bond expert Steve Rubin will introduce the film.
Saturday, January 2 - 7:30 PM JAMES BOND
Double Feature: GOLDFINGER,
1964, MGM Repertory, 111 min. Dir. Guy Hamilton. "Do you expect me to talk,
Goldfinger?" "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die
" cackles homicidal
villain Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe), as he prepares to re-arrange 007s secret
equipment with a laser beam, in what is widely considered to be the best of the classic
Sean Connery Bond pictures and a high point in 1960s pop culture. (Dig the Aston Martin!
the Shirley Bassey-sung theme song!) Co-starring the saucy Honor Blackman as Bonds
nemesis-turned-partner Pussy Galore, with Shirley Eaton as the gold-painted girl, Harold
Sakata as mute assassin Oddjob, and the venerable home office team of Bernard Lee, Lois
Maxwell and Desmond Llewelyn. Terrific high-60s production design by series veteran Ken
THUNDERBALL, 1965, MGM Repertory, 130 min. Dir.
Terence Young. We have to admit this is one of our favorite Bonds, with three of the most
dynamic Bond women ever: Claudine Auger as Domino, compromised heroine and mistress
to eyepatch-wearing villain Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi); fiery Luciana Paluzzi as Fiona
Volpe, an extremely lethal femme fatale; and Martine Beswick as Paula, Bonds
assistant. Bond has his therapeutic rest cure cut short when a British bomber with two
A-bombs aboard is hijacked by SPECTRE and secreted below the waters of the Caribbean.
Winner of the Oscar for Best Special Effects (John Stears). Trailer James
Bond expert Steve Rubin will introduce the film and hold a trivia contest at 7:00 PM.
Sunday, January 3 - 7:30 PM JAMES BOND
Double Feature: MOONRAKER, 1979, MGM Repertory, 126 min. Dir. Lewis Gilbert.
James Bond goes to space in his 11th outing, which stars Roger Moore as Bond and the
gorgeous Lois Chiles as his love interest. Richard Kiel is back from THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
as imposing villain Jaws, and production designer Ken Adams spectacular sets make
this one of the most visually striking films in the series. Trailer
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, 1981, MGM Repertory, 127
min. Dir. John Glen. In his fifth film as Bond (the series 12th), Roger Moore
battles villainous Kristatos (Julian Glover) in an effort to locate a weapons system after
it sinks in the Ionian Sea. Carole Bouquet (THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE) is the
beautiful Bond girl here, and a stunning ski slope chase is just one of the movies
dynamic set-pieces. Trailer