Flashback No. 3

This review appeared in the magazine New Video Movies in Oct/Nov 1984

This is the thirteenth James Bond film to be made since the series began in 1962 with “Dr. No”. It is the sixth featuring Roger Moore which would have equaled Connery’s outings, except for “Never Say Never Again”, being made by Connery at the same time.

Over one billion people (a quarter of the world’s population) have seen the first twelve Bond films at the theatre and even more than that on television. It is therefore not surprising that the makers would stick to the same successful formula. Non stop action, lovely women, clever villains, incredible gadgets and equipment all blend together to provide two hours of enjoyable viewing.

The plot is set mainly in India, the base of the beautiful Octopussy (Maud Adams), the Head of a far flung empire of hotels, shipping, theatres and among other things a traveling circus. She is served by a group of stunning girls who are skilled in the martial arts, doubling as a formidable attack force and showgirls for the circus. Louis Jordan is the villainous Afghan Prince, Kamal Khan, who conspires with the rebel Russian General Orlov (Steven Berkoff) to steal a priceless Faberge coronation egg and precipitate World War III.

Octopussy maintains and in some areas surpasses the high standards set in the earlier Bond films and whilst I personally find it hard to visualise Moore as 007, I do appreciate the professionalism of the entire film.

Spy Versus Spy

This article appeared in the Herald Sun newspaper in October 1997

James Bond faces his toughest rival yet-
another Bond, writes Bob Tourellotte

James Bond, agent 007 needs a bodyguard. Or better yet, a very good lawyer. The fictional superspy has battled the world’s most diabolical villains on land and sea, in the air, even in space, and he has always won. But now he faces being ripped in two. A second studio has announced plans to make a series of Bond movies even though MGM claims the franchise and actively keeps it going.

Two Bonds could dilute the world’s most successful film franchise as well as confuse moviegoers.
Sony Pictures Entertainment and its deep pocketed parent, Sony Corp, say they want to go into the Bond business big time.

Hollywood is aghast, saying Sony could trigger one of the biggest legal battles in years – complete with rumours of a personal vendetta and lots of money.

In fact the story might make a good movie, if only some studio could get the rights. Sony says it plans to make a series of Bond movies with Kevin McClory, producer of the 1965 Bond picture Thunderball and a 1993 remake Never Say Never Again. The deal is a direct challenge to rival MGM, which, with affiliates, owns the rights to 18 of the 20 Bond movies.

“Any claim that (McClory) can create a James Bond franchise is delusional,” MGM chairman Frank Mancuso says. “We hope that Sony has not been duped by Mr. McClory’s deception.”

Sony executives will not comment on whether they are dupes or victims of a plot or simply know a good deal when they see one. Under the deal Sony’s Columbia Pictures will make a series of movies based on original work by McClory, Bond novelist Ian Fleming and Jack Whittingham, all of whom contributed to the Thunderball screenplay.

McClory still owns the rights to Thunderball and characters in it, including gadget genius M and Bond’s secretary, Miss Moneypenny.

Other Bond rights belong to United Artists, a film unit of MGM, and the heirs of Bond movie producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli.

Since debuting in 1962, the Bond movies have generated more than $4.4 billion in revenue around the world, or about $125.3 million a year on average. It is the most successful film franchise ever.

The most recent, 1995’s Goldeneye, hauled in more than $511.7 million for MGM globally.
Perhaps even more important than revenue is Sony’s timing. MGM will launch its 18th Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies, starring Pierce Brosnan, in December.

Born to be Bond

This article appeared in the Ezy Entertainment magazine in July 1996

Pierce Brosnan thought his chance to play 007 had long gone. But he was wrong. Now the star of Goldeneye can look forward to many more adventures for Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Pierce Brosnan believes he was destined to play James bond. In fact, he says fate took matters into its own hands when he was just a child. How so? The very first film young Pierce saw was Goldfinger. And it’s an experience that is indelibly etched in his memory.

“I looked up at the big screen for the first time and I saw a naked lady and a cool man who could get out of any situation,” he recalls. “I was captivated, magicked, blown away. It stirred things in my loins I had never known before.”

For years the producers of the popular series have been convinced that Brosnan would make a damn good Bond, too. But it’s taken almost a decade for their vision to be realised. Bond supremo Cubby Broccoli first approached him about the role in 1986, after Roger Moore bowed out, but Brosnan was forced to turn it down because of commitments to the Remington Steele TV series.

“My first reaction was to tell them to shove the Remington contract,” he recalls. “But they had me by the short and curlies. Without doubt they’d have sued. If I’d been on my own I might of said ‘Sod it! Go ahead!’ But I had a family to think about and I do, deep down, believe that if you sign a contract you should honour it.”

Not long after the devastating decision, Brosnan’s life was thrown into complete turmoil. The Remington Steele series was canceled, his career fell into the doldrums, and his Australian born wife, Cassandra Harris, died of ovarian cancer. Tough times, but this gentle 42 year old Irishman is no stranger to personal trauma. His father walked out on his family when he was a baby and his mother moved to England looking for work, leaving him to be brought up by a succession of relatives. Brosnan joined her at age 11 and, after leaving school, worked as a barman, cab driver and labourer to make ends meet. His determination to succeed eventually lead to roles on the London stage, then the popular mini-series The Manions of America, and eventually his breakthrough role as the pseudo detective Remington Steele.

So it’s no surprise that Brosnan fought back from his latest misfortunes with equal determination. he scored supporting roles in Mrs. Doubtfire and Love Affair, as well as the lead in Lawnmower Man. But it wasn’t till Bond that he re-emerged as a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood.

For Brosnan, there’s the added thrill to being offered the James Bond role twice. “When something comes into your life a second time it carries a certain significance,” he says. “It’s unbelievable that it did – this was like unfinished business for me.”

More than five years after his wife’s death, Brosnan is eager to use his James Bond role to raise the profile of Women’s health issues. “Hopefully, my success will increase my ability to have a voice, stand up and be counted in the fight against breast and ovarian cancer.”

With box office receipts for Goldeneye in the millions, he’s well on his way. The first Bond movie in six years, Goldeneye marks a return to form for everyone’s favourite secret agent. previous installments starring Timothy Dalton had seen the Bond formula lose a little of it’s magic. Brosnan’s Bond, however, is more like the smart, hard living rogue that Sean Connery and Roger Moore played with such relish. The film also feature plenty of old fashioned action that fans have come to expect. it races at breakneck speed from Puerto Rico to Switzerland with all the requisite car chases and shootouts. Brosnan even performed many of his own stunts, including a spectacular 35m bungie jump.

That’s another important element of Bond’s appeal, his success as a ladies man, hasn’t been neglected either. Throughout his 33 year reign, James Bond has romanced more than 55 women in locations as diverse as a sauna, a hospital, a tent, an iceberg and a submarine. Goldeneye keeps the score admirably high. Brosnan is surrounded by beautiful women throughout the film, including Izabella Scorupco (who plays a systems programmer who gets her man), Famke Jansen ( a nasty type who crushes her enemies to death between her thighs) and Samantha Bond (Miss Moneypenny).

Still the star laughs at the notion of being a sex symbol. “It’s a hoot, just a bit of a laugh,” he says. “But it’s wonderful, I accept it. If people want to call me a sex symbol, yeah, sure, I’ll run with it – It pays the rent.”

Modesty aside, the future for Brosnan looks bright. He’s signed a four picture deal with the Bond franchise, is dating a former model/actress turned environmental journalist, Keely Shaye Smith, and has become one of Hollywood’s most in demand actors again. But he remains humble about his ability to bring Bond to life as well as at least one of his predecessors.

“Connery is still the man in my books,” he says.

The ‘Flashback’ articles on Permission To Kill are re-printed from original newspaper and magazine articles, and are presented as a piece of history. The article has been posted in good faith, and the original author, publication and date have been listed (where known). If you are the original author or publisher, and would like the this article removed from the blog please feel free to contact me.
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