Flashback No. 5

Warhead 2000AD

Once again a little history from the Bond universe. Unfortunately I do not have a credit for this snippet from the past. I was sorting through my papers on the weekend and I came across a piece of paper with the following (below) written on it. I can only guess that it came from the old KISS KISS BANG BANG website, and I believe it was posted between Goldeneye and pre-production on Tomorrow Never Dies (I guess around 1996).

Bosses of the latest JAMES BOND caper AQUATICA are refusing to be shaken by news of a rival on the horizon. Last week producer KEVIN McCLORY announced he will be signing up past 007s SEAN CONNERY, TIMOTHY DALTON and GEORGE LAZENBY for a Bond adventure called WARHEAD 2000AD. But that has not even caused a raised eyebrow in the headquarters of EON PRODUCTIONS – mastermind behind Aquatica, which stars Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. Spokeswoman, AMANDA SCHOFIELD says, “Of course it’s not a threat. McClory says he’s signed up all those stars but it’s not certain yet. We won’t be speeding up production because of another movie – Bond carries on and nothing like that worries us.”

The ‘Flashback’ articles on Permission To Kill are re-printed from original newspaper, magazine and web 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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Flashback No. 5

Flashback No. 4

The Ad Campaign That Wasn’t

This article, written by Stephen Rebello, appeared in the magazine Premiere in July 1989.

Click on the image below to view a larger version.


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.

Flashback No. 4

Flashback No. 3

Octopussy

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.
Flashback No. 3

Flashback No. 2

The Prisoner: An Enigma and a Tease

By Ivan Hutchinson

This article appeared in the Australian Video Age in the mid 1980s

Only 17 episodes were made, yet Patrick McGoohan’s tantalising thriller series is still one of the best-remembered television programs of the ’60s. It’s now on tape from Syme Home Video, and Ivan Hutchinson says it’s lost none of its appeal.

During 1983, I spent a lot of my working week involved with a late-night show on television devoted, in the main, to the old movie serials and assorted shorts (Pete Smith, Our Gang, etc.). Occasionally, episodes of popular TV shows, such as Bilko and The Honeymooners got a run, but easily the most successful single program of the series was the one devoted to showing Episode One of a late ’60s program called The Prisoner.

A push to screen the whole series came as a result of a poll run by a Melbourne newspaper seeking to discover which of the old television series people would like to see again, and The Prisoner won the nostalgia stakes at an easy canter. Writing this article at the time of the release on cassette by Syme Home Video of four episodes of the series (the rest will be issued in November and December) at least gives me the chance to explain to viewers who didn’t hear my explanation at the time why only the first episode was shown and not the rest of the 17-part series.

The answer was, in a word, unavailability. Executive producer ans star Patrick McGoohan, whose brainchild the program was, didn’t appear at all interested in selling the series to Australian television for late-night viewing when, in fact, it was being revived and shown (we learned later) in prime time in England on Channel 4!

Before discussing the episodes and their presentation, one more personal note about the series: I, like many viewers, was always fascinated by the setting – the village in which No. 6 (Patrick McGoohan) was trapped, a cross between Disneyland and Shangri-La and as menacing in its childlike beauty and mysterious inscrutability as any gingerbread cottage. Was it a set? Surely nowhere in the British Isles would there be that extraordinary mixture of architecture – colonnades, domes, statuary, campanile – surrounded, it seemed (when the prisoner was on the run) by ominous mountains and sea.

As the years passed and memories of the show had faded somewhat, so did my interest in the Prisoner’s village, although the interest revived when we ran Episode One on television. In 1984, while I was on a trip to Wales, relatives took me be car to a place which, as I was told, was famous for its pottery. The day was damp and, after a picturesque drive ending in a narrow road across tidal flats, we came through an archway to Portmeirion. I didn’t know what deja vu really meant until the shock of recognition as I looked around. It was all so familiar – the candy striped canopies, the signs, the pathways, the belltower, the awning covered buggies – and yet it wasn’t until I saw a framed picture of Patrick McGoohan on a nearby wall that I realised that here was the location for the series, faded since those film-making days as far as paint work was concerned but undeniably the same unique place.

Portmeirion, as it is today, was the brainchild of Sir Clough William-Ellis, one of the pioneers of the conservation movement. A successful architect, he wanted to share his enjoyment of landscape and buildings with as many people as possible, and he hoped that Portmeirion could be an object lesson in how a beautiful natural site could be developed without be spoiled.

Opened in 1926, it flourishes to this day and is now run by his descendants, his daughter Susan being the founder and designer of the famous Portmeirion Pottery. It was, to these eyes, a bizarre bu fascinating place, and whoever chose the location for The Prisoner couldn’t have chosen better – it has built-in quaintness and curiousness that is oddly disconcerting in those surroundings.

Back to the series. It was produced in 1967 and starred Patrick McGoohan as a secret-agent who, disgusted and angry, resigns from the service, is gassed and kidnapped and wakes to find himself an unwilling member of a self-contained, cosmopolitan community known simply as “the village”.

Each of the 17 episodes was a variation (often extraordinarily clever) of one simple idea: McGoohan’s attempts to escape from his surroundings and the various efforts of the controllers of the village to “break” him.

If, in the long run, the idea became repetitive and the famous last episode, written by McGoohan himself, hardly satisfies ardent, indeed desperate viewers wanting to know just what it really was all about. The Prisoner is still stylish, imaginative, entertaining television, with an edge to its pace and editing that has rarely been equalled in a series since those days.

The four episodes so far released come two to a cassette, without, unfortunately, any break between the two episodes. Since the stories were not continuous in a strictly narrative sense, there is some confusion as to when one ends and the next begins. Having the credits for each episode only at the end of the second one is also annoying; it seems a pity that there couldn’t have been at least a short break between each story, a breathing space as it were. Since the end credits are brief, these would have done nicely as a divider.

Having said that, let me hasten to add that the four episodes are excellent, the one called Many Happy Returns being one of the best of the series. The other three titles are The Arrival, the first episode which brings McGoohan (No. 6) to the village; Schizoid Man, a tricky piece in which No. 6 is confronted with his duplicate in an attempt to make him break; and A, B + C, another devious plot in which a new drug is used in an attempt to discover the reasons for the unbreakable No. 6’s resignation from the Intelligence. In Many Happy Returns, No. 6 actually does get away and back to London, but to tell you more would spoil the surprise.

Guest stars in the first episodes are plentiful: Australian Guy Doleman, Viginia Maskell and Paul Eddington in The Arrival, Jane Merrow as Alison in Schizoid Man; Donald Sinden and Patrick Cargill in Many Happy Returns and Peter Bowles in A,B + C.

Direction is shared by Pat Jackson and Joseph Serf and is indistinguishable in style one from the other, but the style itself is excellent. This is a series which, because of its fantasy element, hasn’t aged. I recommend it to all who don’t know The Prisoner. Fans won’t need the recommendation.

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.
Flashback No. 2

Flashback: No. 1

George Lazenby’s $6 million secret

By Bob Cameron

This article appeared in the Australian New Idea 10/11/1979

The former 007 star tells for the first time about the illness that nearly killed him

Some of the world’s top actors were more than a little miffed when the brash, rangy car salesman-cum-male model landed the role of James Bond, super spy.

And producer Cubby Broccoli was also more than a little edgy about gambling $6m on this untried unknown. So imagine his expression when he was let into what has become one of the movie industry’s best-kept secrets about George Lazenby.

“I told them that I only had half a kidney left. The other one and a half had been removed when I was a child, but I honestly hadn’t given much thought about it until the Bond thing came up.” wryly explained George as we relaxed in the boathouse below his new, half built home overlooking Sydney Harbour.

“Anyway, they made me spend two days in a private clinic and I was subjected to a barrage of tests. They were a lot more sophisticated than the doctors who checked me when I joined the army, although one of that mob hit me over my precious half-kidney with a hammer.

“Well, the clinic pronounced me fit and well but the films backers were not going to take any chances. They had my half kidney insured for $6m, the budget for the film, so they wouldn’t lose their money if something happened to me before shooting finished.

“I hate to think what the premiums were…”

George has never talked publicly about his childhood illness before – it was a harrowing time and he nearly died.

“It was in 1942 and I was only 3. A growth was causing a blockage and I had tubes coming out all over the place. The pain was very bad and I must have had a hundred operations. I’ll never forget the ether, or those scalpels.

“I remember one day in particular. They thought I was dying and my uncle left me his gold watch to play with. When they left the room, I got a hammer out of this tool kit I played with and smashed the watch.”

It was probably the first sign of that strong streak of Lazenby defiance that was to help him weather more than one storm ahead. At that time, his father, a railway worker in Goulburn, NSW, couldn’t afford a specialist to save George’s life – but the uncle whose watch had gone under the hammer turned up with the money.

George said: “I gather it was a pretty rare operation. It had only been performed once before and the baby died. But as you can see, this patient survived.”

After that, his parents tried to protect him from injury by making him wear a sort of protective corset.

“It had stays and was very uncomfortable. I used to take it off on the way to school and stash it behind a bush, then pick it up on the way home.

“You know how it is with kids – I didn’t want to be regarded as some sort of weakling. I wanted to play football.”

We were talking just two days before George’s 40th birthday: a time most people pause to reflect on the past and the lessons it should hold for the next 20 years at least.

So we wound the reel back to his 24th, the year most of his troubles began.

He was manager of three used car yards in Canberra and was seriously contemplating marriage. But his fiancee decided to go to England. He followed her and found she had met another men. He planned to stay in England for three months but was still there 10 years later.

George began his new life by selling used cars in an outer London suburb for 10 pounds a week. Then he was earning 30 pounds and, finally three or four times that figure selling Mercedes in Park Lane.

That was when a photographer spotted him. Most male models in London at that time were cast in the pretty-boy mould and this photographer was looking for someone rugged and aggressive.

George filled the bill. One cigarette company even paid him not to model – they were looking for a theme to suit him and didn’t want to lose him to rivals.

He bought an Aston Martin, made up the rules as he went along and thought that life was great. Then in walked James Bond with a martini, shaken not stirred in one hand and the inevitable beautiful girl in the other.

Cubby Broccoli had first seen George in an advertisement. There followed some fast talking by the boy from Goulburn.

George says those years were truly mad. He was offered $100,000 a day to appear in television advertisements but knocked it back. He left suitcases full of unworn clothes in hotel rooms as he headed for airports and his next slice of paradise.

He had a mania for buying wristwatches. Just about everyone wanted to know him, although tempers were flaring behind the scenes on the set.

And, of course, there were plenty of girls. Five of them were staying in his London house when Chrissie, the daughter of a three-times-married American socialite, came to dinner one night. She stayed, too, and unlike the others, she stayed when Bond walked out.

At that time, George was still being offered $300,000 to appear in Italian-made westerns. “But I was still on the Bond thing. I said no, what was $300,000 to me? Ironic, isn’t it – I ended up making Kung Fu movies in Hong Kong for less.”

Suddenly, the money was nearly all gone. He sank the last of his savings into a catamaran and he and Chrissie then went roving in the Mediterranean.

But George’s luck was still running out. He fell gravely ill with hepatitis and Chrissie nursed him back to health. “She’s the only real friend I’ve got,” said George.

Then Chrissie became pregnant despite the fact that doctors had told her she could never have a baby. They married and that little bundle of impossibility, Melanie, is now 5. Her brother Zachary is 4.

It’s 10 years since George and Chrissie met and they’re still very much living happily ever after.

During that time, George has been ‘broke’ twice and sunk some hard-earned money into lessons at a famous acting school in Los Angeles.

“The guy’s name is Charles Conrads. He’s terrific. The first thing he said to me was: ‘George you’re so bor
ing I can’t stand it. If you’re going to keep on giving me those James Bond type looks, you’ll have to go.’

“I felt like punching him., of course, but he was only telling the truth. He took my ego apart and helped put me back together again.

“It’s hard to explain, but he shows you how to reach into your soul and really let go. And, when I finally did let myself go, it was terrific. All the kids in the class cheered. I’ve never felt anything like that before.”

George is now based in Sydney and, while he’s waiting for his second big break, he commutes to Hong Kong or America where he picks up some very handsome fees for cigarette or car advertisements.

Does he sometimes get the feeling that he’s come full circle?

“No, I feel I’ve got all that old rubbish out of my system. I’m trained now, not making up the rules as I go along, and I’m looking for something completely different. I want to do a George Segal or Cary Grant type comedy. Charles Conrads says I’ve got it in me.

“You know, I went to see this psychic once. I met her the day before it was announced I would be the next James Bond. It was a big secret. No one, least of all she, knew about it.

“But she predicted something very big would happen to me, then I would lose it all. She said I also would be very sick; and believe me, I was. She said lots of other things that have come about too. She said I’d have a second big break, and I believe her…”

It was time to close the interview. I asked for directions to the nearest bus stop. George looked bewildered, then appalled. “You’re not going to get the bus are you? I haven’t been on a bus since I first went to London.”

Bearing in mind his first profession, selling cars, I gently explained that I had never bothered learning to drive. He didn’t exactly go pale under his Californian tan, but said: “C’mon, I’ll drive you back to civilisation.”

No, there wasn’t a trace of an ejector seat.

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 (if known). If you are the original author or publisher, and would like the this article removed from this site, please feel free to contact me.

Flashback: No. 1