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DVD SAVANT

James Bond movies, an accurate count

I noticed a slight difference in the number of Bond movies your web sites are reporting. They say that the latest Bond film DIE ANOTHER DAY, is number 20. But you are leaving out NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. By my count, this new Bond should be #21.

-- James R. Evans III, Carmichael, California

This is a common question. When United Artists and MGM enumerate 19 Bond films, they are talking about the 19 official Bonds made by the producers who initiated the series and developed the phenomenon that came to be envied and imitated by every studio in the world. This is the, pardon the expression, 'Bonded Line', that has the true pedigree of the series.

The other films that have the character James Bond in them aren't really part of the continuing series. They don't feature the official trappings of the original bloodline: the gunbarrel graphic opening, John Barry's jazzy theme music, and so forth.

The non-Bond Bonds are Casino Royale (1967) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

It is generally known that the rights to the novel Casino Royale were sold to a producer, Gregory Ratoff in the early fifties for $1,000.* A television play was made from it, with Barry Nelson as Bond and Peter Lorre as Le Chiffre. Hence this title stayed separate and free when the rest of the Ian Fleming oeuvre was acquired for the movies. Much later Casino Royale was made into a big-budget comedy spy caper to 'Get on the Bond-wagon', as they used to say. Its producer was Charles K. Feldman, an agent who represented Ratoff's widow.

Never Say Never Again stems from a different situation. Also generally known is that in the late fifties Ian Fleming took a break from writing novels to develop a screenplay in conjunction with potential producing partners, who included English producer/writer Kevin McClory. That project, called 'Longitude 78 West', was never filmed. Fleming converted ideas from it into his book, Thunderball, and a court case followed, which in 1963 ended with film rights to Thunderball being awarded to Sean McClory. When it came time in the official series to film Thunderball, McClory remained part of the package. Exercising his rights, he essentially remade Thunderball in 1983 as Never Say Never Again. His producing coup, of course, was to successfully cast Sean Connery, which is why Never Say Never Again is often erroneously thought to be part of the series.

Neil Connery, OPERATION KID BROTHER

Hey, if you want to be really complete, don't forget to include Operation Kid Brother, made in 1967, with Neil Connery, Sean's brother, playing, you guessed it, a famous secret agent's younger secret agent brother!

The official Bonds are:

1. DR. NO, 1962

2. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE,1963

3. GOLDFINGER, 1964

4. THUNDERBALL, 1965

5. YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, 1967

6. ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, 1969

7. DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, 1971

8. LIVE AND LET DIE, 1973

9. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, 1974

10. THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, 1977

11. MOONRAKER, 1979

12. FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, 1981

13. OCTOPUSSY, 1983

14. A VIEW TO A KILL, 1985

15. THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, 1987

16. LICENSE TO KILL, 1989

17. GOLDENEYE 1995

18. TOMORROW NEVER DIES 1997

19. THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH 1999

20. DIE ANOTHER DAY 2002

*Source: "Bond Vs. Bond" by Denise Hamilton, feature article in New Times, Volume 3 Number 45, November 5-11, 1998. Ms. Hamilton's very informative article discusses the controversy surrounding a legal battle between Sony and MGM over movie rights to James Bond.


Text © Copyright 1997,1998 Glenn Erickson





DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2007 Glenn Erickson

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