2012 marks the 50th anniversary of James Bond on the big screen. To celebrate, SFX's Nick Setchfield revisits each and every 007 adventure in a week by week countdown to Skyfall ...
MISSION 5: YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967)
“BAD NEWS FROM OUTER SPACE!” There’s a simple, matchless excitement in the white circle that prowls the screen in the opening frames of any Bond film, loaded with promise and possibility. We wait for its enticing blankness to fill with our first glimpse of some new and exotic locale, some tantalising hint of the caper to come. This time it’s a breathtaking leap: an image of a space capsule among the stars, the blue curve of the Earth sliding past below. Sure, Dr No may have dabbled in mad scientist sci-fi, and Thunderball may have strapped a jet-pack to 007’s back, but this is a startling new frontier for Bond. It’s a burningly topical choice of arena, though – in 1967 the world’s superpowers were locked in a race for the moon, the Apollo landing a long two years away. There was a real sense that the true Cold War was taking place far above the planet. Bond himself would only leave Earth’s orbit in 1979’s Star Wars -chasing Moonraker , but the silent, remote battleground of outer space is where the true stakes play out in You Only Live Twice . The sight of SPECTRE’s alligator-jawed spacecraft, its maw opening like an evil steel bloom, is one of the single most brilliant visuals in the Bond canon.
UNDER THE VOLCANO Concealed below a sliding lake, Blofeld’s volcanic headquarters is the definitive supervillain lair: a secret underground nest buzzing with boilersuited paramilitary activity and the thrum of monorails. “I knew if it didn’t work I would never work in movies again,” remembered Ken Adam, who asked for $1 million to construct the movie’s centrepiece set – a budget-bruising sum in 1967, and more than the entire cost of Dr No . Broccoli didn’t even blink. So ambitiously outsized was the undertaking (it even boasted its own working heli-pad) that the crew of plasterers and riggers demanded danger money for the towering set’s construction. Once completed, cinematographer Freddie Young requisitioned every last lamp in Pinewood Studios to actually light the gargantuan stage. With its monstrous air of grim, industrial menace, this showpiece set was proof that the once modest Bond movies were now dreaming bigger and bolder than anyone else in cinema. The world was not enough…
TRIV AND LET DIE
Before Nancy Sinatra recorded You Only Live Twice, Julie Rogers sang a very different, ultimately discarded title song. Listen to it here .
JAMES BOND WILL RETURN IN ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE