"I take orders from the Octoboss."


June 10, 1983

As I’ve demonstrated a few times in the past, I’m not a Bond guy. So believe it or not OCTOPUSSY is a first time viewing for me. I come to it with incomplete context, zero nostalgia, but also no preconceived notions of what a Bond movie or actor needs to be like. I can view it casually as-is and report that it’s pleasingly silly and mildly amusing.

Some of its qualities that some would consider shortcomings barely need to be stated. Roger Moore (THE CANNONBALL RUN) as James Bond is a horndog who hits on and beds multiple women 15-20 years his junior, and without having to put in any effort, since every woman is charmed on sight, no matter which side they’re on. And he makes several intentionally bad jokes. He also gets himself out of ridiculous situations with far-fetched plans, abilities and gadgets. It’s all part of the deal, and the last part is what I most look for.

The screenplay for this one is by George MacDonald Fraser (THE THREE MUSKETEERS), Richard Maibaum (nine previous bond movies going back to DR. NO) and Michael G. Wilson (FOR YOUR EYES ONLY), and it’s directed by John Glen (also FOR YOUR EYES ONLY), one of the many directors who had been considered for RETURN OF THE JEDI. In a way the opening parallels JEDI: Bond is in the middle of a convoluted mission that involves impersonation, getting caught, and escaping a place is it’s blown to bits. The best part is keeping a fold-up mini-airplane in a horse trailer, hidden behind a fake horse ass. I wonder if that inspired the portable airplane John Cena carries around in FAST X? If so that’s the true legacy of this “James Bond” series IMHO.

I enjoy a heightened reality, so I like that the next scene we’re thrust into without explanation involves a circus clown (Andy Bradford, also in KRULL later in the summer) being chased through the woods at night by a man with a knife. The knifer seems to pull a Jason Voorhees, suddenly warping from behind the clown to in front of him, but it turns out he’s being chased by identically dressed identical twins Mischka and Grishka (David and Anthony Meyers). The clown receives mortal wounds, but manages to drop dead in the British ambassador’s residence holding a counterfeit Faberge egg that becomes the only clue for Bond to continue his investigation.

Why did the clown do that? Because he was actually MI6 agent 009, which brings up a question: does the fact that he stumbled clumsily screaming through the woods like a slasher victim mean he was just an embarrassingly awful, completely unqualified secret agent, or that he was so deep undercover he died still in character as a guy who’s just a regular clown and totally not an MI6 agent?

In London, Bond attends an auction at Sotheby’s where the real egg is being sold. He gets into a bidding war with exiled Afghan prince Kamal Khan (Louis Jordan, SWAMP THING), who becomes a suspect thanks to his willingness to pay any price for this egg. Later we learn that Bond pulled a switcheroo with the fake egg while pretending to examine the real one.

Bond follows Khan to India, aided by Indian MI6 officer Vijay. Vijay is played by real life tennis pro Vijay Amritraj, and at one point he uses a tennis racket as a weapon, which reminds me of Dennis Rodman using basketball gimmicks in DOUBLE TEAM. Good stuff.

I’m not sure but I think I’ve heard something about the Bond series being renowned for its sensitive cultural portrayals. That’s why they have a series of jokes about snake charming, firebreathing, walking on coals, a bed of nails, and a sword swallower. The best one is borrowing the sword from the guy’s throat and then handing it back.

In Khan’s palace casino, Bond makes a big scene gambling with Khan and reveals to him that he has the real egg. Soon he’s having sex with Khan’s lady friend Magda (Miss Sweden 1970 Kristina Wayborn) who subsequently sneaks out with the egg. That was the idea – Q (Desmond Llewelyn) put a tiny microphone inside.

If I have one serious disappointment with this one it’s that Q shows off a device I kept waiting for Bond to use and he never did. Jeremy Bulloch, who also played Boba Fett in RETURN OF THE JEDI that summer, plays Q’s assistant Smithers, who demonstrates a door (designed to look like the ones in the palace) that smashes a dummy to pieces. I was so excited about Chekov’s smash-door, but it turned out to be reverse Chekov’s smash-door. Or Pee-wee’s boomerang bowtie.

Magda has an octopus tattoo, so I thought she was Octopussy, but actually Octopussy is a different character played by Maud Adams (ROLLERBALL) and she’s the leader of Magda’s band of octopus-themed thieves as well as the circus troupe the clown was escaping from. She also has a small pet octopus in a tank, an octopus flag, and fancy octopus-themed bathrobe and bed. Best of all she has bodyguards in red leotards who I couldn’t stop thinking looked like Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.

I read that Sybil Danning had a meeting about playing Octopussy, and was even reported in magazines as having been cast, but they decided against her. That would’ve been a different experience from CHAINED HEAT, I’m sure, but she and Tamara Dobson both would’ve made kickass Bond girls.

If I understand correctly, Khan and Octopussy are replacing treasures with counterfeits and stealing the real things, a plot somehow connected to renegade Soviet General Orlov (Steven Berkoff, BARRY LYNDON)’s plan to bomb a US airbase. James Bond stuff ensues.

There are a couple things that weirdly foreshadow bits in INDIANA JONES movies. There’s a feast where a guy eats a sheep eyeball, kinda like the infamous monkey brains scene in TEMPLE OF DOOM; why were these people so convinced Indian food was gross? And there’s a chase on a circus train kinda like the opening of LAST CRUSADE. Of course the Indy scenes are more spectacular, and I’m not saying they’re copycats, but we know Lucas was familiar with Glen’s work. There might’ve been an influence, at least on the train one.

The circus stuff is worked in pretty well. I like when one of the twins uses his knife throwing skills to pin Bond to a wall by his shirt sleeves. But easily my favorite henchman gimmick is this guy Mufti (Tony Arjuna) who has two fancy sawblades on the end of a string that drop down like a yo-yo and saw through things. Reminds me of MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE. There’s also a henchman who stabs Bond with something that reminds me of the signature weapon in a fantasy movie I already mentioned that’s coming out later in the summer:

Another strange RETURN OF THE JEDI coincidence is that this one also has a joke about swinging on a vine and doing a Tarzan scream. It’s more out of place in a galaxy far, far away, but equally unfunny here. I was also reminded of BLUE THUNDER in a scene where Bond tests a camera by zooming in on a lady’s cleavage, and of TRADING PLACES when Bond hides inside a gorilla costume, though he does not get fucked by a real gorilla. I guess this is James Bond – he would’ve been doing the fucking. But there are no gorillas for him to fuck.

There are quite a few other creatures, though. In one sequence he runs into tarantulas, then a tiger, then a snake, then an alligator, then leeches. He sneaks up on Octopussy’s place inside a mini-sub (or something) disguised as an alligator. Then Mufti gets eaten by a real alligator right before Bond takes off in the fake one. Again, this would’ve been a good opportunity for his fake gator to get fucked by a real gator, or vice versa. I’m starting to realize the smash door is far from the only missed opportunity here. I also think it’s a shame that Bond spends some of the end disguised as a clown, but they don’t make him do a bunch of cool shit that’s absurd to see a clown doing. At least he doesn’t whiff it as bad as that bozo 009, I guess.

Obviously one of the main attractions is the wide range of stunt work, with lots of jumping from vehicle to vehicle, the mini-airplane sequence, a three-wheeled taxi tearing through crowded streets in India (and jumping over a camel), fighting on top of a moving train, a car flying off a bridge into a fishing boat, battling the guy with the saw blade, etc. There’s a scene where Bond slides down a banister firing guns. He does it different from Chow Yun Fat in HARD BOILED, though – he straddles it and then he sees that he’s about to crash his balls into a post at the bottom so he has to shoot it off before he gets there. I’m not sure who was officially in charge of that stuff, but Bob Simmons (stunt double for Gregory Peck in THE GUNS OF NAVARONE) is credited as “action sequence arranger,” and his Bond work goes back almost 20 years to GOLDFINGER. Stunt team supervisor is Bill Burton (motorcycle stunts, GAME OF DEATH) and second unit director is Arthur Wooster (who continued with 007 through DIE ANOTHER DAY and more importantly did HIGHLANDER II: THE QUICKENING).

Like WARGAMES, OCTOPUSSY addresses the Cold War, and specifically the nuclear arms race between the West and the Soviet Union. In this one the Soviet military leaders don’t want to risk war, so hardliner Orlov goes off on his own. Before that he tells his colleagues, “The West is decadent and divided. It has no stomach to risk our atomic reprisals. Throughout Europe, daily demonstrations demand unilateral nuclear disarmament.” I thought that was amusing. The movie seems to be saying that we do need nuclear weapons, and that anti-nuke demonstrations embolden the enemy. Dabney Coleman’s character in WARGAMES, who felt it was so important that if we get nuked we have the stones to nuke back so that the whole human race will be destroyed instead of just us, probly agrees.

The Soviet generals have a war room that’s as imposing as the one in WARGAMES, but brighter and more stylish. It has a curved table with 12 chairs attached, situated on a giant marble turntable that rotates when they need to face the screen on the wall, then rotates back when they’re done. I love this because they could’ve just put the screen on the wall that the table is facing, but they did it the hard way. I mean that sincerely, I enjoy these kind of absurd choices in Bond (and other) movies. Another example is when Bond and Vijay escape through a secret entrance by tearing through a poster on the wall, and an identical poster immediately drops down in front of the hole. Of course it would make more sense for there to be just one poster that lifts for them and then lowers back down, but it wouldn’t be as cool.

The production designer on this one is Peter Lamont, who started on FOR YOUR EYES ONLY and stuck around through CASINO ROYALE. He also did ALIENS, TRUE LIES and TITANIC.

The title sequence is cool, but a little underwhelming compared to other ones I’ve seen. Maybe that’s because the theme song, a ballad called “All Time High” sung by Rita Coolidge, is such a weird choice for a Bond theme. I guess that’s okay.

Here’s the biggest surprise of this movie, something I don’t think I’d ever heard about before. There’s a scene where a parade is going on and I’ll be damned if there isn’t a guy on wearing a Silver Shamrock skull mask from HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH!

Keep an eye on that guy, Bond. He might turn into snakes or something. And he’s on stilts so the snakes would fall all over the place.

I’m still so curious about why this happens. There was also the pumpkin mask (with visible Silver Shamrock logo) in that one Halloween episode of Knight Rider. Why would there be multiple references to a poorly received horror sequel? I still suspect the masks just ended up in prop houses and got used by people who either weren’t aware of their origins or assumed no one else would be. They didn’t foresee it becoming a beloved cult classic decades later and having a bunch of merchandise that would sear the mask designs into our brains.

James Bond has spent so many years as one of the top icons of popcorn cinema, but here was a time when he had to settle for second place to Luke Skywalker. Despite opening on 300+ more screens than RETURN OF THE JEDI week 2, it made about $3 million less than it that weekend. But it was above TRADING PLACES, at first. It ended up being the #6 box office earner for the year behind JEDI, TOOTSIE, FLASHDANCE, TRADING PLACES and WARGAMES.

OCTOPUSSY seems to have received good reviews at the time, but is less well regarded in retrospect. I think I know a couple of Bond fans who like it. But I would say that in my limited experience of James Bond pictures it is not one of the high rankers.

Glen went on to direct three more 007 movies (A VIEW TO A KILL, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, LICENCE TO KILL) plus the excellent ACES: IRON EAGLES III and the barely watchable CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS: THE DISCOVERY.

p.s. One subtle little easter egg in this one is that if you think about it in a certain way the name “Octopussy” almost sounds like a reference to a woman’s vagina

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31 Responses to “Octopussy”

  1. I think this time I’ll sit out the usual Bond debates that always seem to arise, so I’ll just say I like this one, and note that it was part of a mini-craze for India-set British Film and TV series at the time, most notably you had GANDHI the year before and A PASSAGE TO INDIA the year after along with the big deal mini-series THE JEWEL IN THE CROWN. OCTOPUSSY is the only one of these that is a) set contemporaneously, b) not aimed exclusively at adults c) supposed to be fun, but even that didn’t merit any READY PLAYER ONE nods so I guess this little craze isn’t part of the general 80s nostalgia bank. Two of these projects (one being OCTOPUSSY) come up in this sketch from about 5 years later, for whatever reason.


  2. Sketch is called “Stanley Rogers Film Score composer”

  3. I *am* a Bond guy, I guess– I generally like them all and have seen most of them multiple times. Only watched OCTOPUSSY the once, and I think it’s better than its reputation. The clown stuff doesn’t help, but it is, as you said, mildly amusing. Bond movies definitely chase trends– LIVE AND LET DIE and blaxplotation, MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN and kung fu movies, MOONRAKER and Star Wars, and here OCTOPUSSY seems to rip off RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, but also, as you pointed out, presages TEMPLE OF DOOM!

    For an action fan, a number of these John Glen Bonds have some great stunt sequences. He was an editor and then 2nd-unit man on the Bonds before taking over the director’s chair for the entirety of the ’80s. So he was involved with maybe my all-time favorite movie stunt, which is the bit at the beginning of MOONRAKER where Bond and a bad guy jump out of a plane and fight in freefall, with Bond needing to steal the guy’s parachute before they hit the ground. And they shot the whole thing for real. Tom Cruise would do a flashier jump in M:I – FALLOUT, but that one owes a debt to MOONRAKER.

    The sequence with the plane at the end of OCTOPUSSY is also a good one– Bond clinging to the fuselage, fighting a guy on top of the plane while it’s in flight, etc. You know, I’m starting to think the MISSIONS IMPOSSIBLE are just riffing off old Bond stunts they liked back in the day.

    So while some of the Bond plots or settings were borrowed from whatever was popular, the stunt crew was the best in the business.

  4. OCTOPUSSY is the movie where I lost patience with the Bond series, which with hindsight and reflection, I see was ridiculous of me. After all MOONRAKER had already given us a double taking pigeon. Somehow, I just wasn’t ready for the absurdity of OCTOPUSSY and its laughing at Bond movie convention. Objectively, Moore as a clown in the circus is the best bit, and Steven Berkoff is doing great work, but Louis Jordan is a terrible villain. In my mind the plot borrows heavily from Frederick Forsyth’s The Fourth Protocol, but that can’t be true, as the book only came out in 1984 and the movie not until 1987. I guess everyone was paranoid back then about false flag atomic detonations.

    And Pacman, I see your Stanley Rogers, thank you, and I raise you Inept Q, which would seem also to have some relevance here:

    Bruiser - Inept Q

    David Mitchell as harebrained Q and Martin Freeman as the hapless secret agent in sketches from the short-lived, one-series-only sketch show 'Bruiser' (2000)...

  5. And again… saw it at the drive-in
    Even though my 007 horizons were limited at the time, I could tell this one was… lesser than.
    I also remember it being REALLY fucking long for how stupid it was. But imdb tells me it was only 4-5 minutes longer than For Your Eyes and Moonraker respectively. So perhaps it was–y’know–stupider…

  6. Great reference to the boomerang bow tie! I believe it was used in the film but cut out before release.

  7. Despite my very first movie memory being the sight of the 007 gunsight logo (seen at a drive-I from the back of a custom 70s van named Samantha Sue while I was supposed to be sleeping) I am not really a Bond guy. I am Bond agnostic, I guess. I like some of them, mostly the Dalton and Brosnan eras because they got me at the right age, read a bunch of the books, never quite got into Connery and to be frank I’m not 100% sure I ever saw a Moore Bond all the way through. The bits I did see were so laughable that I figured I could just skip them. But after getting so sick of the modern grim-n-gritty-god-it-sucks-being-so-awesome Bond that I didn’t even bother seeing the last two movies, maybe it’s time to give Roger another shot. I liked the books because they gave this risible material a little grounding both in reality and psychology, so that’s what I thought I wanted from Bond, but it turns out treating this stuff seriously just kills it dead. It also has the effect of making the kind of stunted man-babies we got out here buying tickets these days think that this retrograde imperialist male chauvinist fantasy hokum is actually some Real Serious Shit. I’m starting to think the Moore approach might be the more honest one.

  8. This isn’t the best Roger Moore Bonds, but I would argue that it probably best encapsulates his tenure as the character. It’s goofy and corny in all the ways that Moore’s movies can be, both for good and ill. Like nuking the fridge, I think people have long complained about Moore dressing up as a clown, but that’s probably one of the best bits.

    With maybe one or two exceptions, I’ve seen nearly every Bond film. And it’s kind of amazing the franchise has endured for this long because there are some real low points. I usually find them more interesting as a cultural artifact of their time than they are good movies.

    My candidate for best Moore Bond movie is probably For Your Eyes Only, although The Spy Who Loved Me gives it a run for its money.

  9. I have a soft spot for this one because it was actually the first movie I saw in a theater by myself. I was probably too young to be alone in a theater, but times were different I guess. My mom was seeing Terms of Endearment at the same time in one of the multiplex’s other theaters.

    I remember jumping out of my seat being startled by some pigeons flying by as Bond was on a building ledge. I don’t think it was meant to be a jump scare but to young me it was.

    Overall, I think this movie is a lot of fun. It doesn’t have a great reputation, but I honestly feel like all of the Bond movies tend to age poorly and become campy in the long run. So why not fully embrace that silliness like this one does? (And I’m saying that as a pretty big Bond fan overall).

  10. Just realised that the guy in this is Louis Jourdan. Louis Jordan was the saxaphone player. I stand by my view that he’s a lame villain compared to Steven Berkoff though.

  11. Forgot to mention: As far as I can recall, James Bond does not fuck a gorilla in any of the movies. Maybe it happens in the books, though.

  12. Unless Q gives them personally to Bond, the weapons in his laboratory in these movies are just throwaway gags and don’t generally show up in subsequent scenes. But if you really have an insatiable desire to watch a Bond character being crushed to death by a booby-trapped door, try THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS.

  13. I think the clumsiness of 009 is there to explain why he dies in all the movies he’s in?

    Roger was a “learn your lines and stand at the mark” kind of actor, so he played Bond seven different ways. And John Glen certainly was no Lewis Gilbert. So after Moore at his darkest in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY we get him at his most lighthearted and colorful in OCTOPUSSY. Or as my wife says “it’s so corny and fun that it might be the best one”.

  14. Matthew – Do you think it was intended as continuity, like they perfected the smash-door technology by then and were ready to debut it?

    pegsman – So 009 is a reoccurring dying character? Is he un-spy-like in his other deaths?

  15. “Again, this would’ve been a good opportunity for his fake gator to get fucked by a real gator, or vice versa. I’m starting to realize the smash door is far from the only missed opportunity here.”


  16. I like the Moore ones mybe the best of the old school (through Timothy Dalton). They’re way clumsier than some of the others but also have some of the better ction and stunt scenes. nd it’s kind of interesting that out of ll the Bonds, he has the most varied group. From the total absurdity of Moonraker to the more traditional sci-fi Bond like The Spy who Loved Me, then you get the gimmicky ones like this or Live and Let Die with lots of weird villain gadgets and such, up to a straight espionage story like For Your Eyes Only which is so comitted to being more realistic you don’t even get a big action finish, just two old guys fighting clumsily as Bond smashes a receiver.

    I think the best Bond of all is Live and Let Die…you get the blaxploitation mob, voodoo, the awesome henchman with a claw…what more do you want?

  17. Vern, I might have exaggerated his death rate a bit. But without doing any research I seem to remember that he failed to kill the bad guy in THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, died here in OCTOPUSSY and got his car stolen by Bond, including a cd with questionable music, in SPECTRE.

  18. Vern: No, it turns out that while MI6 was developing their lethal-hinged-door technology, rogue KGB elements were conducting parallel research into sliding doors.

  19. Just one more little piece of trivia, which may or may not be interesting for you yanks. According to his memoars Moore didn’t wanna do any more Bond movies after FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, so the producers cast James Brolin as 007 in OCTOPUSSY. He filmed some scenes, and I believe it went so far as he had gotten himself a house in England, before Sir Roger came back.

  20. I believe Brolin only did a Screen Test, which is on at least some of the DVD/Blu-Rays and of course now on YouTube

  21. Nice catch on the H3 mask! I’ve seen this one a few times and never noticed it. The Day of the Dead mask Bond himself wears in the opening of SPECTRE is actually very similar.

    I’d also never heard about the potential Sybil Danning casting. I guess we know what kind of movies somebody in the casting department was watching, since Tanya Roberts was the female lead in the next movie. I agree that Tamara Dobson would have been an amazing Bond girl.

    I had heard that Persis Khambatta (best known as the bald lady in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE) was considered for Octopussy, and that the character was originally conceived as the main villain. I feel like both were a missed opportunity, especially not using Khambatta who was a gorgeous Bombay-born actress. Nothing against Maud Adams, who had already played a Bond girl in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, but knowing Khambatta was a possibility is to me like finding out Warren Beatty was the first choice for the title character in KILL BILL – it just feels right!

  22. Being 10 in 1983 (I know, I repeat myself), I guess it was the perfect age to really enjoy Octopussy… this was in fact my third Bond in the cinema – my first one was For Your Eyes Only just a couple of years earlier, and then I also had the chance to see Goldfinger on a re-run around that time. Roger Moore was 007 for me at that age – and still today, the nostalgia factor makes For Your Eyes Only one of my favorite James Bond. Octopussy is in the middle from the Moore films… I still prefer Spy who Loved me and Live & Let Die, but it is better than the Golden Gun one and A view to a Kill… Octopussy is a companion piece to Octopussy by being quite silly.

    I remember that James Bond films were “event” films back then – where it was a big deal, it was for the whole family, they were always secured impressive stunts and amazing locations… while I really enjoy the Daniel Craig ones and the more realistic tone, I wish they would try again to bring a “bigger than life” kind of James Bond – with bad guy in a volcano lair, or a boat hijacking submarines… we have had now 20 years of more serious spy stuff, bring back the fun and purely entertaining spy stuff (don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love the Mission: Impossible films, much more than the Bond ones in fact, but there is space now to bring back the Bond of old days!). Unless Austin Powers destroy the whole idea once and for all?

  23. HUGE Bond fan here, my first cinema experience being the 1985 one (A view to a kill). I have subsequently seen all of the next ones in the cinema, plus MANY older ones in “summer Cinemas” which used to play older movies too here in Greece. Bought the bluray collection, the taschen HUGE table book and a lot of other merchandise.

    So, let me blow your guys mind here on this entry. 1983 was the one and only year where 2 bond movies came out. One, from the “Canon” series with Roger Moore, and another one with Sean freackin’ Connery called “never say never”. The title was suggested by Connery’s wife because he had indeed said NEVER to playing James Bond again.

    The poster of Octopussy you’ve put up Vern says “nobody does him better” alluding to Roger Moore being the “best” bond to see that summer. It was an all out Bond war, Roger Moore had said he didn’t want to do another one, they had ALREADY cast another guy but when a rival picture with the man Connery was announced, the dump truck full of cash was backed up to Roger Moore’s home to make sure they could compete.

    Now on the HOW could 2 bond pictures co-exist in the same timeline=

    When Thunderbolt was written, Ian Fleming worked on it with another guy called Kevin Mcclory. But when the book came out, Fleming put only his name on it. He lost in court and Mcclory got the rights to the story. So when the Bond producers wanted to make “Thunderbolt” their next movie, he got a producer credit (nobody besides the Brocolli family has before or since) and, in his view at least, retained the right to REMAKE the movie if he wanted to.

    After many years of trying, in the 80’s he found a producer brazen enough take on the task, signed the original bond himself Connery, and went on to make a remake of “Thunderbolt”. Eon productions (the Brocolli company holding the Bond rights) IMMIDIATELY sued, and in the end Mcclory won and could make his movie as long as it adhered to the “Thunderbolt” template. Off course he also couldnt use the music, logo etc since all those where EON’s property.

    Irvin Kershner, the director of “the empire strikes back” directed. At some point before before spectre, Mcclory was already dead and EON bought the company that held the rights to this movie. Thus is Spectre they used Blofeld and Spectre again. For many years they couldnt since the courts upheld that they had derived from the Thunderbolt screenplay.

  24. Petros: There were also two Bond movies in 1967, but I can understand why people want to forget about that version of CASINO ROYALE.

  25. Yeah, as a Bond fanatic who owns every single title on blu ray (including NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN), I’m happy to miss out CASINO ROYALE 1967 in the collection. An odd curio only for completists, I saw it once and have no reason to revisit it.

    Peter Sellers at his most toxic, firing a prop gun in Jacqueline Bisset’s face, his feuding with Orson Welles so bad their gaming table scene was filmed separately, Sellers himself playing it straight while everyone around him was being funny , all culminating in him being fired mid-production and written out of the movie via one of the most awkward freeze frames in cinema history. And things didn’t exactly pick up after that.

    It’s the MOVIE 43 of Bond flicks.

  26. As for OCTOPUSSY, shiiiiiit….Moore IS my Bond as THE SPY WHO LOVED ME was my entry into the Bondverse, courtesy of my dad who took me for it and subsequently we watched every single Moore entry in the cinemas. Never got my Dad’s slightly snarky #notmyBond opinion of Moore until I caught the Connery ones later.

    To use an analogy from a current Franchise Behemoth, Connery was Hemsworth in THOR and THOR THE DARK WORLD, while for my Dad’s generation Moore most likely came off as Thor in RAGNAROK and LOVE AND THUNDER.

    Sandwiched between the grounded FOR YOUR EYES ONLY and Moore’s unfortunately dull swan song A VIEW TO A KILL, OCTOPUSSY is simply oodles of absurd fun.

    But it’s worthwhile noting, for all the sexism lobbed at the Connery/Moore era, OCTOPUSSY does contain a few surprises on that front:

    – Kristina Wayborn’s Magda doesn’t suffer the traditional First Girls’s plight in Bond movies (to be sidelined, forgotten or killed) and in fact survives till the end, kicking ass.

    – Magda’s coupling with Bond is also the most businesslike in the Moore era. She only sleeps with him for the Faberge egg, he’s fully aware of it, they part ways amicably and don’t interact with each other for the rest of the film

    – The climactic attack on Kamal Khan’s fortress is entirely orchestrated by Octopussy and gang making Bond a little redundant, forcing the writers to have Khan’s bodyguard knock her out so Bond can swoop in for a rescue, making it one of the lamer contrivances in a movie which otherwise bears the honor of being the single entry to title itself on it’s female lead who’s also a bad-ass jewel thief crime boss with her own island lair.

  27. The first half hour is kind of a tough sit, but after that I think CASINO ROYALE ’67 is pretty funny.

    NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN is OK; The Battle for Bond by Robert Sellers is a good read if you’re interested in the *full* history on that one, going all the way back to the original 1959 drafts for what eventually became THUNDERBALL (the movie) and was directly adapted (without proper accreditation) into THUNDERBALL (the novel). It also has the potential to make a pretty good movie, although from what I understand from Sellers himself, that’s a legal minefield that’s unlikely to be attempted.

  28. The old CASINO ROYALE has its moments. The segment with the daughter of James Bond and Mata Hari is maybe the best part and should’ve been its own movie IMO, but the whole thing goes so deliciously off the rails by the end, they obviously threw everything against the screen what they could think of, just to finish that movie somehow. But even I, who is a huge fan of star studded slapstick comedy extravaganzas, can only recommend it for the “Yes, this thing exists” factor.

  29. OK, I’ll be they guy who states the bleedin’ obvious: the real saving grace of CASINO ROYALE (1967) is the triumphant Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass theme, which is Bacharach and David at their grooviest, with or without Mike Redway’s hilarious vocal. Less obviously, Alpert also contributed to the theme of NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, which was sung by his wife Lani Hall.

  30. Sup Borg9! Yeah, also the bleedin’-obvious saving grace of BOMB-ASS RICHARD WILLIAMS TITLES, my second favorite of his work.

    I am gonna post more conversational replies here soon, but thought this was appropos for a morning post. Stupid-ass Woody Allen is not going to take my Richard Williams appreciation away from me.

    By the way, do any filmmakers out there want some Richard Williams style opening titles for their movie? Seriously, I can do that. And I’m CHEAP.

    CASINO ROYALE’s are good. Still second best, though. My favorite Richard Williams titles appear here. I think about these things every day.

    Anybody need an animator? I’m lush as fuck.

    A.L.F. Iwerks

    What's New Pussycat (1965) title sequence

    Title sequence from What's New Pussycat (1965), designed by Richard Williams.✇ ‘WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT’ (1965)Directed by: Clive DonnerStarring: Peter Sellers, ...

  31. I like this one, though its two different plots and attached tones clearly Frankensteined together as if EON couldn’t decide which plot to follow so they went “why not both?” The FOURTH PROTOCOL-esque Cold War programmer and the colorful comic booky* pirates in India. I would say this is a good follower of the 007 formula, nothing exceptional about it but doesn’t shit the bed (unlike A VIEW TO A KILL a couple of years later.)

    *=Honestly since SPECTRE was brought back in recent times, if EON was up to bring back old characters/concepts from the BondVerse, I think an all-girl pirate/criminal syndicate could be damn fun idea to play with in the 2020s.

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