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 WTF? Why would you do that?

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Fairbairn-Sykes
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PostSubject: WTF? Why would you do that?   Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:00 pm

As much as I love Bond film series, some of the decisions made by EON over the years have left me baffled, particularly early on. Some of these early missteps were really precedent setting, and I just shake my head in dismay at what might have been.

(Note: I am not listing any mistakes or missteps or unexplained decisions made by EON whose causes were out of their control, or whose rationale we know or could easily discern. That wouldn't be fair.)

1. WHY do Doctor No first? I get that you don't have the rights to Casino Royale, but Live and Let Die also has tropical adventure set in Jamaica, and its plot would have been even cheaper to do than DN. Why jump to the sixth book?

2. WHY leave in the post-FRWL-cliffhanger bits in DN? References to Bond's Beretta having jammed, his months in hospital, giving him the new gun, etc? That's just weird.

3. WHY do You Only Live Twice after Thunderball? It's insane! OHMSS follows TB naturally and YOLT only makes sense as a follow-up to OHMSS! Putting YOLT after TB necessitated changing nearly the entire plot, abandoning Fleming in a major way for the first time in the series. Furthermore, Connery wanted to leave the series after TB, and specifically stated that he thought the series was too over-the-top, gadget-driven, and not giving the Bond character enough to do. OHMSS would have been the perfect movie to give him to make him happy again, whereas YOLT (specifically, what they did with YOLT) was exactly the film to drive him away from the series, necessitating finding a new Bond for OHMSS, a story that would've been a lot more powerful if the audience wasn't having to spend a lot of their effort just adjusting to the new actor.

4. WHY cast Jan Werich as Blofeld for YOLT? Not only was it a bad choice and lead to further recasting, but you already had the perfect Blofeld -- Eric Pohlmann!! His menacing voice was perfect for Blofeld in FRWL and TB, we already knew from those movies that Blofeld wasn't bald, and of all the choices Pohlmann would perhaps most effectively embody the menacing Eastern European Blofeld of Fleming, as described in TB. Why would you not just cast him?

5. WHY recast Blofeld for OHMSS? I get that you had to recast Bond, but why recast Blofeld? You just finally revealed him and now you're changing him anyway? I mean, frankly I prefer Savalas to Pleasance, but it still doesn't make much sense.

6. WHY do Diamonds Are Forever after OHMSS? I mean, because you fucked up on YOLT you'd have to add a Blofeld-revenge subplot to whatever you did next, but DAF? C'mon!

7. WHY keep Moore around after MR? You had already decided to move in a new direction with FYEO, more down to earth, with a new production crew. Moore was already fifty-four freakin years old. Should've gotten a new Bond then.

8. WHY use Octopussy as a movie title? I know it's Fleming, but it's a terrible title, and making it the name of the girl makes it just that much worse.

9. WHY change the title from "Tomorrow Never Lies" to "Tomorrow Never Dies"? One makes sense in the context of the story, while the other is a typo that is just moronic as a title.

10. WHY copy the plot of DAF for DAD? I get that it's an anniversary film and you thought tons of references and homages would be "cute", and I get that you're using Colonel Sun and the unused elements of Moonraker for the villain, but why is his plot EXACTLY Blofeld's from DAF? C'mon, I mean, when The Spy Who Loved Me ripped off YOLT they at least changed it a little.

11. WHY change Vesper's death to be in a sinking building in Venice in Casino Royale? I mean, I get the temptation to have one last action scene, but the whole thing is just ridiculous and ruins the entire emotion of the ending.

12. WHY would you shoot Quantum of Solace without a finished script? I understand deadlines and writer's strikes, but fuck you should've just waited out the strike. Having the director make up the story as you go isn't great, and you certainly paid the price.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:10 pm

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
11. WHY change Vesper's death to be in a sinking building in Venice in Casino Royale? I mean, I get the temptation to have one last action scene, but the whole thing is just ridiculous and ruins the entire emotion of the ending.

Yeah, this really bothered me. And, although it's minor, I wish Le Chiffre would have used a carpet beater.

Why the fuck was John Terry cast as Felix Leiter in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS? He was the weakest performer among a very satisfying cast. When I see those scenes on the yacht, I can't even take them seriously. I haven't been able to get over this.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TRYING TO DO, 007? .......................................... START WORLD WAR THREE???"
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:17 pm

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
7. WHY keep Moore around after MR? You had already decided to move in a new direction with FYEO, more down to earth, with a new production crew. Moore was already fifty-four freakin years old. Should've gotten a new Bond then.
My guess is that EON was too scared about looking for a new Bond. By that point only Moore managed to become popular after Connery so they wanted to keep him as long as they could until he pretty flat out said "I'm done". It's very clear EON had no real intention of giving him up until then, afterall they kept him until he was 57! That should really tell you something about EON.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:18 pm

Biggest misstep of those listed is probably the rape of Fleming's YOLT. One wonders if they should've borrowed elements of the book for Craig's revenge movie (QOS).
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:26 pm

Selecting YOLT is indeed the biggest head scratcher. My only guess is that by that point EON no longer gave a fuck about the source material and felt after TB they could do whatever they pleased and still make big at the box office. The only reason they did OHMSS immediately after and faithfully was because Peter Hunt fought for it. I'm sure if he were not involved it might have been a completely different movie.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:30 pm

I've never read anything anywhere that has explained starting with DN and following TB with YOLT. I've heard arguments that they selected DN because it was cheap, but LALD would be cheaper. I've heard it suggested that they did YOLT because they wanted an exotic locale to compete with the CR parody -- but did EON really think they needed to compete with the parody?

Honestly, if they had followed TB with OHMSS, YOLT and TMWTGG starring Connery and then just stopped I think it would be a much better film series.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:38 pm

Even if they went in that order you suggest, I doubt EON would have quit after TMWTGG.Tom Mankiewicz suggested to Cubby that Connery's last film should end the series, and Cubby wasn't down for that.

http://www.empireonline.com/interviews/interview.asp?IID=1101

Quote :
had said to Sean back then, if you want to do a completely original film (and I talked to Cubby about it), we should do a James Bond where you are in the Caribbean or wherever and you’re on the heels of an assassin. And you are one step slower. You realize that your time is up. He outmaneuvers you. It’s only through your wits that you finally [kill him.] During the film, you fall in love and we’d cast a big movie star. I was thinking of Sophia Loren, back then, who would be about Sean’s age, and they’d sail off into the sunset. Cubby said, “That’s great except there’d be no more fucking Bond movies and I want to keep making them.”
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:40 pm

Yep. Can't interrupt the great money printing machine that is James Bond.

I sympathize with Saltzman.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:47 pm

Maybe the heavy presence of Afro-American characters factored into the decision to not do LALD in '62 (no offence intended, of course).
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:03 pm

To clarify, a movie teeming with villainous Afro-Americans could've been deemed controversial in the middle of the civil rights drama.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:11 pm

CJB wrote:
To clarify, a movie teeming with villainous Afro-Americans could've been deemed controversial in the middle of the civil rights drama.
Yup, and Mankiewicz knew when writing the script that having the villains be black might have come off insensitive even in the early 70s, so he took out the racist overtones and wanted to present them as a worthy intelligent adversary that can be a few steps ahead of Bond. Heck he wanted Diana Ross to play Solitaire.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:04 am

Anyone think that if they did have the rights to CR, they would have done the films more faithfully and in chronological order?
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:31 am

THUNDERBALL was written to be the first Bond film, and was only turned into a novel when that fell through. DR. NO was chosen as the first Bond film because American rockets were having issues veering off course, so they felt it was timely to make that film.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:56 am

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
1. WHY do Doctor No first?

Because it was the only recent Bond book left: Thunderball was tied up in courts and FYEO was an oddball collection of short stores. Goldfinger was costed by EON, but UA deemed it to be too expensive.

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
3. WHY do You Only Live Twice after Thunderball?

Because Thunderball had been a massive hit in Japan. EON decided to cash in on that with Fleming's Japan-set adventure.

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
7. WHY keep Moore around after MR?

Proven box office appeal.

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
8. WHY use Octopussy as a movie title?

It was considered naughty but nice in the Moore-Bond tradition.

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
9. WHY change the title from "Tomorrow Never Lies" to "Tomorrow Never Dies"?

Because teen scum demands death and lots of it. Lies aren't such a box office draw.

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
11. WHY change Vesper's death to be in a sinking building in Venice in Casino Royale?

Because teen scum demands violent death not pathos.

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
12. WHY would you shoot Quantum of Solace without a finished script?

Contractual obligation: Eon was legally bound to deliver a finished film to Sony by a given date, strike or no strike.









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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:24 am

I always wondered why EON felt that OHMSS was the best film for Lazenby to start with. The whole idea of Bond falling in love demanded an established actor in the role, which means that Sean Connery should have been Bond. Or, at the very least, that Lazenby do at least one film before OHMSS.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:24 am

Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:

7. WHY keep Moore around after MR? You had already decided to move in a new direction with FYEO, more down to earth, with a new production crew. Moore was already fifty-four freakin years old. Should've gotten a new Bond then.

And yet they continue to make this same mistake, more or less. When "rebooting" the series with FYEO, they should have gone with a new, younger actor, surrounded by a new Q and a new Moneypenny, and obviously a new M. Problem is, they didn't think of reboots in those terms back then. They were just "resets". Furthermore, while I think John Glen did a great job on OP and TLD, and a fair job on FYEO and AVTAK, and an awful job on LTK, it seems somewhat strange to me to bring on the same creative talent in your new "reboot" as you had on the previous films that were of questionable quality and necessitated the reboot in the first place.

I'll give Babs this much credit: she's willing to drop-kick what she perceives to be the weakest link in her film series, and if that includes getting rid of Brosnan, or not inviting Forster to come back after QOS, then she just goes for it. That's one thing I will say I admire about her: she hasn't stood on ceremony. God bless Cubby, but he would have let Moore play 007 while wearing Depends if Moore hadn't retired on his own. Babs doesn't let her cast collect dust. Once she no longer needs them she throws them away.

FYEO should have been the start of a newly invigorated series with a much younger actor, playing a tougher, more ruthless character. Problem was, by the time EON decided to disengage from Moore and go with Dalton, a size able bit of the audience had already left the series, essentially hampering the new efforts with Dalton.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:41 am

Erica Ambler wrote:
Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
9. WHY change the title from "Tomorrow Never Lies" to "Tomorrow Never Dies"?
Because teen scum demands death and lots of it. Lies aren't such a box office draw.
Or, to give an actual answer, it was because the early title got misprinted during shooting in Thailand and EON liked it, so they kept the name.

Erica Ambler wrote:
Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
12. WHY would you shoot Quantum of Solace without a finished script?
Contractual obligation: Eon was legally bound to deliver a finished film to Sony by a given date, strike or no strike.
Then why not commission someone to do rewrites of the script during the strike period? The strike only applied to WGA members, and while Paul Haggis was one, there are plenty of British screenwriters who aren't. Although WGA members faced sanctions from the guild if they worked during the strike period, and although you need to be a WGA member to work in America, the WGA has no power to impose sanctions on anyone outside its organisation who worked during the strike period.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:01 am

Gravity's Silhouette wrote:
I'll give Babs this much credit: she's willing to drop-kick what she perceives to be the weakest link in her film series, and if that includes getting rid of Brosnan, or not inviting Forster to come back after QOS, then she just goes for it.
I thought Forster *was* asked back.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:58 pm

I remember reading that Dr. No was originally written or conceived of as a screenplay for a TV show or something...dunno if it's true, but if it is maybe that has something to do with it.

Also, in all my years of watching/reading everything I can about OHMSS, I remember Peter Hunt saying somewhere that they cancelled work on OHMSS after TB because of an abnormally warm winter in Switzerland that year and YOLT was the best next choice for the reason Ambler stated. I for one am thankful as fuck that we didn't get fat and bored Connery in what has proven to be my favorite Bond film.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:15 pm

Also, Piz Gloria wasn't completed yet.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:54 pm

Drax wrote:
I for one am thankful as fuck that we didn't get fat and bored Connery in what has proven to be my favorite Bond film.

Yeah, but then I think that Connery wouldn't have been as fat and bored. His discontent after TB was the overrealiance on gadgets and not giving the Bond character enough to do. I think he would've been pleased to do OHMSS. Instead they forced him into their version of YOLT, which was even worse than TB for gadgets and OTT, and thus he left.

As much as I think Lazenby did an admirable job in OHMSS, the novel as written is a Bond ten years older than in CR, roughly 40, who is tired and weary. I think it might have been more powerful for audiences to see Connery go through all that. They wouldn't have to get used to a new Bond and feel sympathy for him at the same time.

Granted, Connery's "I just don't give a shit about this anymore" attitude in DAF actually works in that film's favour -- makes it almost watchable.

If I was one of the EON producers in the sixties, and we had the rights to all the books, I would've done CR, skipped to MR, skip to FRWL, then DN, GF, TB, skip the short stories and experiments, OHMSS, YOLT, TMWTGG, called it a day.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:14 pm

As much as I love that Scottish bastard, I don't think the presence of gadgets in a film is a sufficient excuse for a professional actor to phone in a performance. If he couldn't be counted on to give it his all in YOLT, who's to say it wouldn't be more of the same for OHMSS?

I reckon he was just sick of Bond in general. That Brylcreem-soaked rug they made him wear on his head couldn't have been comfortable.


Last edited by CJB on Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:16 pm

Prisoner Monkeys wrote:
Erica Ambler wrote:
Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
9. WHY change the title from "Tomorrow Never Lies" to "Tomorrow Never Dies"?
Because teen scum demands death and lots of it. Lies aren't such a box office draw.
Or, to give an actual answer, it was because the early title got misprinted during shooting in Thailand and EON liked it, so they kept the name.

Erica Ambler wrote:
Fairbairn-Sykes wrote:
12. WHY would you shoot Quantum of Solace without a finished script?
Contractual obligation: Eon was legally bound to deliver a finished film to Sony by a given date, strike or no strike.
Then why not commission someone to do rewrites of the script during the strike period? The strike only applied to WGA members, and while Paul Haggis was one, there are plenty of British screenwriters who aren't. Although WGA members faced sanctions from the guild if they worked during the strike period, and although you need to be a WGA member to work in America, the WGA has no power to impose sanctions on anyone outside its organisation who worked during the strike period.
WGA carries a lot of respect and support from the sister unions, such as SAG and DGA, not to mention workers' unions to which crew members belonged. There was no chance that the producers would have gone against the WGA strike and hired non-union writers to finish the job. Their reputation as a company would have been in the toilet...in a port-o-john, even. Forster, Craig...none of them would have put this one film above WGA; they'd have left the production. The artistic unions stand together and support each other, and professional movies don't get made without them.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:20 pm

But getting the lead actor and the director to adlib the movie while making it was so much better? They are the company that makes James Bond for chrissakes, the only company allowed to. They can get away with anything.
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PostSubject: Re: WTF? Why would you do that?   Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:45 pm

00Twelve wrote:
WGA carries a lot of respect and support from the sister unions, such as SAG and DGA, not to mention workers' unions to which crew members belonged. There was no chance that the producers would have gone against the WGA strike and hired non-union writers to finish the job. Their reputation as a company would have been in the toilet...in a port-o-john, even. Forster, Craig...none of them would have put this one film above WGA; they'd have left the production. The artistic unions stand together and support each other, and professional movies don't get made without them.
And yet, the WGA strike did not stop screenwriters based in other countries from working on screenplays during the strike period. EON could have easily hired British screenwriters who weren't members of the WGA but were members of the British equivalent to work on the script. After all, the entire production of QUANTUM OF SOLACE was based in England. Their screenwriter happened to be based in America. It's not like EON were a Hollywood production company trying to get a film made by subverting the strike action, and if the film was being written by a British writer instead of Haggis, it would not have been a problem. No doubt there would have been a way to complte the script without offending the WGA.
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