And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
It's never too late for a Playboy break.

It’s never too late for a Playboy break.

Like I said,

To this day I wish Connery had stuck around for one last swan song. Bond fans could’ve avoided a whole lot of heartache…

But then again, maybe not. I like Connery, but not the bored, sick-of-it-all self-parody he became by the time he filmed You Only Live Twice. So I might as well confess: I’m one of those people who actually like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I won’t dare call it “the best Bond film ev-ahr” when we’ve still got sixteen of these damned things to go…but I will stick my neck out far enough to call it the best film since Goldfinger. Halfway through, I guessed they had to work through two films worth of same-y-feeling crap before anything good escaped the pipeline.

Turns out that’s truer than I’d like it to be. OHMSS (as it’s reverently known) was originally meant to follow Goldfinger. Returning series screenwriter Richard Maibaum stated pecking out the script, an adaption of Fleming’s tenth Bond novel, while the film rights to Thunderball were still up in the judicial air. After Thunderball hit, the warm Swiss summer of 1966 made most of OHMSS’ Big Ticket action sequences prohibitively expensive (if not outright life-threatening). Production relocated to Japan and re-purposed everything for You Only Live Twice. When that did even better than Thunderball, OHMSS finally saw daylight…after a two-year search for the Next James Bond. Continue reading

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One Million Years B.C. (1966)
February 1, 1999, 3:17 pm
Filed under: Movies, Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

Well, its easy to make fun off. We can say that, certainly. What else is there to say about One Million Years B.C.? That “mockablity” does not a good movie make. Apart from some vintage Ray Harryhausen special effects, sure to please dinosaur and monster fans, this bland, mildly bitter little flick has absolutely nothing to recommend it. Except Raquel Welch’s breasts. If only they, and Harryhausen’s dinosaurs, had gotten more screen time. This movie might’ve been decent. Instead, they (the dinosaurs, not Welch’s breasts) pop up for no particular reason at all, distracting and interrupting my modest efforts to understand just what the hell is going on.

For some unforgivably stupid reason, screenwriters George Baker and Michael Carreras wrote an entire script in Cavemanese. If this film were a simple bit of exploitative nonsense (an excuse to star at Harryahusen’s T-rex and Raquel’s twin reginas) I’d say, okay: no harm, no foul. Just a pointless waste of movie. Unfortunatly, in a movie that is obviously driven by dialogue, its usually a good idea to have dialogue your audience can understand. Then again, films set in prehistoric worlds notorious for they’re stupid dialogue. Perhaps director Don Chaffey thought to avoid that Bert I. Gordon route,  having sat through the Notorious B.I.G.’s King Dinosaur, cringing all the way. More likely, love of Lon Chaney’s 1940 vehicle, One Million B.C., moved him (and his producers) beyond all rationality. After all, they decided to remake that piece of crap. {More}