The 50th anniversary of the release of Dr No, the first James Bond film, is marked by Everything or Nothing, an entertaining documentary account of the larger-than-life personalities behind the launch of a franchise that’s racked up gazillions of dollars around the globe from over two-score movies - Skyfall, the 23rd ‘official’ Bond film comes out later this month.
The first of Bond’s begetters is, of course, Ian Fleming, who partly modelled his fictional hero on the intrepid characters he met while conjuring up daring commando missions for British naval intelligence during World War Two but drew equally on a romanticised version of his own womanising Old Etonian self.
To bring Bond to the big screen, however, required the chutzpah and drive of a pair of old school movie moguls, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, whose company name Eon was the acronym for their do-or-die motto - ‘Everything or Nothing’.
Then there are the six men to have played Bond on screen - Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and the role’s present incarnation, Daniel Craig. All of them contribute to the documentary, with the exception of Connery, whose eventual falling out with the producers is chronicled at length here.
The other Bonds range from the wittily self-deprecating (Moore) to the good-humouredly regretful (Lazenby), but it’s archive footage of Connery that provides the documentary’s best, if somewhat unfair, barb. Asked on US TV to name the first Bond villain, he replies ‘Cubby Broccoli’.
In selected Odeon cinemas from Friday 5th October.
Skyfall will be released in the UK on October 26th. Read our review.
A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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