Thunderball is the fourth Bond film but the first ever developed for the big screen. For that reason it spawned some giant legal problems for the Bond producers. One of the original authors of the screenplay, Kevin McClory, had them by the thunderballs. When the smoke cleared, McClory had the rights to the story and many of its characters. But the real travesty was that he was now free to make his own Bond film, 1983’s Never Say Never Again. To this day, a formal apology has never been issued.
THE YEAR: 1965
THE PLOT: Largo steals two nuclear missiles and Bond must track them down, even if it means a really protracted underwater fight sequence.
THE VILLAINS: Ernst Stavro Blofeld pulls the strings but this movie’s real bad guy is Emilio Largo, Played eye-patchingly well by Adolfo Celi.
THE GIRLS: Claudine Auger as Domino is very alluring, but it’s all about femme fatale Luciana Paluzzi’s Fiona Volpe for me. Just the way she runs ‘Mrbondjamesbond’ together in her little Italian accent makes me want to sip wine from her eyes. Do Europeans do that?
THE GADGETS: A jet pack, mouth-sized scuba tank, and a boat named the Disco Volante.
WAIT GO BACK: Aren’t all these European names exciting!
THE MUSIC: Thunderball performed by Tom Jones. Thunderball was actually a replacement for the original title song, Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang performed by Dionne Warwick. Producer Cubby Broccoli felt that the title of the movie had to be included in the song. He would later break that rule when he realized nobody would ever want to hear a song that included the word ‘Octopussy.’ Well, I for one disagree. Get on that Adele. But back to Thunderball. As legend has it, the last note was so long and passionate, Tom Jones fainted. Also, Johnny Cash did his own version of a theme for Thunderball that nobody seemed to have asked for. Everything I’ve read about it is that he just wanted to. ‘John, you’ve been in there for eleven hours, what are you doing?’ ‘Goddamnit June, I’m making a Thunderball!’
I have a little trouble writing about films like Thunderball and Dr. No because they’re such solid Bond films. Not a lot to pick apart and yet the action isn’t quite as original and thrilling as a few of the entries that we will be getting to. But everyone just hold on, Moonraker is coming and we’ll have plenty to talk about.