SALTZMAN AND THE ELEPHANT SHOES

Contributed by: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

An amusing anecdote from the preproduction of The Man with the Golden Gun. Remembered screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, “When Golden Gun was starting, producer Harry Saltzman went to Thailand. He wanted to have an elephant stampede in the picture. He told us that up in the Thai provinces, they use elephants for transport and work. He wondered whether Scaramanga could be working in the jungle, and when Bond arrives, they could chase each other on the back of elephants.

“Director Guy Hamilton didn’t like the idea. He’d seen it before in ten thousand Tarzan films. But Harry disregarded us. He went down and found a guy who worked with elephants, and he learned that the elephants had to wear shoes when they worked—actually, they wore coverings for their feet that protected them in rough areas such as stone quarries. ‘This is fabulous,’ Harry told me. ‘I’ve never seen an elephant shoe before.’ So Cubby is down in Southeast Asia watching over the filming when some guy calls up and tells him that Eon’s elephant shoes are ready. And Cubby says, ‘What elephant shoes?’

“As it turned out, Harry had ordered something like two thousand pairs of elephant shoes—even though there were no elephants in the script—which some guy had been working on for months. This guy still wanted his money.”[1]


[1] Tom Mankiewicz, interview by Steven Jay Rubin, Los Angeles, November 7, 1977.

Subscribe to our Podcast: Cracking the Code of Spy Movies

Never miss an episode - be in the know!