On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Pre-Title Sequence Decoded!

Podcast Episode

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Pre-Title Sequence Decoded!

Join Dan, Tom & Vicky for a deep look into a great James Bond pre-title sequence in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE!

 

A car chase, a fight on the beach, guns, knives, suicide, a new James Bond, a different Aston, a time machine, a Queen with a trident, and more in the pre-title sequence to the 1969 James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service!

Join Dan, Tom & Vicky for a deep look into a great James Bond pre-title sequence!

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Dan, Tom, and Vicky Discuss:

  • The new gun barrel sequence
  • The gradual introduction of the new actor playing James Bond
  • James Bond’s cigarettes
  • Influences from earlier James Bond movies to solidify that George Lazenby is really James Bond
  • The fight on the beach
  • Scenes that may have influenced Mission: Impossible
  • Homage paid to Alfred Hitchcock and maybe even the 1923 movie Safety Last!
  • The title sequence and some hidden meanings (like the Trident)
  • And more …

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James Bond’s SPECTRE Pre-Title Sequence Decoded!

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Gadgets in Spy Movies – Dr. No & Skyfall – Can You Believe It?

Watch the Video Version of this podcast Join Dan and Tom as they launch a new series on the Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show called Gadgets in Spy Movies - Can You Believe it? Here they discuss the…

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Gadgets – ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE and LIVE AND LET DIE – Can you Believe It?

Podcast Episode

Gadgets – ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE and LIVE AND LET DIE – Can you Believe It?

Join Tom and Dan & special guest host Vicki Hodges (from the UK) as we discuss the gadgets in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE and LIVE AND LET DIE - and some Bond movie locations that have been visited and celebrities met!  

Join Tom and Dan & special guest host Vicky Hodges (from the UK) as we discuss the gadgets in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Live and Let Die – and some Bond movie locations that have been visited and celebrities met!

Vicky joins us as a co-host on the show, and is an avid Bond memorabilia collector and knowledgeable James Bond and spy movie fan!  She’s great!

Subscribe to our show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies!

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We add a new host to our podcast, Vicki Hodges who lives in the UK.   She helps us look at the viability of the gadgets from the movies On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Live and Let Die.

  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
    • How part of the Armalite AR-7 rifle is used and where we’ve seen that rifle before
    • The Safe-Cracking Device/Photo Copier
    • MacGyver-type gadgets Bond makes
    • Miniature spy camera
    • Blofeld’s gift for the Angels
  • Live and Let Die
    • Bond’s Rolex Submariner watch
      • How it made Madeline Smith. who played Miss Caruso, uncomfortable
      • Could it deflect bullets?
    • Bonds Espresso maker
    • The coffin in the pre-title sequence
    • The Felix Lighter
    • Dart guns
  • And More …

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8 James Bond Movies Discussed by Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans!

Join Dan, Vicky, and Tom as they talk with four members of the SpyMovieNavigator's Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans Facebook group about their favorite James Bond movies.

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The Lost and Overlooked Bonds

Contributed by: Daniel Silvestri and Tom Pizzato of SpyMovieNavigator.com

Posted on
James Bond has been big for decades!  Spies still rule movies, and James Bond still rules spies!  There have been six actors who have played James Bond so far in the EON Production James Bond 007 movies.  Hundreds of articles and polls rank these actors as to who is the best, with rankings from one to sixThere is some consensus that people like Sean Connery the best.  Daniel Craig is ranked highly as well And, there are those who love Pierce Brosnan, and others who adore Roger Moore. Many times, what influences a person’s rankings or favorite Bond is the era in which they grew up. If you grew up with Pierce, then a lot of people like Pierce and so on. As a result, that means that there are two who are the lost and overlooked Bonds.  We would like to concentrate on these “forgotten” Bonds. Namely, George Lazenby from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Timothy Dalton from The Living Daylights  and Licence to Kill 

Is George Lazenby - A lost and Overlooked Bond?

George Lazenby wearing a tux - headshotOn Her Majesty’s Secret Service is just one of the best Bond stories Fleming ever wroteAnd while bringing it to film, EON Productions stuck very closely to the Fleming text. George's only acting experience had been in television commercials.  Still, he landed the role after Sean Connery decided to leave the franchise.

The Criticism

There is a loof criticism swirling about that George Lazenby was a poor Bond, that his acting was terrible, that his characterization of Bond was weak. However, we think that this is misguided.  In our opinion, George is one of the lost and overlooked Bonds who deserves more credit than he gets.  We think George did a wonderful job as Bond.  He was surrounded by an outstanding cast spearheaded by Diana Rigg (Tracy di Vincenzo) and Gabriele Ferzetti (Draco, Tracy’s father)The movie was well done.  It has great cinematography and wonderful locations selected in Portugal and Switzerland 

George Lazenby's Talent

George Lazenby was a believable, emotional, real-person Bond: much like Fleming wrote Bond. For example, look at the scene  at Draco’s birthday party at the bull ring.  Bond follows Tracy down the stairs and speaks with her just outside the bull ring.  Lazenby's acting is just spot-on, he's a believable guy. He's a guy, not just a spy guy.   James Bond (George Lazenby) and Tracy (Diana Rigg) in the barn   And when Bond and Tracy are hiding in the barn, and Bond asks Tracy to marry him. We think this is just a perfect scene – well played.  Diana Rigg certainly elevates the emotions and acting here.   George Lazenby as James Bond - see his expression when he looks at Tracy's dead body   In the last scene, he is cradling his dead wife in his arms in the car after she is killed.  George is just outstandingWe believe is a very real Bond.  He's a very believable spy who is also a human being.  Lazenby gives a very consistent portrayal of Bond throughout this production.   

Our Thoughts On George Lazenby

Lazenby should have continued to do more Bond films, but he received advice from agents or friends that he should move onAnd he didThat is too bad because we think he would have been better and better as Bond, and a very solid contribution to the history of the franchiseGeorge Lazenby, at the time of this writing, is still active.  He participated in the 50th Anniversary of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service celebration held in Portugal and Switzerland in 2019, and is active on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lazenbyofficial  We truly believe that George Lazenby is one of the lost and overlooked Bonds.  That is unfortunate because we really liked his performance in the role.

Is Timothy Dalton - a lost and overlooked Bond?

Timothy Dalton wearing a tux - headshotAfter Roger Moore left the Bond franchise having done seven James Bond films, Timothy Dalton stepped in as the next James Bond, for the 1987 film, The Living DaylightsHis take on the role was to bring back the Fleming-esque elements of Bond – the blunt instrument of the government – the tough, rough assassin who is dedicated to Queen and Country.   The transition from a very light Bond portrayed by Roger Moore, with a more tongue-in-cheek approach, lots of funny quips, more humor than we have seen ion any other Bond – to Timothy Dalton’s Bond was like Evel Knievel leaping across Grand Canyon on a motorcycle – a huge challenge.    In short, after seven Bond films with Moore, the viewing public might not have been ready for this take on Bond. Dalton played a very serious James Bond – with few quips, few smiles, and a very hard-nosed focus on getting the job done, and in a way that was a very believable approach to how a spy in the real-world night workThe missions were more down-to-earth too: transporting a defecting spy from the Russians to the British in The Living Daylights, and capturing a South American drug lord in Licence to Kill.  This is stuff that really happens in the real world – not dealing with some demented, super-megalomaniacal enemy who wants to rule the world. Although in real life we have some instances of that.     We like that “normal” approach to the spy world – which is more realistic.  However, we have enjoyed the world domination theme as well in the other films  With Dalton, you can see several things which stand out in his acting: 

Facial Expressions

For instance, his facial expressions are exactly that – they express a lot to the viewer in just a few short seconds.  This is very difficult to doSome great examples of this are: 
    • In The Living Daylights:

Timothy Dalton looking for revenge after Saunder's death • Saunders gets killed and Bond runs to his side. A balloon blows in with "Smiert Spionom" written on it.  Dalton's angry face says it all - he will retaliate.  

• Similarly, during the entire scene with Pushkin in the hotel room where Bond is threatening him with his gun.  Dalton has perfect facial expressions and body movement. 

    • In Licence to Kill:

Timothy Dalton's expression when looking at Della after her death 

When Bond finds Della's body 

 

 

And then finds Felix in the body bag - his face just says it all - terrific acting.

 

 • His facial expression when M is talking to Bond at the Hemingway House, revoking his license to kill is top-notch.

• When Bond tells Sanchez about potential traitors and Sanchez says he was right and got the guy, and Bond says, “Only one?”  Again, lots of potential dialogue delivered in a couple of words and great facial communications which substitutes for more linePerfect.

In the scene where Sanchez dies.  Bond is wounded and bleeding.  Sanchez, after saying “You could have had it all” goes up in flames. Examine Bond’s face – you feel the pain, you feel the tension.   

Body Movement

Similarly, Timothy Dalton’s body movements are spot on.  In other words, he walks, he fights, and he runs just like what we think a normal human being would be like 
    • In Licence to Kill:
      • When Bond is walking with Hawkins through Mallory Square in Key West on the way to the Hemingway House to meet M. Bond which Bond did not know that's where they were going at the time.  However,  he moves like a normal personNatural, walking, and walking. 
      • And, when he's on the boat with Sharkey going to Wavecrest’s warehouse and research center – again, great facial expressions, and great, natural body movement. 
      • And, when he gets off the boat at the Barrelhead Bar in Bimini – again, perfect movement, perfect facial expressions, and inside the bar, his face says it allSo powerful.
    • In The Living Daylights, as above, with the Pushkin scene Dalton's body movement is just what you think it should be. And, as you're watching, you do not think about it. This is the pointThis entire scene is Dalton at his bestLove it! 

Our Thoughts On Timothy Dalton

These are just a few examplesDalton did a great job as Bond and we wish he would have done more Bond moviesFor a variety of reasons it was not to be.  This was partially due to delays in the next release (6 years).  Some licensing issues and rumors that lower box office numbers had something to do with it.  But, Dalton himself says, they approached him to do GoldenEye. However, they wanted a 5 movie deal.  As a result, Dalton thought that would be the rest of his life and turned them down.   See this article in Esquire where he talks about this very point.    In our opinion, Timothy is the other lost and overlooked Bonds who deserves more credit than he gets.

Bravo Gentlemen

In short, these overlooked and mostly forgotten Bonds deserve an honored place in Bond movie folklore, performance, and durabilityThey have survived the years, and more people now think that their work should be appreciated as part of the James Bond 007 movie franchise  Therefore, we salute both George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton as rightful Bonds!  What do you think?
All About Spy Movies – SpyMovieNavigator

Podcast Episode

All About Spy Movies – SpyMovieNavigator

Find out what we are doing at SpyMovieNavigator.com and how we are building a Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans! Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato explain the roots of SpyMovieNavigator and how this whole thing got started, and how we are looking to you, our users and listeners, to contribute your ideas, discussions, photos, videos and more to this new community!

All About spy movies!  Find out what we are doing at SpyMovieNavigator.com & how we are building a Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans.

Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato explain the roots of SpyMovieNavigator and how this whole thing got started, and how we are looking to you, our users and listeners, to contribute your ideas, discussions, photos, videos and more to this new community!

We think there are at least 4 main genres of spy movies, and we want to create a place to discuss all of them and how they are interrelated. We will start with these four: James Bond, Mission: Impossible, Jason Bourne, Best of the Rest.  We are all about spy movies!

Keep checking back on our Podcasts page or Subscribe on iTunes for Apple devices, or on Google Play.

Come hear how we see these genres and how you can help build the Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans.  Give us your input after listening, do we have the genres right?  Do you have a genre of spy movies you’d like to see included?  What works and how can we make it better?

 

Related Content

SPY MOVIE NAVIGATOR – ALL ABOUT SPY MOVIES

This transcript is a subset of what is in the podcast.  We recommend you listen to the podcast.

Did you ever wonder how you can navigate your way through the genre of spy movies like Bond, Bourne, Mission: Impossible and the best of all the rest? Well, we did too! So, join us now and we’ll all become spy movie navigators!

SECTION 1
This is Dan Silvestri (and Tom Pizzato) at SpyMovieNavigator.com, the Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans! Spy movie podcasts, videos, discussions and more!
Dan: We’re big spy movie fans. When we look online, we see a bunch of sites dedicated to James Bond and not much else.

This is frustrating as there are hundreds of spy movies that have been made. But how are they interrelated? What are their origins? Can scenes and themes be found in other spy movies? And how have these spy movies influenced each other?

We think there are at least 4 main genres of spy movies and we want to create a place to discuss all of them and how they are interrelated. We will start with these 4.
Tom: Obviously one genre is James Bond. The others are the Mission: Impossible and Jason Bourne series and one we’re calling The Best of the Rest. This Best of the Rest is a category of other spy movies other than the Big 3. In this genre, we think of things like Hitchcock’s 1935 film The 39 Steps which is generally regarded as the first spy movie, 1962’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold to more modern films like the 2011 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and even Atomic Blonde, American Assassin and Red Sparrow which made spy movies a lot more bloody and gore.

Yeah, Tom – you mentioned The 39 Steps – in that film, you see for the first time a helicopter pursuing the target – of course, we are going to see this in many spy films to come including, From Russia With Love, The Spy Who Loved Me, SPECTRE, Mission: Impossible 1 (1996), Mission: Impossible Fallout, and others.

There are dozens of great spy movies that fall into this category. We’ll pick out what we think are the best and what we think have impacted other spy movies in both subtle and big ways.
And we want your participation! Part of what we are doing is building a worldwide community of spy movie fans. Maybe you’re a Bourne fan and don’t like Bond, or you like Bond and Mission: Impossible but not Bourne, or maybe you like some spy movies from the main three genres and others outside the main three. Starting with the first 4 genres, we will cover over 50 films. We will have something for all spy movie fans, and we will continue to grow the site by adding more movies or genres that we find are great, or relevant ones you suggest. A category for spy comedies (like Our Man in Havana, Austin Powers, Kingsmen, Burn After Reading, Spies Like Us, etc.)? Films based on John Le Carre and or Tom Clancy novels? Together with you, our spy movie fas community, we will see what missions are ahead for us all!

We will look for interconnections, relationships, unique concepts, and key scenes in all these genres so that we can all learn something new. As an example, if you’ve seen Thunderball have you also seen the 1958 film The Silent Enemy? The Silent Enemy brought the underwater ‘henchman sled’ called underwater chariots to the big screen 7 years before Thunderball. And they are launched from a ship, as later in Thunderball they are being launched from the villain, Largo’s boat, the Disco Volante. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’s a fabulous movie based on a true World War II espionage story.

We are looking for you, as part of our spy movie fan community, to contribute your ideas, insights, and photos to this effort and to the overall distribution of this info through our SpyMovieNavigator digital properties. Think of it as a two-way street, with info constantly going out and new info coming in – SpyMovieNavigator is partnering with our community of spy movie fans to gain new insights, see new connections, and have some fun together talking about spy movies!

SECTION 2
You know, Goldfinger was released in December 1964 in the USA, in New York, then Hollywood. Its general-release was January 9th. This was the third EON Production James Bond 007 film released. Well, I’m back in high school, but a few buddies and I wanted to see Goldfinger. I literally lived about 6 or 7 blocks from my high school, an old Italian neighborhood, that was maybe a few miles from downtown Chicago. So, one day, we executed our own spy missions – we cut class – we thought we were very clever – took the bus to downtown Chicago and saw Goldfinger! Loved it – loved everything about it, hooked on Bond early! Well, the only flaw in our plan, was the guy who was supposed to cover for us and doctor-up the attendance sheets, chickened out. We got caught by the school, who informed our parents and we got punished by both – oh my – but was it ever worth it!
Hooked on spies, of course, I had to watch all the television shows that followed like, “The Saint” (which began in 1962 and went through 1969), “The Man from UNCLE” (1964-1968), “Mission: Impossible” (1966- 1973), “The Avengers” (1961 – 1969) – these were the ones I watched diligently.

Of course, “The Saint”, which starred Roger Moore, and “The Avengers,” which starred Diana Rigg have obvious connections to later Bond films – Roger Moore of course becoming Bond for 7 movies, and Diana Rigg as Tracy di Vincenzo who marries Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

I also like some of the TV shows around that time frame. [Tom tells his first Bond story]
Bond in the 60s was dominant. People were reading the Fleming books and waiting for the next movies. In the US – President Kennedy at the time, put the Bond novel, “From Russia With Love,” on his Top 10 favorite book list – which made the Fleming novels explode in the US. We read all the Ian Fleming novels on Bond too, and just recently visited The Lilly Library at Indiana University where they own 11 of the original Ian Fleming Bond manuscripts and we were able to spend 1 and a half days examine hundreds of type-written pages by Fleming, along with his ink corrections, changes, name changes, title changes and more. On one page, “Miss Pettavel” was scratched out. The name Pettavel was based on a real person Ian Fleming knew, named Pettigrew. But when he scratched it out . . . he penned in, “Moneypenny!” Oh my God – here the name we all know and love was first introduced into the Bond novels! That was a genuinely remarkable experience touching the pages of Bond as Fleming wrote it. We would highly recommend a visit there for any spy movie fan, but especially for Bond fans. Remarkable! A guy had been there a few months before us going through all the manuscripts looking for what watches Bond wore and wrote an article on timepieces that was an international hit.

SECTION 3
The seed of SpyMovieNavigator was planted . . . . not that long ago – Tom and I went on a trip a while back to Switzerland, Luxemburg, Belgium and then to Normandy in France, to the beaches of D-Day. As an aside, everyone should set foot on the beaches in Normandy to realize what the allies sacrificed for the freedom of the world. It is moving, touching, heart-wrenching.

While in Switzerland, Tom and I spent a week traveling all over by train and cable car – Zurich, Geneva, Interlaken, and then we went up to Murren, (about a 5,300-foot elevation), up into the Swiss Alps. Long, beautiful cable-car ride up, then a small train to the town with gorgeous scenery all around. It was like being in a National Geographic magazine. Just spectacular beauty!

Tom loved the cable car – not really. All around the area were beautiful little towns, like Lauterbrunnen, Grindewald, Trummelbach Falls, and Schilthorn. Well, we were now close to some of the action from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – the 6th EON Productions James Bond 007 movie! The car chase where Tracy drives her red, 1969 Mercury Cougar XR-7, with Bond as a passenger through the stock car race on ice and snow, trying to escape the henchmen of Blofeld, took place right in the parking lot area of Lauterbrunnen (in the Bern region)! That was a small cable car ride, so we went! And immediately we thought, this was very, very cool to be on the location of a Bond film scene, from one of our favorite Bond movies.

ANECDOTE: And we took another small down from Wengen to Grindelwald. And the wind was swaying us around a lot as we descended, In fact, when we got to the station, we got out and they closed the lift because of the wind! But we got to the spot where the ice rink was that where Tracy, who was skating, meets up with Bond, who was sitting on a bench, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Very Bond-like – we just made it!

We were only going to be in Murren for two days. We stayed at the Eiger Hotel, which was terrific. Beautiful views, great restaurant, nice little bar. We found out some of the actors and crew hung around here during filming and had a few cocktails and gambled a bit playing cards with each other. So, we, of course, had to dine and sit at the bar and have a few cocktails. The lift was closed that went up to Schilthorn due to bad weather. Piz Gloria is up there – the Blofeld headquarters where he has his “allergy research institute” but where he is brainwashing women who will deliver a deadly virus to the world.

Disappointed it was inaccessible, we watched around the clock when it might open again – they had monitors in the hotel lobby that tracked the status of all the cable lifts. In the morning it did open, and we went up to Piz Gloria at Schilthorn – another 4000 -5,000 feet up! Now we were where a lot of action took place in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – the Blofeld headquarters, the outdoor section where the women were curling, and where Bond tried it and slipped, and where he later slides as he is shooting Blofeld’s henchmen during the assault on Piz Gloria by Bond and Draco, inside where Bond walks up the steps with the gold, ornate metalwork making a barrier to the stairway he ascends – we were here! OK, now we are hooked. From this moment, we thought tons of people around the world who are spy movie fans would love to be here – and here we were! One of the Top 10 Bond film locations in the world! So, as the wheels turned on the cable car ride back down, they also started turning for SpyMovieNavigator.

Hook, line, and sinker. We were going to do something with spy movies!

SECTION 4
One summer, I went to Prague, to visit my daughter who was on a study-abroad program and had to head to Charles Bridge. Plenty was filmed here for Mission: Impossible 1 and The Bourne Identity (2002), and some Bond stuff too. I got a picture of the Charles Bridge standing in the exact location the cameraman was in for a Mission: Impossible shot! So exciting. Was on the bridge where Phelps in Mission: Impossible 1 fell over the edge! FUN!!

In the Caribbean, Tom with his family had visited Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, which features in Dr. No –  and I had visited with my family and climbed the falls. Very cool again to be in such an iconic spot from Dr. No! Where Honey Rider and James Bond were standing!

So, after our Switzerland trip, we thought we’d do an exploratory trip to a few other spy movie locations. So recently, Tom and I headed to Portugal, Sardinia Italy, Amsterdam and London to visit a few more film locations! On that trip alone, we got to over 50 Bond and spy movie locations. We met with Caroline Munro, who played Naomi, the assistant of Stromberg, in The Spy Who Loved Me; the person who comes to collect Bond who was posing as an oceanographer – Mr. Sterling, to bring him to Stromberg; and the pilot of the helicopter who tries to shoot Bond as he escapes in the Lotus Esprit – becoming the first woman Bond kills in the movies!

This trip was spy movie heaven. In Portugal, we wanted to visit the rest of the major scenes from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and so we set out to find all the key locations. So, in Lisbon:

• We wanted to find in the pre-title sequence where Bond was driving – before you knew he was Bond – him driving his Aston, just see his head, hat, him lighting a cigarette. We found the exact spot where he is driving in the beginning, in a town called Cascais. We on the spot where the camera was shooting the scene! Very nice!

• We next wanted to find where Tracy’s car passes Bond up and the chase begins. And we found it on a road near Cabo du Roca, Portugal.

• Praia Do Guincho: the beach where Bond saves Tracy from killing herself, gets in a fight, where Tracy escapes in her car, and where Bond looks at the camera and says: “This never happened to the other fellow.”

• We found the jewelry shop where Tracy saw a beautiful ring, and where Bond later went back to purchase the ring which became her wedding ring. We wandered a bit and found Palacio dos Marqueses de Fronteira.  The place with the beautiful gardens and statuary that Bond and Tracy were strolling in the montage.  This is where they fall in love (Bond and Tracy – gardens, fountains, cat, star fountain). This was very cool.

• Next, we found the 25th of April Bridge – the bridge that Draco’s guys drive over when they kidnap Bond to bring him to Draco.

• We even got to where the mansion where the wedding reception took place in the front courtyard, and the bullpen where Draco’s birthday party was held – sooooo cool!

• And we found the exact road and spot where Tracy was killed as Bond pulled over to remove the flowers from the car after the wedding.

• And lots more – we have a podcast just on this trip – it was so fun.

OK – we are in as deep as we can get and there is no getting out!

So, we started SpyMovieNavigator.com and our social media digital properties to reach out to the worldwide community of spy movie fans to create a place to congregate, discuss, gain and contribute insights, share photos, videos and more. We are the place to come to if you are a spy movie fan because 1000s like us will come as well. SpyMovieNavigator is THE place for fans from all over the world to come – the Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans!!

SECTION 5
How we are Doing It
Did you ever take a look at YouTube for a particular spy movie of interest? Well, check out Dr. No on YouTube. There are literally dozens, maybe even hundreds, of clips on this movie alone.  The same is true of dozens and dozens of other spy movies. So, you can spend a very long time finding meaningful clips about the movie, and when you do, they are scattered all over the place in random order.

So, here is what we are doing with some of the best spy movies, on our website, SpyMovieNavigator.com. On our website, we are “curating” spy movies, from the main spy movie genres – Bond, Bourne, Mission: Impossible, and The Best of the Rest.

What we are doing, is scouring through those YouTube clips, finding the best ones that represent key scenes in the movies (not the whole movies of course), assembling them in chronological order as they would appear in the film, then include our editorial comments, insights about why this scene is important to the film, how this film or scene impacts other spy movie films or scenes to follow, and how other spy movies or real-life incidents that preceded these movies may have influenced the film we are looking at.

So, you can go to any genre category, like 007, Bourne, Mission: Impossible, of the Best of the Rest category and see the clips, and read the editorial commentaries and insights for each clip. If you’re a spy movie fan, we know you will love this approach. Of course, we always look for your insights as well and will promote the exchange of ideas via forums and our Facebook chats. We may even use your insights on the site!

In short, we will all learn something new from the “curated” films, which is a unique approach to looking at spy movies in general. We are building a Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans and you’re invited!

SECTION 6
Podcasts
One of our main vehicles for delivering this content is podcasting.  We will create podcasts on many spy movie topics and try to dig deep into the subject matter as best we can. Throughout our treatment of spy movies, we will integrate our podcasts that cover the curated movie or mention that movie.

For example, the Dr. No podcast is an expansion of the written curated section on the website for the film. We will have podcasts on all of the curated films, if you want to listen to them on the go, as well as podcasts on many spy movie topics that will cover multiple films at the same time, like chase scenes in spy movies, train scenes, how real-life events find their way into spy movies, how one has influenced others, why Mission: Impossible might challenge Bond for dominance, podcasts of our trips to spy movie locations, we’ll have interviews with authors and movie personnel, and dozens and dozens more topics. We will interrelate within each podcast how other spy movies may have influenced a scene, or where an idea that we see here may have come from in another spy movie, or how this movie will influence future spy movies. We will weave a unique story, and try to offer some new insights into specific scenes or movies as we examine each.

One Benefit of the podcast format is that you download them giving you a mobile listening capability, listen on the go!

We have about a hundred ideas, some completed already and others in the works! We are constantly developing relationships with key people in the industry to bring you the best. ! As we mentioned at the beginning of this podcast, and we can’t stress this enough we will look for your suggestions, guidance and, most importantly, contributions and insights on an ongoing basis! After all, we are a community!

SECTION 7
Filming Locations
One big area of interest for Dan and for me are filming locations.

Going to a place where they filmed scenes from movies and trying to figure out exactly where the camera and the actors were standing is magical to us. We have a lot of fun trying to determine the exact spot of the shot. I used to think just getting to the site (or within a couple of square meters) was fine. As we’ve done this more, there is a thrill in finding the exact spot. For instance, when I arrived at the Eilean Donan castle in Scotland, I thought that was really cool. However, I soon realized I wasn’t looking at the castle from the way it was shot in The World is Not Enough. I had to find out where the camera was sitting. We had to drive up a hill to a parking location to see the castle as it was pictured in the film. My wife thought I was nuts. However, it made all the difference to me.

Ah, yeah, Tom – remember in Sardinia, Italy?  We spent about two hours locating the scene in the Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, where the motorcycle starts to chase Bond and the Russian agent XXX, as Bond is driving his Lotus Esprit.  We found it and verified it by having the movie with us on our Microsoft Surface. And remember, we saw the street where the Lotus comes into the square then exits the square? In the movie, the building that was a visual anchor had a balcony on it, but the building now did not. We walked to the building and saw where the beams had been removed that were holding up the balcony! We were there!

If you haven’t done that yet, we strongly encourage you to give it a try. To help you with this, we will have a section on the website with videos and photos we (and hopefully you) have taken at these sites.

So, let’s delve deeper into the video/photo section of the site. We will link to actual film location scenes we have visited that are associated with particular spy films, and you can see what these locations look like now, versus what they looked like when the movie was filmed.

There is something absolutely fun about being on the actual film locations for these spy movies, and we have visited about 100 spy film locations so far throughout the world.
Tom and I take specific trips to go to the spy movie film locations, and you can as well, or you can add-on a side trip when you are on vacation or a business trip somewhere in the world to visit some spy movie locations that may be right where you are visiting!
SpyMovieNavigator will present videos on our YouTube channel and on our website dealing with spy movie locations, what they look like now and what scenes were filmed there, some podcast videos, and a variety of other videos as well.

We will continue to present interesting information in unique ways, and unique information in new ways!

Since we love heading out on trips to spy movie filming locations, we also have a section on filming location tours.

We will help you get to these locations around the world! To aid you, we will be partnering with tour organizations in different parts of the world. So, when you, our community of listeners and readers, want to also go on some spy movie location tours, you can!

We are even planning to organize a super tour of our own – so let us know what we should include! Visiting spy movie filming locations has been a tremendous joy for us, and we never tire of getting to a new location for the first time and seeing exactly where they filmed a key scene from Bourne, Bond, Mission: Impossible or from the Best of the Rest spy movies. It is just fun to stand where Bond was standing for instance in Thunderball at Shrublands, or where Phelps falls of the Charles Bridge in Prague in Mission: Impossible. We’ll help find you great tour options as you vacation around the world.

SECTION 8
JAMES BOND DATABASE
Adding another exciting measure to our mission, SpyMovieNavigator has partnered with Steven Jay Rubin to bring you the largest online James Bond movie database, based on his book, “The Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopedia!” He will have a new revision coming out sometime after Bond 25 is released too! Exciting stuff! We will also add additional spy movie information to the database as well, and you can search for all kinds of things spy movie-related online at our main website. This alone is pretty cool and will be a ton of fun for spy movie fans!  You can find this database here.

SpyMovieNavigator.com will be a fun gathering place, and our social media properties like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram will provide additional information, links to new podcast and videos, and provide, most importantly, a forum for us to discuss with each other what’s important in spy movies, gather insights you may have and can contribute, a place where you can upload your own photos and videos of you on spy movie locations, and where we can all have fun! SpyMovieNavigator.com is The Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans – spy movie podcasts, videos, and discussion!

Thanks for listening – we appreciate it very much. Please continue to come back, download our podcasts, watch the videos, read our genre content and give us your feedback, insights, and info that you can contribute.  This will grow the knowledge base and fun for all of us spy movie fans!


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How Events in the Real World Affect What Goes Into Spy Movies!

Related: Why Dr. No is Dr. YES for Spy Movie Fans

Related: Spy Movies & Real-World Connections – Part 1

Related: Spy Movies & Real-World Connections – Part 2

Contributed by: Daniel Silvestri and SpyMovieNavigator.com

Posted on
Have you ever thought about how events in the real world and other movies could affect and work their way into some of our favorite spy movies?  Well, think about it a minute because that’s what we are going to explore today on Spy Movie NavigatorDownload our podcast for more details. At Spy Movie Navigator.com – the Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans –we are going to look at this now!

Real-world and spy movies

Let’s start by looking at some of the Bond films -  the most successful franchise in all of the spy films and a few others. The first real fact is, of course, Ian Fleming got the name James Bond from one of his favorite books, Birds of the West Indies, by…. James Bond. Dr. No was written in 1957 by Ian Fleming, published in 1958, and was his 6th James Bond novel.   The movie Dr. No, EON Production’s first Bond movie, came out in 1962.   So, here is the first instance of the real world affecting this spy movie:
  1. By 1962, both the Soviet Union and the USA were launching astronauts into space, so far ahead of the theme in the novel where the USA was launching test missiles.  In the novel, Dr. No says he is working with the Russians to disrupt American test missiles, in the movie, he is disrupting American space flights.  Also, in the movie, both the East and the West have rejected his services, and so he is a member of SPECTRE ( Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion), and not working with the Russians.  The cold war between Russia (the Soviet Union) and the US in real life was heating up by the time the movie came out, so here, the movie was influenced by real-world happenings.
  2. And, in a subtle nod to life happening,  the painting of the Duke of Wellington by Francisco de Goya was stolen August 21st, 1961 from the National Gallery in London.   It was still missing when EON Productions was filming No.  So,  In Dr. No, when Bond is in Dr. No’s [caption id="attachment_3830" align="alignright" width="229"]Duke of W@ellington National Gallery, London[/caption] lair, he walks through the lair about to step up a couple of steps, stops and looks at a painting on an easel – it is the Duke of Wellington!  So, if you are watching Dr. No and don’t realize the painting he stops to look at is this real-life stolen Duke of Wellington, you just think, ah Bond finds that painting interesting.   Once you know the real-life incident, then this adds a brilliant glow to this scene, where the writers for EON Productions were indeed very clever and inventive.   By the way, the painting was eventually recovered in real-life and now hangs in Gallery A at the National Gallery in London once again – we saw it there while visiting Gallery # 24 wherein SPECTRE, Bond meets the new Q.
From Russia With Love1963 – released in 1963 by EON Productions as their second James Bond film, and Ian Fleming’s 5th James Bond novel published in 1957 (the year the Soviets launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite), was heavily influenced by the times – and the Cold War.   The tensions between the US and the Soviets were at an all-time high.  Remember, the Cuban Missile Crisis (the showdown between Russia and the US) was in October 1962, the year EON was filming From Russia With Love.  So, once again, EON Productions was brilliant in their release of From Russia With Love!
  • In addition, check out the book, “For Your Eyes Only – Ian Fleming + James Bond” by Ben Macintyre.  Here he tells of the attempt to murder Bond on the Orient Express by SMERSH was based on a US Naval attaché in Romania, Eugene Karp, who was more than likely trying to escape from Russian agents.  He boarded the Orient Express in Bucharest in February 1950, and his body was found in a railway tunnel near Salzburg.  It was never proven the Soviet assassins did it, but it is highly probable.
  • Even SMERSH is from the Russian Smyert Shpionam = “death to spies” – and we will see this is The Living Daylights.
  Goldfinger – 1964 released in 1964 by EON Productions as their third James Bond film, based on Ian Fleming’s 7th novel of the same name, published in 1959.  In the pre-title sequence in the movie (not written in the novel) is James Bond in a wet/dry suit emerging from the water, setting explosives, and then removing his wet suit to reveal a perfectly neat and crisp white dinner jacket, bow tie, etc.    Ah, you are thinking like we were thinking – what is the chance of that really happening or being able to happen?! Well, let’s talk to MI6 about a similar WW-II operation!  In an article by David Harrison in April 2010 for The Telegraph, he reveals that a Jeremy Duns,  a British writer, was researching a new book.  He found out that a Dutch spy used a very similar technique to infiltrate a German-occupied mansion in the Netherlands during WW-II.   From the water, he emerged in a wetsuit.  Underneath this specially designed wetsuit, he wore the evening wear.  His eveningwear would make him look like he belonged, and he could slip past the guards into the party.   He was supposed to extract two comrades and escape.   Well, Jeremy Duns thinks that a Brit screenwriter, Paul Dehn, who was called in to polish up the Goldfinger script, knew about this WW-II incident because he was a former intelligence officer in WW-II.  Hmm!   The original script did not have this scene, and, as said, it was not in the novel.     He feels it is too much of a coincidence that this scene was written into the screenplay by Paul Dehn, who most certainly was aware of this WW-II operation!  True real-life incident put into the movie! Skipping ahead, at the point in the film where Bond is captured by Goldfinger’s henchmen after another great car chase scene, Bond finds himself strapped to a metal table, as Goldfinger is about to demonstrate his new toy – a laser beam.  Here in the film, the laser beam is directed at the base of the table and is guided to rise-up between Bond’s legs, into his crotch and eventually kill him.   In the book by Fleming, published March 23 1959, there were no lasers yet – and so this device was a table saw. The laser was not invented until 1960.   And the first working laser was built on May 16, 1960, by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories based on the theoretical work of Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow. The term laser came to be an  acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”   Again, EON Productions was brilliant at integrating a real-life happening, the invention of the laser, into this film which was being shot in 1963 for release in 1964.  And at the time, this was a very high-tech scene in Goldfinger!  We cannot think of another film of any kind using a laser before Goldfinger, so here is another first for EON Productions! This scene is famous the world over for the laser, and for the dialogue: Bond: “ You expect me to talk?”  Goldfinger” “No, Mr. Bond I expect you to die!” Thunderball – 1965 Thunderball was Ian Fleming’s 9th James Bond novel, published in 1961, and EON Production’s 4th James Bond 007 movie, which opened in 1965.   Thunderball probably would have been the first movie produced but there were some copyright issues that were delayed in the settlement.  Kevin McClory and Fleming had worked on a script that never made it to production. Fleming used part of it for Thunderball, and eventually, a settlement was reached.  Thunderball is the only early EON production movie where the producers are not listed as Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.  Here they are listed as Executive Producers (which is a lesser status) and McClory is listed as the producer.   Also, McClory got the right to produce his own James Bond film based on his Thunderball contributions and eventually did Never Say Never Again which is basically the same story. But we digress!   In Thunderball SPECTRE is at it again.  So, we get away from the US versus the Soviet Union and have this other entity as the enemy again.   Remember in Dr. No we were introduced to SPECTRE. Of course, by 1961 when the novel was published, we had lots of atomic bombs in the world, and there was an arms race between the Soviet Union and the US.  So, atomic weapons were on everyone’s minds.
  1. The basis of this story is based on real-life – people were worried about nuclear war and atomic weapons. Here, two atomic weapons are hijacked by SPECTRE who threatens to destroy a major city either in the US or in the United Kingdom.  So even though EON Productions did not make this their first Bond film, in 1965 the world was very aware of the threat from major powers building up supplies of nuclear weapons.    So, the topic was hot.
  2. The skyhook, which recovers Bond and Domino at the end, is an actual real-life device developed by Robert Fulton for the CIA in the 1950s. By letting up a line from the ground with a self-inflating balloon, a specially equipped plane can fly by and scoop up the line and the one or two personnel it was designed to retrieve.  Cool!  A real-life gadget at the time.
  3. In 1956, a Soviet cruiser came to Britain, with Nikita Khrushchev on a state visit to Britain. He was the former Premier of the Soviet Union.  It was also in 1956 where, Khrushchev said: "We will bury you” while addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow on November 18, 1956.  So Soviet/Western relations were not good.   So on this visit to Britain, Britain wanted to get a look at this new Soviet ship – some reports say to examine for mine-laying hatches or sonar equipment, and other reports, like from Peter Wright’s book, “Spycatcher,”  Britain’s Naval Intelligence wanted information on the potential new propeller system this ship had.  So MI6 sent a scuba diver down (actually, two were reported as being sent) and one was a great diver, Lionel Crabb.  Crabb never returned from this mission, and a headless, handless body was found 14 months later dressed in the scuba gear he had worn on that date (April 15, 1956).  MI6 covered up the mission, saying Crabb was lost in some underwater exercise.   Many theories floated about, one being that Soviet sentries were stationed underwater to guard the ship, caught Crabb, cut his air hose and brought him aboard and he later died.  Other theories say he was shot underwater by a Soviet sniper.
Now, you will remember in Thunderball, Bond is sent to inspect the hull of the Disco Volante, Largo the villain’s boat.  Bond is discovered too by Largos frogmen, as Bond was taking photos of the hull to determine if there was an underwater hatch.   Bond, more luck than Crabb, escapes.  The photos showed an underwater hatch which leads Bond to think Largo’s entire operation (the theft of the plane carrying to nuclear missiles) might be underwater – including the plane that was hijacked.  Is there a connection between the Crabb event and these scenes in Thunderball?  The MI6 officer in charge of the Lionel Crabb underwater deployment and mission was Nicholas Elliott – a friend of Fleming’s!
  1. In the 1958 movie, Silent Enemy, (based on a true story) - 2 British battleships are sunk in Alexandria by explosives set under their hulls. The explosives, in real life, were being set by Italian scuba-divers, who were launched from a submarine using what they called, “underwater chariots” – which in Thunderball and other spy movies to come – were the underwater sleds used to transport the bombs, get divers to certain locations underwater, etc.!  In real life, they were using these underwater chariots to bring frogmen to the British ships where they would attach torpedoes and mines.  The British had to figure this out and stop it – and here, Lionel Crabb (who we mentioned earlier) was in charge of the operation to infiltrate the enemy ship, destroy their capabilities of continuing to blow up British ships!   So, in this movie we see real-life events.  Of course, we see in The Spy Who Loved Me, Stromberg’s (the villain) ship, the “Liparus,” has underwater bow hatches that capture the Soviet and US submarines (with nuclear weapons aboard).
In the same movie, Silent Enemy, ALSO, there is a great underwater battle of frogmen, cutting breathing hoses and more – just like in Thunderball and additional spy movies to come.   The Thunderball underwater scenes, filmed in the Bahamas, were set the standard for future underwater battles, and the potential connections to real-life events from World War 2 make Thunderball underwater hull investigations, and underwater battles with frogmen and underwater sleds even more grounded in reality. Also, in Thunderball, the jet pack was real and flown by Bill Suiter, who demanded using a helmet which is why Sean Connery as Bond puts on a helmet when he takes off.
  1. Though the movie came out in 1965, Fleming’s 9th novel was published in 1961. And it foreshadowed the threat of the Cuban Missile Crisis to the US Florida cities (like Miami, Cape Canaveral, etc).
  You Only Live Twice1967 Ian Fleming’s 12th novel published in 1964 (counting the For Your Eyes Only collection of short stories, and it’s the last novel published before his death), and EON Production’s 5th James Bond 007 film which opened in 1967.  The movie has little to do with the actual novel.   Here, the beginning of the movie depicts the death of James Bond, complete with an obituary in the newspapers.   There is a burial at sea for Commander Bond, and when the body sinks to the bottom of the ocean, scuba divers retrieve the body and bring it to the awaiting submarine where it is taken aboard, the wrappings open, only to reveal a live James Bond who quips, “Request permission to come aboard, Sir.” Thank God Bond is alive – we were worried, right?   His death was faked to throw off the enemy .  Of course, that means they knew who James Bond was, which is often the case, but that’s another podcast!
  1. The faked death of spies is definitely grounded in reality. Google Arkady Babchenko, faked his own death because being very critical of Vladimir Putin, he was certain that he would be killed by the KGB.  In a huge real-life situation in World War-II, Operation Mincemeat (Google it!) the Allies floated the body of a dead man with fake papers identifying him as a Captain who the Germans had been tracking. With papers indicating an invasion of Sardinia Italy and Greece instead of Sicily, to mislead the Germans.  Some stories say the fictitious name of the dead man was Captain William Martin, while other reports say the Germans were aware of the supposed dead man and felt he really knew something.  Regardless, the deception worked.  And the source of the plan came from Rear Admiral John Godfrey and his assistant, Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming.    Yep!
  2. We all remember Henderson, the contact Bond meets in Japan and who has key information, was based on Richard Hughes, a reporter and double agent who worked for Ian Fleming at one point during WW-II. Hughes did a lot of Bond-like things.  Hughes spent a great deal of time in Japan.   Hence, a great place to film this movie.  Google The extraordinary untold Japan story of ‘You Only Live Twice’ by Damian Flanigan, special to the Japan Times.   Great story!
  3. “Little Nellie,” the one-man autogiro that Bond flies to do surveillance in Japan was a real-life invention, developed by Ken Wallis, a Royal Air Force guy, in the early part of the 1960s. The one used in the movie was modified, of course.
  4. Of course, the Space Race played a part here too – the US and Soviet Union at the time were racing each other for outer space advantages and achievements. So, SPECTRE capturing Soviet and US space capsules is natural, given the times in 1967, two years before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin will land on the moon on the US Apollo 11.
  On Her Majesty’s Secret Service1969 Ian Fleming’s 11th novel, published in 1963; and EON Production’s 6th James Bond 007 movie, showing in 1969.  The first Bond movies without Sean Connery, George Lazenby steps in to be Bond and to be bonded – married – to Teresa Di Vincenzo (Tracy) – played by Diana Rigg. In his mountain-top laboratory, posing as an allergy clinic, at Piz Gloria (Schilthorn, Switzerland  Blofeld is brainwashing young women to deliver a chemical agent that will stop plants and animals from reproducing- creating a tremendous food crisis.  The setting is spectacular – we have been to Piz Gloria about 10,000 feet up!
  1. In 1968, there was an experiment done by the US Army at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. Through a malfunction of a spraying nozzle, a toxic chemical was released and almost 30 miles away, over 6,000 sheep were found dead.   There was no definitive connection to the agent released and the sheep deaths, but traces of the toxic chemical were supposedly found on the carcasses.   So, draw your own conclusion!   So, when OHMSS comes out in 1969, chemical warfare and potential devastation to life through chemicals were very much real.
  2. The Soviet Union was ramping up chemical warfare research, while the US began to downgrade ours. Again, what Blofeld was thinking was not out of the realm of possibility!
  Diamonds Are Forever – 1971 Published by Ian Fleming in 1956 as his 4th James Bond novel, EON Productions made it into their 7th James Bond 007  movie, introduced in 1971.    Here, Bond – Sean Connery comes back - infiltrates a diamond smuggling ring and prevents Blofeld and SPECTRE from developing a space-based laser weapon with the diamonds that could blow things up.  Blofeld was going to sell it to the highest bidder, so Bond had to stop the plot.
  1. So, Ian Fleming writes "Diamonds Are Forever" only 9 years after a woman copywriter for an ad agency wrote “A Diamond is Forever” for a DeBeers ad campaign, in 1947 – and it’s been in DeBeers campaigns ever since! See a great online article on this in the New York Times by J. Courtney Sullivan, May 3, 2013.
  2. The Burton-Taylor diamond, like 69 carats, purchased in 1969 made world-wide news. That, combined with Jacqueline Kennedy’s jewelry (diamonds and emeralds ) in the early 1960s put diamonds on the mind of everyone.  Coincidence or great timing by EON, the subject of diamonds was ripe for the 1971 launch of Diamonds Are Forever.
  3 Days of the Condor 1975.  Intense movie.  Influenced by Watergate (no trust of people in power) and the oil shortages prevalent in the mid-1970s. Moonraker – 1979 -  Moonraker,  Fleming’s 3rd novel, was published in 1955.   Rockets were just being developed after von Braun’s success with the Germans in World War II.   The novel is about a rocket being developed and that will be tested by Drax’s organization, with support of the British government.   By the time the movie was made by EON Productions in 1979,  the writers had to change the story.   It was 1979 and man had already been to the moon and back, the space shuttles were under development,  a story about a missile test would not cut it.   Trust me, the novel is a great read, and when you consider the times, it was very exciting.   So, the first real-life incident to affect this movie was
  1. The story is changed completely, except keeping Hugo Drax as the main villain, because of the rapid development of rockets, manned space flight, the moon landings and the development of the shuttle (which first flew in 1981).
  2. Secondly, the novel plot is a great one but dated for the EON Productions 11th James Bond movie in 1979. EON had originally planned to film For Your Eyes Only after The Spy Who Loved Me (one of my all-time favorite Bond movies).  But because of the development of the Shuttle in real life, and the popularity of two of the biggest science fiction films released in 1977, Star Wars (with a second planned for 1980) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  So, EON Productions, once again being clever and watching the real world and what was successful and popular, moved Moonraker up ahead of For Your Eyes Only to take advantage of the popularity and success of science fiction movies, and actual NASA advancements in space technology.
  3. Also, the concept of a space station, used in Moonraker, was based on real-life as well – the Soviets had Salyut 1 space station in 1971, and the US had Skylab up in 1973.
Once again, real-life influences major elements of the spy film genre!   The Living Daylights – 1987 death to spies, Smert Shpionam.  And the idea of a spy defecting, of course, is based on real stuff – spies defect in the real world.  In fact, Nikolai Khokhlov was a Soviet spy who defected to the west in 1953 and brought with him all kinds of spy gadgets which we will talk about in a moment.   Licence to Kill – 1989
  1. The whole premise of the film is dealing with a drug lord from South America. In 1972, then President of the United States Richard Nixon said drug abuse was “public enemy number one.”    In 1986, President Reagan of the United States called for a “nationwide crusade against drugs.”  So, drugs infiltrating and affecting thousands of lives was definitely a popular topic during the decades surrounding the release of Licence to Kill.
  2. So, Franz Sanchez, being a major drug dealer, would have garnered a lot of attention if the Department of the Drug Enforcement Administration knew of his whereabouts. So, the DEA response to Sanchez being tracked to the United States would have warranted the response it got in the movie – and probably a whole lot more.
  Mission: Impossible - 1996 Between Goldeneye (1995) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) comes the first in the series of Mission: Impossible movies based on the 1960s television show.   So, 1996 was a great time to capitalize on the spy movie fans waiting for another Bond movie, and since Bourne Identity was not born until 2002. The Mission: Impossible TV show, which I loved, certainly had an influence on the creation of the movie.   Many fans of the TV series were looking forward to the first movie.   While Phelps was the only character kept from the TV series, the mission was to be fresh, full of action and intrigue.  The concept of a rogue agent trying to make things right was not new, but this mission was done with passion. MacGyver-like gadgets, and to some degree sophisticated gadgets, masks and deception all came from the TV show.  The original show was more like an O’Henry play, with surprise endings for the bad guys, and Martin Landau (who played Rollin Hand in the original TV series) said when interviewed after the first Mission, the original was not an action-adventure, it was more of a “mind game.  The ideal mission was getting in and getting out without anyone ever knowing we were there.” ( quote from, Martin Landau Discusses 'Mission: Impossible' Movies (blog), MTV, October 29, 2009, archived from the original on December 28, 2009)   The non-stop action is truly new to the movie. So, we think the first film of the Mission: Impossible series was influenced by
  1. The TV show, for basic concepts, self-destructing mission messages, music, etc. and
  2. The timing, in between Bond films.
  3. The worldwide locations, like shooting in Prague, was definitely Bond–influenced, as were the opening scenes during the credits, giving glimpses into the action about to unfold.
Of course, the real Cold War spying  - going after atomic data, and lists of spies - was a regular mission of spies.   Even in 2015, the US CIA was concerned that China had stolen info on US federal employees that might expose the real names of our spies abroad.   So, the basic concept of the mission in the first Mission: Impossible movie is very grounded in reality.   The Bourne Identity2002.  9/11 made the producers think that the script, with the CIA looking like the bad guy, might be too sensitive for audiences in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.   They actually filmed alternative opening and ending sequences, but when the original was tested with audiences, they seemed to accept it very well, so the alternative opening and closing scenes were relegated to the bonus section of the DVDs (See “Fifteen Things You Didn’t Know About the Bourne Franchise”  by Josh Roush, July 29, 2016, online article.   Casino Royale – 2006 – certainly the popularity of Texas Hold’em worked its way into the film, instead of the as-written Chemins de Fer/baccarat game in the Fleming novel.   Also, the more realistic approach of The Bourne Identity movie may have influenced Casino Royale to more grounded in basics – although, for a reboot of the Bond franchise, one would think they would stick closely to the novel which, as the first novel, was very straight-forward, with few gadgets, and basic in execution.   Bond on Skis:  George Lazenby, who was an avid skier, is the first James Bond in EON Productions films to take to skis, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), with many of the scenes filmed in Murren, Switzerland – which we at SpyMovieNavigator have been too!  It is about 5,000 feet below Schilthorn (Piz Gloria) where Blofeld’s “allergy research institute” was located in the film.   In a night scene, Bond begins to ski down Piz Gloria, and of course is shot at, then pursued by Blofeld’s henchmen on skis.  Even Blofeld joins the pursuit, on skis.  With flares and machine guns, they pursue Bond – and of course, they know the mountain better than Bond, so they are in hot pursuit.  Great chase scene, with well-trained and skilled agents in pursuit on skis. And in the 1977 Bond film, in the pre-title sequence of The Spy Who Loved Me, we have one of the best snow ski sequences in any spy movie film – in any film for that matter.   He gets a message from MI6 saying they need him, while he is sleeping with a woman in an Austrian winter mountain chalet.  So he leaves, with a red backpack on his back, and skis.  She immediately radios her counterparts to say he is leaving, and we have another ski chase scene, pursuers shooting at him, and at one point, Bond turns around and shoots one of the foreign agents with his ski pole gun.  Then he continues, eventually skiing off the mountain with thousands of feet beneath him – only to pop a parachute with the Union Jack to land safely.  A great pre-title sequence that has become an iconic scene around the world!  Reported filmed in Canada, the stunt man who did this, Rick Sylvester, did this in one take.  They had to wait for the weather to be just right, and not too windy.   Again, skiing and pursuit by trained assassins on skis.   In For Your Eyes Only,    Bond is pursued by sharpshooter skiers and enemy agents on specially equipped motorcycles, with spiked wheels and guns, down the mountain and eventually into a lift heading to a ski jump.   Of course, Bond must do the jump, as his pursuers wait at the bottom of the ski jump hill. The pursuit continues again on the special motorcycles chasing Bond on skis., which even includes skiing down a bobsled run. In A View to a Kill,   Bond does it all on snow – from skiing to snowmobiling to riding one of the runners from the snowmobile as a snowboard!   Here pursued by a helicopter, snowmobiles, skiers – every well-trained assassin – but he finally escapes and to a British sub disguised as an iceberg.  Cool.   But he had a talented mob of agents, trained for winter pursuit, behind him all the way. Of course, even The Living Daylights has a snow pursuit, as Bond and  Kara Milovy escape using her cello case as a sled, and cello to steer, they are pursued by trained agents on snow. SPECTRE has snow scenes as well.   So, what is happening here? In real life, of course, there were and are specialty teams in various military branches throughout the world who are expert at traveling on skis, infiltrating locations on skis, and doing other espionage stuff that very much depends on how well trained they are on skiing and moving through heavy snow conditions. For example, in WW-II, the U.S. did not have a mountain division in their military.   Inspired by the Finnish mountaineer troops, Charles Mynot Dole – who was head of a ski patrol, an Olympic skier, a climber – began the U.S. military ski troops, brought into action just before Pearl Harbor.     They trained at 13,000 feet in the Colorado mountains, at – 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-34.4 degrees Celsius) with 90 pounds of gear – just the men, packs and skis – pushed to the limits.  This will turn out to be a true “mission impossible” in World War II as this became the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army.  They were engaged against the Japanese when Japan invaded two islands off Alaska – Attu and Kiska.  Landing in fog and snow, they were able to make the Japanese retreat but confused, our troops were shooting at each other and 18 were killed.   They went back for more training, with mock battles, in sub-zero conditions. They were called upon in 1944 in Italy, where the Allies were bogged down trying to take the Apennine mountains.  The 5th Army could not advance towards Germany.   Each ridge in the mountains had additional German defenses.  The 10th Mountain Division assessed what was needed, decided they had to take Mount Belvedere and to do that had to take Riva Ridge first.  2,000 feet up, steep, 3 – 4 feet of snow.  They climbed the unclimbable and took Riva Ridge, and the engineers erected an ingenious tramway to move the wounded and the supplies up and down the mountain.   This is the REAL stuff!  The pursuing assaults were successful, and the path open to Germany thanks to this 10th Mountain Division – trained to battle in treacherous snow conditions.   They prevailed at great cost for the campaign – with 975 killed, 3,871 wounded and 20 prisoners of war.  But they prevailed.

Another Real World War II Example

In another World War II real life adventure, the Germans controlled a heavy-water plant in Norway, and heavy-water was needed to make nuclear weapons.  On February 16, 1943, Operation Gunnerside began.  6 Norwegian commandos were dropped by parachute to join the ‘Swallow’ team on the ground.   After a few days of cross-country skiing, they joined the Swallow team.  The final assault on the heavy-water plant was set for February 27/28 1943.  The Germans controlled the plant and wanted to produce the heavy-water and ship it to Germany.   The heavy water plant was protected by mines, lights and more due to an earlier failed raid.   The Swallow team, with the 6 paratroopers, ford a winter river in a ravine and climbed a steep hill.  They followed a railway track right to the plant – because a Norwegian agent inside the plant supplied a detailed layout of the plant as well as a schedule.  This is very much like From Russia With Love, as Bond was to retrieve the consulate plans from Tania. Except here, it is real life!  The team entered the plant by a basement cable tunnel, set explosives and escaped.  They left behind a Thompson submachine gun to make it look like British forces did it and not local resistance to avoid reprisals.  It worked! Desperate, the Germans loaded some heavy water on a ferry bound for Germany, and the Norwegian resistance sank the ferry and all the heavy water!   Google: Gunnerside. So, the bottom line is, many of the scenes we have seen in spy movies, and above the Bond movies, have a basis in reality – people are indeed specially trained for these special operations, and so the specially trained personnel in the Bond movies for all the winter pursuits are believable.   Some of the stunts are fantastic, but so were some of the real-life challenges that were overcome by the 10th Mountain Division and the Norwegian troops!   Gadgets: Lastly let’s look at gadgets.  As we know, gadgets are prominent in the James Bond 007 movies by EON Production, as Q proves quite the inventor.  They are also present in the Mission: Impossible series, with masks, high-tech devices like the climbing gloves, the camera glasses in Mission Impossible 1 and so on. In the Ian Fleming books, gadgets were less prominent.   In Casino Royale, the first James Bond 00 novel, there are some gadgets, but spectacular.  Le Chiffre carries razors in various places, and one of the high-tech gadgets was a cane that doubled as a gun - which really was how they tried to first kill Bond at the casino table.  It goes on in other Fleming novels as well, with underwater equipment, the briefcase in “From Russia With Love” – which is different than what it contains in the movie.   But they are there, but less obvious and less of a focus.   There really was a Q Branch in MI6, and they came up with gadgets.  It was operational at the time Fleming was writing, and run by Charles Fraser-Smith, who Fleming knew. Again, in this really cool book, “For Your Eyes Only – Ian Fleming + James Bond” by Ben Macintyre, he suggests that Fraser-Smith made things like a hairbrush that has a map and a saw, cameras hidden in cigarette lighters, invisible ink, magnetized matches that could act as a compass, and so on.  So, there was real stuff, and that real stuff influenced the movies, and served as a basis of many extraordinary gadgets to come in the films. We mentioned a defector spy from the Soviet Union who defected to the West, Nikolai Khokhlov.  In the same book mentioned above, Macintyre suggests that when Khokhlov came over, he brought a lot of spy gadgets with him, including a miniature revolver that could fire toxic bullets, guns housed in cigarette lighters and lots more – for real! Thanks for spending time with us at SpyMovieNavigator.com – the Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans – Spy Movie podcasts, videos, discussions and more!

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A suspicious man

Upon exiting, he reads the note, which is in German and translated for us; “Novelist Brodie Reported Dead arrived To-Day Hotel Excelsior On Espionage work Take Steps.” The next scene finds Brodie and The General in a dimly lit church, and Brodie instructs The General to light 3 candles as the code signal. They hear organ music and find a man slumped with hands on the keys. He has been strangled. That may have been their contact, who is now silenced. They find a button in the dead man’s hand – indicating a struggle and they now think whoever owns the button is the killer and the man they are after. They get out of the church and return to go the casino, and Elsa is with Marvin again, at the same party. Marvin is charming her and talking about having children with her when they settle down. There is always this playfulness between them, as we see between Bond and Miss Moneypenny all the time. Similar. There is a button on the roulette table, and Marvin says to a man standing there “that belongs to you doesn’t it?” And he checks – and there is one missing from his jacket. Ashenden is convinced that is their man, and the man is leaving in 1.5 days. While dancing, Ashenden and Elsa talk, and realize this is a murder mission, and not fun as she thinks. They become morose. Marvin and Elsa are back at the hotel, with a German woman, and the dog who the suspect owns, while Ashenden and The General are going to climb a mountain with the stranger who they think is the German spy, but appears English. The General plans on killing the suspected man and pushes him off the mountain. Of course we will see many mountain scenes in future spy movies, like The Spy Who Loved Me (pre-title sequence, wherein the ski chase scene Bond skies off a mountain and then opens his parachute), SPECTRE (filmed in Solden, Austria), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Piz Gloria, Schilthorn, Switzerland), For Your Eyes Only (the assault on Meteora, Greece), Mission: Impossible 2 (the Rock Climb), and many more.

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