(1983) dir. Irvin Kershner
Part two of my little television broadcast James Bond/Sean Connery double feature, care of Mexican television. These movies were broadcast en Ingles con subtitles. This was an interesting film to show in contrast with Dr. No (1962) being Connery´s reprisal and final portrayal of James bond versus Dr. No `s first appearance.
Directed by Irvin Kershner, who delivered the best of the Star Wars series with Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and noted to be the only director to do both Bond and Star Wars, this film is entertaining and campy, but no great shakes. The film is steeped in what became the cliches and requisites of all Bond films. Like so many Hollywood franchises, the movies feel somewhat rote in their features of “Bond girls”, cheesy theme songs, and exotic locales. Paint by numbers stuff.
Actually, the film is very interesting in contrast with Dr. No because it is also about Bond´s virility. Connery, now in his 50`s is still a very sturdy, handsome fellow, but the first thought in looking at him is that he´s an older gentleman. He is no longer the pulse-charging thrill of a hunk that he was. The film is an interesting play on his masculinity and aging. At first, Bond´s new “M” instructs him that he is over the hill and needs to stop eating red meat, drinking vodka, and to take care of his “free radicals” and sends him to a health spa. Many gags revolve around colonics and his manhood. Connery plays it up quite admirably, getting at least five babes into the sack and saving the world in a number of less-fashionable clothing items than his previous years. Those sweatsuits are vile.
The worst of the clothing disasters are worn by Barbara Carrera, who plays Fatima Blush, the villainess, who also manages to bed Bond. Those outfits really give the 1970`s a run for their money with out-and-out badness. At least her hair looks okay.
I´ve read that this film is a re-make of Thunderball (1965), which was really due to a rights issue regarding the character that allowed for two dueling Bond films to appear in 1983, Connery´s Never Say Never Again against Roger Moore´s Octopussy. Who knows?
Again, virility. I am sure that it´s been written about to the Nth degree so I won´t go into it deeply, but it is an interesting middle-aged, semi-mid-life-crisis Bond. Of course, the crisis is for the perception of the man and his abilities. Bond never doubts himself, which is all part of his masculinity and machismo, and as he says to the villain, “I never lose”. Of course not! The hero never loses! Especially the most macho, sexy, virile hero in American cinema. Especially not the 1962 version of Connery, and to his credit, he still looks great in 1983. But the thought that every young thing with a funny name just sees him and wants to make love to him…it gets a little hard to swallow.