Never Say Never Again (1983) - Illustrated Reference
Never Say Never Again was directed by Irvin Kershner. It premiered on 6th October 1983. Starring Sean Connery, Kim Basinger, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Barbara Carrera, Edward Fox, Bernie Casey and Max von Sydow. Screenplay by Lorenzo Semple Jr. Music by Michel Legrand. 134mins.
SPECTRE agents working for Maximilian Largo steal two nuclear cruise missiles from an American air base. SPECTRE head honcho Blofeld demands an exorbitant amount of money from NATO members as ransom, otherwise he will detonate the bombs on a major city. 007 tracks Largo to Nassau in the Bahamas where he meets the beautiful Domino Petachi, Largo’s mistress.
Producer Kevin McClory (1926-2006) collaborated with Ian Fleming and screenwriter Jack Wittingham on a screenplay for a James Bond movie in 1958, when the project didn’t work out Ian Fleming novelised the screenplay and published it as "Thunderball".
The book would later be made into the film Thunderball (1965) and remade in 1983 as Never Say Never Again, both starring Sean Connery as James Bond.
Q; "Good to see you Mr. Bond. Now you're on this I hope we're going to see some gratuitous sex and violence."
Sean Connery (1930-) / Bond, James Bond
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sean Connery had starred in six Bond films for Eon Productions, the last one Diamonds Are Forever (1971) was a worldwide hit but he had had enough of Bond and left the series. Roger Moore successfully took over the role.
It was Connery’s wife who suggested the title Never Say Never Again after Connery publicly stated that he would never play Bond again.
Kim Basinger (1953-) / Domino Petachi
Born in Athens, Georgia, Kim Basinger was 29 when she took the part of Bond girl Domino Petachi. It was her first big movie. The character was named Domino Derval in Thunderball (1965) and played by French actress Claudine Auger.
Kim Basinger won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for L.A. Confidential (1997).
Her films include - The Natural (1984), 9 1/2 Weeks (1986), No Mercy (1986), Blind Date (1987), My Stepmother is an Alien (1988), Batman (1989 as Vicki Vale), Final Analysis (1992), Cool World (1992), The Real McCoy (1993), The Getaway (1994), 8 Mile (2002), Cellular (2004), The Sentinel (2006) and Charlie St. Cloud (2010).
Klaus Maria Brandeur (1943-) / Maximilian Largo
Born in Bad Aussee, Austria, Klaus Maria Brandeur won acclaim for the German film Mephisto in 1981.His films include - Out of Africa (1985), Streets of Gold (1986), The Russia House (1990), White Fang (1991) and Rembrandt (1999).
In Thunderball the villain was named Emilio Largo and was played by Italian actor Adolfo Celi.
Barbara Carrera (1945-) / Fatima Blush
Born in Bluefields, Nicaragua, Barbara Carrera plays mad bad Bond girl Fatima Blush, a SPECTRE agent who enjoys seducing her victims before killing them. Carrera received a nomination for Best Supporting actress at the Golden Globe Awards for this role.Her films include - Embryo (1976), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977), When Time Ran Out (1980), Condorman (1981), I, the Jury (1982), Lone Wolf McQuade (1983) and Wicked Stepmother (1989).
In Thunderball the villainess was named Fiona Volpe and played by Italian actress Lucianna Paluzzi.
Max Von Sydow (1929-) / Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Born in Lund, Sweden, Max von Sydow was Oscar Nominated Best Supporting Actor for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) and also Nominated Best Actor for Pelle the Conqueror (1987). He received Golden Globe nominations for Hawaii (1966) and The Exorcist (1973).
Blofeld has previously been portrayed in movies by Donald Pleasance, Telly Savalas and Charles Gray. Blofeld’s face was not seen in Thunderball.
Bernie Casey (1939-) / Felix Leiter
Born in Wyco, West Virginia, Bernie Casey is the sixth actor and first African American to play CIA agent Felix Leiter.
His films include - Black Gunn (1972), Cleopatra Jones (1973), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), Sharky's Machine (1981), Spies Like Us (1985), Rent-a-Cop (1987), I'm Gonna Git you Sucka (1989), Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Another 48hrs (1990), Under Siege (1992), Street Knight (1993), In the Mouth of Madness (1994) and Vegas Vampires (2003).
Edward Fox (1937-) / 'M'
Born in London, England, Edward Fox is the fourth actor to play the head of the secret service on film following Bernard Lee (Dr. No to Moonraker), John Huston (Casino Royale 1967) and Robert Brown (Octopussy to Licence to Kill). The only Bond film not to feature 'M' is For Your Eyes Only (1981).
Edward Fox's films include - The Jokers (1967), Oh What a Lovely War (1969), Battle of Britain (1969), The Day of the Jackal (1973), A Bridge Too Far (1977), The Big Sleep (1978), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Gandhi (1982), The Bounty (1984), Return from the River Kwai (1989), Lost in Space (1998), Nicholas Nickleby (2002) and Lassie (2005).
McClory held the screen rights to Thunderball and wanted to make it into a film. To moviegoers Sean Connery was James Bond and so McClory agreed to co-produce Thunderball with producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R Broccoli, they decided to make the film because they didn’t want to see a movie of Thunderball with another actor playing Bond.
Part of the agreement was that McClory was not to make another film based on Thunderball for 10 years. In 1976 McClory announced the production of the movie “James Bond of the Secret Service” which was later renamed “Warhead”. After much legal wrangling involving McClory and the producers and studio of the official Bond series the proposed film was axed.
The project resurfaced in 1983, a remake of Thunderball renamed Never Say Never Again. 53 year old Sean Connery, who's last big hit was Diamonds Are Forever (1971), was offered $3m plus a percentage of the profits to once more play James Bond, it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Irvin Kershner (1923-2010) is the only American to direct a Bond movie. He is best known for directing Star Wars V The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
One interesting plot development in the early script stages was Blofeld being killed by the poisoned claws of his white cat.
Q equips Bond with a rocket propelled Yamaha XJ650 Turbo motor bike, a fountain pen that shoots explosive pellets and a wrist watch with built in laser.
A scene showing Bond and Domino on a horse falling into the sea from the top of a castle is cut in the UK editions of the film. The British censor is quite strict on animal cruelty, horse-tripping scenes in westerns and historical films are usually removed too.
There were two Bond films released in 1983, Never Say Never Again and Octopussy starring Roger Moore. Both were successful at the box office though Moore beat Connery in the final count. Octopussy grossing 187m worldwide to NSNA’s $160m.
Lani Hall sings the theme song “Never Say Never Again”. The music score by Michel Legrand was absolutely dire in my opinion, even Burt Bacharach’s Casino Royale (1967) theme was superior to this. There have been rumours that a rescored and extended version of the film would make it to blu-ray one day. I can but hope.
The film ends with Sean Connery breaking the “fourth wall” and winking at the camera, originally Connery wanted to have his friend Roger Moore walk past him at the end, turn round and say “never say never again”.
The Critics Wrote –
"What clicks best in the film is the casting. Klaus Maria Brandauer makes one of the best Bond opponents since very early in the series. Carrera lets out all the stops, while Basinger is luscious as the pivotal romantic and dramatic figure. And then, of course, there's Connery, in fine form and still very much looking the part." (Variety)
"'Octopussy'' reworked the same old Bond formula in all its anachronistic glory, with 007 winking his way through the usual intrigue, a figure of devilish charm and inexhaustible vigor. In ''Never Say Never Again,'' however, the material has been successfully updated." (New York Times)
"Never Say Never Again" is great fun and it's a pleasure to have Connery back. Sorry, Roger, but nobody does it better." (Post Gazette)
"Sean Connery says he'll never make another James Bond movie, and maybe I believe him. But the fact that he made this one, so many years later, is one of those small show-business miracles that never happen. Good work 007." (Roger Ebert)
"Well into his fifties, the thrill was indubitably gone - and so, sadly, was a great deal of Mr Connery's hair." (Julie Burchill, Girls on Film)
"It's reasonably enjoyable and Klaus Maria Brandauer makes an excellent villain, but the plot is merely Thunderball revisited, a lot of the original enthusiasm has vanished, and it's much too long-winded." (Chris Tookey)