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You Only Live Twice (1967) - Illustrated Reference
You Only Live Twice was directed by Lewis Gilbert and premiered on 12th June 1967. Starring Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tetsuro Tanba, Karin Dor, Donald Pleasance and Charles Gray. Screenplay by Roald Dahl. Music by John Barry. Theme sung by Nancy Sinatra. 117mins.
An orbiting NASA spacecraft mysteriously disappears and America believes the Russians are involved. The British government suspect other forces are at work, tracking stations detected a spacecraft falling into the Sea of Japan,
James Bond is sent to investigate. He teams up with Japanese SIS agents and the trail leads to SPECTRE no.1. 007 has just days left to stop Blofeld from starting World War III.
You Only Live Twice was Ian Fleming’s 12th Bond novel and was first published in 1964, the last Bond story to be published in his lifetime. His previous novel was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The title's from a poem Bond writes to his friend Tanaka – "You only live twice. Once when you are born, and once when you look death in the face".
Sean Connery (1930-) / James Bond
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sean Connery won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Untouchables (1987). He has also played 007 in - Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never say Never Again (1983).
Aki: I think I will enjoy very much serving under you.
Akiko Wakabayashi (1941-) / Aki
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Akiko Wakabayashi's films include - King Kong vs Godzilla (1962), Lost World of Sinbad (1963), Dagora, the Space Monster (1964), Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster (1965) and Diamonds of the Andes (1968).
Mie Hama (1943-) / Kissy Suzuki
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Mie Hama's films include - King Kong vs Godzilla (1962), Lost World of Sinbad (1963) and King Kong Escapes (1967).
Tetsuro Tanba (1922-2006) / Tiger Tanaka
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Testuro Tanba plays 007's Japanese contact Tiger Tanaka, his voice was dubbed by Robert Rietty, who also dubbed Emilio Largo in Thunderball (1965). His films include - Harakiri (1962), The 7th Dawn (1964), Kwaidan (1964), Diamonds of the Andes (1968), The Five Man Army (1969), The Water Margin (1972), Tidal Wave (1973), Message from Space (1978), The Bushido Blade (1981) and Japan Sinks (2006).
Karin Dor (1938-) / Helga Brandt
Born in Hesse, Germany, Karin Dor's films include - The Face of Fu Manchu (1965), The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (1967), Topaz (1969), Dracula vs Frankenstein (1970) and Warhead (1977).
Blofeld: The firing power inside my crater is enough to annihilate a small army. You can watch it all on TV. It's the last program you're likely to see.
Bond: Well, if I'm going to be forced to watch television, may I smoke?
Blofeld: Give him his cigarettes. It won't be the nicotine that kills you, Mr. Bond.
Donald Pleasance (1919-1995) / Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Born in Nottinghamshire, England, Donald Pleasance is the first actor to play Blofeld in face and voice. Czech actor Jan Werich was originally cast in the part but left after filming a couple of scenes. A scar was added to Pleasance face to make him look more villainous, with one critic saying he looked like "an egg that has cracked on the boil."
His films include - The Great Escape (1963), Dr. Crippen (1964), Fantastic Voyage (1966), Night of the Generals (1967), Will Penny (1968), Halloween (1978), Dracula (1979) and Escape from New York (1981).
Charles Gray (1928-2000) / Dikko Henderson
Born in Bournemouth, England, Charles Gray plays Dikko Henderson, an MI6 agent helping 007 in Japan, the actor would play Bonds nemesis Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). His films include - The Entertainer (1960), The Night of the Generals (1967), The Devil Rides Out (1968 as Mocata), Mosquito Squadron (1969), Cromwell (1970), The Beast Must Die (1974), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976 as Mycroft Holmes), The Legacy (1978), The Mirror Crack'd (1980), Shock Treatment (1981) and The Jigsaw Man (1984).
You Only Live Twice was competing with another Bond film in 1967, the spoof comedy Casino Royale. Producer Charles Feldman held the rights to Ian Flemings first novel, and after failing to make a deal with Broccoli and Saltzman decided to produce a Bond spoof instead. An expensive misfire and box office disaster, the film had five directors and starred David Niven, Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, Orson Welles, William Holden, Deborah Kerr and Woody Allen.
You Only Live Twice has little relation to the novel, which involves Bond finding Blofeld, disguised as Dr. Shatterhand, and his botanical garden of death situated in a castle in the south of Japan. The garden is full of deadly plants and animals and attracts people who want to commit suicide. Bond duels with Blofeld at the climax and finally strangles him, avenging the death of his wife Tracy from the previous novel.
Production designer Ken Adam designed a huge set for Blofelds hidden rocket base, which in the film is located within a dormant volcano. The set cost $1m, which was roughly the cost of the first Bond movie, Dr. No. Blofelds base contains a heliport, working monorail system and full scale mock-up of a launch pad with rocket. It was constructed at Pinewood studios just outside London.
Q arrives in Japan with Little Nellie, an autogyro mini-helicopter equipped with rocket launchers, machine guns, flame thrower, aerial mines and heat-seeking missiles. During filming of the copter battle a cameraman lost his leg after one of the SPECTRE helicopters got too close to the helicopter he was filming from, the rotor blade slicing through his leg.
Look out for Blofelds cat during the final battle, with explosions and gunfire in all directions the frightened animal is trying to claw it’s way out of Blofelds grasp. Reportedly the cat ran away and was found days later hiding in the rafters.
John Barry’s lush music score was one of the best in the Bond series and the gorgeous theme song was sung by Nancy Sinatra, it peaked at #11 in the UK pop charts.
British pop artist Robbie Williams sampled Barry’s title theme for his hit single “Millennium” which topped the charts in September 1998.
By this time Sean Connery was tired of playing Bond and was afraid of being typecast, This was his fifth Bond film in 5 years and Connery looked visibly bored and weary on screen. The producers would be searching for another actor to play Bond for the next film in the series – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
The movie was retitled in some countries –
007 Dies Twice (Japan)
You Live Only Twice (Finland)
One Doesn't Live More Than Twice (France)
James Bond in Japan (Norway & Greece)
007 Seized the Rocket Base (China)
The Critics Wrote -
"Lewis Gilbert is a rather more humanistic director than his predecessors and he's a reasonably efficient traffic manager; he doesn't let the actors loiter on the sets too long." (Pauline Kael)
"Scientifically the most ambitious, sexually the most routine, scenically one of the best." (New York Post)
"...Connery paces with his elegant nonchalance a little more non than usual and Donald Pleasence is grandly grotesque as the evil genius who would rule the world.
Although there's a lot more science-fiction than there is first-vintage James Bond in "You Only Live Twice," the fifth in a series of veritable Bond films with Sean Connery, there's enough of the bright and bland bravado of the popular British super-sleuth mixed into this melee of rocket-launching to make it a bag of good Bond fun." (New York Times)
"Represents the ultimate triumph of gadgetry. Plot twists are devised simply to use the gadgets." (Village Voice)
"The special effects are excellent, the girls gorgeous (though virtually indistinguishable from one another), the cinematography by Freddie Young spectacular, the sets by Ken Adam amazing, and John Barry's music outstanding." (Chris Tookey)