“Good to see you, Mr Bond. Things have been awfully dull around here. Now you’re on this, I hope we’re going to have some gratuitous sex and violence”
As likeable and debonair as Roger Moore was there was always something missing with his Bond. Bringing Sean Connery – the original and best James Bond – back in 1983 was genius.
Bond was older, hairier, grittier and greater than ever. This James Bond even had tattoos – and when he socked the bad guys, they stayed socked.
Taking into consideration Connery’s age and girth, Lorenzo Semple Jr tailored a script to his specifications, with 007 declared ‘over the hill’ by his superiors and sent to a health farm where he is subjected to a punishing regimen of diets, exercises, and herbal enemas.
In the process of getting overhauled, of course, he uncovers a dastardly scheme to destroy the world and our man is suddenly back in business, bringing his old cohorts at Secret Service HQ some of the good old “gratuitous sex and violence”.
Like all Bond flicks, Never Say Never Again has a wild plot that makes no sense – evil schemes hatched by imaginative villains, exotic Technicolor locales in which Bond is always interrupted while in bed with a voluptuous female, narrowly escaping death in the process, as well as the usual British bureaucrats and sexy, lethal centrefolds creating mayhem in as few clothes as possible.
In the Bahamas, Connery battles hungry sharks. In Monte Carlo, he’s nearly electrocuted by a deadly computer game. In North Africa, he’s almost turned into buzzard bait by white slave traders.
He is always captured, tortured, seduced, and forced to sit down to a sumptuous dinner with his enemies. Then he always escapes.
But this time the evil plot to dominate the world picks up steam and the heinous villains seem more glamorous and mysterious than ever.
The archfiend is played by Klaus-Maria Brandauer, the marvellous Austrian actor who brings freshness and irony to the role of Maximillian Largo, a charming and spirited madman.
Nicaraguan beauty Barbara Carrera is a gorgeous but deadly Venus flytrap as Fatima Blush, the villain’s amoral sidekick, who drives her lovers recklessly to their deaths with live boa constrictors wrapped around her pretty neck.
Among the ingenious devices is a recorded voice that sends nuclear warheads to wipe out their targets with the impact of a hydrogen bomb and says, “Have a nice day!”
It’s also nice to see Max Von Sydow back again, so far from Ingmar Bergman country, as Bond’s brilliant cat-stroking enemy Ernst Blofield, whose specialities are “terrorism, extortion and revenge.”
And it wouldn’t be a Bond movie without a new collection of gadgets; fountain pens that blow up buildings, laser beam watches, flying motorcycles, supersonic machine guns, poison darts, garrottes and knives that do everything but phone the Pentagon. There is also Kim Basinger in one of her earlier roles.
Sean Connery died peacefully in his sleep at his home in the Bahamas on 31 October 2020 having been unwell for some time. He was 90.
Never Say Never Again was the result of story creator Kevin McClory’s legal battle to make his own 007 film as he co-wrote Thunderball (1965). The conditions were that the production start after 1975 and the story derive from Thunderball.
Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Max Von Sydow
Captain Jack Petachi
Billy J. Mitchell
Anthony Van Laast
Lady in Bahamas