Thunderball ’65

Released on December 21, 1965, the fourth James Bond film became an instant hit, with theaters running it 24 hours a day to keep up with audience demand and the 007 cultural phenomenon would reach its apex, not to mention Sean Connery’s breaking point at the avalanche of publicity. The film somewhat divides fans, with those who appreciate Terence Young’s last directorial outing, and he brings his tough style in tandem with arguably Connery’s most cool and controlled performance as Bond. Along with one of John Barry’s archetypal soundtracks, the Tom Jones mega-hit defines the brassy epic film, and Luciana Paluzi scores as an unrepentant femme fatale, who gets her comeuppance in one of the best scenes. This was also the first 007 adventure shot in glorious Panavision, and set the widescreen tone for the rest of the series. “So he strikes…like…Thunderball.”


11 Responses to “Thunderball ’65”

  1. There’s so much to like about this movie, yet it also exemplifies everything bad about the series. Great individual moments, and I still think Claudine Auger’s Domino is one of the sexiest of Bond girls, but it feels like it’s 3 hours long. The underwater sequences inspired many a lego-built action recreations around the Kennedy household, but they’re kind of punchless in reality.

    The Bond formula had started to calcify and you can see the beginnings of a turn away from making movies aimed at adults for ones more friendly to kids.

    Still. It’s one of my earliest ABC Sunday Night Movie memories and I could sit down and watch it any old time.

    • It is exactly here the schism occurs that would alter the films trajectory from spy to spectacle. Even the novel Fleming wrote — based on a potential THUNDERBALL film — is one of his best, and the film didn’t even bother to utilize Bond being forced to undergo health cures as in the novel. But it’s actually fairly faithful.

      Auger is a knock-out and I think she’s quite lovely in the scene where she thinks Bond is about to break it off: “Sorry my dear, it’s over.”

      And it’s not often noted that for a welcome change, Domino gets to spear Largo in revenge. A great moment.

  2. I second Auger’s sexiness! Still my fave Bond girl… I love this film and it may be my fave Bond film. I know, i know… everyone champions GOLDFINGER and with good reason but I think this film kicks ass and that epic underwater battle is just the tits.

    • It has an aura that makes it one of my favorites. The widescreen goes a long way (sic) and the Blofeld scene with the frying chair is certainly the best of the series. And it’s one of the sexiest Maurice Biner titles — in fact, this was the first Bond film I saw onscreen, a drive-in, and the credits is all I recall…

      The THUNDERBALL blu-ray has an amazing featurette made for sea gear distributors featuring entirely different takes from the underwater battle — more violent and better edited!

  3. Also a nice old-school and brutal pre-credit sequence nearly ruined by the gadget-gratuitous use of the jet-pack. That silly helmet is unforgivable..

    • Sadly, the jet pack man refused to fly without the helmet so continuity….it’s just the lame bluescreen close-up that hurts the moment.

  4. I like when the dog lifts his leg and pees, dead center screen, during the junkanoo.

  5. THE FUTURIST! is currently reading a wonderful book entitled THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN TOUCH by Simon McKay. It is a chronicle of the Bond films, books and their place in history at the time of their release. Read it, Christian. You may love it.

  6. Mistake: The author is Sinclair McKay.

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