"Don't worry, I'll tell the chef ": Thunderball Appreciation & Discussion

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  • Posts: 4,027
    I like the slower pace of Dr No, as something is building up to the climax and confrontation. We don't know who Dr No at the outset.

    But in TB we learn that a bomb or 2 will go off in just a few days time. I think Connery is cool and the Bahamas beautiful, but the pace seems to dilute the tension to a great extent. I don't dislike any of the scenes, but I do kind of forget about the bombs.
  • Posts: 14,896
    But this is exactly how one would investigate the smuggling of nukes: by investigating. Insofar as it's a MacGuffin I think the bombs are very much in our mind. In fact the slow pace adds to the tension.
  • LeonardPineLeonardPine The Bar on the Beach
    Posts: 3,985
    Watched this the other day for the first time in ages and really enjoyed it. In fact it's the most I've ever enjoyed it!

    Connery is as usual fantastic. And when you think OHMSS could have followed this with Connery, you get a real sense of missed opportunity. (Don't get me wrong, I love OHMSS but with Connery I think it would have been really special)

    I've always thought Claudine Auger as Domino was a bit dull but really liked her in it this time and didn't realize just how sexy she is in it.

    I'm afraid Luciana Paluzzi leaves me a bit cold. I know that's not the popular opinion around these parts but she does nothing for me. But her performance is good and her character is an evil bit of work.

    The underwater scenes look stunning and I've always enjoyed the final battle as well as the punch up on the yacht.

    Largo is a decent villain but he's no Goldfinger and the amount of times he has the opportunity to kill Bond is comical.

    Overall I found this much less slower than I remember and apart from some superfluous stuff (Like Bonds ridiculous underwater backpack thingy) it's a really great Bond film with all the right elements working nicely.

    Damn this gonna mess up my ratings list!!!
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    @LeonardPine, glad to see you've enjoyed it more than ever.

    About Largo, one must look at how many times Goldfinger has the same chance to kill Bond. At the very least, it makes perfect sense in TB why he doesn't kill Bond, where it's a bit more loony in GF.

    MI6 are stationed in the Bahamas (weren't in GF) and because Bond was free to check in the moment he disappeared the entire service would know that the bombs were in the Bahamas and exactly who had them, as he wasn't pursuing anyone but Largo. If Largo acted violently and killed Bond, the entire plan would've unravelled. And that's exactly what happened when Paula was taken and killed. Largo went too far, exposed himself and from then on his plan was known to the Brits. It was game over, and it would've been over even faster if he'd done Bond in.
  • Posts: 4,027
    Ludovico wrote: »
    But this is exactly how one would investigate the smuggling of nukes: by investigating. Insofar as it's a MacGuffin I think the bombs are very much in our mind. In fact the slow pace adds to the tension.

    I think it's clear that TB has a fairly unique pace that appeals to different people in different ways.

    DN has a slow pace and Bond really investigates like a (stupid) policeman. TB has him trying to find the bombs but for me it must be the tropical location and beautiful girls, but I feel after a bit that I've taken my eye off the ball, and so has Bond.

    Anyway this is an appreciation thread so I'll leave my issues with pacing there and instead say what I do like:

    Connery is as cool as he would ever be as Bond
    Cinematography (underwater) is superb
    I like the humour - some great quips
    Stunning sets - War Room and Spectre meeting room
    Great locations
    Bombs being stolen is a good plot
    Did I say Fiona Volpe was hot
    Domino's bikini

  • Posts: 1,895
    Isn't it ironic that people complain about both the underwater scenes and the speeded-up finale on board the Disco Volante?

  • Posts: 14,896
    In TB Bond investigates while under a specific cover and having to play a very difficult game of cat and mouse. In another setting he would have done differently.
  • edited April 2017 Posts: 19,339
    @LeonardPine, glad to see you've enjoyed it more than ever.

    About Largo, one must look at how many times Goldfinger has the same chance to kill Bond. At the very least, it makes perfect sense in TB why he doesn't kill Bond, where it's a bit more loony in GF.

    MI6 are stationed in the Bahamas (weren't in GF) and because Bond was free to check in the moment he disappeared the entire service would know that the bombs were in the Bahamas and exactly who had them, as he wasn't pursuing anyone but Largo. If Largo acted violently and killed Bond, the entire plan would've unravelled. And that's exactly what happened when Paula was taken and killed. Largo went too far, exposed himself and from then on his plan was known to the Brits. It was game over, and it would've been over even faster if he'd done Bond in.


    IIRC when Bond is flying with Felix over Palmyra,Fiona says to Largo that,when the time is right Bond will die..she will kill him.

    Therefore,as Brady says above,they are playing a waiting game before they kill Bond at the right time.



  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    barryt007 wrote: »
    @LeonardPine, glad to see you've enjoyed it more than ever.

    About Largo, one must look at how many times Goldfinger has the same chance to kill Bond. At the very least, it makes perfect sense in TB why he doesn't kill Bond, where it's a bit more loony in GF.

    MI6 are stationed in the Bahamas (weren't in GF) and because Bond was free to check in the moment he disappeared the entire service would know that the bombs were in the Bahamas and exactly who had them, as he wasn't pursuing anyone but Largo. If Largo acted violently and killed Bond, the entire plan would've unravelled. And that's exactly what happened when Paula was taken and killed. Largo went too far, exposed himself and from then on his plan was known to the Brits. It was game over, and it would've been over even faster if he'd done Bond in.


    IIRC when Bond is flying with Felix over Palmyra,Fiona says to Largo that,when the time is right Bond will die..she will kill him.

    Therefore,as Brady says above,they are playing a waiting game before they kill Bond at the right time.



    That's part of why Fiona is so spectacular. She knows Largo is having trouble separating his personal and professional life and how that could endanger the entire operation, basically saying, "Quit being a fool. Bond will die when the time is right, and I shall be the one to do it."

    She takes complete control in a way Largo was unable to after he collided with Bond and wanted him destroyed at all costs.
  • Posts: 142
    It’s hard to think of the movie Thunderball without paying tribute to the creator of cinematic James Bond, Terrance Young. While the film may not have been his greatest achievement as director, it’s a tour de force in the 007 film world. As the son of a police commissioner in what was British controlled Shanghai, he would have come from a family of status. Most ex-patriots of the British Crown Jewel land holdings had either money or status or both. He read oriental history at Catherine’s College, at Cambridge and went on to fight in one of the worst battles of WWII, Operation Market Garden, so it’s hard to think that these beginnings didn’t have a major influence on his world view of the fictional character James Bond. A ‘man of action’ in films of the 30’s and 40’s, was dapper and well read, actors like George Sanders as he appears in the 30’s version of The Saint, or in the spy thriller Action in Arabia, at the gambling tables, come to mind. Young’s imaging of 007 for film has been said to be a reimaging of Young himself, and his final Bond film Thunderball was certainly a culmination of qualities he himself must have acquired throughout his life. The outrageous battle scene at the end (where did Largo hide all those guys on his yacht), is movie magic from the 60’s at its best. The Bond films could easily have disappeared into obscurity had their first director not been so well traveled and well-heeled in the unique lifestyle of status and danger that Terrance Young possessed. Everything that is James Bond comes together in Thunderball, crisp dialogue (the confidence at the gambling table), subtle aggression (Bond casually shoots from the hip, hitting the clay pigeon at Largo’s estate), blind courage as he joins Largo’s henchmen recovering the bombs, and later plunging into the absolute confusion of the underwater battle. As the son of a police commissioner in old Shanghai Young would have heard of or perhaps even known men like Sykes and Fairbairn of the Shanghai police who patrolled the illegal gambling dens and Young himself was familiar with war, on a very personal level. In the movie Thunderball, Terrance Young takes 007 to a level of action and romantic fantasy that put the Bond series well above its closest competition, and set in stone the template of what is a James Bond film. For these reasons the movie Thunderball will always be a favorite.
  • Posts: 1,895
    Nice post, Legionnaire.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    @Legionnaire, well argued points.

    Young's wartime experiences and overall history in life must have had an impact on how he chose to portray/present Bond and his world to audiences.

    Hamilton didn't have dissimilar experiences, with dreams of being a deep sea diver as a lad and with a bit of service in the Royal Navy, but it was clear that while Young wanted to show the danger and consequence of Bond's job and world, Hamilton wanted to take the edge off of it and create truly escapist entertainment.

    I'll always prefer Young's vision, but that kind of tone has always been more up my alley.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    edited April 2017 Posts: 5,131
    I'll also always prefer Young's vision and that kind of tone is perfection to me. As far as I'm concerned Young made 3x near perfect Bond films.
  • RC7RC7
    edited April 2017 Posts: 10,512
    vzok wrote: »
    I like the slower pace of Dr No, as something is building up to the climax and confrontation. We don't know who Dr No at the outset.

    But in TB we learn that a bomb or 2 will go off in just a few days time. I think Connery is cool and the Bahamas beautiful, but the pace seems to dilute the tension to a great extent. I don't dislike any of the scenes, but I do kind of forget about the bombs.

    DN would be my preference too. TB works well up until the Bahamas and then starts to lose its way a little. I can't blame the film makers as the novel suffers from similar issues, with both delivering an intriguing intro (Shrublands is brilliant) that never truly builds up a head of steam. It's not the underwater battle that I find slow (it's largely excellent) but I find the film in general, between the mid point and finale, is a little too languid. There are decent scenes in there (some great), but it needs a good kick up the arse. Like you say the tension is diluted in part because we're one step ahead of Bond.
    Very much agreed. The pacing and script fits the motive of the film, which was to show the villain's plan in every step as it was juxtaposed with Bond reacting to it. In this day and age where something explosive has to be happening every second, we'd never see a film like TB that builds a narrative and teases tension over time. Modern Bond films also force globe-trotting, so it's just as unlikely we'll see another film that takes place in one location like the 60s films. We never get to know the locations anymore, and I miss that.

    I don't find there's any real narrative tension once Bond is in the Bahamas. It's not about explosions, its about peppering the film with a few rug pulls that take the story in unexpected directions. As I said above, it's a tricky one, because it adheres closely to the novel which has similar problems (something that I've always felt was a possible hangover from the novel being essentially derived from a screenplay). Even without rewriting, the film could certainly be edited tighter. Next to its predecessors it becomes quite swollen in the second half.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 8,076
    It’s hard to think of the movie Thunderball without paying tribute to the creator of cinematic James Bond, Terrance Young. While the film may not have been his greatest achievement as director, it’s a tour de force in the 007 film world. As the son of a police commissioner in what was British controlled Shanghai, he would have come from a family of status. Most ex-patriots of the British Crown Jewel land holdings had either money or status or both. He read oriental history at Catherine’s College, at Cambridge and went on to fight in one of the worst battles of WWII, Operation Market Garden, so it’s hard to think that these beginnings didn’t have a major influence on his world view of the fictional character James Bond. A ‘man of action’ in films of the 30’s and 40’s, was dapper and well read, actors like George Sanders as he appears in the 30’s version of The Saint, or in the spy thriller Action in Arabia, at the gambling tables, come to mind. Young’s imaging of 007 for film has been said to be a reimaging of Young himself, and his final Bond film Thunderball was certainly a culmination of qualities he himself must have acquired throughout his life. The outrageous battle scene at the end (where did Largo hide all those guys on his yacht), is movie magic from the 60’s at its best. The Bond films could easily have disappeared into obscurity had their first director not been so well traveled and well-heeled in the unique lifestyle of status and danger that Terrance Young possessed. Everything that is James Bond comes together in Thunderball, crisp dialogue (the confidence at the gambling table), subtle aggression (Bond casually shoots from the hip, hitting the clay pigeon at Largo’s estate), blind courage as he joins Largo’s henchmen recovering the bombs, and later plunging into the absolute confusion of the underwater battle. As the son of a police commissioner in old Shanghai Young would have heard of or perhaps even known men like Sykes and Fairbairn of the Shanghai police who patrolled the illegal gambling dens and Young himself was familiar with war, on a very personal level. In the movie Thunderball, Terrance Young takes 007 to a level of action and romantic fantasy that put the Bond series well above its closest competition, and set in stone the template of what is a James Bond film. For these reasons the movie Thunderball will always be a favorite.

    This explains a lot to me. Now I understand why Young understood Fleming so well. And I must, too, bow for his bravery as a tank commander during the war in Europe and the liberation of my country.

    And here's me thinking it was just the locale's, tension, Adolfo Celi's fantastic confident and explosive Largo, Fiona 'dazzling and smouldering' Volpe, Domino 'blinding you with beauty' Derval, the continuous danger, the stunning action and exceptional under water sequences, Connery at his best, the increadeable music, fantastic titles, etc. etc.

    But it does explain why Terence gets so much life into the films and how he managed to form Connery into Bond. Hats off to the best Director in the series.

  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    I can understand the view of some that TB gets swollen. To me it should feel packed with more than the others, however, as it was the first big James Bond film as far as scale and ambition goes. It would've been impossible for it to feel on par with its predecessors in that area, what with its nuclear scheme, underwater harpoon salvos between leagues of trained killers and the mission statement on part of EON to really make a blockbuster Bond like never before. For some it results in a bloated and overly ambitious effort, but to me it is one of the few true spy epics.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    I can understand the view of some that TB gets swollen. To me it should feel packed with more than the others, however, as it was the first big James Bond film as far as scale and ambition goes. It would've been impossible for it to feel on par with its predecessors in that area, what with its nuclear scheme, underwater harpoon salvos between leagues of trained killers and the mission statement on part of EON to really make a blockbuster Bond like never before. For some it results in a bloated and overly ambitious effort, but to me it is one of the few true spy epics.

    My issue is that it isn't packed with more than its predecessors; that's why I find a large portion of the second half quite languid. The ambition is completely commendable and was the right thing to do, because on several occasions it completely nails the scale and scope they were aiming for and feels truly epic. The term bloated, for me, refers to the notion that the latter portion has an epic veneer, but is, for want of a better phrase, full of gas. From the Bahamas moving forward it could do with a little more mystery and a few twists and turns underneath that glossy exterior - build that in and you're talking possible best Bond ever. As it is I find the idea of TB better than the actual film itself.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    RC7 wrote: »
    I can understand the view of some that TB gets swollen. To me it should feel packed with more than the others, however, as it was the first big James Bond film as far as scale and ambition goes. It would've been impossible for it to feel on par with its predecessors in that area, what with its nuclear scheme, underwater harpoon salvos between leagues of trained killers and the mission statement on part of EON to really make a blockbuster Bond like never before. For some it results in a bloated and overly ambitious effort, but to me it is one of the few true spy epics.

    My issue is that it isn't packed with more than its predecessors; that's why I find a large portion of the second half quite languid. The ambition is completely commendable and was the right thing to do, because on several occasions it completely nails the scale and scope they were aiming for and feels truly epic. The term bloated, for me, refers to the notion that the latter portion has an epic veneer, but is, for want of a better phrase, full of gas. From the Bahamas moving forward it could do with a little more mystery and a few twists and turns underneath that glossy exterior - build that in and you're talking possible best Bond ever. As it is I find the idea of TB better than the actual film itself.

    I respect that. It's kind of how I feel about GF these days for similar reasons.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    RC7 wrote: »
    I can understand the view of some that TB gets swollen. To me it should feel packed with more than the others, however, as it was the first big James Bond film as far as scale and ambition goes. It would've been impossible for it to feel on par with its predecessors in that area, what with its nuclear scheme, underwater harpoon salvos between leagues of trained killers and the mission statement on part of EON to really make a blockbuster Bond like never before. For some it results in a bloated and overly ambitious effort, but to me it is one of the few true spy epics.

    My issue is that it isn't packed with more than its predecessors; that's why I find a large portion of the second half quite languid. The ambition is completely commendable and was the right thing to do, because on several occasions it completely nails the scale and scope they were aiming for and feels truly epic. The term bloated, for me, refers to the notion that the latter portion has an epic veneer, but is, for want of a better phrase, full of gas. From the Bahamas moving forward it could do with a little more mystery and a few twists and turns underneath that glossy exterior - build that in and you're talking possible best Bond ever. As it is I find the idea of TB better than the actual film itself.

    I respect that. It's kind of how I feel about GF these days for similar reasons.

    Yeah, they're probably similar in that respect. Sometimes the idea and perhaps aura of them becomes too much to live up to.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 8,076
    TBH I can't agree on that. That feels to much 'in hindsight' to me. I know of no other film from the era with this spectre. I think it more then lived up to it's expectations in '65. Not that I was around, but that's what I get from newsreports and articles from that time. Now we have so much more I agree it loses a bit of it's magic. But like an Aston Martin DB5 now beeing not even a match to regular middle-class cars, it still shines as one of the finest cars build in the era.
  • This picture has it all, one of the best Bond films ever made.
  • Posts: 14,896
    TB also has one of the best "range" of Bond girls and maybe the best Bond-Bond girl-villain triangle.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 23,883
    I agree. It's a special Bond film because it's able to straddle the balance between the larger than life mega Bond films and the more down to earth and realistic efforts beautifully. It's outlandish and spectacular while still seeming grounded & real.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    Ludovico wrote: »
    TB also has one of the best "range" of Bond girls and maybe the best Bond-Bond girl-villain triangle.

    @Ludovico, absolutely. Domino is so, so solid, and Claudine and Nikki do such a great team job to bring her alive. In the physical performance, there is a shocking amount of subtext that Claudine plays with that you really have to be paying attention to see. There's scenes where Domino is giving a little smile, then Largo will grab her around the arm like a father would a misbehaving child, and you just watch all the life drain out of her as she knows her keeper is back around and her freedom is reigned in. Conversely, there's a lot beautiful moments where she looks very upset, then Bond arrives to dazzle her and make her feel safe, and you can just feel her light up every time she's around him. Claudine put so much great emotional resonance into that performance, and it's so easy to care for Domino when she's under Largo's thumb. My favorite moment is that one-shot close up on the beach, where the camera only focuses on Domino reacting to her brother's death, and you see a single tear fall down her face. It's a punch to the gut, and you feel your own breath slip away. Claudine just nails it so effortlessly, and even gets choked up.

    It's also very sweet to see the effect Domino has on Bond, whose attraction goes beyond the physical. He really cares about her well-being, holds her tight in a dance, gets her a towel and lifts her from the pool after she's done swimming, and ultimately breaks the news of her brother's death to her as softly as he can, knowing how it'll hurt her. It's great to see Bond really go all in to be there for Domino and make her feel cared for and protected when he realizes the kind of bastard Largo is, and it's part of why it's one of my favorite Bond performances. Sean is magnetic and conveys all the range you could hope for, but beyond that Bond is also written to be as devoutly heroic as you can hope. When he dismantles Largo's ego he's doing it because he's a dangerous enemy, but you can also sense that he's digging in all the more for how badly he treats Domino, and that really fires him up.

    People that call James Bond (especially the 60s incarnation) a misogynist really need to check out films like TB, where he doesn't just adore and worship women like goddesses, he puts himself between them and danger at every turn with no semblance of reward promised to him. How he acts in TB especially (though he's often this way) sends out a very powerful statement, one that was actually started in GF. While Goldfinger and Oddjob oppress and belittle women, Bond celebrates them and can't get enough. He finds them endlessly fascinating in mind, body and spirit, and excitably rushes to experience all flavors of them any time he can, all while protecting the ones he collides with at any cost to himself. If that's not the antithesis of a misogynist, I have no goddamn idea what is.
    bondjames wrote: »
    I agree. It's a special Bond film because it's able to straddle the balance between the larger than life mega Bond films and the more down to earth and realistic efforts beautifully. It's outlandish and spectacular while still seeming grounded & real.

    @bondjames, this is the definitive identity of TB for me. It's the detective yarn of DN and the spy thriller of FRWL, with their elements of realism and grounded conflict splashed with a bit of ambition. Basically, the culmination of all Young had done on Bond since 1962, but kicked up to eleven. I have rarely seen a film balance its roots just as much as it can blockbuster fare, and that may be why it was the first true Bond blockbuster to start them all.
  • Posts: 14,896
    And with Pat we have one of the last few outsider Bond girl oblivious to Bond's reality that is featured for more than a minute.
  • Posts: 1,895
    Great comments above about what's beyond the surface of TB. It also shows how balanced the film is. I get so tired of the worn-out complaint it drags underwater. You'd think the entirety of the film was underwater.
  • FYI Miss Auger has a pretty impressive FB fan page, and Luciana Paluzzi is unbelieveably beautiful in TB.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    Ludovico wrote: »
    TB also has one of the best "range" of Bond girls and maybe the best Bond-Bond girl-villain triangle.

    +1.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    BT3366 wrote: »
    Great comments above about what's beyond the surface of TB. It also shows how balanced the film is. I get so tired of the worn-out complaint it drags underwater. You'd think the entirety of the film was underwater.

    +1.
  • I personally found the underwater stuff to be far ahead of its time and pretty amazing.
    And the music for those scenes are superb.
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