Harry Saltzman

Harry Saltzman

Harry Saltzman Quick Links

News Film RSS

The Man with the Golden Gun Review


Good
Christopher Lee always makes for an exceptional video. It's just too bad that it had to be in The Man with the Golden Gun, which ranks as one of James Bond's more absurd outings, involving a maniacal genius (Lee) who's assassinating folks and has Bond next on his list. Bond thus goes after this Scaramanga and uncovers the usual mega-weapon plot, this time featuring... wait for it... solar power. The theme song by Lulu (sample lyrics: "Love is required/Whenever he's hired/He comes just before the kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiill") is original and a great example of high camp, much like the rest of the film. It's all gaudily good, right down to Hervé Villechaize(!), bikini-clad Britt Ekland, and the inimitable Clifton James as the vacationing Sheriff J.W. Pepper (introduced in Live and Let Die), who tags along for a bit.

Continue reading: The Man with the Golden Gun Review

You Only Live Twice Review


Excellent
One of Bond's bigger outings from the early days of the franchise, You Only Live Twice begins with Bond (Sean Connery) faking his death to relieve himself of some of the heat of his enemies and culminates with a showdown against nemesis Blofeld (the progenitor of Dr. Evil) in a phony volcanic lair/rocket base being invaded by ninjas, which are on Bond's side. Blofeld's plot is hijacking spaceships while they're in orbit... for unclear purposes. Got all that? The plot itself is protracting and quite confusing for a Bond film, ultimately just a distraction from one of Bond's most memorable adventures, complete with Q arriving with a helicopter in a box. Tons of fun, really, and Donald Pleasence as Blofeld is inimitable.

Continue reading: You Only Live Twice Review

On Her Majesty's Secret Service Review


Good
George Lazenby took Bond's reins from Sean Connery in this sixth 007 outing, an unfairly oft-maligned film that, while distinctively different than the rest of the series, is still quite fun to watch. Where to begin? The love story? Lazenby has an honest to god love montage with Diana Rigg, playing a mobster's daughter, who he later teams up (and actually marries) with to track down Blofeld (now played by Telly Savalas), who got away in You Only Live Twice. He finds Blofeld living on a mountaintop, running a clinic for women with allergies(!)... which is naturally just a front for nefarious ends to destroy the world's economy though mind control. Oddly, Blofeld no longer recognizes Bond, who's dressed in a kilt as a geneology researcher... which may all account for the film's lackluster reputation.

It's a big movie, with good stunts, virtually no gadgets, plenty of fisticuffs, and maybe more sex than any of the series' other installments. Even Lazenby is not half bad, though he pales in comparison to Connery, who would return for one more run as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever.

Continue reading: On Her Majesty's Secret Service Review

Diamonds Are Forever Review


Weak
While it's fun to wax nostalgic over Sean Connery's final appearance as James Bond (drawn out of retirement from the series for a presumably fat paycheck), it's still unfortunate that the film he appeared in is more than a little bit embarassing. Jill St. John is one of the least effective Bond girls: She's beautiful, but shrill and helpless (her scream of "Eeeeee!" during a fistfight in the film's final scene is one of Bond's noteworthy lowlights). The story is borderline moronic: Blofeld (now played by Charles Gray in his third incarnation) steals a load of diamonds in order to arm a laser-shooting satellite, to achieve, of course, world domination. How's that all work? No idea, and when we actually see his creation in orbit, it's laughable.

On the other hand, Connery is fine, as are some of the film's villains (hippie bodyguards named Bambi and Thumper), and the inimitable Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint, who, while entertaining, certainly didn't do much for Hollywood's respectful treatment of homosexuals. The Las Vegas setting (for much of the film) is unfortunately and unintentionally cheesy, as well. It's fun at times but overall one of the most hopelessly dated 007 flicks ever.

Continue reading: Diamonds Are Forever Review

Live And Let Die Review


Good
A true guilty pleasure among Bond films. Who can forget a young Jane Seymour as Solitaire, a psychic held captive? Or Clifton James as Louisiana Sheriff Pepper, the most colorful character the Bond series has produced? Or Tee Hee and his mechanical arm? Or Geoffrey Holder (the voice of 7-UP) as the evil Baron Samedi? Or the best theme song ever (by Paul McCartney and Wings)? Certainly not me, though I had to be reminded that this was a Bond-gets-drug-smugglers story. But the early-'70s pop culture exudes throughout this flick. It's certainly a unique entry into the Bond oeuvre (not to mention the first appearance of Roger Moore.)

Continue reading: Live And Let Die Review

Goldfinger Review


Essential
The iconic James Bond movie, this third entry into the franchise is rightly heralded for offering the perfect blend of action, adventure, gunplay, fisticuffs, gadgetry (that Aston Martin!), romance, derring-do, and just about everything else. Bond's outtings take him across Europe and eventually to U.S. shores, on the trail of Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), a maniac who wants to corner the gold market... with a plan to break into Fort Knox. Even though the ultimate plot is a little on the silly side, Bond's co-stars (Oddjob, Pussy Galore) are among the series' most memorable characters, with Fröbe perhaps its greatest villain. Numerous scenes in the film -- most notably Goldfinger's aborted execution of Bond via laser beam-to-the-crotch -- have become cinematic classics. Don't miss the DVD commentary track, it's incredibly insightful: I had no idea that Gert Fröbe spoke no English and was completely dubbed over.

Continue reading: Goldfinger Review

From Russia with Love Review


Extraordinary
The defeat of the titular arch-villain in the Bond series' inaugural Dr. No provides the fly in From Russia with Love's revenge-motivated ointment. Seeking to mete out payback on James Bond (Sean Connery) for eliminating their best and most evil megalomaniac, the global terrorist organization SPECTRE attempts to lure in the super-spy by using a Russian decoding machine as its dangling carrot.

As everyone knows, a piece of machinery isn't enough to set Bond into action. You need a piece of something else, and SPECTRE finds it in the form of Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi), a beautiful cipher clerk in the Soviet secret service who's got the goods on the decoder. Under instructions from the über-evil Rosa Klebb (the fabulous Lotta Lenya), a SPECTRE operative posing as a Soviet official, Tatiana agrees to her mission: To put out the signal that she wants to defect to the West, and that she's willing to smuggle the decoder too, provided that Bond escort her safely through the Iron Curtain.

Continue reading: From Russia with Love Review

Dr. No Review


Excellent
Bond #1 laid the groundwork for one of cinema's most enduring franchises, with 007 (Sean Connery) and his mean streak, sent to Jamaica to investigate the murder of another double-O agent. Here he hooks up with CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) and a gaggle of sexy ladies who either need dispatching or romancing. Naturally there's a super villain with an impossibly expensive lair to be infiltrated (the first of at least a dozen of these that he'll do time in) and a take-over-the-world plot to be foiled. Unfortunately the plot is not one of Bond's absolutely most memorable (the title sequence is particularly tragic), though it has all the elements we've come to expect. Entry #2, From Russia with Love, would refine the formula a bit, leading up to the series' most memorable entry of all, Goldfinger. Still, essential viewing for any Bond fanatic.

Continue reading: Dr. No Review

From Russia with Love Review


Extraordinary
The defeat of the titular arch-villain in the Bond series' inaugural Dr. No provides the fly in From Russia with Love's revenge-motivated ointment. Seeking to mete out payback on James Bond (Sean Connery) for eliminating their best and most evil megalomaniac, the global terrorist organization SPECTRE attempts to lure in the super-spy by using a Russian decoding machine as its dangling carrot.

As everyone knows, a piece of machinery isn't enough to set Bond into action. You need a piece of something else, and SPECTRE finds it in the form of Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi), a beautiful cipher clerk in the Soviet secret service who's got the goods on the decoder. Under instructions from the über-evil Rosa Klebb (the fabulous Lotta Lenya), a SPECTRE operative posing as a Soviet official, Tatiana agrees to her mission: To put out the signal that she wants to defect to the West, and that she's willing to smuggle the decoder too, provided that Bond escort her safely through the Iron Curtain.

Continue reading: From Russia with Love Review

The Man with the Golden Gun Review


Good
Christopher Lee always makes for an exceptional video. It's just too bad that it had to be in The Man with the Golden Gun, which ranks as one of James Bond's more absurd outings, involving a maniacal genius (Lee) who's assassinating folks and has Bond next on his list. Bond thus goes after this Scaramanga and uncovers the usual mega-weapon plot, this time featuring... wait for it... solar power. The theme song by Lulu (sample lyrics: "Love is required/Whenever he's hired/He comes just before the kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiill") is original and a great example of high camp, much like the rest of the film. It's all gaudily good, right down to Hervé Villechaize(!), bikini-clad Britt Ekland, and the inimitable Clifton James as the vacationing Sheriff J.W. Pepper, who tags along for a bit.

Live And Let Die Review


Good
A true guilty pleasure among Bond films. Who can forget a young Jane Seymour as Solitaire, a psychic held captive? Or Clifton James as Louisiana Sheriff Pepper, the most colorful character the Bond series has produced? Or Tee Hee and his mechanical arm? Or Geoffrey Holder (the voice of 7-UP) as the evil Baron Samedi? Or the best theme song ever (by Paul McCartney and Wings)? Certainly not me, though I had to be reminded that this was a Bond-gets-drug-smugglers story. But the early-'70s pop culture exudes throughout this flick. It's certainly a unique entry into the Bond oeuvre.

The Ipcress File Review


OK
Harry Palmer (Michael Caine), disgraced army sergeant and reluctant spy, heads off on his most renowned adventure in The Ipcress File, wherein a bunch of scientists are kidnapped, then summarily returned -- brainwashed. Harry fights the baddies and his own internal bureaucracy as he gets to the bottom of the matter, ignoring authority and cooking up a fine meal or two along the way -- and then he gets himself brainwashed, too! Goofy fun, but hardly a classic. James Bond, you ain't got nothin'!
Harry Saltzman

Harry Saltzman Quick Links

News Film RSS