Thunderball [DVD] [1965]

Thunderball [DVD] [1965]
Thunderball [DVD] [1965] (click images to enlarge)

Thunderball [DVD] [1965]

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Thunderball [DVD] [1965] -B-

James Bond's fourth adventure takes him to the Bahamas, where a NATO warplane with a nuclear payload has disappeared into the sea. Bond (Sean Connery) travels from a health spa (where he tangles with a mechanised masseuse run amuck) to the casinos of Nassau and soon picks up the trail of SPECTRE's number-two man, Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), and his beautiful mistress, Domino (Claudine Auger), whom Bond soon seduces to his side. Equipped with more gadgets than ever, courtesy of the resourceful Q (Desmond Llewellyn), agent 007 escapes an ambush with a personal-size jet pack and takes to the water as he searches for an underwater plane, battles Largo's pet sharks, and finally leads the battle against Largo's scuba-equipped henchmen in a spectacular underwater climax. This thrilling Bond entry became Connery's most successful outing in the series and was remade in 1983 as Never Say Never Again, with Connery returning to the role after a 12-year hiatus. Tom Jones belts out the bold theme song to another classic Maurice Binder title sequence. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com--

On the DVD: The absence of any new contribution from Sean Connery leaves a hole in the behind-the-scenes selection, but the "making of" documentary still has plenty to talk about, including why Bond wore a crash helmet for the jet-pack flight, and what was for the time the utterly unique situation of having to stage an underwater battle (one of the Bond series' enduring legacies is its pioneering stunt work). A supplemental documentary describes the "Thunderball Phenomenon" that swept the world on the release of what was the most successful Bond movie to date (back in those innocent days when blanket retail saturation of movie merchandise was still a novelty). Two audio commentaries flesh out even more of the background: the first is another edited selection of various interviews, the second has editor Peter Hunt in conversation with the host John Quark of the Ian Fleming Foundation, as well as more sundry interview snippets, notably from screenwriter John Hopkins. Any contribution from series composer John Barry is also sadly absent. --Mark Walker

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