“Speak or forever hold your piece.”
BOND 10 . THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
Guy Hamilton . 1974
Far from well, looking ten if not 15 years older tham his score of 55, Ian Fleming managed what he decided (or knew) would be his last Bond book… He managed to finish it, but not to correct it, a job handled by Kingsley Amis, author of The James Bond Dossier, and the first of the later Fleming torch-bearers wih Colonel Sun in 1968.
This one had been planned as Roger Moore’s debut five years earlier as the sixth Bond after You Only Live Twice. However, Cambodian locations proved impossible – because of the Vietnam war. Moore was not available for the replacement 1969 production, OHMSS.
Guy Hamilton never regretted returning to Bond for Live and Let Die. “What I do regret is doing one more Bond after that, The Man With the Golden Gun.” (Once again, he was opening up to Leo Verswijver of Filmtalk.org). “But I was quite intrigued with the Bond franchise and I enjoyed working with [screenwriter] Tom Mankiewicz. We would talk all day and then have to really get down to work. We were always looking for what I call snake pits – this is the most fun, putting Bond in the snake pit, in mortal peril, and at the same time play fair with the audience: how does he get out of it? Then we’d try to find a way to give him 50 seconds to get out of there. It’s funny, we needed three months and were beating our brains out, trying to think of the answer, and the audience gets 50 seconds [Laugh]. So when Bond gets out of the snake pit, everybody cheers. We had several terrific snake pit situations, but in some cases we were never able to find a satisfactory way to get out of it, to find out how Bond could get out of it in very ingenious way. Occasionally we mailed each other with a solution. We still do, it’s a hobby [Laugh]. In Diamonds Are Forever, for example, we had one we liked, with Bond inside a coffin – who’s got the answer, how is he going to get out of this one? The flames are burning, so you got another five seconds. The answer we came up with, satisfied us.”
Francisco Scaramanga . Christopher Lee who plays the Man With The Golden Gun, is a (distant) cousin of Ian Fleming, The Man With The Golden Pen… even if he, allegedly, did not write, or at least complete, this 13th and final complete 007 novel entirely by himself. Jack Palance was also considered for “Paco” or “Pistols” Scaramanga because…
Scenarist Tom Mankiewicz saw
the Bond-Scaramanga duel
as a new spin on Shane.
He signed on for three film with options for more… met up with old mates Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell (M and Miss Moneypenny; Lois and Moore swere in dram school together) and started shooting in New York in October 1972.
“Tom was a wonderful man, a brilliant writer and a great friend,” said Moore on the death of the Bondsmith in 2010. “His written lines were brilliant. My favourite is from The Man With The Golden Gun when Jimmy [Bond] points a gun at a gun-maker’s crotch – ‘Speak now or forever hold your piece,’ he says. Sheer bloody brilliance!”
Mary Goodnight . She had been a Matt Helm girl (in the Anthony Franciosa TV series) but Ann Turkel lost the lead Bond Girl because new lover (later husband) Richard Harris began orchestrating her career, which is why you’ve never heard of Ann Turkel. He had turned her tres B(l)ondable but steered her towards Euro-puddings like The Cassandra Crossing, The Golden Rendezvous. (In 1982, the year she and Harris divorced, Annsucceeded Monica Vitti as the female 007, Modesty Blaise – for a TV pilot never amde intio a series).
Britt Ekland never forgot the proud vista of Ursuala Andress striding out of the waves on to the Laughing Waters beach a dozen years before. “I just thought no one one could look that fantastic… the epitome of womanhood, movie star and glamour. And after that, I always wanted to be a Bond Girl. So she made it clear to Cubby: “I want to play Mary Goodnight!”
For his Bond finale,
Guy Hamilton fell for
Britt Ekland in her bikini tests.
And he made her 007’s leading lay. Cubby was disappointed with her, finding Britt less voluptuous than she had been in The Wicker Man – she had been three months pregnant then! He thought I was too thin so he’d take me to Italian restaurants and watched over me while I ate.” He foudn her a white bikini, too.
“I’m the proudest Bond Girl there is,” she told The Guardian’s Elle Hunt in 2020, “because there are not a lot of us left, and there won’t be any in future. (because of political correctness). “The Bond Girl has to look good in a bikini: that was her role … The Bond girl of my era exists no more because they’re not presented that way. You wouldn’t see her in a bikini next to Daniel Craig in a suit today – the PR department would make sure that didn’t happen.”
Divorce..! This is the final Bond film produced by by the deteriorating duo of Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Due to his wife’s (fatal) illness, plus considerable financial problems, Saltzman sold his 50% share in what was now called Danjaq, not to his partner, Cubby, butto UA inDecember 1975 as pre-production began on The Spy Who Loved Me.