93 of 100 people found the following review helpful
shaken, not stirred...,
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This review is from: Sean Connery 007 Collection Volume 1 (DVD)
First, the good; there's no Bond like Sean and these transfers are stunning. The color is a little over saturated, but probably true to the Technicolor palette of the early 1960's. The crisp images with a total lack "fly specking" is remarkable. They advertise these as state of the art restorations and if these first three are any indication, they've broken the code on how to transfer older film onto digital media. Now, the bad news; there's only three films on 6 discs, one for each movie and one for the "extras" for each movie. Additionally, they've gooberd up the intros with a whole batch of adverts and way too many alternates before you get to the start. However, once the opening credits end you're transported back to a pre Vietnam 1962 where everybody assumed spies traveled the world knocking off bad guys and no one gave a whit about any perceived moral implications. The first couple Bond films weren't considered campy by the standards of the day and many people assumed this stuff actually happened. Ian Fleming's first Bond book, "Casino Royale", had been out since 1952 and the fiction of the day was rife with spy stories of all stripes. The public was conditioned to accept the "spy superman" as a cold war hero and found the more restrained literary Bond as credible as one might find one of Scott Turow's lawyerly protagonists today. I might add in defense of the "intro" extravaganza that the 1960's were the film birthing of the iconic opening credits for a great many films; the Pink Panther* series is cited as just one example.
The three films are "Dr. No", "From Russia With Love", and "Goldfinger" which are the first three MGM movies in chronological order. One can only hope for "Vol. 2" to be out shortly starting with the fourth film, "Thunderball". I say hope only because these properties have been subject to more litigation than you can shake a stick at. In my opinion the first seven are the best of the bunch as the ones that followed attempted to top each previous film to the point of silliness. Ironically, the best film of the entire series is generally thought to be the 6th, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"**, released in 1969 with 007 played by unknown George Lazenby. Sean Connery was let out of his contract for that one film*** as the producers knew he was tiring of the role and wanted to work on another project. His only other non Bond role during that time had been 1965's critically acclaimed "The Hill" along with a couple small guest roles (including a rather good remake of "Murder on the Orient Express" in 1962) and he was anxious to expand his career with more challenging material. Connery reprised his 007 in 1971's "Diamonds Are Forever", the seventh film in the series, but then severed his ties with the producers for good. When asked at the time of his departure why he was leaving he famously said he didn't want to become typecast as a comedic actor; an acceptance that the social turmoil of the late 1960's had forever altered the public's simplistic perception of spy craft and that the only way forward was by producing a more bloated pastiche of the original films, which is exactly what producer Cubby Broccoli did during the Roger Moore era. Compounding the public's growing skepticism, Michael Caine hit it big in the "Ipcress File" shortly after "Goldfinger" was released and the public began to turn from Ian Flemming to new writers such as Len Deighton, Frederick Forsyth, and John Le Carre who brought more perceived realism to the genre. Flemming died in 1964, the same year "Goldfinger" was produced, and although books bearing his name continued to be published, they were ghost written and largely derivative of the earlier novels. Connery returned for one last go in 1983's "Never Say Never Again", but with different producers and somewhat disappointing results.
So, 3 films rather than the first 6, that you might have hoped for given the disc count (the amazon description at the time of the pre-release was totally silent on the content) and sloppy intros and adverts versus visually stunning transfers of the first 3 films in a legendary series still equals 5 stars in my book.... can't wait for volume 2!
* If you watch Goldfinger closely you'll see another 007/Pink Panther tie in; Burt Kwouk, who went on to be Clouseau's houseboy, plays the totally forgettable Mr. Ling.
** Ian Flemming is frequently misquoted as having once said that "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was his favorite film, which would have been rather difficult since it wasn't produced until 5 years after his death. What he actually said was that the novel best captured the Bond character as he envisioned him, and that the book was his favorite. No matter what you may think of George Lazenby vs. Sean Connery, the screenplay is certainly one of the best and, not co-incidentaly, relies less on high tech gizmos than any of the others. While still clearly a Bond film, it has a Hitchcock/Cary Grant feel to it; with Diana Rigg playing a suitably Grace Kelley like Bond girl.
*** Whether Connery quit or was allowed out of his contract was always a point of contention, but what was not was that Lazenby himself quit the series after this single outing.
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Initial post: Feb 9, 2012 8:14:13 PM PST
Errors abound here......zzzzzzzzzzzz.......
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