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Review of Thunderball (1965)


I haven't watched a Bond film in ages, particularly this one, and a rush of excitement came over me, something that hasn't really happened since I was introduced to the Bond films as a young kid. I'd forgotten how brilliant Sean Connery is in this one. His performance is effortless and there are plenty of oppurtunities to show a lighter, relaxed and in control Bond, spewing out amusing and intelligent lines without becoming silly. Some people argue that this was the film in which Bond became much more of a superhuman relying on gadgets, but I disagree. Even here Bond is much the same man of Doctor No and From Russia With Love. An example of his vulnerablity occurs when he slips on a roof, dropping his gun, at Palmyra. It's just a small moment, but it's brilliant. Then we have the beautiful Claudine Auger as Domino, looking particularly stunning in the pink dress during the Mardi Gras sequence. I think she's a really underappreciated Bond girl. She captures the loneliness of the original character spot on. From her first meal with Bond, we can see she's unloved, looking for a man in her life, only really talking about her friends and her brother. If only her love of the sailor from the Players Navy Cut cigarettes in the novel had been included somewhere. Adolfo Celi as Largo, is an underrated villain in my opinion. He has much more of a presence than probably every villain since. He's really mencaing, what with his striking white hair and eye patch. And then we have Luciana Paluzzi as Fiona, a character so brilliantly sexy. What a minx! I love her exchanges with Bond after they slept together.My favourite sequence in the film is the two of them in the car and, with John Barry's excellent score cranking up the tension, we get another sense of Bond's vulnerability. More favourite scenes of mine include; the hijacking of the plane, the chilling killing and discovery of Paula and the brutal end fight aboard the Disco Volante, all superbly directed by the master of the Bond films, Terence Young. A shout out to Rik Van Nutter too, who is the Felix I imagine when I read the books. Great cinematography, locations, sets and dialogue make this one of the best Bonds.


Added by Citizen Caine
8 years ago on 21 May 2010 18:13