Is there anything in Bond history worse than the tidal wave scene?


The car jump slide whistle…

J.W. Pepper in Bangkok…

(Both from TMWTGG - fancy that)


J.w.Pepper in of himself.


I agree. I don’t want to see anything like it again, but the concept is very Bondian, in the ‘how on Earth will he escape this time?’ mould. The execution didn’t look good, but I at least can admire the concept.


“They feast”
Urgh that love scene with the dates is baaaaaaaaad😖


It’s unfathomable that they pulled off such an awe inspiring stunt and then decided to make it a joke with a swanee whistle! Carry On Bond…

I guess it is the direct ancestor of the tsunami surfing.


While I agree with all the above, for the sake of discussion, I’m going to give them all a free pass as they all appear in films that are ironically, the best home for those moments.

DAD is what it is - the tidal wave just one more moment in a film full of “is that the worst thing in a Bond film?” examples.

Dolly, Jaws, the slide whistle, pigeons, yep, I get it. But Dolly and Jaws get together 3/4s of the way through a film that has been over-inflating like a balloon with a death wish since the moment the hovercraft became a gondola, or the Close Encounter musical cue unlocking a door.

Pepper, the slide whistle - by that time we’ve already had the “twenty bucks” kid, the karate kicking nieces and the fakest of nipples.

So I’m going to throw in SC “disguising” himself as a local in YOLT. A film trying to play it straight (at stultifying pace for sure), but with the outrageously comical decision to disguise SC in the most unconvincing way that it makes Dick Emery look like Marilyn Monroe (there’s a reference for you younger forum members to chase down…!).

YOLT almost gets away with its OTT ambitions of hollowed out volcanoes thanks to overhead shots of Kobe docks, John Barry at his finest, and a general sheen of late Sixties stylishness. But then, boom, SC as a Japanese fisherman? Come on!

No, I know that in theory, it’s “straight from Fleming” - but that don’t make it right…


That actually is so ludicrous I obviously willed myself to forget it until you mentioned it.

As for Pepper or Dolly - back then, in the theatre, people LOVED those moments. It was a simpler, less cynical time. People actually went to the cinema to amuse themselves.

Hey, maybe that explains the “Japanese” Sean!


Oh dear, I’d totally forgotten about them…
And while I’m at it, add Mary Goodnight to the list.


I guess it depends on how you define “bad.”

If you mean were there equally unconvincing special effects elsewhere in the series, oh yes. The freefall motorbike-to-airplane transfer in GE, for one, capping a proud tradition of dodgy rear-projection shots including but by no means limited to Bond and Captain Carter on the submarine conning tower watching the Liparus sink, Roger skiing in the same film, heck all the way back to the hearse vs Sunbeam car chase in DN (though that almost gets a free pass for having been made in a prehistoric era). Sloppy process shots like the exploding volcano at the end of YOLT or the satellite detonating ICBMs in DAF. That goofy shot of the SPECTRE rocket “landing” in the volcano, which almost looks like a cardboard creation from the days of George Melies.

In terms of practical effects, at least half of Roger’s fights are unconvincing, and so for the record is that vaunted rooftop battle in YOLT, where you can easily see Bond’s pursuers slowing to a walk at times so they don’t catch up with him and accidentally win the fight in contradiction of the script.

Or if “bad” means cringe-worthy moments that make you want to apologize for being a Bond fan, yes there’s “fetch my shoes” and JW being dunked by an elephant and Jaws and Dolly’s “love at first sight” scene. There’s faux-Japanese Connery and Blofeld in drag, slide whistles, double-taking pigeons, slot-playing elephants, Mary Goodnight, Stacey Sutton and on and on.

In terms of sheer “that’s it, I’m out” moments, though, nothing beats the para-surfing scene from DAD. Not just because it’s the worst CG since the invention of either C’s or G’s, but also because it follows a mind-numbingly stupid scene where Bond has to outrace a death ray from space that’s a couple feet behind him going hundreds of miles an hour, but conveniently slows to a crawl to give him time to fashion a boogie board and chute. Which in turn followed scenes of an invisible car, “gene therapy” treatments that change a person’s race, Bond stopping his own heartbeat on command, vomit-tempting dialog like “wow, that’s a mouthful,” “I take it Mr Bond’ s been explaining his Big Bang theory” and “Oh yeah, I think I got the thrust of it,” and will soon lead to more physics-defying spectacles like a plane that can fly for miles through a deathray that’s instantly detonated everything else with combustible materials in it, a battle suit from a B-grade Star Wars ripoff, more deathless dialog like “Yo Momma” and “virtual reality” technology that generates imagery based not on a pre-loaded program but whatever pops into the wearer’s mind at the moment. The “tidal wave” scene on its own isn’t necessarily as poorly executed or ill-advised as many other “bad” moments, but taken in the totality of a film that has no understanding of physics, technology or realistic human interactions, it’s the lowest point of the lowest point in the series. Any movie that can make me not like John Cleese – John Cleese, for pity’s sake! – is pretty amazing, for all the wrong reasons.




Ah, poor old John (Zencat). I’m beginning to understand why he’s one of the world’s great Houdini experts. Escaping authorship of that old thread would make the Water Torture Cell look like child’s play.


Following up on what David_M said about how “bad” is defined, I wonder the great technical advances in filmmaking have created one new category of bad. In terms of phoniness, nothing beats Alfred Hitchcock’s use of back projection–especially in MARNIE. He used back projection all the time and made little effort to disguise it. The again, in some films he made a substantial effort to create verisimilitude. The meeting-in-the-woods scene in NORTH BY NOTHWEST exists side-by-side with several scenes of careful use of real world locations. I wonder if the contemporary ability to blend seamlessly the phony with the real causes viewers to retroactively downgrade older approaches to filmmaking. (There is also the culture of “gotcha” that has sprung up around movies. I love that Martin Scorsese said that he and Thelma Schoonmaker consciously used a mismatched cut in GOODFELLAS because of the fact that the two best shots available had a small continuity error which they felt did not interfere with their larger aesthetic objective.)

Then there is bad in terms of the cultural/societal attitudes found in the films. I have to disagree somewhat with odd_jobbies in that the racist and sexist examples cited actually were considered bad in their time as well–maybe not by as large a segment of the population as now feels so, but Rosie Carver was a stereotype in 1973 and Connery’s YOLT transformation did not become an example of yellow-face only post-1967. The fact that fewer earlier viewers thought of them as bad does not diminish the instances’ objective quotient of badness.


Rope. He virtually invented hiding months of filming as a single shot.


AH re-shot half of the film because he did not think that they had gotten the sun-setting-on-the-cyclorama correct. He brought in a meteorologist to make sure it was accurate.

On the other hand: in NOTORIOUS, when they are in the plane flying to Rio and Alicia tells Devlin “Look, there is Sugarloaf,” AH uses the cheesiest stock footage available for a cutaway shot. I am curious how it is going to look on the 4k restoration due out on blu-ray.


What part in Rear Window? I’ve seen it a dozen times and can’t think of where it’s at?


I don’t think back projection was considered phony back then. And it really was the available method to film people when it was impossible to do it at the particular location in the way the scene was intended.

Was it perfect? No, of course not. But really, CGI so often looks just as phony, even it if is more seamless - the lighting is often wrong, and actors move and look like video game figures.

But regardless of how far a technique is advanced - and CGI, if done well, definitely is being perfected - it just remains a technique. A tool.

Snarking about back projection back then, for me, is a kind of cinematic ageism. “Oooh, how silly those old films look! I can’t take those seriously. I love superhero films today, they look so much more realistic.”

Well, even with the most perfect visual effect, people seem to forget that it is always, always about suspension of disbelief. If someone feels more comfortable with a Marvel CGI-extravaganza and laughs off, for example, Bond skiing down the mountain in TSWLM, here’s the mistake: both are not real. Both are fictional stories.

Now, if the story pulls me in I don’t care about the visual effects. I know the happenings on screen are not real. If I only enjoy a story which has perfect visual effects I am not here for the story, I’m here for eye candy.

I have seen wonderful visual effects and they did nothing to invite me into the lackluster story. But “Marnie” always draws me in.

Sure, the best possible way would be a visual experience in which I am not reminded of a problematic technique. But even the tidal wave in DAD, as bad or rough it was, did not take me out of the picture. At that point in the film, everything was already pitched so high I just laughed along.


I felt an imaginary contra-zoom yanking me way out of the movie as I sat bolt upright at the site of that tsunami, then sank lower and lower into my seat in abject horror.

The narrative and everything DAD was left far behind and I don’t think I recovered for several days. Really, there should have been a studio rep handing out flyers for counselling at the exit.

When editing i have a habit of leaving a mock up on the timeline for reference and I plonk the latest version of the sequence on a video layer above it and it can pile up a little. Once or twice I’ve forgotten to switch on a new upper video layer for a viewing and confused the hell out of everyone when an old mock up plays at that point instead… For a while I was convinced this must have somehow happened when DAD was on-lined. It was that bad :scream:


I understand how embarrassing the scene in DAD was at the time I groaned, but I’m not sure it was even the most embarrassing thing in that movie.
DAD remains the only Bond movie I walked out of before the end credits, I got to the plane and gave up.
What was truly embarrassing about the movie was how crass it was, how amateurish it looked, how bereft of ideas it was - the invisible car is for me, far more embarrassing than a decent idea executed poorly.
There is a fantastic discussion here about the racial and sexual politics displayed in early Bonds seen through today’s eyes, I would suggest they are and were embarrassing because at the time they were accepted , it didn’t make them right " man talk" does take me out of Goldfinger so I find that embarrassing to view in company as does " fetch my shoes". But this is like the embarrassing faux pas an elderly relative might make.
However DAD looks cheap and very dated stunt casting Madonna - that’s truly embarrassing


If we’re discussing YOLT, let’s not forget the awful Little Nellie sequence.


I don’t find it embarrassing on the grounds of political incorrectness: I just think it’s the most ludicrously godawful “disguise” in movie history (though Captain Kirk as a “Romulan” would take the honor on TV). I was too young to see it in the theater in '67, but I can’t imagine audiences then wouldn’t have laughed just as hard as those today. As disguises go, it’s about one step up from the “portable shrubbery” gag in an old-time comedy.

Well, audiences were certainly less “sophisticated” about filmmaking techniques back then, but I doubt many were fooled by the back projection shots in the Bonds (and elsewhere). The difference is they contributed a willing sense of disbelief, unlike modern audiences. Jay Leno (ugh, I know) used to tell the story of seeing a horror film where someone’s decapitated and their head rolls down a flight of stairs, whereupon some guy in the theater yells, “FAKE!!!” Well, yeah…

I would even argue that the iffy rear screen effects just emphasize the brilliance of the actual stunts. In the era when Doug Fairbanks was a dim memory and “Tom Cruise movie” meant something else entirely, no one really expected oh, say Roger Moore himself to dangle from a helicopter in flight, but somehow the knowledge that he was two feet off the stage floor for the close-ups just increased your admiration for the guy who really did hang on in the long shots. Or maybe that’s just me. Nowadays they digitally superimpose an actor’s head on a stuntman’s body, or brush out safety wires, or digitize the whole body, so it’s hard to be impressed by anything no matter how “spectacular.” They do such a good job faking it we’re not sure whether anyone did anything remotely courageous at all.

This. The example I trot out repeatedly is the freefall fight in MR. Only a small percentage of us in the audience will have jumped from a plane, and likely none of us had a wrestling match on the way down, but when we see that sequence, our brains know that it’s really happening. Real live stunt men are doing that crazy stuff. And it’s awesome. In contrast, there’s a scene in “Black Panther” where the hero and villain fall from a great height and engage in a fist fight the whole way down, and it’s all done with CG. And it doesn’t look anything remotely close to real, not at all, not for one second. In a film full of heart and cool ideas, it takes me right out of the story, every time.

That’s funny, I had the same experience. After one rotten scene after another, and that interminable stretch in at the “ice palace,” I couldn’t believe they were setting up another sequence on the plane. Wouldn’t this movie EVER end? I looked at my watch and started devoting my mind to selecting a restaurant for dinner, but I didn’t walk out because (a) I never do that (except once, long story) and (b) I really believed this would be the last Bond movie I would ever pay to see, and if I didn’t keep watching til the credits finished, it would remain “unfinished business” and therefore something I might feel obliged to come back to, someday.

And here I am. LOL