What is the most underrated Bond film?


#101

David,
Thank you for getting back to me. I understand what you were saying a lot better now and do agree which much of what you say. In fact, as I thought about it, I did have a reaction changes in the Bond action sequences, though in a different way. Back in 1971, I saw a twin-bill of YOLT and TB and then a few months later, a second twin-bill of FRWL and DR. At the time, I was a bit disappointed with the action of the second set of movies compared to that of the first. I have since come to appreciate FRWL and DR a lot more though I do love those spectacle Bonds.


#102

The most underrated 007 movies for me are a toss up between The Man With The Golden Gun and The World Is Not Enough. A few more rewrites in certain areas and getting rid of a useless character (JW Pepper and Christmas Jones, respectively) and they would be better appreciated adventures.


#103

TMWTGG was just for fun and at least the direction was consistent. TWINE was a taut little character drama interrupted occasionally by pointless actions sequences which - unlike those in TND - did not advance the plot. Perhaps if Vic Armstrong had directed the whole thing…


#104

I strongly agree. I have never understood the hate for Bond in the clown makeup and costume. It’s a brilliant scene - high tension and played with great pathos by Roger - it’s right up there with some of the tensest scenes in the franchise; for instance when Bond is being chased down after escaping Piz Gloria in OHMSS. It is also one of many great examples of Bondian improvisation in Octopussy. And it is clearly meant to evoke the death of 009 shown earlier. Also, we get to see Bond drive an awesome GTV6 in the scene immediately prior (not to mention seeing an F-111 just inside the airbase gate - like Octopussy, another unfairly maligned classic).
[edited to fix a typo]


#105

I really hate that the critics don’t get that.


#106

I’ve done some googling but haven’t been able unearth any particular stories as to why the teaser poster look wasn’t featured in the film? (Although it would have been perfect for the finale scene). Is there a story, or am I just misreading Orion’s comment? I had assumed that look was designed for the teaser poster only and there was never any intention for it to feature in any actual scenes…


#107

I think there is quite a lot of general misunderstanding about the reception of OHMSS upon its release. While it did not do as well at the box office as YOLT - the first non-Connery was always going to face an uphill battle - it was by no means a failure. It was the US tenth highest grossing film of 1969, and its competition that year included some impressive films like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider, Hello Dolly and Paint Your Wagon - the top three being still very well regarded even now. It’s takings even beat out other classics like Where Eagles Dare and Once Upon a Time in the West. Given the issues regarding its promotion and some negative media coverage over the squabbles with George, this is a good result. It obviously had its share of mixed reviews from professional critics but many of those same critics regularly panned Bond films as louche, low-brow fare anyway and had it in for the genre.

I think OHMSS’ long-lasting low reputation was reached and cemented in the years following release when it became clear Lazenby wasn’t going to return, DAF reunited audiences with the more cartoonish appeal of YOLT but now joined by a new type of levity which set the tone for much of the seventies and eighties, and the terrible and infamous US TV edit of OHMSS became the version most Americans were familiar with.

We are all familiar with the critical reappraisal the film has received over the past ten years together with a rediscovery by the dedicated fan community which has done a lot to re-set and rehabilitate, in these specialist circles, its reputation. But I think for the general public it probably still malingers near the bottom of their affections, if they think of it at all. I’d wager that more often than not they just disregard it as not warranting attention. Pity.


#108

It does still (sort of) feature, but covered by a Suede jacket in the final scene. It was the company that made the turtle neck (who were understandably peeved) that have spoken about why it only features prominently on that teaser poster.


#109

Every actors´ era has at least one film that does not get the response it deserves while later on arriving at “underrated”-status.

For Connery: YOLT, probably because it followed the blueprint of TB and therefore felt less inspired. Still, it manages to enchant (me) with its splendid photography and totally bonkers ideas which make it feel like Bond´s fever dream.

For Lazenby: Hey, only one to choose from. But for the reasons already stated in this thread, the film mainly could not persuade viewers at first because the actor had changed from charisma-superpower to decent-dressman-imposter-saved by the edit-guy.

For Moore: Octopussy, since it also took many risks while playing to the orchestra. But the return of Connery overshadowed it and made entertainment journalists unpack the old “Moore is silly, Connery is the real deal”-propaganda.

For Dalton: Of course, it´s LTK, since that one was what publicly almost killed Bond films - despite the truth being far from it. But with the audience getting tired of Bond films around that time I would also include TLD as undervalued because it really is a terrific thriller, doing everything a Bond film can do, a perfect crowdpleaser which in its own way was as important for the series as GOLDENEYE was. It reinforced the idea that Bond can go on with a different actor.

For Brosnan: DAD. Yep. Enough has already been said about it - but the film really is BrosnanBond-Excess and still manages to twist the formula right at the start. In other words: without the experiments in the safe zone of Brosnan Bond Blockbusters the Craig era would have looked very different or would not have even happened.

For Craig: QOS, no doubt. The shorter, impatient and grimmer step-brother of CR, but no Oberhauser. Too much criticism has been drawn from the editing and the writers´ strike, overlooking the totally working thriller here that really focusses on Bond much more than other films.


#110

The outfit in the poster is definitely what he is wearing during the final act - N.Peal NPG-300 fine gauge mock turtle neck in dark charcoal. He’s wearing a John Varvatos suede racer jacket over it.

N.Peal also did other sweaters for the series that are covered up under a jacket - Skyfall in the Scotland scenes, Spectre during the Altaussee and Austria scenes, etc…


#111

Agreed on QoS. It will forever live in CR’s immense shadow.m, but it is leaps and bounds better than Spectre. After rewatching the entire series, Spectre may have fallen all the way to 24th for me.


#112

Again, I’m (just) too young to remember the release of OHMSS, but I do understand it did well at the box office. I think what cements it as a “failure” in people’s mind is that it’s a “one-off”: neither the star nor the approach made a return the next time out. There was the Connery Era and the Moore era in my youth; the other guy did just the one. Surely if he’d been decent, he’d have gotten his own “era”, right?

I agree it would be a mistake to assume poor reviews for Lazenby mean much per se; critics savaged Roger, but he stayed on for 12 years. If bad reviews were grounds for dismissal, how could that be?

Laz didn’t come back, though, so people were free to conclude, “That sure didn’t work out” and put it down as a failed experiment. For that matter, I know people who assume the long hiatus between LTK and GE was because the former “flopped,” and they say Dalton " nearly killed the franchise. "

The only person I knew as a kid who saw OHMSS in the theater was my 8th grade English teacher, and all he could remember was “the guy who got chewed up by a snowblower.” Since I’d only seen it on TV, I had no idea what he was talking about. Anyway, he didn’t make a point of criticizing Laz, and I’m not convinced he even remembered it wasn’t Connery.

Certainly i think there was a long period there where we suffered under the tyranny of critics who were the only ones with a platform to air their opinions, and viewings of past Bond’s could be rare depending on where you lived. Thus the received wisdom was that Connery was “the real Bond,” Lazenby was so bad they canned him after 1, and Roger was a seat-warmer who could never reach Sean’s heights. Thankfully now we all have easy access to the films so we can make up our own minds, and access to the internet to share our opinions and find the like-minded. The days when a handful of critics could write history to suit their prejudices are done.


#113

The critics still hate Roger and I think its mostly because he’s not Connery. “Bond isnt supposed to joke. He’s wearing a clown suit?! Outrage!” I dont care what critics think. They dont understand Bond


#114

Well said, David_M. I completely agree with that analysis as constituting the general ‘received wisdom’ about Bond in the decades past. Thankfully, as you say, there is much more of a diversity of opinions available now - even in the mainstream - and lots of informed fan communities contributing their own robust debates. Cheers


#115

I think Moore’s flippancy gives him confidence and a sense of competency, as opposed to being a ‘clown’. By the time of DAF, Bond is something of an international celebrity/myth in the spy world – “you just killed James Bond”, Lazar saying it would be the proudest moment of his career to make Bond a gun in TMWTGG, etc.


#116

He isn’t a very good spy is he…


#117

He’s no spy at all, despite what Vivienne Michel/Anya Amasova think. He’s the occasionally world famous secret agent (“Your reputation precedes you”) who never penetrates very deeply for very long (I’m talking about his work here, people).
Investigator, saboteur, assassin, yes, but spy? Whenever he attempts to spy on someone he almost always gets tumbled.


#118

I think you could also argue that he really isn’t seen by MI6 as a spy anyway. He’s a blunt instrument and an assassin, sent to take action, not collect intelligence…


#119

Isn’t he basically a government sanctioned killer? They send Bond when they just want the problem to go away.


#120

Exactly. That was the whole point of the scene in CR when Vesper wanted to check in under the Arlington Beech name and Bond wouldn’t have it. He doesn’t care if people know who he is, he’s just there to get things done.