Movie Collectors Guide #1
Complete James Bond Collection (Part 3)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1/16x9
Dolby Digital Stereo Surround
2 Hr 13 min, Rated PG-13
Staring Sean Connery, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max Von Sydow, Barbara Carrera, and Kim Basinger.
Directed by Irvin Kershner. Based on an original story by Kevin McClory.
Essentially a remake of "Thunderball", NSNA is not recognized by EON as an official film.
SPECTRE has managed to steal two nuclear warheads and is threatening the world with them. 007 is on the case in the Bahamas where he meets SPECTRE heavy Largo, his kept woman Domino, and the devious Fatima Blush. With the help of his old pall Felix Letier, Bond recovers the warhead and saves the day.
After a lengthy legal battle, Kevin McClory secured the rights to do a remake of the phenomenal "Thunderball". 007 fans, myself included, can only speculate as to why he didn't leave well enough alone, or as to what motivated Sean Connery to be a part of it.
"Never Say Never Again" presents an aging Bond pulled out of retirement, a part befitting Connery at the time. In this story, Domino's brother is a heroin addict, bought by SPECTRE to help steal the bombs. Though there are some other more subtle deviations, the rest plays out much the same as "Thunderball". The most strict Bond fans regard it today as a "B" action movie but in retrospect, when seeing it in the theater as a young man, I was oblivious to the 'legal' issue and rather enjoyed it, despite the lack of familiar Bond music.
The film does have its problems. The musical score is poor, and pacing is erratic. Sometimes the story whips by at break neck speed, at others it plods along. The film does have a couple of redeeming values worth mentioning. Foremost is Barbara Carrera who turns in a wild performance as Fatima Blush. She steals the scene whenever she's in it. Also a positive is the motorcycle chase. Unlike other sections in the film, it is an excellent bit of action. Its only fault is the lack of bystanders and extras that give a scene 'life'.
The very first DVDs released for this movie were missing a scene in the middle of the film. The title has since been remastered to include the footage.
The visual quality of the DVD is an almost distracting mix of quality. Blacks are mostly deep but at times washed out. Similar inconsistencies are noted for color, depth, detail, and sharpness. The print used for the master is likely to be blamed in part. Most portions are in pristine condition, while select few are terribly scratched. The soundtrack exhibits similar inconsistencies as it goes from articulate to smeared. Artifacts like hiss and distortion are noted, but only occasionally. On the whole, it presents an integrated, ambient soundfield, lacking sorely in dynamics.
The only extras are a trailer and the booklet.
"Never Say Never Again" is not included in any of the gift set volumes but is available for purchase separately.
Bond's Drink of choice: A Simple Vodka Martini:
- 2 1/4 oz. vodka
- 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
- A lemon peel
The ingredients come together in a shaker (stainless steel), with a handful of ice. Shake (of course) until the drink is cold. Some consider eight shakes to be 'correct'.
Strain into martini glass (a.k.a. cocktail glass) and enjoy.
Though variations are almost limitless, common ones include replacing the vodka with a 3:1 combination of regular vodka and a citrus variety of vodka or gin, keeping the ratio of vodka(s) to vermouth at around 4:1.
Bond's Casino Game of choice
There are some discrepancies here when it comes to what is thought of as Bonds Casino game of choice. Most quote Baccarat as being the game (in Goldeneye, the Zenya character refers to it as one of their shared passions) but as the bellow sample rules show, in Baccarat no place "chooses" to draw a card as Bond appears to do in several of the movies. There is a variation on Baccarat called Chemin-de-fer (as mentioned by Bond himself in Dr.No) where players do have some latitude of choice, but rules for that game were hard to find (we'll update this page if we ever come across a credible source).
Sample Baccarat game rules:
Interestingly, though the movies and real life casinos give the game an air of sophistication, it is actually very simple with little strategy beyond choosing how much to bet and on whom (player or bank).
Each player gets a turn handling the 'shoe', the box containing 8 decks of shuffled cards. There is no advantage to handling the shoe, and it is really an ambiance inducing formality, but you must bet the bank when you have it. Any player can pass the shoe of they prefer.
Each table has 15 seats for players and is manned by three dealers, two to handle the money, and the third, the caller, manages the cards (with that cool looking paddle). The caller runs the game by its strict rules.
Two hands of two cards are dealt, the 'player' hand and the 'bank' hand. A third card may be drawn according to the rules below. The hand with the highest value at the end wins. Face cards are worth 10, while all other cards are taken at their respective number value, the ace being 1. Hands can only have a value of 1 to 9, as any value of 10 gets dropped. Examples: A hand with a jack and a 4 has a value of 4. A hand with a 9 and a 5, though totaling 14, has a value of 4. A 5 and a 4 has a value of 9, and so on.
The player hand is played first. If the first two cards yield a value of 8 or 9, it is called a 'natural' and the hand stays. If the first two cards total 6 or 7, the hand also stays. With a value of 5 or less, a third final card is drawn for the player hand.
The bank hand is then played. With a value of 7 or greater in the first two cards, the bank hand stands. If the first two cards total 0, 1, or 2, the bank must draw its third and final card. If the value of the first two cards is 3 through 6, the value of the player's third card determines whether the bank stands or draws its third and final card as per the following:
Value of 2 card bank hand Draw if player's third card is: Stand if player's third card is: 3 1 through 7 or 9 through 10 8 4 2 through 8 1 or 8 through 10 5 4 through 7 1 through 3 or 8 through 10 6 6 or 7 1 through 5 or 8 through 10
If that seems complex, don't give it a thought. The caller handles the whole thing. Again, all you have to do is decide whether you are betting on the player or the bank, and how much. Winning bets are paid 1:1. The house keeps 5% of winning bets made on the bank. This "vigorish" is not paid each hand, but tracked by the dealers and is usually collected when the shoe is depleted. If the play ends with the same value in both hands, it is a tie and all money is returned. It is possible to bet on a tie, and it pays 8:1, but this is a very long shot.
All James Bond images, titles, and artwork © 1961-1999 United Artists and/or MGM Home Entertainment