Wednesday, 18 May 2016

THUNDERBALL - THE BIGGEST BOND?



The lion roars and the familiar brazzy theme blares out at us. The white dots track across and a be-hatted Sean Connery does the walk-on for the first time.* He spins on his left foot and drops down to give us the usual warm welcome. Down comes the blood and the film opens on a coffin, draped in a monogrammed shroud. Ominously, the monogram is 'JB'. We see the priest waking round with the censer and the grieving widow, a blonde woman in hat and veil. A chorister sings mournfully. From a gallery above, Madame LaPorte (of the French station of the Secret Service) watches with a dispassionate James Bond. She has noticed the initials and he remarks at this moment 'Rather him than me.' She notices a hint of regret and wonders if Bond would rather have killed Colonel Jacques Bouvar himself; he does, Bouvar murdered two of Bond's colleagues.
The mourners file out watched by the spies. Madame Bouvar opens the door of her limousine and the driver takes her away. At the Bouvar estate, a grand, palatial affair, Madame is admitted by her footman. She walks upstairs to a Grande Salon. James Bond rises from a chair and offers his sincere condolences. With a right cross. 'My Dear Colonel Bouvar, I don't think you should have opened that car door by yourself.' It is indeed, the 'late' Jacques Bouvar in drag**. 
A vicious fight ensues, Bouvar smashing a chair into Bond and following it with a knife throw.  
The furniture flies and the fists flie, with a touch of ju-jitsu for good measure. Bouvar grabs a poker from the fire and lashes out in desperation. Bond takes two blows before kicking his adversary into the fireplace and strangling him with the poker, breaking his neck with a hideous finality. The Colonel's men are banging on the locked door and its time to go, but not before throwing some flowers onto the recently departed.
*Thunderball was the first Bond shot in Panavision, so the famous sequence had to be re-shot. As any Bond fan knows, the previous films featured stuntman Bob Simmons performing the spin-shoot. Much as I'm a fan of Simmons, you can't deny Connery does this with more panache...
**It's actually Bob Simmons, whose legs are distinctly more un-feminine than those of actress Rose Alba that we saw at the funeral. Out on a roof terrace, one of the most famous scenes from the Bond films; Donning a helmet and jetpack, Bond blasts off, a few futile shots not finding their mark as he soars into the air. Across the road, Madame LaPorte waits with 007's Aston Martin DB5. Helping Bond divest himself of the bulky jetpack, they stow it into the DB5's boot*.

The real thing; piloted by either Gordon R. Yaeger or Bill Suitor.

Faking it in the studio.

As the bullets flie, the two clamber into the Aston and Bond deploys the bullet screen, giving the pursuers a drenching with two high-pressure water hoses concealed in the exhausts**.
*Almost; look closely and you see the Jetpack (A Bell Rocket Belt) doesn't actually fit.
** For a split-second you can see thick red rubber fire hoses connected to the exhaust pipes; just where all this water comes from is a mystery, but my guess is a fire pump off-screen.
The screen goes a rich, lustrous velvet blue, with bubbles rising as Maurice Binder's unrivalled credit sequence plays. A silhouette of a woman, apparently underwater appears as Tom Jones sings the score, backed by Bond legend John Barry. Thunderball features the Tomosaurus at his mid-sixties best, his power vocal matching the titles and giving viewers a genuine thrill.


He always runs while others walk
He acts while other men just talk
He looks at this world and wants it all
So, he strikes, like Thunderball
He knows the meaning of success
His needs are more so he gives less
They call him the winner who takes all
And he strikes, like Thunderball
Any women he wants, he'll get
He will break any heart without regret
His days of asking are all gone
His fight goes on and on and on
But he thinks that the fight is worth it all
So he strikes, like Thunder-BAAAAALLLLLL!
Songwriters
Barry, John
Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


Swimming off, the naked figure is menaced by a speargun, which fires after her, a frogman finning into view after it. More girls swim, more divers follow, the background changing colour as the credits play and Tom reaches a fever pitch. As he reaches the final note, the first warning of trouble comes with the text; 'Based on the original story by KEVIN McLORY, JACK WHITTINGHAM and IAN FLEMING.' And Ian Fleming?. More of this later – poor Tom's about to black out from that protracted last belter of a note... (Jones did, in fact faint after singing the last note, coming to to find the sound booth was spinning.)


Paris and a Thunderbird rolls to a stop, the driver alighting to be told 'No parking 'ere' by a Gendarme. When the officer sees the identity of the driver, however he salutes and apologises. A distinguished, if somewhat malevolent figure, this is Emilio Largo. His left eye is covered by a patch, his camel-hair coat worn as a cloak over his suit. Striding across to a building, he enters; a brass plaque proclaiming this to be the Centre International D'Assistance aux Personnes Déplacées. Inside, a friendly voice assures anxious clients the International Brotherhood for the Assistance of Stateless Persons is purely philanthropic, not interested in politics, only rehabilitation. Largo strides through a reception room containing the needy refugees of various nations into the office where the reassuring employee is offering his clients a visa and funds, with no need for repayment Рthey have private funds from certain individuals who share their aims. Largo enters a deserted corridor with a look over his shoulder, producing a cigarette case which opens to reveal a remote control for the cupboard facing him to slide back, revealing a hidden doorway. Perhaps its a philanthropic hidden doorway.
Adolfo Celi is Emilio Largo, the villanous Number Two of S.P.E.C.T.R.E.
Silly me!; as the steel door opens, a massive concrete and steel conference room is visible, into which the new arrival steps confidently. At the centre, a line of chairs either side of a low steel table at which are seated various men. At one end of the room, a clerk of some kind sits beneath a partially lowered steel shutter, behind which a man sits stroking a fluffy white cat, his identity obscured by the blind. (The man, not the cat; this is clearly Volcano Cat in an early role...) Greeting Largo as 'Number Two' the mysterious cat-fancier bids him to take his seat, adding 'We will discuss your N.A.T.O. project later.' Bowing Number Two goes to his seat as the curiously disembodied voice of Number One informs the assemblage of the untimely death of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Number Six. Colonel Jacques Bouvar was killed by an 'Unknown assassin.' His services will be greatly missed. On to business; cash accounts. Flipping a switch reveals a huge illuminated map of the World (Hooray!), Japan highlighted in blue. Number Seven – a Japanese, gives his report. Blackmail of the Double Agent Matsu Fujowa, unfortunately only ¥14,000,000 – all he had. Number Ten (A Frenchman); assassination of Pirange, the French Anti-matter specialist who defected to Russia. 3,000,000 Francs from the Quai d'Orsay. Englishman Number Five next – 'Our consultation for the British train robbery, £250,000.' * Number Eleven's turn now. Distribution of Red China narcotics in the USA, $2,300,000, collected by Number Nine and himself. The voice is unimpressed. Number Eleven blames competition from Latin America depressing prices, but the voice had anticipated this. Is Number Eleven quite sure all funds have been accounted for?. He says yes, but to the contrary Number One has satisfied himself one of the two is clearly guilty of embezzlement. Criminal!. As Number Eleven sweats, Number One states S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is a fraternity whose strength lies in the absolute integrity of it's members. Number Nine sits impassively as One continues; the identity of the transgressor is known. 



A click of a switch and Number Nine is electrocuted by his chair, a further button sending the smoking corpse descending into the floor, the somewhat charred chair reappearing empty of its grisly occupant. All the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. operatives seem nervous and unsettled by this – (Can't think why.) except Largo, Number Two remaining the model of calm.
*Not the first time the series used a contemporary crime; in Dr.No Goya's Portrait of the Duke of Wellington is pride of place in the villain's lair, stolen in 1961 from the National Gallery. The Great Train Robbery, as it is known, netted a gang of villains the equivalent of £49.1 Million when a Glasgow to London Royal Mail train was robbed in 1963.
We proceed to business arising; Number Two's N.A.T.O. project. Largo takes the floor. Intending to demand a ransom from the North Atlantic Treaty powers, of $280,000,000 or £100,000,000. Number Two has sent S.P.E.C.T.R.E agent Count Lippe to the South of England, where he's making the necessary preparations. He is at a Health clinic, conveniently near to a N.A.T.O. airbase...


Shrublands (In the book, located at Washington, Sussex, no more than a few miles from where I write.) is a stately home-cum Health Spa for the rich, the line of Rolls Royces incongruously ending in a rather familiar Aston Martin. Count Lippe enters the room where James Bond is having a massage from Patricia Fearing. Introduced, the two men shake hands, an avuncular Bond making light talk, until he spots the tattoo on Lippe's forearm, a red square with a spike through it. Catching Bond's interest, the Count covers the tattoo. We just get a glimpse of a gold ring with a black octopus design before he saunters off. After some chat about Bond's poker bruises, he goes off to a pay-phone to call Moneypenny and relay the details of Lippe's curious tattoo. Bond is sure it's a Tong sign; the Red Dragon from Macau. As no-one from Records is in, the request will have to be filed, which prompts Bond to threaten Moneypenny with a spanking. 'On yoghurt and lemon juice?, I can hardly wait.'


Lippe leaves with Patricia in a Ford Fairlane Skyliner and 007 decides to snoop around his room. Picking the lock, he goes around to a briefcase. Suddenly, a creak and the light beneath an adjoining door warns Bond of trouble, he hides behind the door as it opens. A curious figure in pyjamas, his face swathed in bandages stands there examining the room, until a telephone rings in his own room and he leaves. So does Bond, but not before helping himself to a cheeky grape from a bunch on the sideboard. As 007 relocks and leaves the room, the mummy watches him go.


Later, Bond arrives for his therapy with Patricia Fearing. He starts getting fruity and throws his arms around her, forcing a kiss onto her. (In 1965 this was probably acceptable, but to a modern audience it's cringeworthy.) Outraged, she puts him on a motorised traction table, known to some as 'The Rack'. James asks her about the man next door to Count Lippe. A Mr.Angelo, he is here with a private physician, recuperating from a bad car smash. Setting the contraption off, she leaves, promising to look in in fifteen minutes. Held in by the straps, Bond is pulled to and fro, settling in to the experience, the 'speedo' dial comfortably below the red level. He looks up to see the time on a clock*. Suddenly, Lippe's tattooed arm appears and ratchets the device up to maximum, the dial spinning into the red. 'Nice to have met you, Mister Bond.' 

Bond shouts, but to no avail, his body fighting to stop being torn apart. He fades out, only to come to with a horrified Patricia unstrapping him. She recommends a few minutes in the steam room, to relax him and to shrink him back to size. Bond gallantly uses this incident to blackmail the poor girl, who is scared of losing her job. He backs her into the steam room and we just get a glimpse of her clothes coming off...
*The very same spyhole clock from From Russia with Love and featured in Goldfinger.
Afterwards, Bond strolls into the massage suite to find Lippe sat in a 'Sitz Bath' steam cabinet. A broom-handle through the handles and a twist of the dial and Bond tells a livid Lippe not to worry; he'll tell the chef. That night, Bond makes love to Patricia Fearing, using a mink glove to make her purr.
Molly Peters plays Patricia Fearing.
Outside an Inn, a car arrives as a man telephones from the box outside. Inside, a stunning, full-breasted redhead is making love to a man. The girl is Fiona Volpe, answering the phone as Major Derval's secretary. The call is for a Mr. Angelo, but there is no-one here of that name. The Major, a well-spoken Italian, wonders if she could be more comfortable without her neglige√©. 
Luciana Paluzzi is Fiona Volpe.
The phone rings again; Major Derval's car is waiting. He must get to the airbase. Dressing hurriedly in his uniform, there comes a knock at the door. Kissing the girl goodbye, he opens the door... to himself!. Open mouthed, the Major sees an exact double of himself, in identical uniform, a device in his hand. Spraying Derval with a poisonous yellow gas, the double covers his own face with a handkerchief. Count Lippe arrives and they drag the corpse inside. The ambulance is waiting outside. Volpe takes Lippe's bag and hands Angelo – the duplicate Derval – a breathing device, a canister of lethal Gamma gas and an envelope. $100,000 is not enough he says; he wants more. Two years of his life have been spent studying films, reports, plastic surgery... make it a quarter of a million. Lippe draws a silenced pistol, but sensibly Fiona agrees to tell Number One of their new deal. Lippe lays down Derval's watch and dog-tags which Angelo takes. He leaves the others to put the late Derval into pyjamas and bandages.


At the air base, 'Major Derval's' car stops at the Guardhouse. The airman on duty checks the Major's id and salutes him in. In the briefing room, a senior officer runs through the details. A normal training sortie, the aircraft crew will be accompanied by a N.A.T.O. representative, Commandante Derval. At 45,000 feet, the Vulcan bomber will be armed with two atomic weapons, MOS type. The crew, along with the ersatz Derval climb the ladder up into the cockpit. Several of the mighty Delta-wing bombers taxi to the runway. 'Derval's' plane goes for take off, black smoke from the water injectors spraying behind as the sky is filled with the roar of the Rolls Royce Olympus engines. 
 
Amazingly, Bond is still working on Patricia with the mink glove – as the aircraft take off she complains about the noise. Bond goes to shut out the noise, spotting Lippe racing to the back of an ambulance as it pulls up. Dressing quickly, Bond gives her a kiss, remarking he's going out for some exercise. 'You must be joking!.' is her incredulous reply. Lippe and two stooges are bringing in Major Derval's body when the sight of Bond's shadow coming down the stairs alerts them and they stash the stretcher. Bond goes into the room where he was so nearly pulled apart, to find the body. Lippe is lurking, screwing a silencer onto his pistol as Bond unwraps the bandages to reveal the dead aviator. Going to the telephone, he spots a shadow outside. Suddenly he cracks the handset down onto the knife-hand as it thrusts towards him from outside, pulling the man through the glass and winding the phone cord around his neck for good measure. (The stuntman sustained an eye injury from the glass, but played dead until the take was over.) Casually, Bond elbows the fire alarm and the hallway fills with patients. A furious Fearing arrives and Bond takes her off for more exercise...


At altitude, the Vulcan sails through the ice-cold air above the clouds. The crew sets the warbird on auto-pilot and the Pilot invites the 'Commandante' up to the cockpit to change places with the Co-Pilot, to get a better view. The two change places in the claustrophobic flight deck, 'Derval' climbing up to the Co-Pilot's seat and buckling in. Casually, he pulls the canister of gas from his flightsuit, the Pilot too engrossed in flight plans to notice. He then changes over to the breathing device and screws the canister into the aircraft's oxygen supply, turning the control to release it into the other men's masks. In seconds, five men are dead. Murdered. Taking control, Angelo pulls out his own flight plan. Banking sharply to starboard, he takes her into a long, shallow dive, ignoring control's radio request for a position report.


Back at base, the Air Vice Marshal arrives, demanding to know what the flap is all about. Group Captain Dawson informs him that the training flight has broken contact. Radar can't scan below 300 feet and she may have gone down. The Vice Marshal orders a full search, inform the Admiralty; he'll contact Washington.


Sure enough, the Vulcan is cruising at low altitude above the waves, below radar cover. A yacht of unusal design, the Disco Volante sits in the water, awaiting rendezvous with the aircraft. Largo watches as the bomber roars overhead and around. Entering the bridge, he orders the underwater landing lights switched on. Angelo sees the twin rows of lights beneath the waves and brings the Vulcan down, dropping her tail-first onto the water. A risky manouvre, but the bomber settles on the surface in one piece. Angelo lowers the undercarriage and opens the bomb-bay doors as the big Delta-wing begins to sink to the sea floor, water flooding the cockpit and it's lone survivor, who continues to breathe through his supply. Largo and his men gear up for a dive, exiting through an underwater hatch. Following his instructions, Angelo jettisons the canopy and then finds his harness has jammed. Largo arrives and Angelo indicates his predicament. Largo nods, drawing his knife – and cuts Angelo's air hose, leaving him to drown next to the body of the Pilot he murdered.* He takes a box containing the arming devices for the bombs from the cockpit.
*As both pilot's seats on this aircraft have ejector seats, you wonder why he didn't try to eject – even if the weight of the column of water above risked breaking his neck, it might have given him a chance.

An unusually designed and large electrically-powered sled drops from the yacht's hatch, several divers hanging on as it approaches the Vulcan. Beneath the open bomb-bay, Largo looks up at the two ominous atomic bombs hanging there. Bringing the sled beneath the bay, the pilot is handed the vital case by Largo and the first bomb is winched down to rest in a shallow cradle on one side of the sled. The other goes into the cradle on the other side. Several swimmers use smaller tow sleds to draw a huge camouflage net over the bomber. No sooner has the large sled departed with the bombs than the Vulcan is concealed from view. Using hammers and pegs the divers secure the netting, departing as the first of the sharks begins to take an interest.


Aboard the Disco Volante, Vargas, Largo's right hand man barks orders in preparation to receive the sled. A rather oily little man in a cheap suit is aboard. This is Kutze, a Polish nuclear physicist working for Largo. His job is to oversee the handling and use of the atomic weapons. Kutze watches in excitement as Largo emerges with the fuse case. The physicist examines one of the devices, noting it is a new kind of safety fuse, before supervising loading of the bombs into purpose-built tubes.


The Volante is underway, slicing effortlessly through the Carribean seas when Largo gets a message from Paris. Number One on the scrambler. Largo – Number Two, reports; Phase Two is complete.
Back at S.P.E.C.T.R.E HQ, Number One advises his subordinate numbers that whilst Number Two has done well, Count Lippe's use of the mercurial Angelo has jeopardised the whole project. A message is to be sent to the Execution Branch.

At Shrublands, Lippe loiters as James Bond checks out, leaving a smitten Patricia behind. A flap at the office, he tells her. Just then, 'Mr.Angelo' is brought out – a heart attack in the night the official line. Bond takes to the road, his DB5 trailed by Lippe's Fairlane. Soon, on a deserted stretch of country road – any resemblance to Silverstone race track is purely intentional – Lippe pulls up and, rather hilariously, tries to pop Bond with a revolver. One of these cars is an old 'Yank-tank' and one is the most heavily-armed vehicle since Ben-Hur decided on those spiky wheel-hubs... Predictably, Bond flips open the control panel and is just wondering which switch to hit when a BSA Lightning thrums up from astern and fires it's fairing-mounted rockets, blowing the rear end off the Ford and sending Lippe to a fiery death. Bond watches as the powerful machine roars off. (Although his DB5 is actually faster.) The rider takes the Lightning to a quarry and – upsettingly – pushes it into the water, before removing her helmet. Her? - yes, it's Fiona Volpe. 

Secret Service Headquarters and Bond opens the door to Moneypenny's office, his attempt at hat-throwing antics derailed by her having moved the hat-stand by the door. He's late and to go to the Conference room. M's called in every Double-O man in Europe plus the Home Secretary. The Conference room itself is vast and opulent. 
A semi-circle of chairbacks face us, nine in total. The seventh is the only unoccupied seat. The hemisphere faces a table across the expanse of marble at the focal point of the room, above which an ornate chandelier the size of a liner's anchor hangs. Bond strolls in, to the evident irritation of 'M', who sits flanked by ministers and air force top brass. The Home Secretary stands and takes the floor; the tape they are about to hear was delivered to Ten Downing Street this morning. The voice of Number One comes over the speaker, tinny, hollow. 
 


'My Dear Prime Minister.
Two Atomic Bombs, numbers 456 and 457, which were aboard NATO flight 759, are now in the possession of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Unless within the next seven days your government pays to us £100,000,000 Sterling, in a manner to be designated by us, we shall destroy a major city in England or the United States of America. Please signal your acceptance of our terms by arranging for Big Ben to strike seven times at six pm tomorrow.'

M shuts off the recording for the Home Secretary to continue. The PM and the US President have spoken on the hotline and agree that, unless the bombs are recovered, payment will have to be made. There will be a press blackout and total secrecy. The Home Secretary then informs M his department is in charge of the operation. The Air Vice Marshal next; a flunky appears and at a pull of a rope, a massive tapestry rises to reveal a map of the area of operations. A circle radiates out from an initial point in the Atlantic West of Spain, with a radius of some 5214 odd miles, much of it sea. There have been no sightings, nor reports from any airfield large enough to take a Vulcan. Withdrawing, the Home Secretary and his man take their leave. 


A proper Bond moment now as the Double-O's are told to open the folders in front of them, 007 using his hand as a knife-edge to break the seal. M gives the codename for the job; Thunderball. There's little to go on, but as Bond leafs through his folder he comes across black and whites of Derval and same on a beach with a pretty girl. The back of the photo reveals it was taken in Nassau and names the late Francois and his sister Dominique. M wraps up the briefing by telling the section they will work with N.A.T.O., the C.I.A. and Allied intelligence units.
In M's office, Bond is told his assignment will be to Station 'C' in Canada. The Group Captain present will be his Air Force liason. Respectfully, Bond asks to be re-assigned to Nassau. He shows M the beach photo, adding he saw Derval last night and he was quite dead. The RAF man claims this is impossible, that he was seen boarding the Vulcan. Shrewdly, M trusts his man's judgement and grants his wish. 007 leaves for the usual banter with Moneypenny, who virtually accuses him of chasing a pretty girl. Was there ever a man more misunderstood?. He might be able to con the Old Man... cue M who asks a chastened Moneypenny not to refer to him as 'The Old Man.' 007 makes a hasty exit, but Moneypenny hands him the photo; how else will he recognise the girl?. He can't miss – she has two moles on her left thigh...

The glorious spectacle that is the marine world of the Bahamas. Exotic fish of every colour and shape fly through the warm waters in their respective shoals. Commuters of an undersea city. A pretty girl hitches a ride with a sea turtle, while James Bond dives down to the coral to observe. Dominique Derval is stunning, a beautiful graceful swimmer and Bond is clearly enjoying the surveillance. Suddenly, the dangers of the reef; her finned foot becomes trapped in a fissure and it's JB to the rescue. Freeing her, the pair fin to the surface where her boat waits. Introducing himself, Bond is met with amusement at his forwardness. As she climbs aboard Bond spots her moles and comments that he was right – couldn't miss. Waiting for Bond is Paula Caplan, a Secret Service girl. She's to tell London he's made contact and he simulates a fault with the motor, giving him an excuse to ask Dominique for a ride. Their boat leaves, watched from the shore by a man with binoculars.
Claudine Auger is Dominique Derval, known as'Domino'; her clothes are usually black or black and white.
Arriving at Coral Harbour, Miss Derval and Bond are shadowed by Binocular Man, himself followed by a man in a suit. By the pool, Dominique laughs off Bond's persistent questioning and he offers her some of his conch chowder. The tone darkens when she spots their tail, who she explains works for her Guardian. Just then, the Disco Volante pulls in sounding her horn. Dominique has to leave and Bond, under time pressure tries to get a meeting with her Guardian. She demurs, as with an offer of dinner. Carelessly, Bond uses her nickname; Domino. How does he know her friends call her Domino? - it's on the ankle bracelet she wears.

Dominique-So, what sharp little eyes you've got.
Bond-Wait till you get to my teeth.

Evening and the beautiful people are out for the night, James Bond among them. In black tie, he passes the throng of holidaymakers who dance and chatter gaily as he heads to the Casino. Exchanging £500 (The best part of £7,000 today), he heads for the Baccarat tables, as a shark is drawn to blood in the water. 
 At the table, Largo is playing, a nervous, but beautiful Domino beside him, Vargas at the seat opposite. Bond's call of 'Banco' energises the room and Domino only just prevents herself from saying something that might betray her. Bond wins and Largo comments that someone has to lose. Bond rejoins with a quip about a 'Spectre' at Largo's shoulder. Raising the stakes to £500 is too rich for some at the table and Bond takes the shoe. 

On learning the name, Largo recalls an 'associate' telling him about the Englishman. 007 pushes things a bit far with a 'Your Spectre against mine.' line and Largo menaces Bond with the old Mafia gesture of using forefinger and little finger as a spear.
Does the hex work?, as Bond calls a seven, Largo a six perhaps not. Largo continues and gets an eight – the Octopus ring prominent on his right hand. Of course, James Bond has nine. Domino reminds her Guardian he promised her a drink, at which Bond sees an opportunity, asking if he may buy the drink. Largo acquiesces and Bond passes the shoe. As the pair leave for that drink, they are watched by the man in the suit from earlier.
Crucial to any Connery Bond film, the Casino scene is authentic and full of tension beneath the surface.
Once more by the pool, Bond orders Beluga Caviar and a Dom Perignon '55. More questions; Domino tells him she met Largo on Capri. She found him attractive – then. He has a house on the island, but must they talk about him?. She'd much rather dance, as would Bond. Her brother?; he's in England, with the N.A.T.O. forces there. Largo joins Vargas, who has been watching the couple. Bond continues the gentle interrogation. How long are they staying in Nassau? - they leave the day after tomorrow. As Largo arrives, Bond compliments him on his niece's dancing. Generously, Largo offers lunch at his house, Palmyra. As he leads Domino back to the tender, Largo wants to know what was said. Once again, Beach-Suit man is behind Bond. Who is this guy?.


At his hotel, Bond asks for his room key and goes up, but rather than stop at 304, he walks along to 306, Paula's suite and quickly picks the lock. Finding no sign of her, he goes through the connecting doors to his own suite. At the telephone table, he opens a thick book to reveal a portable tape recorder whirring away quietly. Rewinding, he is able to clearly hear the door being unlocked and footsteps across to... the bathroom. Cautiously, 007 recovers his Walther PPK and silencer from their hiding place beneath a table and he saunters across to the bathroom screwing in the silencer.
Opening the door with a foot, he goes in, but a knock at the door – it's Mystery-Beach-Suit – stops him going any further. The man enters, but his 'Well, Hello Double-O S...' is cut off by a quick slug to the guts, with a 'Sssh' for afters. Back in the bathroom, Bond stands beside the shower curtain and turns on the hot water, scalding Largo's Binocular stooge who followed him on the beach earlier. 
Knocking the minion out, 007 retrieves his gun as an aggrieved Felix Leiter – of course, complains at his welcome. Who else, but the CIA wears a suit on a Caribbean beach?. Bond explains he was just about to say 'Double-O Seven', so had to wind him. Contemptuously, Bond throws the man out with an instruction to report back to his superiors. Leiter throws the man his empty pistol as Bond pours them a stiff drink.
Rik Van Nutter - yes, seriously, plays Felix Leiter.
Driving up to the armed guards at the gate of Palmyra, the goon unwisely asks to see Mr. Largo. The man himself is strolling around a shark-filled pool as the gatehouse rings up. Guess where this is going... The henchman, named as Quist is thrown into the pool for his failure.*
Finally, James and Felix have caught up with Paula, as well as Pinder, 'our man here.' Pinder leads the party to a marine store, down some stairs to where a radio operator sits playing solitaire as he monitors the airwaves. The Overseas Service of the BBC announces that, due to a mechanical fault, Big Ben did actually strike an extra chime at six pm.
Earl Cameron (Left) portrays Pinder and was the first choice to have played Quarrel in Dr.No.
A door opens to admit the irascible 'Q', who is as pleased to see Bond as Bond isn't pleased to see him. The Quartermaster issues Bond with a Geiger counter, disguised as a watch. Next is an underwater camera which takes eight rapid frames at a press of the button, in total darkness. Bond idly plays with a marine 'jetpack' device that has both a headlamp and a propellor, much to Q's irritation. A miniature Verey flare pistol is added to Bond's inventory, followed by a miniature breathing device which allows four minute's oxygen. This fits into a cigar tube. Q hands 007 a harmless radioactive pill, which can be used to track his location after swallowing. Afterwards, Leiter drives Bond around the Volante's lying-up area and they agree a rendezvous point for later.
*Longtime Bond Stuntman/Actor Bill Cummings plays Quist. For the shark pool stunt he demanded – and got a $450 bonus. (Over £2,300 in today's money.)

The next S.P.E.C.T.R.E tape is played in the Conference room. A container will be dropped off the Burmese coast, in the Megui peninsular. It will hold blue-white flawless diamonds of between 3 and 8 carats, to the value of not less than £100,000,000. on receipt, a radio message with the location of the atomic bombs will be sent. The Home Secretary orders a subordinate to get onto De Beers at once. Things look bleak, but then Moneypenny reminds M that 007 is onto something in Nassau... He's into something as well; a wetsuit. Pinder arrives with the news the yacht hasn't moved. The deadline is just fifty-five hours distant and Bond is going in.


Felix and Pinder row a rubber dinghy to the drop-off point and Bond goes over the side. Approaching the Disco Volante underwater, he rises up for an 'observe', before going in for the approach. Reaching the stern, he goes from prop for'ard, checking his geiger counter as he goes.
A colorized lobby card showing 007 checking his geiger counter as he surveys the hull of the Disco Volante.
The Hull survey is going well, until a clearance diver spots the intruder and aims his speargun. He misses Bond by inches and an alarm sounds on the bridge. Largo orders the underwater lights turned on as, below, the two divers fight for their lives, the S.P.E.C.T.R.E man drawing his dive knife. The yacht has underwater TV closed circuit, which shows the life and death struggle.
007 disarms the opposition, then cuts his air-hose with his own knife. Watching this, Largo orders grenades. 007 takes his snaps, watches himself by the invisible electric eye of the TV camera. Vargas drops the grenades into Bond's bubble trail, the first nearly deafening him. Another – and the concussion is unbearable, sending the spy reeling. Another salvo is followed by a speed boat, 007 making it to the catamaran agreed as rendezvous point with Felix. Spotting the diver, the boat rushes him, returning to find his scuba tanks and faceplate bobbing on the surface. Taking these, they return to tell Largo, presuming they hit Bond with their prop.


Very much un-hit, James Bond tosses his fins away on the beach and divests himself of wetsuit. He walks out onto the beach road the very second a pale blue Mustang screeches up, Fiona Volpe at the wheel. (Even by Bond standards a co-incidence too far, shurely?) He gives her a line about capsizing and swimming ashore. She tells him to buckle up as she puts her foot down, taking the Mustang past sixty. Exchanging names takes them up to ninety. Bond is clearly uncomfortable, but keeps his cool, noting the Octopus ring she wears. They must be all the rage this year. By now, she's driving like a demon and ignores Bond's quip about not wishing to be capsized twice in one night. She's pushing the Mustang past the ton now, it's a wonder the back projection can't keep up. Thankfully they arrive at their hotel – she's staying there too as it happens.
At Pinder's place, Bond develops the negatives from his recce. One shot clearly shows the underwater doors. Obviously, the whole operation was conducted underwater, so that's where Bond proposes to look for the Vulcan. Paula will drop the prints to him at the hotel when they've dried.


Next morning, Felix pilots a sea-float helicopter over the island. They discuss the radius of search; the United States Air Force covered a two hundred and fifty mile radius, but the Volante was only out six hours on the day, giving a radius of ninety. Bond sweeps the area with his binoculars, but agrees they need more fuel to continue the aerial search, passing by Palmyra on the way. Largo and Fiona indulge in some clay pigeon shooting, the former scornful of the obvious surveillance. She observes he wants Bond dead. Because he wants to make love to his woman?. No, because he is Bond and an enemy of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Pragmatically, the Execution Branch specialist observes that had Largo killed Bond last night, it would only have alerted his government. When the time is right, she will kill him.
Bond drives up to Palmyra, noting Fiona's Mustang parked in the driveway. He's shown in by a servant and finds Domino taking a swim in the pool. Largo appears and plays mein host, affecting not to know what Bond means by his comment about perhaps having another visitor. Largo swings around and, as if by accident the barrel of his skeet gun is pointing at Bond, who affects to notice it, taking it smoothly from Largo and commenting it looks more fitting for a woman.

Largo – 'Do you know much about guns, Meester Bond?.
Bond – 'No. I know a little about women.'
Largo introduces Vargas and Janni, another stooge and a waiter serves some Rum Collins. Bond checks his Geiger counter casually, but no indication of radiation. Oddly, Largo torments Vargas with the offer of a drink – but Vargas does not drink, does not smoke, does not make love. What do you do, Vargas? Asks Largo, cruelly before asking what Bond's passions are. He responds he's not really a passionate man, but his lingering glance at Domino in her swim suit tells a different story. She goes to change and Largo offers to show Bond around, starting with a few clay pigeons. 
007 is still pretending not to know a thing about firearms, but when his host calls one for him, he can't resist shooting from the hip and blasting both the clay and the illusion of incompetence. Largo is not fooled. Next comes the shark tank, Largo explaining that he collects big game fish for marine institutions. These are the notorious Golden Grotto sharks, savage and dangerous. The spy can't believe his luck next, when in a display of Largo largesse (Sorry) the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. man offers a tour of the Disco Volante. Inexplicably, meanwhile Domino has changed from a sexy and revealing one-piece to a bikini. Lunch is ready, but Largo has had a thought; as he will be busy this evening, perhaps Mr. Bond would be kind enough to take her to the Junkanoo, the local Mardi Gras.


The door to Paula Caplan's hotel suite opens and Fiona Volpe lets herself in, surprising Paula. She tells her Mr. Bond has a date with her too tonight. A knock at Bond's door and Paula excuses herself to answer, opening the door to Jannis and Vargas, who subdue her noisily. Clearly in charge, Volpe orders them to use the chloroform as she recovers 007's underwater prints.


Junkanoo!. Clad in their costumed finery, the revellers from the different societies dance to the rhythmic sounds of cow-bells, goat-skin drums and whistles. The themes this year vary from the United Nations to floats with Beauty Queens and everything in between. There's even what looks to be a Scottish-themed society – in honour of Mr.Connery?. On a balcony, Bond wonders where Largo is. Domino tells him not to worry as Leiter waves his jacket to get his attention. Going down, Bond is told Paula's disappeared and tells Felix to watch Domino. He goes to Pinder's place and prepares for a reconnaissance of Palmyra, Pinder having arranged a power-cut first with the Governor's office.


Dressed in black, 007 goes in under cover of night, stealing around the perimeter past the guards. One of the patrolling guards suddenly has his feet pulled from under him and is finished with a karate chop to the neck. Largo is dressing when Janni enters to inform him Paula isn't talking. Suddenly, the lights go out. Going outside, Largo asks a henchman if it's a power cut. It is – and all over the island. They will switch over to the emergency generator. Bond sneaks into a basement area through a hatchway, ducking aside as Kutze the Nuclear Specialist appears. Kutze goes past an illuminated fish tank to an electric door, which opens to reveal Vargas standing over Paula's body. He didn't kill her – she must have taken poison. A klaxon sounds and the two men rush outside. Bond takes a look at his colleague, his face falling then hardening with resolve as he leaves by the hatch. Largo's men fan out to find the intruder who attacked one of their number. Cleverly, 007 shoots one way then the other, sparking a brief, but lively firefight between the guards.
Jumping up to a low, sloping roof, Bond fumbles it and drops his PPK, which fires, giving his position away. Going over the roof like a cat, he drops down near the swimming pool. A stooge appears and attacks, the two combatants falling into the pool. Arriving on the scene, Largo stops a henchman unzipping the pair with his MP-40, throwing the switch for the electric pool covers instead. Trapped beneath, both men are surely doomed. Coldly, Largo gives the order for the tunnel hatch to be opened to let the sharks into this pool. Beneath the water, 007 draws an ankle knife and stabs the goon, who falls back to die, blood billowing out into the water. The hatch is drawn up and the sharks enter the connecting tunnel. Meanwhile, Bond has got his mini-breather in place and with only four minutes' air, has to find a way out – fast. Spotting the tiled hatch in the side of the pool, he opens it, just in time to admit the first diner, the Golden Grotto shark finning in towards the dead minion. Ducking past another shark, he enters the tunnel, even though more of the deadly creatures are on the way. He makes it to the shark pool, climbing out just as a shark makes a beeline for him.* Largo and his men stand over the closed shutters, convinced of Bond's demise.
*This was, apparently a dead shark towed by a thin cable.


Pinder drops Bond off at his hotel with the instruction to tell Leiter to stay with the girl and to tell him Paula's dead. In Bond's suite, he's surprised to see some luggage and hear the sound of water flowing in the bathroom. Fiona Volpe is taking a bath. She asks for something to put on, to be handed her shoes.
Brazenly, Bond sits to enjoy the show, but she outwits him by unfurling the towel over her hair to cover her modesty. She claims to have been moved to this room. Smiling like a Golden Grotto shark, Bond goes along with it. He spots the Octopus ring again and she diverts him by suggesting he gets out of those wet things. They make love, after which Bond is keen to get back to the Junkanoo. Volpe tells him the music will go on all night, enough to drive him wild. She's like a wild-cat herself, and Bond tells her she should be caged, before making love with her once more.
Also inexhaustible are the festivities, the Junkanoo in full swing. Dressed and groomed, Bond and Fiona prepare to attend, but as he opens the door the goons are waiting. Slamming the door, he turns to find Fiona is holding her own gun on him. Knowing the game's up, Bond opens the door to Vargas, Janni and another thug, Vargas pulling the Walther from Bond's shoulder holster.
There's a bit of interplay about her having the same ring as Largo and vanity. Bond declares what he did tonight was for 'King and Country'. She didn't think it gave him any pleasure?. Stung, she retaliates; she had forgotten his ego, James Bond, who only has to make love to a woman to make her repent and return to the side of virtue. But not her... she leads the way out to the front of the Hotel, Vargas and Janni following Bond, guns in pocket.
The festival continues, unabated. In a convoy of two cars, Bond is taken to Palmyra, but their passage is blocked by the lively procession. One of the goons phones ahead from a car-phone, while a friendly local offers some rum. Fiona lights up a cigarette and Bond seizes the chance for a fiery escape, setting the henchman in front of him on fire. As Bond bolts, he gets a bullet in the right calf. Pursued by Largo's men, Bond makes himself scarce among the revellers. Volpe takes charge, following his blood trail. (Somewhat bizarrely, a group is briefly visible wearing '007' head-dresses, while a dog ostentatiously raises a leg to urinate in the street just behind two of the henchmen.) By now, the pace of the chase and the frenetic atmosphere is becoming overwhelming. A wounded man cannot expect to outpace healthy pursuers – inevitably Bond must be caught. Spotting his chance, he slips into the back of a passing float, which baffles the opposition until Fiona spots his blood on the side of the float. 007 manages to slip away through the crowd, making for the relative safety of the 'Kiss-Kiss Club'.

A fire-walker goes through her routine as Bond enters the club, going to the Gents to bandage his left calf. He emerges to find himself surrounded by the unsmiling faces of Largo's men. Snatching a pretty girl from the bar under the pretence of her asking him for a dance, he takes her to the floor – in vain as Fiona Volpe cuts in. Deadly, but beautiful.
They talk the odds over as they dance, as the drummer* reaches a crescendo on his congas. Ever had a crescendo on the congas?... me neither. Just as Bond is refusing to be cowed, insisting he enjoys dancing, a gun-barrel rises from the curtain behind the band. Somewhat incredibly, Bond anticipates the impending shot, whirling his partner round for the shot to hit her mid-spine. Covering the bullet-wound with his hands, Bond dances Volpe's corpse over to a table and seats her with the line; 'Do you mind if my friend sits this one out?. She's just dead!.'
*This is the incomparable King Errisson, whose percussion has shaped the sound of artists as diverse as Barry White, Michael Jackson and Neil Diamond. And you've never heard of him.


In a Royal Air Force briefing room, a crew is getting their final instructions. They are to land at Aden to refuel and then proceed to the Megui archipelago to make the drop. The briefing is relayed on CCTV to the Secret Service Conference room on a big screen, watched by the assembled brass. In barely suppressed fury, M declares he hates the business. The Home Secretary prepares to leave, deriding 007 for not coming up with the goods. Hackles up, M defends his man, as befits an old sea-dog, but is cut down acidly. There's fourteen hours and fifty minutes before they have to pay.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch... Leiter flies the chopper with Bond spotting, their hopes seeming more wishful thinking than any real prospect of success. Island to island, reef to reef they scour the area, until they've covered every last outcrop of rock, every last patch of deserted water. Bond looks down on some sharks and Felix remarks there's nothing to be found here – this is the Golden Grotto. Hang on... James wants a closer look – and quick!. Through the binoculars he can just make out an indistinct... something, an area of darkness with an oddly un-natural line to it. Felix settles the chopper on it's floats and, using a glass-bottomed bucket, Bond sees he's hit the jackpot; the camouflage netting clearly visible beneath the water. Leiter shoots a shark to keep the others busy as Bond gears up to dive.
Finning powerfully down to the Vulcan, James Bond has to dodge curious sharks and the huge netting covering the stricken bomber. Cautiously, he examines the empty bomb-bay, seeing a hatch through to the crew compartment.* Going forwards to the cockpit, he finds the dead pilot and, still in the co-pilot's seat, Angelo, a ringer for Major Derval even in death. Taking his dog-tags and watch, he cuts his way through the netting and fins back up to the helicopter. The bombs are gone, but Bond knows who to ask, toying with the dog-tags thoughtfully.
*On the real bomber no such hatch exists.

Back in the underwater kingdom once more, Domino is enjoying the spectacle that is nature as she scuba-dives through the last place touched by mankind. Of course, James appears and the two swim together and embrace, descending behind a rock. Suddenly, a spray of bubbles betrays their underwater kiss as they remove their regulators.
Back on the beach Bond expresses his hope they didn't frighten the fish, but Domino steps on an urchin spine – poisonous and painful at the same time. Taking her ashore, Bond bites the spine out.
He's the only man to make her cry – except for her brother Francois when they were children. Bond must hurt her again, she thinks he means he's leaving, but he shows her her brother's effects and she realizes he is dead. He begins to tell her the details as Vargas comes up to spy on them. Bond needs her help and she's hurt at the thought that that's his only interest in her. Gripping her arm, he tells her Largo had Francois killed, that thousands – hundreds of thousands of people will die and very soon, unless she helps him.

Vargas prepares to shoot Bond, as he explains he needs to know the loading schedule for the bombs; when and where they will be loaded aboard the Disco Volante. Domino agrees to help and Bond shows her a geiger counter disguised as a camera. If it starts clicking, the bombs are aboard and she should go on deck. As the yacht will be under surveillance she'll be spotted. She spots Vargas and, smoothly, Bond shoots him with his spear-gun in a one-handed shot.

Bond - 'I think he got the point.'
Domino – 'It should have been Largo.'


James tells her to get back before she's missed, he'll take care of Vargas. Domino is only doing this for her brother. She gets James to promise he will kill Largo, whatever happens. He replies with a kiss. Handily, as she goes she remembers a convenient flight of concrete steps near Palmyra... which we then see Bond using to infiltrate Largo's place. The place is a hive of activity, S.P.E.C.T.R.E men rushing to prepare for something big. As they depart in a small truck, Bond goes over to find several wetsuits and SCUBA sets laid out ready for use. Taking out his radioactive tracker, he swallows it.


It is night. Aboard the Disco Volante, Kutze waits nervously as Domino comes aboard, the geiger-camera in her bag. Steeling her resolve, she goes to her fate. At the same moment, Largo and his divers assemble outside Palmyra, watched by 007 from cover. Attacking the last diver, Bond renders him unconscious and nonchalantly dons his gear. At Pinder's shop, Felix is beside himself; if the girl's been spotted aboard the yacht, where's 007?. Jumping in after the rest, that's where. Largo leads the dive team out to the Volante, the underwater hatch opening at their approach. With no choice, but to risk exposure, 007 comes aboard with the rest, making a show of removing his gear while going as slow as he can without being noticed. Largo orders 'Weigh anchor' and they set off towards the hiding place of the A-bombs. Once they pick them up, the target area; Miami!.


Reaching the spot, the bomb-sled and divers emerge from the hatch and, lighting a flare, Largo swims across to a large rock. Pushing at the stone, a cleverly-concealed hatch is revealed. Opening this exposes a wheel, which he turns to open two large hydraulically-operated doors, the sled entering to where the bombs sit on rails, filled with a silent menace somehow amplified by the eerie setting. Manouvering the sled around the team loads the bombs, the purpose-built rails-and-rams system making light of the heavy loads. Looking around, Largo suddenly notices Bond and signals his men to attack. Bond makes a break for it, but is cornered at the back of the cave, his pursuer trying to stab a magnesium flare at him. Largo's men complete the load and the sled screws spin up, taking the bombs out of there. Twisting around desperately, 007 manages to thrust the flare into his attacker's face, but turns to see the hydraulic doors closing, trapping him. Popping a flare, he retrieves his spear gun and takes a look around for a way out before his air runs out.


The Volante is underway and making good speed. In her cabin, Domino retrieves the geiger counter and presses the button; it begins clicking. Going to the gangway, the clicks become much faster – clearly the bombs are aboard. She's interrupted by the arrival of Largo, who reminds her she was not to leave her cabin. He spots the camera and makes a lunge for it, the casing breaking open to reveal the artifice. Throwing her onto her bed, Largo tells her there is no escape. Bond, however has found a way out from the watery confines of the cave, an aperture above leading to a grotto, a chimney of rock proving impossible to climb. Bond is trapped. Largo has Domino bound hand and foot; unless she tells how much Bond knows, he will cause her great pain. He menaces her with a cigar and a handful of ice-cubes – heat and cold, applied scientifically. Ripping at her top, he begins, but is interrupted by Kutze, with the news they are activating the bombs. Leaving Domino helpless, Largo tells her there is no-one to help her.
Disconsolately, James Bond sits beneath the chimney of rock, quite helpless for once. Felix Leiter, however, has not given up. From the cockpit of a US Coastguard search and rescue helicopter he directs the crew towards 007's radioactive homing device, using a small hand-held tracking device. From where he sits, Bond can hear the approaching aircraft, so he fires his mini-flare. Felix spots the signal and winches Bond up. Over the roar of the engines Bond tells Felix to get a signal to Orlando Beach; warn them the target is Miami. The bomb is being transferred from the yacht onto a wreck off Fowey Point. As he speaks, the sled brings its cargo of death ever closer to the US mainland, Largo's black-suited men in a tight phalanx, some using smaller electrically-powered sleds armed with double spear-guns. Aboard the Disco, Kutze comes on deck to see a stick of elite Navy frogmen parachuting from the back of a plane, highly visible in their orange wetsuits. The platoon splashes down, each man cutting away his canopy and readying his speargun for the impending assault.


Largo and his men see the incoming frogmen and battle is joined, the sleds firing their lethal barbs into the front rank of advancing Navy men. Two are mortally wounded in that first hail of steel, but the Navy men haven't come to die; they fire their own spears, killing at least two of the S.P.E.C.T.R.E team. A fatal exchange is played out in the gentle-light and quiet world beneath the sea, men killing and dying in the remoteness of their suits. Within seconds, the battle has become a confused melee, small groups struggling for survival. A sled fires, transfixing a Navy diver; Largo cuts a man's air hose. Above, the Coastguard helicopter hovers, Felix helping James gear up to join the fray, Q's bulky underwater 'jetpack' over the already bulky SCUBA tanks. Leiter wishes Bond good luck, getting a sharp look of disbelief in return. Bond jumps clear into the water.


The underwater propulsion unit propels 007 through the water like a torpedo, the bright fluorescent yellow marker dye streaming from it doubtless Q's idea of a recognition signal. With his arms against his sides for minimum drag, Bond hurtles towards the battle at frightening speed. By now, the fight has largely come down to knives, re-loading of spearguns impractical at such close quarters. Suddenly, Largo sees a fantastic sight; the hated British Spy James Bond flashing past, reaching down to snatch a villain's mask off as he whirs overhead. The action spreads out to where an old Landing-Craft, Tank barge sits forlornly on the bottom.
Bond sees an orange-suit struggling for dear life against two black-suits and goes in, cutting both their air-hoses, only to see a knife sticking into the Navy man's chest. A SP.E.C.T.R.E. man takes aim at 007 with his spear-gun, but Bond ducks and reaches back to the fire control on his aquatic-jetpack – an explosive bolt slamming into the goon, killing him instantly. Another Navy man is cornered by two Largo-men who aim their spear-guns at him. Spotting a heavy hull-plate hanging above them by a piece of rope, Bond fires again, the bolt blasting the plate free and taking both men out of the fight. Bond exchanges 'OK's with the grateful Navy man.
Inevitably, attention has shifted to the new arrival; a group of Largo-men chase after 007, who squeezes down through a hatch into the old barge. Divesting himself of his bulky tanks and jetpack, 007 goes over to the mini-breather, grabbing a small explosive charge from the pack. His gear sends a stream of bubbles erupting up from the hatch and the black-suits follow, gathering around 007's abandoned kit in confusion – while he ducks out through a porthole to toss in the charge from above. CHOOM! A solitary swim-fin floating up from the hatch tells it's own tale. A genuinely funny moment. Another Navy man is in trouble, losing his mask he takes a kicking; Bond returns the favour and then ambushes one of the sled-drivers as he passes, ripping the man's hose and leaving him to drown. A black-suit swims out from the barge, to be ambushed by one of the good guys, who flips him over using his own speargun as a lever, stabbing the weapon through his faceplate. Still the battle rages; Bond chopping at an arm to force a S.P.E.C.T.R.E diver to drop his knife, the odd view of exotic marine life, splendidly indifferent to the murder and mayhem all around.
Battle, like the sea, has tides. Imperceptibly at first, Largo's men begin to falter; a well-aimed spear hits a man's first stage, sending him up to the surface in an explosion of air bubbles. Another takes a barb through the arm. He rises to the surface in agony, a shark investigating the appetising taste in the water. 007 makes the difference to a dozen individual skirmishes; disarming here, ripping masks off there. The blood begins to form clouds and the sharks are circling as Largo despatches a man with his blade. Sharks... suddenly the inhabitants of land have a common enemy. One man fires his speargun, scoring a direct hit before the gills. Shockingly, the spear bounces off the thick skin, without causing as much as a scratch. Everywhere, men abandon their hostilities to fend off nature's greatest predators. One truly magnificent shark, bigger than the rest glides towards a duo, who seconds earlier had been mortal enemies. The S.P.E.C.T.R.E man fires his spear-gun at point-blank, the steel shaft lancing through the shark's body to send it swerving away sharply, as if merely stung.* Suddenly, Largo's men have had enough; surrounded by the Navy men, they surrender. The S.P.E.C.T.R.E. number two, however, fins off to the bomb-sled, followed by two of his men, 007 in pursuit.
*Frame by frame, you can see this poor creature is actually shot through. Animal welfare standards have changed, though and in the 1960's this would not have been seen as cruel.

Knife in hand, Largo waits for Bond, hatred in his one eye. Grabbing a dead man's spear-gun, Bond shoots one of the goons and closes for the kill with the man behind all this. After a tussle, Largo snatches the spy's mask off and Bond quickly replaces it with another from a fallen diver. Largo uses the seconds this buys to make his escape on a sled, while Bond calls in the Navy men to secure the bomb-sled with it's single deadly cargo. Using another of the sleds, 007 gives chase to the man whose plans he has thwarted.. The hatch beneath the Disco Volante closes before Bond can get inside, so he abandons the sled and swims over to what looks like a hydrofoil spar. It is a hydrofoil spar!. As Bond hangs on, the high speed propellor spins and the yacht begins to gain speed, pursued by a Royal Navy frigate and Coastguard*.
*The frigate you see on screen was HMS Rothesay, Pennant Number F107. During filming, Sean Connery and Claudine Auger came aboard to meet the crew, who, with typical British humour covered the '1' on her side with a large canvas '0' to make her '007'.
Emilio Largo is not finished yet; he orders the Captain to make smoke and a thick, black smoke-screen begins billowing from the stern. The first shells begin hitting, warning shots first, but the frigate is, of course, merely finding the range. Largo orders the Captain to stand by for conversion. Conversion?. 'Jettison cocoon!.' At this command, the Disco breaks into two halves, a fast, light hydrofoil and a gun-platform left behind to delay pursuit. The yacht rises on her planes as the thousand-plus horsepower powerplant opens her up. On the cocoon, the stay-behind party carries on firing, blasting away with heavy machine guns at the oncoming pursuit force. The frigate's shells are closer with each shot, however and some of the men go over the side just as she scores a direct hit, a great gout of flame and smoke signalling the end of these men's resistance. The next shell rips the gun-platform apart. By now, the forward section of the Disco is on-step, riding high at thirty knots. Eager to escape, Largo comments they still have one of the bombs on board. Kutze, however, has had enough of this madness, working to free Domino from her bondage. Rather feebly, the recreant urges her to put in a good word for him; along the lines of he was only doing what he had to. That old chestnut...


Bond is making his way up the top of one of the vanes (Watch for the conveniently-placed rope the stuntman is using to climb up with), as inside Kutze explains to a stunned and burned Domino that he threw the arming device into the sea. The bomb cannot be detonated without it. Bond opens the hatch up to the bridge, to see Largo at the wheel, with two crewmen and the Captain. 007 goes in, the Captain spotting the movement and drawing his revolver, which Bond kicks from his hand. A karate chop finishes him, but Bond gets a slug to the jaw from a crewman. Kicking him back, Bond grabs him and physically hurls him onto the captain, both tumbling down below decks. Largo turns to confront his nemesis, getting a vicious back-hander.

Bond uses a piece of dive gear as a golf-club on the crew before wrenching Largo away from the controls. Incongruously, a crewman is bringing up some champagne. Does S.P.E.C.T.R.E. celebrate defeat?. Bond snatches at the throttles, sending the yacht surging ahead and the drinks flying.
With no-one at the helm, the Disco careers wildly through the seas, only missing some rocks when Bond grabs for the wheel. He's got his hands full as the crew aren't finished yet. Leaving Largo for the moment, he lays into them, battering one with a hatch and butting him over the side. Largo is wrestling for control, frantically whipping the wheel around to miss a projection of coral by feet. You don't get to be Number Two for nothing; the Roman was a veteran of many fights. His over-sized fists slam into Bond again and again, each blow telling. Now its the Double-O man's turn at the wheel, until a crewman grabs him from behind, Largo's fists going to work on his jaw; left-right!. 007 twists to throw the goon over his shoulder into his boss, snapping the latter's head back with a vicious right. A chair ripped from its mounting makes a handy weapon with which to finish off the crewman. Inevitably, one spar clips a reef and the antagonists are thrown to the floor, Largo rising in triumph, the Captain's revolver in his hand. Bond can only watch his own death...


Largo's body contorts in mute agony as the spear Domino fired into his back ends his life. With some last, primeval effort of will, he turns to face his killer, before slumping across the wheel.

Domino – 'I'm glad I killed him.'
Bond – (In disbelief) 'You're glad?.'

Kutze comes up and Domino mentions his help. The rocks!; the Volante is headed straight for destruction. Largo's body has jammed the controls and Bond leads the two outside, ignoring Kutze's protests about never having learned to swim and handing him a life-belt before sending him over, following with Domino. James and Domino duck under to avoid the blast as the doomed yacht hits land, exploding into a million fragments, among which is whatever's left of an atomic bomb. Felix has arranged help for the two, in the shape of a Boeing B-17 with an unusual addition; a large mettalic 'V' extending from the nose. As she passes, the B-17 drops a package near the swimmers, which inflates to become a raft.
Once aboard, Bond sets to work, watched by a curious Domino as he snaps linkages together and inflates what turns out to be a balloon, rather like a small blimp or barrage balloon. Snapping the line from this to a harness beneath his wetsuit, Bond waits for the plane to return, wrapping his arm round Domino.

The B-17 executes a flawless run, the line from 007's balloon running between the forks and snapping into the 'sky anchor', the spring-loaded mechanism to secure it. As the line pays out, the pair are hoisted aloft into the air, flying behind the aircraft as the end credits roll...

The legal battles surrounding this film are legendary, Kevin McClory  secured the rights to the film and teamed up with Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzmann. The story was written by McCLory with Ian Fleming and Jack Whittingham, yet when Fleming published the book of the same name, there was no mention of either of his co-writers. They sued. The strain caused by all this is widely believed to have accelerated Fleming's early death and the outcome caused repercussions until McCLory's death in 2006. The film took over $140,000,000 - adjusted for inflation that made it the biggest Bond film until 2012's Skyfall. So, the biggest Bond?; yes, I think I can back that up. The film is iconic; Connery is still magnificent, although clearly he was tiring of the media intrusion at the time. The gadgets are unrivalled; the DB5 is back from Goldfinger and amongst various other gizmos Q-Branch have come up with the ultimate escape gimmick with the Bell-Textron Jet Belt. Original Director Terence Young returns, for the last time, John Barry's score stands the test of time and Tom Jones' belter of a theme - he fainted performing the final note - is ballsy, brassy and instantly recognisable. (Dionne Warwick had recorded a song called 'Mr.Kiss-Kiss Bang-Bang, but it was dropped in favour of Jones' number.) Ken Adams pulls his usual tricks with some memorable sets.

video
Above: The original trailer for Thunderball.

The film has it's problems; the underwater battle seems too long, too slow; water slows everything down and here Barry's normally pacey score doesn't help, the music making it seem even longer. The continuity throws up some shockers; Bond is shot in the right calf, only to bandage his left. The next day he dives without so much as a scratch on his leg. Dive masks change colour mid-scene and Domino steps on an egg-spine with her right foot - which Bond removes from her left. There is a lot of unsynchronised audio; actor's mouths move, but the words don't match. Further, a fair few shots are reversed, which isn't so obvious on first viewing, but oddly unsettling on repeated screenings.


Other goofs are less obvious, mentioned here only because of my oft-stated love of spotting them. When Bond hits Leiter in the stomach to stop him revealing he is 007, he then says '007' himself, right next to the man he was concealing his code-number from. The Secret Service conference room, though magnificent, features a floor-to-ceiling window overlooked by other buildings, hardly secure.
Rather wonderfully, during the Junkanoo scene, a dog stands in the middle of the road relieving itself; as if this wasn't bizarre enough, a group from 'Sidney Shoe Repairers' are seen dancing along with '007' headgear - presumably locals keen to get in on the act. Cameos include Dana Broccoli as a dancer at the Cafe Martinique, Henry Ford II and Kevin McCLory show up in the Casino scene. One piece of trivia that caught my eye was the origin of the name of Count Lippe; Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (Full name Bernhard von Lippe Biesterfeld) was a wartime friend of Ian Fleming. 
The Bell-Textron Jet Belt.
Bill Suitor pilots a jet-pack at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Production drawing of a dummy jet-pack to be used by Connery in the pre-title sequence.
The B-17G Flying Fortress featured in Thunderball. This plane was used by the CIA in Tawain to drop Agents into China, before being sold to various CIA-front companies such as Evergreen and Intermountain. Rigged with the Fulton Skyhook, she was a vital part of Project Coldfeet before gaining immortality as the aircraft rescuing Bond, before being converted for fire-fighting duties. She sits, restored to her original spec, in Evergreen's museum. For more on this wonderfully historic aircraft, visit https://evergreenmuseum.wordpress.com/

Above and Below; two CIA instruction cards for personnel using the Fulton STARS system.

Above; an illustration of the Thunderball aircraft, N809Z in her role recovering personnel during Project Coldfeet. This highly-classified mission was to recover intelligence from an abandoned Soviet ice station. For more on this incredible Cold-War mission, visit https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol38no5/html/v38i5a11p.htm

Robert Edison Fulton, Jnr. during a round the World expedition. Heir to what became the Greyhound Bus Company, Fulton's Father was President of Mack Trucks and friends with Thomas Edison, naming his son after the inventor. Among his inventions was a plane that converted to a car. His Fulton Surface To Air Recovery System (STARS) was developed for the CIA and the US Military.
Bond's Geiger Counter was a modified Breitling Top-Time. Found at a car boot sale in Britain for £25, the watch went for around £100,000 at Christies auction house, London. 
Sean Connery returns for his fourth outing as 007. The tattoos on his right forearm (Above) were usually covered with make-up. Although beginning to tire of the role, Connery's performance is magnificent. Although he was leaner in films such as Dr.No and From Russia With Love, he appears relaxed and confident in Thunderball. 



Adolfo Celi plays Emilio Largo, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Number Two

Luciana Paluzzi plays Fiona Volpe. Here sharing a moment with Celi.
Volpe is from the Execution Branch of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Here she poses with the BSA Lightning she uses to execute Counte Lippe.

Martine Beswick plays Paula Caplan. Beswick was one of the fighting Gypsy girls featured in From Russia With Love.
Claudine Auger is Dominique 'Domino' Derval. A Former Miss France winner, Auger is one of the most beautiful of the Bond women.
Beswick, Paluzzi and Auger on-set.

Above, Below; Promotional shots featuring Sean Connery with the Bond girls. Molly Peters appears in the Above shot.
The Pre-Title Scene; smoke is pumped from off-screen to give the carpenter's lifting rig credibility.
Sean Connery poses with the Bell-Textron Rocket Belt. The carpet at bottom is part of the rig.
Studio filming; the rear-projection washed out by the camera flash.

A cigarette between takes.


A shared moment with Claudine Auger.

An underwater moment...


Above and Below; filming the scene where Fiona Volpe seduces Bond...

...Or is it the other way round?.

A light-hearted moment on set.


A deleted scene in which Bond is shown aboard the Disco Volante.
Terence Young, whose mannerisms and suave style were copied by Connery to create the cinematic Bond.

Rehearsal; note the eye-patch.

Work, work, work.


Rigging for dive.

A rather intriguing shot of Connery with Lois Maxwell, for many the Miss Moneypenny




The tank at Pinewood doubles for the Caribbean.
Promoting the film; Auger and Connery go before the Press.

August 1965 and Connery greets the Press.
Luciana Paluzzi speaks to the BBC while Sean Connery looks on.

No privacy on-set. The Press were admitted to Pinewood to see the hotel set.


The Gala Charity booklet from the even on December 29th 1965.
Above, below; some of the posters.


(Above) an unused poster from Frank McCarthy. That this didn't make it as an 'official' poster defies belief.

Italian Lobby 'fotobusta' cards http://lobbycards.tumblr.com/bond






The merchandising included this Song Album...
And the paperback, which included a novelty; a letter from Domino to James Bond.
The first edition.
Connery goofs around with Lt.Col Charles J.Russhon. Russhon was a retired Air Force Colonel. The first man to photograph Hiroshima after the attack, he later became technical adviser to the Bond films.
Russhon worked on Bond films from From Russia With Love to Live and Let Die. His fondness for ice-cream gave his friend Milton Caniff the inspiration for his 'Charlie Vanilla' character.
Claire, Russhon's wife posing in the famous DB5.
So, why the 'Real Q'?. Russhon had links with special operations forces and used his contacts to obtain unheard-of access and favours. Filming at Fort Knox for Goldfinger was only possible through his influence*, as he was a friend of President Kennedy's Press Secretary, but it was his work on Thunderball that shines. The frogmen that parachute into the sea?; the USAF para-rescue team. The explosion when the Disco Volante crashes?; experimental rocket fuel supplied by a Russhon contact. Also, Colonel Russhon sourced the Bell-Textron Jet Belt and the Fulton Skyhook 'STARS' system and plane from the CIA. This alone would surely secure the title of 'Q', but Colonel Russhon also acted as location scout for Live and Let Die, as well as providing military liaison for You Only Live Twice. Lt.Col Charles J.Russhon died at home in New York in 1982. A fitting tribute is his cameo; here at far-right.
*Watch the scene; the 'Welcome to Fort Knox' sign gives him a namecheck.

Finally, I wish to dedicate this article to the memory of George Thomas Thornby, my Wife's late Father. A wonderful family man who served his country, George's favourite James Bond film was Thunderball.

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