Thunderball-DI
1965 Running time: 125 Certificate: pg Rating: 4
Thunderball-KA

Synopsis

Sean Connery dons James Bond's Walther PPK-concealing tuxedo for the fourth time. This time he travels to the Bahamas in search of a Vulcan bomber carrying two nuclear bombs with which SPECTRE mainman Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) plans to hold the world to ransom. French actress Claudine Augur was the wet-suited eye candy while Celi excelled as mafiosa turned global extortionist. Sharks in a swimming pool, submarine scuba rucks and the suave superspy, it was (extremely good) business as usual.

Director

  • Terence Young

Cast

  • Sean Connery

  • Adolfo Celi

  • Claudine Auger

  • Bernard Lee

  • Luciana Paluzzi

Review

Following a legally-contested plot that would be regurgitated in the dire unofficial Bond outing Never Say Never Again, this had the unenviable task of following Goldfinger.

Would 007 still have the Midas touch?
Well, yes. The "underwater one" earned a total of $141m worldwide, exceeding the earnings of the three previous Bond outings put together.
This takes Bond from a French funeral (where he thumps the grieving widow...who turns out to be SPECTRE assassin) to the Bahamas and the island lair of Emilio Largo (Celi).
We already know how ruthless the eye-patch wearing SPECTRE number two is - he casually sliced the air pipe of a greedy henchman while retrieving two nuclear warheads from a stolen Vulcan bomber on the sea bed.
Bond secures an introduction to the former Sicilian mobster through Domino (Auger), Largo's mistress and the sister of NATO pilot François Derval who was murdered during the hijack of the Vulcan.
While playing a psychological cat-and-mouse game with Largo, Bond learns about the whereabouts of the bomber...and Largo's plans to detonate a device in Miami beach unless a multi-million pound ransom is paid.
Weighing in at well over two hours, this was a Bond marathon...but one of the finest in the series thanks to the expertly-shot underwater sequences (shot at low tide to avoid Bahamanian sharks), Luciana Paluzzi's splendid femme fatale Fiona Volpe and Largo's Sicilian psychopath.
Director Terence Young - returning after helming the first two Bond outings - kept a lid on the gadgets, including the water-cannon-firing Aston Martin, even if the jetpack was moving into Dan Dare territory.
Augur - who was chosen ahead of Julie Christie, Raquel Welch and Faye Dunaway - was a memorable Bond girl although Connery appeared to have left the more gentlemanly characteristics of his earlier 007 incarnations behind.
Today some of the action sequences would have been trimmed Bourne-style, but there was a rampant imagination working here, particularly when Bond is trapped in swimming pool with just "jaws" for company. And not the lumbering killer of the Moore era.
For all its flaws, it was classic Bond. And remains so.
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