Director: Terence Young
Cast: Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, Rik Van Nutter, Martine Beswick, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn
Film matched beverage: Vodka Martini
Synopsis: SPECTRE succeeds in stealing two nuclear weapons, and demands a high ransom from the powers of the west if they do not wish them detonated. Bond follows a lead after identifying the pilot of the plane was already deceased before take off. He follows this lead to his sister in Nassau, Domino (Auger), who is the ward of eye-patch wearing Largo (Celi).
It is amazing that in a time when Bond films were being released once per year that the films remained of such high quality, It is a feat rarely achieved in modern cinema. Not only were all these films of high quality, but there were so many now iconic titles to feature. From Russia with Love and Goldfinger were deserving block busters, and Thunderball followed to make quite the satisfying trifecta. It is the highest earning Bond film to date, adjusting for inflation, and is recognisable by many imitations, including Never Say Never Again, Connery’s attempt to return to the 007 role in a non-Saltzman-Broccoli production. Others may recognise it better for providing a lot of the source material for Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
This instalment brings SPECTRE back to the centre of Bond’s world, with their most audacious, global threatening plan yet. So large is the threat that for the first time we see all 00 agents being given an assignment. It is of course Bond, however, whom is in a position to fit all the pieces together and to alter his assignment such that he is on the hottest lead. In saying that I mean both the lead likely to give results, as well as for him to be pursuing the hottest female in the cast for this film.
Part of the real fun in this film is how Bond circle’s his prey. This was seen briefly in the golf scene of Goldfinger, but in Thunderball he remains under cover a lot longer. Both Largo and Bond suspect each other the entire time, but an interesting game of cat and mouse develops between them. Another strength is the amazing underwater sequences, which remain strong today as great action sequences. This is one area where the Blu-Ray upgrade shines, with all this submariner activity very clear to watch on the screen.
Blu-Ray once again highlights something in the film that I believe the film makers never truly intended. Bond’s hair looks very different in this film, and at times the fact that he is wearing a piece is quite obvious. This is a minor criticism in what is otherwise a very high quality upgrade,and it is worth rewatching the film on the basis of that alone.
From opening brawl with a disguised widow to final battle in the cockpit of a moving speedboat, this continues the tradition of great Bond films Thunderball stands out with its two predecessors as the pinnacle of Connery’s era as Bond.
5 stars out of 5
Vodka Martini Recipe
About 1/10 vermouth
Shaken over ice and served with a single olive in a martini glass