Just saw this special Sean Connery commemorative Walther PPK. The engraving is really impressive.
Category Archives: Sean Connery
Directed by John Huston
Starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer, Saeed Jaffrey
When Sean Connery passed away in October, one of the things I heard a lot was “It really stinks you can’t get The Man Who Would Be King on Blu-Ray.” Well, technically you could, if you were willing to pay crazy collector prices for it. Luckily, Warner Archive is righting that wrong in January with a re-issue.
Connery, Michael Caine and director John Huston really knocked it out of the park with this one. Huston had been trying to make it for over 20 years, and both Connery and Caine said it was their favorite of their own films. It’s a near-perfect adventure movie and it holds up remarkably well — and the cinematography by Oswald Morris will look splendid on Blu-Ray. Highly, highly recommended.
Sir Thomas Sean Connery
(August 25, 1930 – October 31, 2020)
What does the world do when Sean Connery isn’t around? He has passed away at 90. There will be a lot about him being James Bond, and not near enough about what a brilliant actor he was.
All along there were signs of just how good he was. Ever see The Hill (1965)? He made it look like he was walking through those Bond movies — standing his own as the locations, the sets, the everything just got bigger and bigger. That must’ve been quite a task.
Oh, that’s You Only Live Twice (1967) up top. He’s so cool in that one, he hits a guy with a couch! And at the bottom, an IB Tech frame from Goldfinger (1964).
Directed by John Guillerman
Produced by Sy Weintrab
Screenplay by Bern Giler & John Guillerman
From a story by Les Crutchfield
Cinematography: Ted Scaife
Gordon Scott (Tarzan), Anthony Quayle (Slade), Sara Shane (Angie), Niall MacGinnis (Kruger), Sean Connery (O’Bannion), Al Mulock (Dino), Scilla Gabel (Toni)
Right off the bat, I have to admit I’m not much of a Tarzan fan. But Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure (1959) is a solid attempt to do something a little different with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ character. Some say the idea was to take the ape man back to Burroughs’ original intent — for one thing, Gordon Scott gets to speak in complete sentences. Whatever they were trying to do, they ended up with a tight, tough action picture — with Tarzan driven to take out some really nasty bad guys.
The previous Tarzan’s had been Johnny Weissmuller and Lex Barker, and by this time, Gordon Scott was no stranger to the role and seems quite comfortable. He’d only don the loin cloth one more time, in Tarzan The Magnificent (1960), before starring in a series of peplum pictures. By the way, Cheetah makes an appearance, but there’s no Jane.
A gang of crooks, lead by the heinous Slade (Anthony Quayle), massacre a village to get a stash of explosives — which they will use to access a diamond mine. Tarzan heads after them to set things right. Along the way, he encounters a lovely pilot named Angie (Sara Shane) who follows him along the river to the final encounter with Slade and his cohorts.
The real selling point for Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure has become the chance to see a pre-Dr. No Sean Connery. He’s one of Slade’s slimy bunch, and he’s perfectly sweaty and sinister. But this picture’s more than a curiosity or the answer to a trivia question. There’s plenty to recommend it. Along with what I’ve already mentioned, it was shot on location in Kenya, which gives it a certain edge. And Quayle is really terrific — a formidable foe for the Lord Of The Apes.
The location work is one of the picture’s real strengths, and something highlighted in the new Blu-Ray from Warner Archive. The color’s quite good, the framing is dead-on, and while the sharpness fluctuates from shot to shot at times (location vs. studio, perhaps?), on the whole it looks terrific. As a Bond-crazy kid, I watched this on local TV in the mid-70s — the 16mm print had turned so red, it looked like Tarzan was on Mars (where he did eventually travel to, didn’t he?). This Blu-Ray was a great way to rediscover a solid adventure picture. Recommended.
Q (Desmond Llewelyn): Now this one I’m particularly keen about. You see the gear lever here? Now, if you take the top off, you will find a little red button. Whatever you do, don’t touch it.
James Bond (Sean Connery): Yeah, why not?
Q: Because you’ll release this section of the roof, and engage and then fire the passenger ejector seat. Whish!
James Bond: Ejector seat? You’re joking!
Q: I never joke about my work, 007.
(March 6, 1920 – February 23, 2018)
Lewis Gilbert, who directed the underrated James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967), has passed away at 97. In a couple more weeks, we would’ve been 98. You Only Live Twice gets a lot of flack, but to me it’s a knockout — from the incredible sets by Ken Adam to one of John Barry’s best Bond scores to the fact that Sean Connery hits a guy with a sofa! It’s big, loud and a bit obnoxious, and I love it.
He also directed the hip and influential Michael Caine movie Alfie (1966). Then there’s the terrific Sink The Bismark! (1960), with Kenneth Moore, Dana Wynter, Michael Hordern and some outstanding model work — all in black and white CinemaScope. It’s just a great thing all-around.
(February 22, 1938 – November 6, 2017)
I love You Only Live Twice (1967). And I hated to see that Karin Dor, seen above with Sean Connery, had passed away.
Like so many of the Bond girls from the 60s, Ms. Dor appeared in a lot of other cool things. You’ll also find her in The Face Of Fu Manchu (1965) with Christopher Lee, Hitchcock’s Topaz (1969), and a number of German films co-starring Lex Barker — such as The Invisible Dr. Mabuse and The Treasure Of The Silver Lake (both 1962). From time to time, she even turns up in American TV shows like Ironside and The FBI.
It had been a while since I’d seen Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Sean Connery’s last entry in the “official” Bond series, and the followup to my favorite 007 movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), which starred the one-Bond-only George Lazenby.
Much of the picture was shot in and around Las Vegas, so for us in the States, it doesn’t have the exotic, globe-hopping angle the series tends to have. However, it offers a terrific Panavision and Technicolor look at Sin City in the early 70s. Many of the casinos you see in it are now gone.
Another slight disappointment is the absence of Bond’s Aston Martin (either the DB5 from Goldfinger or the DBS seen in OHMSS). He drives a red 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 instead.
Another vehicle is the prototype moon buggy Bond swipes from Willard Whyte’s place.
Connery practiced his golf swing on the moon simulation set. (Actually, judging from behind-the-scenes photos, it looks like he practiced everywhere.)
Connery’s co-star was the lovely Jill St. John. Here they are with an ice cream bar.
And between takes on the offshore oil rig.
Here are Bruce Glover (as Mr. Wint) and Putter Smith (as Mr. Kidd) on location in Amsterdam.
Lastly, dig this preliminary poster design from the great Robert McGinnis.
Diamonds Are Forever, in a way, hints at the tone of the Roger Moore Bonds that were to follow. Guy Hamilton, who directed this and Goldfiinger (1964), would do the first two Moore pictures, Live And Let Die (1973) and The Man With The Golden Gun (1974).
This is a movie blog, so we’ll pay tribute to those who fought on the beaches of Normandy via color stills from The Longest Day (1962, which is in glorious black and white CinemaScope), itself a tribute to the many sacrifices that helped push World War II toward its end.
Here’s the crew hard at work recreating the events of June 6, 1944.
Richard Burton (as Officer David Campbell) and Richard Beymer (as Private Dutch Schultz). Burton took time off from Cleopatra (1963) to shoot his scenes. Cleopatra was bleeding 20th Century-Fox dry at the time, which had a huge (negative) impact on Darryl Zanuck’s budget for The Longest Day.
Robert Mitchum as Brigadier General Norman Cota.
Richard Todd as Major John Howard. Todd’s voice is one of God’s great gifts to mankind — I would listen to him (or Richard Burton, for that matter) read the phone book.
John Wayne as Lt. Colonel Benjamin Vandervoort.
From the Army’s website: “The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.”
To quote John Wayne in an entirely different movie (John Ford’s She Wore A Yellow Ribbon): “Lest we forget.”
Directed by Cy Enfield
Starring Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom, Peggy Cummins, Patrick McGoohan, William Hartnell, Sean Connery, David McCallum
Cy Enfield’s Hell Drivers (1957) gets my vote as one of the all-time coolest movies to ever come out of the UK. It’s a hard-boiled story of corruption in the shipping business, with Stanley Baker and other blazing through the British countryside in some really bitchin’ trucks — all in gorgeous B&W VistaVision. Of course, Baker and Enfield would get together again to do Zulu (1964).
This is a terrific action movie. And it’s coming to Blu-Ray from the British label Network Releasing on February 20 with a slew of extras. If you find out if this is Region Free, please let me know! Highly, highly recommended.
Oh, what’s The Heart Within?