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Some thoughts about Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049

The Spy Command

Blade Runner 2049 poster

A lot of James Bond fans really, really want Denis Villeneuve to direct Bond 25. Also, The Guardian ran a story this week practically begging the guy to helm Bond 25.

The blog decided to check out Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve’s newest effort. So here are some general reactions.

The film looks gorgeous. The movie has one memorable image after another. It was photographed by Roger Deakins, who performed the same job on Skyfall.

The pace is a bit slow. Consider this the anti-Bourne, anti-Quantum of Solace, the anti-John Wick.

That, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing. In a way it’s reassuring to see a movie that doesn’t travel at a frenetic pace.

However, at times, Blade Runner 2049 seems to linger for a long time on its imagery. Then, after awhile, the movie remembers it needs to move the story along. So…

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For Your Eyes Only script: M goes undercover

The Spy Command

Roger Moore in a 1980s publicity still

Screenwriter Richard Maibaum returned to the 007 fold with For Your Eyes Only. He hadn’t been involved with Moonraker, which took James Bond into outer space.

For the 12th James Bond film, he was paired with Michael G. Wilson, stepson of Eon Productions founder Albert R. Broccoli. Their intent was for a more-grounded outing. Roger Moore returned as Bond but things would be much different.

An Aug. 12, 1980 draft, late in the scripting process, is very similar to the final film viewed by audiences in the summer of 1981. But there are notable differences.

Among them: M, who had been played by Bernard Lee in the 11 previous films, was still present. M shares some scenes with Bill Tanner, the chief of staff.

M also goes undercover briefly. It is the MI6 chief who dresses as a Greek priest and meets Bond…

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Caveat Emptor: Tabloid says Craig may do 2 more 007 films

The Spy Command

Skyfall’s poster image

Rupert Murdoch’s Sun tabloid, for the second time in 24 hours, has published a 007 film story, this one saying that Daniel Craig, 49, may sign for not one, but two, additional Bond outings.

Here’s an excerpt:

Producer BARBARA BROCCOLI has been spearheading negotiations with the actor, which will take him up to a total of six films as the world’s most famous secret agent.

While work is scheduled to begin on the 25th film next year, discussions are centring on a possible remake of 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service for Daniel’s subsequent final movie.

A Bond insider said: “There was plenty of talk about who would be the next Bond but Barbara has managed to talk Daniel into two more films.

The thing is, Broccoli and Eon Productions flirted with infusing elements of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service into 2015’s SPECTRE.

A SPECTRE draft script…

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Bond 25: ‘Mind you, all of this is pure guesswork…”

The Spy Command

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Alert: What follows is just for fun. The blog wanted to make that clear following last weekend’s fiasco in The Mirror.

So, Bond 25 has some momentum following last week’s announcement of a 2019 release date.

That announcement left a number of issues unresolved. Channeling M in You Only Live Twice (“Mind you, all of this is pure guesswork, but the PM wants us to play it with everything we’ve got.”), here’s a quick look with more than a little guesswork.

Status of the story: The release date announcement also said Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were working on Bond 25’s story. That confirmed a March story by Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail. Thus, that story now becomes “news that hadn’t been announced yet” from the rumor category.

But how far along are Purvis and Wade? It depends on how…

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Best film noir

Humanizing The Vacuum

Should I even write a preface? This genre that flourished just after World War II accepted the city as a dangerous but beautiful place, demanded that women play on the same field as men so long as they were dangerous, and boasted some of the most sumptuous photography in film. I place John Huston’s first because it’s one of few formative movie experiences that hold up. Ah, the falcon…

1. The Maltese Falcon, dir. John Huston
2. Laura, dir. Otto Preminger
3. Out of the Past, dir. Jacques Tourneur
4. The Big Heat, dir. Fritz Lang
5. They Live by Night, dir. Nicholas Ray
6. Double Indemnity, dir. Billy Wilder
7. Chinatown, dir. Roman Polanski
8. The Third Man, dir. Carol Reed
9. The Long Goodbye, dir. Robert Altman
10. The Late Show, dir. Robert Benton
11. Touch of Evil, dir. Orson Welles
12. Fallen Angel, dir. Otto Preminger
13…

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Remembering that 1989-95 007 hiatus

The Spy Command

GoldenEye’s poster

Our post the other day about the anniversary of Licence to Kill’s release got the blog to thinking about what followed: The six-year hiatus in James Bond film production.

Like the earlier post, this is more of a personal take on the events.

The thing is, in those pre-internet days, the news was much slower in getting around. During much of this period, I saw a number of items in The Wall Street Journal. I had a subscription at the time.

Also, the extent of what was going on wasn’t immediately evident.

There were reports in the trade press that director John Glen and screenwriter Richard Maibaum wouldn’t be returning to the series. This was the first indication (at least to me) that a big makeover, rather than minor tweaks, was in store.

There were occasional stories about potential new directors and screenwriters. Things got more serious when…

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1967: Spy TV star debates a conservative icon

The Spy Command

Robert Vaughn, right, with Richardo Montalban in the first-season Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode, The Dove Affair

July 8 is the 50th anniversary of when Robert Vaughn, the star of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., debated William F. Buckley Jr. about the Vietnam war on the program Firing Line.

Buckley, the founder and publisher of National Review, took on debate partners over more than 30 years on Firing Line.

Firing Line’s format was polite but intense. In 1967, the Vietnam War was raging and it was an intense time.

Vaughn was one of the most prominent actors who opposed the war.

Vaughn, decades later, in an interview for the Archive of American Television, described his preparation for the debate.

The actor said he “spent a month in a monastery reading everything Buckley had ever written in his life, including term papers at Yale. So I walked in as the young challenger against…

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