Bradford Dillman dies at 87

The Spy Command

Bradford Dillman in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Prince of Darkness Affair Part I

Bradford Dillman, a busy actor who often played villains, died this week at age 87, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Dillman’s career began in the 1950s. His work that decade included the 1959 film Compulsion, loosely based on the Leopold-Loeb murder case of the 1920s. He also appeared in movies such as The Way We Were, The Enforcer and Sudden Impact.

Dillman was kept busy on television. He was part of the informal group known as “the QM Players,” who frequently appeared on television shows produced by Quinn Martin.

For Dillman, that included multiple appearances on The FBI, Barnaby Jones (starting with that show’s pilot, as the man who kills Barnaby’s grown son) and Cannon. He also had appearances on short-lived QM shows such as Dan August and The Manhunter.

The actor was in…

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Official: It’s a compliment being compared to a 007 villain

The Spy Command

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose background includes the financial side of movies, said Sunday it’s a compliment being compared to a James Bond villain.

“I guess I should take that as a compliment that I look like a villain in a great, successful James Bond movie,” Mnuchin told host Chris Wallace in an interview today on Fox News Sunday.

Background: Last week, Mnuchin and his wife, actress Louise Linton, were looking at the first U.S. dollars printed with his signature.

They posed for a photograph distributed by The Associated Press. The photo went viral on social media with people making the comparison to 007 villains.

“What were you thinking?” Wallace asked Mnuchin today about the photo.

“I didn’t realize the pictures were public and going on the internet and viral,” the treasury secretary replied. “But people have the right to do that.”

Here’s…

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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

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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…”

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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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