'You Only Live Twice' revisited

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With 'Quantum of Solace' due to hit our screens soon, we take a daily look back at the 21 official Bond films. Day 5: ‘You Only Live Twice’

'You Only Live Twice' (1967, Lewis Gilbert)

Villain: Ernst Stavro BlofeldAt stake: WWIII brinksmanshipCandy: Mie Hama as Kissy SuzukiGizmo: Nifty mini-copter, ‘Little Nellie’Theme song:You Only Live Twice’ by Nancy SinatraQuote: 'The firepower inside my crater is enough to annihilate a small army…'Ninjas, piranhas, satellite-gobbling spaceships and the 6’3’’ son of an Edinburgh truck driver trying to convince the Tokyo underworld that he’s Japanese by pulling the corners of his eyes back with bits of Sellotape: it’s fair to say that the fifth Bond instalment was maybe a little more cartoony than anything that had gone before.Faking his own death in a bid to lend the film’s snappy title some resonance, James takes it to Tokyo to ascertain who or what is behind the disappearance of Russian and American spacecraft that has led the Superpowers to the brink of nuclear showdown.While taking in a little sumo wrestling, a ninja academy and some nail-biting aerial pyrotechnics in his gadget-du-jour, a lemon-yello mini-copter dubbed ‘Little Nellie’, James treads a fine but very enjoyable line between far-fetched and flat-out preposterous, before eventually tracking the base of operations for these dastardly deeds to a hollowed-out volcano on a remote Japanese island. Despite Sean Connery starting to look a little crinkly for this sort of carry-on and a surprisingly wooden turn from Donald Pleasance as Blofeld, Lewis Gilbert’s film is packed full of Bond goodness. John Barry’s score achieves new heights of swirling drama and production designer Ken Adam really cuts loose with a massive launch-pad set within the caldera of said volcano. This set, complete with its banks of fanciful technology, expendable and frantically rhubarbing henchmen and clock-ticking suspense, is one that has been lovingly pastiched in the likes of ‘Austin Powers’ and ‘The Simpsons’ and looking back at the original it's easy to see why it continues to inspire such reverent irreverence.
James Bond will return in… ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’

Read our original 'You Only Live Twice' review

Author: Adam Lee Davies



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