Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Thunderball (1965)

And now we hit my favorite Bond so far.  I love this movie.  LOVE.  I love just about everything about it, from the plot to the actors to the music to the locations.  This movie hits all the right notes for me.

This movie stays focused for me.  We find out from the beginning what the bad guys intend, and it sticks with that straight through.  I love Largo as our main bad guy, as played by Adolfo Celi.  He’s much more menacing than the villains who came before, and he’s got the right elegant charm too.  He’s got everything a proper Bond villain needs – good henchmen, a lovely expensive place, a fantastic yacht, an “unusual” way to get rid of people (dump them in the shark pool!), a solid plan, and he’s willing to get his hands dirty.  His main henchman, Vargas (played by Philip Locke), always reminds me of a skinnier version of Robert J. Wilke.

Luciana Paluzzi as Fiona is my favorite bad Bond girl.  She’s beautiful, she’s tough, she’s smart.  She is, in many ways, the female equivalent of Bond.  She uses whatever means necessary to do her job, and she does her job well.  And she neither turns on her boss nor aids Bond.  I had the privilege of meeting Ms. Paluzzi a couple years ago, and we got to chat.  I have a signed picture of her as Fiona that I treasure.

At the same time, Domino (Claudine Auger) is also one of my favorite good Bond girls.  She’s smart, pretty, and has her own inner strength, and she’s the one who ends up taking out Largo at the end.

I also love Bond’s helper, Paula, who takes her own life rather than betray Bond.

And then there’s Felix.  Even my own family shakes their collective heads at me, but I adore this Felix, played by Rik Nutter.  He’s my favorite of them all.  I can’t exactly tell you why, either.  Maybe cuz he’s the best-looking of the Felixes (my opinion only).  Maybe it's the prematurely grey hair.  Maybe because he can fly a helicopter.  Maybe it’s just the Hawaiian shirts.  I have no idea, I just know he makes me smile, and I think I have always had a bit of a crush on him.  (My sister swears my love of Hawaiian shirts on guys came from this movie, LOL!)

I have never thought of this as a particularly humorous Bond film, but this re-watch made me realize just how many funny lines there are in it.  I don’t think I quite realized it before, but that is also one of the things that draws me so much to this film.  The humor.

Favorite parts:  Bond having lunch with Largo at Palmyra.  I am a sucker for scenes where the hero and villain meet and still behave honorably and like gentlemen even though they know they’re going to try to kill each other the next chance they get.  Cranky Q (in a Hawaiian shirt!  Have I mentioned I love Hawaiian shirts?).  Any scene underwater.  Any scene with Fiona.  Any scene with Felix.  Bond’s jet pack.  The crazy ending where the plane yanks them into the air (and Bond manages to hold on to Domino somehow... right, but I love it anyway).

Really, there isn't anything I dislike about this film.  This is a darn near perfect James Bond film for me.

Music:  love it
Theme song:  one of my favorites
Credit sequence:  love it
Bond girls:  love them
Bad guys:  love them
Overall personal rating:  5 out of 5 stars


  1. Agree with your assessment (though From Russia with Love is still my favorite Connery Bond movie!).

    Here is the thing that I felt was missing from Skyfall - we never see the villain's POV, y'know? There is really no scene that shows us his evil plot and what sinister plan he has in mind like in every other Bond film. That's why Skyfall felt incomplete for me. Great movie, don't get me wrong, but I really missed the whole villain stuff.

    1. Interesting! I actually didn't miss the villain's POV at all in Skyfall because it wasn't that kind of film. There's no grand plan or evil plot in this one. It's just a personal vendetta. Kind of like License to Kill, but in reverse. I think seeing Silva elsewhere actually would have detracted from the movie, as this movie plays a bit like a mystery, and he needs to be kept out of the view until the right time. I think it makes him more compelling.

  2. Interesting. This is my least favorite of the 4 so far. I do love the shark pool, though!

    1. Hee! I've noticed that we do tend to like opposite Bond stuff, with some overlap in the middle. But this is why I love James Bond so much. There is so much diversity in the films, and since we all want something different out of our films and Bonds, there's something for everyone.

  3. I remember the sharks. That's all I remember from this movie, and I know I've seen it at least twice! Off to the library website yet again! (Why yes, I'm commenting on all your Bond posts at the same time because I got really behind on them when I mysteriously wasn't "following" you anymore for like two months.)