When American and Russian spacecraft are hijacked from
Earth orbit, the threat of war looms between the superpowers.
James Bond must travel to Japan, where he confronts his old
was the first Bond movie to radically depart from the plot
of the Ian Fleming novel on which it was based. Only the Japanese
setting and certain character names, such as Kissy Suzuki
(Mie Hama), "Tiger" Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba) and Henderson (Charles
Gray) were retained from the Fleming original. Blofeld's "garden
of death" is replaced by a more far-flung conception, befitting
the 1960s' obsession with the US/USSR space race.
film also has the distinction of featuring the first direct
confrontation between Bond and the SPECTRE leader Ernst Stavro
Blofeld, a villain whose face had remained hidden during the
previous movies. Here Blofeld is played with inimitable menace
by Donald Pleasence.
Only Live Twice is also justly famous for Ken Adam's spectacular
set design for SPECTRE's volcano headquarters. This, together
with Pleasence's scarred and bald-headed version of Blofeld,
provided Mike Myers with a great deal of source material for
his Austin Powers movies!
other elements let this film down upon repeat viewing, however.
For instance, when Bond's love interest Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi)
is murdered, he recovers from his grief with alarming rapidity,
and is ready to get it on with the next girl within a few
short minutes of screen time! And
how exactly does Bond's Japanese disguise fall by the wayside?
When he sets sail with Kissy, he appears Oriental, but when
he descends into the volcano, he has become a Caucasian once
again. Oh well, I guess we shouldn't worry too much about
the plot, but instead sit back and enjoy visual treats such
as the aerial battle between SPECTRE helicopters and 007's
autogyro Little Nellie - the storyboards for which are included
among the DVD's special features.
extras also provide, among other revelations, a glimpse of
the man who almost played Blofeld before Pleasence took over
the role at short notice.
photo department have done it again, by the way. Another picture
of Connery from Never Say Never Again appears within
the "making of" booklet. Whoops! Still, I'm sure we can live