On June 12th, 1967, You Only Live Twice premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square in London. James Bond had reached a cultural apex with Thunderball — and in fact, Thunderball remained the biggest Bond moneymaker until Skyfall rolled up in 2012. Queen Elizabeth II attended the premiere, her first. James Bond had become omnipresent. According to the genre lists at flickchart.com, 1966 and 1967 together witnessed the release of more than 60 non-James Bond spy films. Quite simply no one was bigger in 1967 than 007.
Critics largely praised the scope and scale of the film, but many were left nonplussed by the increasing importance of the gadgets and nonsense finale. Roger Ebert said You Only Live Twice failed “to work its magic.” The film continues to cause a schism among fans. IGN ranked YOLT as the 4th best. Entertainment Weekly, the 2nd best. The proprietor of this here #Bond_age_ project (that would be me) just yesterday on Twitter called it “creatively bankrupt.” (Yes. I just cited myself, goddammit.)
But none of that matters. In the realm of #Bond_age_, we bring our snark and reverence and sincere enjoyment of James Bond. And in the live tweet arena, few James Bond films provide greater opportunity for both snark and reverence than You Only Live Twice.
As much as I love to hate You Only Live Twice, I love to love the You Only Live Twice Live Tweet.
Join #Bond_age_ on Wednesday, June 14th @ 9pm ET for the You Only Live Twice 50th Anniversary Live Tweet extravaganza.
Love erupts and cultures clash in this hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy about two boys and two girls lost in the Orient. Sean Connery is James, a dashing mild-mannered British importer/exporter who meets cute as a button Japanese tourist Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama), and embarks on a whiz bang romance. Now, on their way to meet Kissy’s large family back home in Japan, the pair is accompanied by James’ bumbling ugly ducking Oxford pal Ernst (Donald Pleasance) and Kissy’s traveling companion Aki. Can the quartet find happiness? Will James and Kissy tie the knot? And what’s the true story behind Ernst’s scar? The only certainty in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE is soy-flavored fun!
You Only Live Twice Opening Remixed w/ Pizzicato Five
This is the fifth essay in a 23-part series about the James Bond cinemas. I encourage everyone to comment and join in on an extended conversation about not only the films themselves, but cinematic trends, political and other external influences on the series’ tone and direction.
Of [In]human #Bond_age_ #5: Solving the Murder of You Only Live Twice
by James David Patrick
Though one could potentially argue this point, the first four James Bond films were legitimate attempts to translate Ian Fleming’s character to the big screen. Though Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball embellished the more winsome characteristics of 007, they ultimately remained largely free from the old “nudge nudge wink wink.”
The fifth James Bond film, You Only Live Twice, however, represents a significant shift toward not only silliness but self-parody. How did this happen at the peak of James Bond’s global popularity? Why did EON change the formula? Was the shift even intentional? These questions lingered weeks after watching this polarizing Bond adventure. I decided to do some digging and along with the help of some irresponsible conjecture I feel like I’ve solved the murder case nobody knew they wanted cracked: who murdered James Bond’s You Only Live Twice? First a round up of the usual suspects:
(I never thought I’d get to combine Clue and Casablanca references in the same breath.) (more…)