Originally, I’d planned on a little Diana Rigg action this week, but the chosen film that once existed on YouTube now can only be viewed in some mis-framed abomination that I just will not allow on my #Bond_age_ broadcast network. Never fear, I’ve taken the opportunity to order a UK DVD of the movie and Diana will make her Ladies’ Night appearance at a later date. What this means for you more immediately is that Jill St. John got moved up to fill Emma Peel’s shoes. I realize that this is not a one-for-one swap, but I have faith that the film that we are scheduled to view this week will make up for the Jill St. John to Diana Rigg deficit.
Jill St. John’s most visible big screen role was of course Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever. But here are a few things about Jill St. John that you might not realize.
At age 11 in 1951, Jill St. John (born Jill Arlyn Oppenheim) appeared in two episodes of the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. She signed her first motion picture contract with Universal at 16 and made her big-screen debut in Summer Love (1958) starring opposite John Saxon. She received a 1964 Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Come Blow Your Horn (which also featured a guy named Frank Sinatra). She also appeared in the first two episodes of the Batman television series as the Riddler’s moll Molly and appeared in “The Yada Yada” episode of Seinfeld withhusband Robert Wagner.
Our Jill St. John movie of the week is the Rod Taylor-starring semi-sincere spy thriller The Liquidator (1965). Dropped in the middle of the spy-crazed 60’s, The Liquidator features a title-track sung by Shirley Bassey and a Lalo Schifrin score. Schifrin claimed to have consciously distanced himself from the Barry-style scoring done for the Bond films. Taylor plays Sergeant “Boysie” Oakes, an agent that literally “oopses” himself into the employ of the British secret service to eliminate leaks within the agency. Off the record, of course. Things go well until Jill St. John enters the picture (Isn’t that always the case? Get it? CASE? TIFFANY CASE?) and Oakes finds himself in over his head.
Join #Bond_age_ for the Ladies’ Night live tweet of THE LIQUIDATOR on July 19th @ 9pm ET. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag. An embed will appear on the Programming tab of this site.
Some time ago… our dearly beloved Pierce Brosnan turned 64. Because #Bond_age_ had a previously scheduled date with Deadlier Than the Male and we celebrated Roger Moore the following week, I made the executive decision to postpone the official birthday festivities until NOW.
With so many excellent Fluffy films from which to choose, the choice of film weighed heavily on my mind. Do we go with a lesser Fluffy film? Or a more recognized success? My first choice– The Matador (2005) remains a film that deserves broader appreciation. Brosnan deliberately plays against the Bond persona as a bedraggled and unpredictable contract killer that befriends a put-upon schlep (Greg Kinnear). The outcome is a low-key rambling character-driven comedy. But would it make a good live tweet? Comedies are often hard sells, especially in films that essentially make the wise-cracks for us.
So… now what?
So I moved on. What else did I have in my bag of Fluffy tricks? I was tempted by The Mirror Crack’d, an Agatha Christie film featuring a very youthful Brosnan in an uncredited role. Another time, perhaps. A bit part wasn’t sufficient enough celebration. I still want to do After the Sunset, but that’s really just not reflective of the mood I’m in.
I went back to Taffin. How could we recreat Taffin?I recalled I picked up the HBO film The Heist on DVD for just such an occasion. Fluffy plays Neil Skinner, an ex-con framed by his partner Ebbett (Tom Skerritt). His partner now runs security at a race track and in order to seek his revenge, Neil’s going to steal the track’s daily take right out from under his old partner’s nose. Before you go looking for the @007hertzrumble seal of approval, I can’t offer any. Because I haven’t seen it! We’re going in blind here people! For Fluffy!
Join #Bond_age_ on Wednesday, June 7th for the THE HEIST live tweet, starring Pierce Brosnan, Tom Skerritt, Wendy Hughes and a whole bunch of “those guys” you know from somewhere else. Show starts at 9pm ET. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag.
Mie Hama may not have had the longest acting career, but in her brief tenure as mid-60’s sex symbol she left an indelible mark on Western culture. Her role as Kissy Suzuki, Bond’s “bride” in 1967’s You Only Live Twice, earned her a spot in Playboy and the title “the Japanese Bridgette Bardot.” A few years later she walked out on her contract with Japanese production giant Toho. She would never appear in another Hollywood film.
After starring in more than 70 Japanese films for Toho, Ms. Hama remained a Japanese celebrity, becoming a television and radio host and advocate for old-world farming and farming techniques. She also went on to write 14 books on all manner of life.
To celebrate the life and work of the still radiant Mie Hama, let’s revisit the film that launched her international celebrity — 1962’s King Kong vs. Godzilla — because it was this film that led Lewis Gilbert to cast in her You Only Live Twice.
And since the film falls squarely into the wheelhouse of our friends over at the #DriveInMob, we’ve asked them along for the ride.
Join #Bond_age_ and the #DriveInMob for the live tweet of King Kong vs. Godzilla on Wednesday, May 31st at 9:00pm ET. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag.
Deadlier Than the Male resurrects the old Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond character for the 1960’s. The war veteran/sleuth/gentleman adventurer first appeared in the novel Bull-Dog Drummond in 1920, the creation of author H.C. McNeile. Bulldog Drummond has endured through page, stage, radio and screen. 1922 saw the first of 23 Bulldog Drummond films. At one point in 1933, even Alfred Hitchcock was set to direct a film in the series called Bulldog Drummond’s Baby — butwhen the British rights holders refused the sell the rights to screenwriter Charles Bennet for use in the film, Hitchcock went ahead with the script, but without the beloved character. That script became The Man Who Knew Too Much.
Played by Richard Johnson (The Haunting) in this resurrection, the retired war hero Bulldog Drummond now finds himself an insurance investigator hot on the tail of two femme fatales played by #Bond_age_ favorites Elke Sommer and Sylvia Koscina. Plus (bonus!), Bulldog’s American nephew tags along for the case.
The film’s title comes from the Rudyard Kipling poem “The Female of the Species” and also refers back to an earlier Drummond novel called The Female of the Species. As a blatant attempt to capitalize on the new Bond craze with an old, familiar character, Bulldog Drummond has clearly been cut from a more James Bond-like mold. Though, one could easily argue that Bond was first carved out of the Bulldog Drummond character. So it goes.
Released in 1967, we’re celebrating the film’s 50th anniversary by bringing Deadlier Than the Male back into the #Bond_age_ rotation. And giving you, the #Bond_age_ viewer, a chance to right the egregious wrongs of live tweets past.
Join #Bond_age_ for the live tweet of Deadlier Than the Male @ 9pmET on Wednesday, May 17th. Follow #Bond_age_ hashtag.