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You Only Live Twice

Entry updated 19 May 2021. Tagged: Film.

Film (1967). Eon/United Artists. Directed by Lewis Gilbert. Written by Roald Dahl, based very loosely on You Only Live Twice (1964) by Ian Fleming. Cast includes Sean Connery, Mie Hama, Donald Pleasence, Tetsuro Tamba and Akiko Wakabayashi. 116 minutes. Colour.

Several of Fleming's James Bond novels were Technothrillers, mildly sf-oriented (though set in the present) and sometimes featuring Scientist Villains and super-Weapons. Most of the very popular and long-lasting series of spin-off movies have emphasized – although less so, perhaps, in the mid-1980s – the sf gadgetry, and have often provided at least one major futuristic set: these include Dr No (1962), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Never Say Never Again (1983) and A View to a Kill (1985) as well as the spoof Casino Royale (1967). Along with Moonraker (1979), You Only Live Twice contains the most sf hardware of those listed above. A US satellite is swallowed up by a mystery craft in outer space. The super-criminal organization SPECTRE has constructed a secret Rocket base inside a Japanese volcano from which it launches its bizarre vehicle to capture both US and Russian spacecraft, in an attempt to provoke a war between the two nations. James Bond (Connery), with the help of Japanese secret agents, foils SPECTRE's plans. Despite the spectacular sets – which upstage the humans, even the always-efficient Connery – and vast budget, there are longueurs in pacing and lapses in the special effects. [JB/PN]

see also: Cinema.


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