Of all the films starring Connery as Bond, Thunderball is the one I’ve probably watched the least. Not that there’s anything wrong with the movie (but let’s face it, Goldfinger is a tough act for any film to follow). This was the fourth Bond film made in as many years, and by this time it was really beginning to wear on the star. That’s partially why the next film, You Only Live Twice, didn’t come out until 1967. This is also the only Bond film (to date) that has a later remake). In 1983, an independent production company released a remake entitled Never say Never Again, also starring Sean Connery (this was allowed because at the time the rights to Thunderball belonged to writer Kevin McClory (long story)). I highly recommend watching the original first.
Property of Eon Productions
Thunderball very nearly featured a different opening song. Originally, Shirley Bassey (of Goldfinger fame) was brought in to record a song entitled “Mr. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.” At the last minute however, the producers became nervous that the audience wouldn’t accept a song that didn’t contain the film’s title. So Bassey’s version was shelved and a new song, “Thunderball” was written at the eleventh hour and recorded by Tom Jones (born 1940).
A generous portion of the film takes place underwater (in fact the climax begins as an underwater fight between scuba divers with spear guns, no kidding!) Knowing this, the title sequence takes place in an underwater setting, featuring divers (with spear guns, foreshadowing what’s to come) and the silhouettes of girls swimming around (in case it hasn’t become obvious, the female body is a staple of the title sequence in Bond films.)
Credit to Art of the Title
In contrast to the openings for Goldfinger and From Russia With Love, Thunderball features a very colorful opening sequence, with the contrast of black figures on colored backgrounds (very mid-1960s in style).
Enjoy listening to “Thunderball” next time: You Only Live Twice (1967)
Check out the rest of the “Introducing James Bond” series here
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