Did Tom Jones Really Faint While Hitting the Final Note on “Thunderball”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the music urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC LEGEND: Tom Jones fainted while hitting the final note on “Thunderball.”

The 1965 James Bond film, Thunderball, was a gigantic blockbuster, not only making the most money out of any James Bond film up until that point, but making more money than the next FIVE James Bond movies (and the next five all made fine money, just letting you know just HOW big of a hit Thunderball was).

The title theme was by Tom Jones and there is an interesting legend about it…
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Was Oliver Reed Too “Rough” to Be Cast as James Bond?

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Oliver Reed was not cast as James Bond because he was considered to be too rough.

Anthony Horowitz, the novelist currently writing the James Bond series of novels for Ian Fleming’s estate, caused some controversy a while back when he gave his opinion regarding whether he thought that actor Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. He remarked:

Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better. For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not a colour issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.

He later apologized for his comments, noting:

I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence. That wasn’t my intention. I was asked in my interview if Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. In the article I expressed the opinion that to my mind Adrian Lester would be a better choice but I’m a writer not a casting director so what do I know? Clumsily, I chose the word ‘street’ as Elba’s gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther was in my mind but I admit it was a poor choice of word. I am mortified to have caused offence.

Clearly, the use of the word “street” to describe a black actor was a terrible choice of word by Horowitz and even the use of the word “rough” has some iffy connotations when you’re referring to a black actor. What’s interesting to me, though, is that there actually was a famous actor, Oliver Reed, who lost a shot at the role of James Bond specifically for HIS “roughness.”

It is a completely different scenario, of course, as Oliver Reed was not black, but the discussion of an actor being too rough to play James Bond made me think it worthwhile to discuss the only man who couldn’t play James Bond because he drank too much and was too much of a womanizer.
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Did a Typo Lead to the Title of the Bond Film Tomorrow Never Dies?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: A typo led to the title of the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, the second film to star Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, was the first James Bond film whose title had no connection to Bond creator Ian Fleming (the first 16 films were based on Fleming novels starring Bond and the 17th film, GoldenEye, was named after the estate where Fleming wrote the novels).

Screenwriter Bruce Feirstein was tasked with coming up with a name for the film, and he was stuck until he was listening to the Beatles’ classic album, Revolver, which includes the song “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

In the film, Jonathan Pryce plays a villainous media mogul who runs a newspaper called Tomorrow.

Their slogan, like the New York Times’ slogan of “All the news that’s fit to print,” was to be “Tomorrow never lies,” and Feirstein was going to use that as the title of the movie. “Tomorrow never lies” is a common enough phrase, so it would have made sense as a title.

Here’s where there is a little confusion, though. Continue reading “Did a Typo Lead to the Title of the Bond Film Tomorrow Never Dies?”

Was Alice Cooper’s Title Track for the James Bond Film “Man With the Golden Gun” Turned Down?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Alice Cooper’s title track for the film Man with the Golden Gun was rejected by the film’s producers.

Reader Richard wrote in to ask:

Alice Cooper wrote the song “Man with the Golden Gun” (from his 1973 LP “Muscle of Love”) for the upcoming James Bond film with the same name, but it was rejected.

I remember buying and enjoying that album when it came out and was anticipating hearing the song before the movie and was surprised when it wasn’t used. Throughout Cooper’s version there are snippets of the Bond theme and had a Bond feel to it. I’ve since read, over the years that the film producers rejected it, but never found out why.

A large chunk of what Richard says above is true.

A few different artists were approached to possibly perform the title track to the 1974 James Bond film, The Man With the Golden Gun.

Alice Cooper (who we were just talking about last week) was one of those artists.

His entry ended up appearing on his 1973 album, Muscle of Love…

The entry they ended up using was a rather lackluster performance by Lulu (we were just talking about her!)…

Rumors have abounded since then that Cooper’s version was rejected for any number of reasons.

However, that was not the case.
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Was Roger Moore Really Ian Fleming’s First Choice to Play James Bond?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Roger Moore was Ian Fleming’s first choice for James Bond.

One of the most debated subjects in all of Hollywood (and beyond) is which actor should play James Bond in the film adaptations of Ian Fleming’s classic spy novels. Every time a new actor is needed for the role, the level of scrutiny and outrage is more similar to the selection of a new President of the United States, not the next actor to play a famous film character. While the selection process is still quite controversial (many die hard Bond enthusiasts still can’t wrap their heads around the idea of Daniel Craig playing the role, even as his latest Bond film, Skyfall, just passed a billion dollars in box office receipts worldwide), the level of controversy was even greater when the first James Bond, Sean Connery

was replaced for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service with actor George Lazenby.

For various reasons, Lazenby only did a single film and Connery returned for the next Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever. However, in 1973, Connery was finally successfully replaced by actor Roger Moore, who ended up doing seven films as James Bond.

One of the hooks used to put minds at ease for Moore’s stint as Bond was the alleged fact that Ian Fleming’s first choice to play James Bond was Moore, who Fleming liked in the TV series, The Saint.

Is that true? Was Roger Moore almost the first actor to play James Bond? The truth is quite complicated, as you’ll soon find out…

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Did Oliver Reed Appear in Scenes of Gladiator Filmed AFTER He Died?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Oliver Reed appeared in scenes in Gladiator filmed after the actor died.

Born in 1938, Oliver Reed lived the life you would think only happened in movies, as a star who spent most of his years drinking, fighting and having an all-around good time.

Reed began acting in the late 1950s, and starred in a number of movies, perhaps most notably at the time in his uncle Carol Reed’s version of Oliver (as Bill Sikes).

The tough, strapping Reed had a similar look to Sean Connery, but Reed’s reputation as a womanizer and party animal kept him from being seriously considered for Bond when Connery left the role.

Anyhow, in 1999, after four decades in the film business, Reed began filming Gladiator, as Proximo, the slave dealer who “owned” the titular character in the film.

Here’s Reed…

Sadly, during a break in filming, Reed died of a heart attack at the age of 61. He had been heavily drinking the night before, as was his wont, totaling an $866 alcohol bill!!

With the tragic loss of Reed, Gladiator director Ridley Scott was at a bit of a loss. He still had scenes left in the film with Proximo in them!

So what they did was quite remarkable (and slightly creepy).
Continue reading “Did Oliver Reed Appear in Scenes of Gladiator Filmed AFTER He Died?”