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Topic: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Time for another group-viewing, this time, it‘s

THUNDERBALL



https://share-your-photo.com/img/90fa45e341.jpg


London Summertime:       20:00
Paris Summertime:           21:00
New York local time          15:00
LA local time                    12:00


PLEASE  KEEP IN MIND THAT WE ARE ALL STARTING 10 MINUTES LATER !

The 19:00 deadline is set so that everybody has enough time to find their DVDs/Blu Rays, boot their players and get done with the menus and pause right before the gunbarrel sequence.

WE ARE STARTING PRECISELY AT 19:10


- Please make sure that everybody has their BluRay/DVD/VCR ready and start the player latest 19:00 GMT to get done with all the dodgy menus.
- PAUSE YOUR PLAYER RIGHT BEFORE THE GUNBARREL
- HIT PLAY PRECISELY AT 19:10.
I‘ll post some timecodes during the thread just in case that somebody has messed it up

Last edited by Higgins (26th May 2020 17:29)

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Might want to update the title...Friday 25th May doesn’t sound right??

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Thanks, corrected.

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Earlier this year I collected many of my thoughts about TB here
https://www.ajb007.co.uk/post/967952/#p967952
but I'm always up for a re-watch of this one :-)

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Shame it's not a little later in the evening, this film would help me get off to sleep ajb007/wink

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Especially with TB, I look forward to all and any points about the music that Barbel may be able to share.

It's reasonably well known that John Barry first wrote a song called 'Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' for the titles of this film, before being asked to write a song called 'Thunderball' for use instead, with "thunderball" in the lyrics - to better support promotion of the film.

One question I'd have is whether there's any preference between the different recordings of 'Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' with Shirley Bassey and Dionne Warwick. Overall I prefer the Dionne Warwick recording: there's a beautiful quality to Dionne Warwick's voice which somehow matches this particular song really well. But imho a problem with the Warwick arrangement is its introduction, before the vocals: its intro is overblown in a clunky sort of way - even for a piece which as a whole is all about being bombastic. By comparison, the Shirley Bassey recording of the same song has a much neater introductory arrangement. I wonder whether the introduction in the Warwick arrangement is drawn out in the way that it is because Barry was setting out to delay key beats for key titles in the titles sequence. Anyway, it's an uncharacteristically messy attempt, imho.

The other possible issue with 'Mr Kiss Kiss Bang' is its rough hewn lyrics, which seem to force rhyme in a clunky way. Despite Barry's initial attempt to swerve composing a piece which would need "thunderball" as a word in its lyrics, the lyrics for the song 'Thunderball' cohere better around their rhymes, imho.

'Thunderball' as performed by Tom Jones is a strange song in one particular sense. Essentially, we have one macho guy (Jones) singing about what an alpha guy James Bond is - with such total commitment that he passed out while belting out the final note in the recording! It's like a bromance with a whiff of homoeroticism about it, as if the Jones persona follows around the Bond persona, infatuated by his masculinity! That's why, in a concert honouring lyricist Don Black in 2013, I was delighted to see (on youtube only, I'm afraid) former synth-goth, queer arthouse singer Marc Almond tribute the song with a brazen performance of it on stage. Tainted love?

Last edited by Shady Tree (24th May 2020 19:23)

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Yeah I'd agree Warwick sings it better. Bassey's great and everything, but I'm not sure 'subtle' is ever a word that's been applied to her! ajb007/biggrin

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Shady Tree wrote:

'Thunderball' as performed by Tom Jones is a strange song in one particular sense. Essentially, we have one macho guy (Jones) singing about what an alpha guy James Bond is -

I think the title song is about Largo, not Bond?

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Shady Tree wrote:

Especially with TB, I look forward to all and any points about the music that Barbel may be able to share.

It's reasonably well known that John Barry first wrote a song called 'Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' for the titles of this film, before being asked to write a song called 'Thunderball' for use instead, with "thunderball" in the lyrics - to better support promotion of the film.

One question I'd have is whether there's any preference between the different recordings of 'Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' with Shirley Bassey and Dionne Warwick. Overall I prefer the Dionne Warwick recording: there's a beautiful quality to Dionne Warwick's voice which somehow matches this particular song really well. But imho a problem with the Warwick arrangement is its introduction, before the vocals: its intro is overblown in a clunky sort of way - even for a piece which as a whole is all about being bombastic. By comparison, the Shirley Bassey recording of the same song has a much neater introductory arrangement. I wonder whether the introduction in the Warwick arrangement is drawn out in the way that is because Barry was setting out to delay key beats for key titles in the titles sequence. Anyway, it's an uncharacteristically messy attempt, imho.

The other possible issue with 'Mr Kiss Kiss Bang' is its rough hewn lyrics, which seem to force rhyme in a clunky way. Despite Barry's initial attempt to swerve composing a piece which would need "thunderball" as a word in its lyrics, the lyrics for the song 'Thunderball' cohere better around their rhymes, imho.

Rather than me trying to cover all this tomorrow night during the movie, I thought the following may be of interest:


From “John Barry A Life In Music” by Geoff Leonard, Pete Walker, Gareth Bramley (Published by Sansom & Company 1998)

“For Thunderball...[the producers] felt it a good idea to do away with the usual title song… Instead they decided to use the name by which Bond had become known in Italy and Japan- “Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”. Accordingly, Barry based the entire score around this title song…. The Bond team had even chosen the singer, Dione Warwick… after Shirley Bassey’s original version had failed to impress. Barry [said] ...”I had about 12 cowbells on it with different rhythms, along with a large orchestra, and thought it a very original piece. Then, at the last minute, they got cold feet and decided to have a song called “Thunderball”.
The official reason given for the change of mind was that a song with the title “Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” could have been too overtly sexy for American tastes. Another reason might have been a threat from Bassey to sue following her replacement by Warwick. Obviously if the song was not used at all, there could be no case to answer….
It was obviously far too late for [Barry] to alter the main thrust of his score, and as a result “Mr Kiss Kiss” can be heard throughout the film and to a large extent on the soundtrack album.”



This explains why the melody of “Thunderball” is heard much less in the score than MKKBB. Also, the OST only covers roughly the 1st half of the film owing to release dates, and the music from the 2nd part first appeared in medley form in 1992 on the collectors’ edition of the then current “Best Of James Bond” album, and later in more expanded form on the 2003 remaster.

AJB interview with the above Geoff Leonard- https://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/51756/aj … f-leonard/

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Amazing that a last minute gigs and decisions like Tom Jones‘ Thunderball song became such iconic pieces!

I can‘t imagine anything else as the title song - it just sets you into the right mood for the play that follows after.

If there was a perfect and iconic bond song, I‘d pick Tb over GF at any day of the year!

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

I should also mention that there are various official versions of MKBB around (the mono take is different from the stereo take, for example) and that's not counting the vocal versions. Also "Bond Meets Domino" is different depending which version of the film you're watching. Also some dialogue is different. But, it gets confusing so I'll stop there.

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Monday is Memorial Day here in the USA.  Depending upon the weather, I may be out and about doing other things when the movie is on, so call me 'tentative' for now.

Current rankings:
OHMSS>FRWL>CR>TSWLM>YOLT>MR>SF>GE>OP>DN>FYEO>
TWINE>TND>QOS>TB>TMWTGG>GF>LALD>TLD>AVTAK>SP>DAF>LTK>DAD
Bond rankings: Lazenby>Moore>Connery>Craig>Brosnan>Dalton

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

We hope to receiving many amazing Auger/Peters/Paluzzi .gifs from you  ajb007/wink

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Oh Good,

Tomorrow is a Bank Hol in England & Wales, so I’ll be here too.
Although I have missed a few of these, I’m really enjoying
the ones I am seeing.

This is Thunderbird 2, how can I be of assistance?

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

CoolHandBond wrote:
Shady Tree wrote:

'Thunderball' as performed by Tom Jones is a strange song in one particular sense. Essentially, we have one macho guy (Jones) singing about what an alpha guy James Bond is -

I think the title song is about Largo, not Bond?

That's interesting. The fact that, in the preceding film, the 'Goldfinger' song was obviously about the villain perhaps invites a reading of the 'Thunderball' lyrics as about Largo. On the other hand, the unused 'Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' song was definitely about Bond ("that's why the zero's double") and is similar to 'Thunderball' in its adulation of the song's subject (albeit from a female vocalist's perspective). The music of the 'Thunderball' song includes an element of the James Bond theme, perhaps linking the lyrics to Bond's character by association - but then again the 'Goldfinger' song had also used Bond theme music and that song, as I've said, was definitely about the villain only.

I think Connery's interpretation of Bond is such that Bond ticks all the boxes for the character description in the 'Thunderball' lyrics, meaning that it's at least ambiguous as to whether 'Thunderball' is about Largo or Bond. I'd always assumed it's about Bond, engaging what was then the character's reputation for indomitable ruthlessness and sexual prowess as attested by the 'Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' tag attached to him by the Italian fan press. And it's Bond, then in his fourth movie, whose "fight goes on and on and on." The Largo of the movie doesn't quite seem to be 'big' enough as a character to bear the claims made by the 'Thunderball' lyrics.

Marvin Hamlisch later said that his 'Nobody Does It Better' was the first Bond song to be about Bond. I disagree, and anyway NDIB is about a softer idea of who Bond is supposed to be. 'Thunderball' is the iconic 'Bond' song.

Last edited by Shady Tree (24th May 2020 18:18)

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Barbel wrote:

I should also mention that there are various official versions of MKBB around (the mono take is different from the stereo take, for example) and that's not counting the vocal versions. Also "Bond Meets Domino" is different depending which version of the film you're watching. Also some dialogue is different. But, it gets confusing so I'll stop there.

This does sound extraordinarily complicated! Now I'd like to see a bluray release which includes the variant versions of the film!

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

"He always runs while others walk
He acts while other men just talk
He looks at this world, and wants it all
So he strikes, like Thunderball

He knows the meaning of success
His needs are more, so he gives less
They call him the winner who takes all
And he strikes, like Thunderball

Any woman he wants, he'll get
He will break any heart without regret

His days of asking are all gone
His fight goes on and on and on
But he thinks that the fight is worth it all
So he strikes, like Thunderball"


I always assumed these lyrics be about Largo, several lines describe a despicable self absorbed psychopath, not a St George sort of hero.
But I got a buddy who swears it's describing Bond's manly self-confidence.
So it's an old debate.

I think Largo is meant to be an evil counterpart of Bond, moreso than any of the villains up til this point. And they're sharing the same women! Makes some sense the subject of the song could be interpreted either way.

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Not a native speaker, but I always thought that it was about Bond

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

I wonder what Don Black would say on the question.

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I think the lyrics are technically about Largo, but most of the audience think about bodn when they hear it and that's intentional.

Last edited by Number24 (24th May 2020 18:53)

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Word of Don Black himself in 2014-

"I was thinking about Bond, thinking "He always runs while others walk". In my mind it was about James Bond but I guess it could work for Largo, too"


Word of John Barry-

"I gave them what they wanted"



Imaginary scene-

Barry- Now, Tom, this is in quite a high key, you'd better be careful when we get to the high B at the end.

Jones- Yeah, yeah, gimme the mic. You ready?

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Barbel wrote:

Imaginary scene-

Barry- Now, Tom, this is in quite a high key, you'd better be careful when we get to the high B at the end.

Jones- Yeah, yeah, gimme the mic. You ready?

ajb007/lol  ajb007/lol  ajb007/lol

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Shady Tree wrote:
CoolHandBond wrote:
Shady Tree wrote:

'Thunderball' as performed by Tom Jones is a strange song in one particular sense. Essentially, we have one macho guy (Jones) singing about what an alpha guy James Bond is -

I think the title song is about Largo, not Bond?

That's interesting. The fact that, in the preceding film, the 'Goldfinger' song was obviously about the villain perhaps invites a reading of the 'Thunderball' lyrics as about Largo. On the other hand, the unused 'Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' song was definitely about Bond ("that's why the zero's double") and is similar to 'Thunderball' in its adulation of the song's subject (albeit from a female vocalist's perspective). The music of the 'Thunderball' song includes an element of the James Bond theme, perhaps linking the lyrics to Bond's character by association - but then again the 'Goldfinger' song had also used Bond theme music and that song, as I've said, was definitely about the villain only.

I think Connery's interpretation of Bond is such that Bond ticks all the boxes for the character description in the 'Thunderball' lyrics, meaning that it's at least ambiguous as to whether 'Thunderball' is about Largo or Bond. I'd always assumed it's about Bond, engaging what was then the character's reputation for indomitable ruthlessness and sexual prowess as attested by the 'Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' tag attached to him by the Italian fan press. And it's Bond, then in his fourth movie, whose "fight goes on and on and on." The Largo of the movie doesn't quite seem to be 'big' enough as a character to bear the claims made by the 'Thunderball' lyrics.

Marvin Hamlisch later said that his 'Nobody Does It Better' was the first Bond song to be about Bond. I disagree, and anyway NDIB is about a softer idea of who Bond is supposed to be. 'Thunderball' is the iconic 'Bond' song.

Yeah I always took it to be about Bond too, I guess the Bond theme actually kicking in doesn't harm that impression! The idea of Largo running while others walk doesn't seem to fit either (although I always thought that Bond would actually walk while other run because he's cooler!). And Largo just isn't really big enough in the film to warrant a song about him: and I'd say this movie fetishes Bond himself more than pretty much any other Bond film. It's all about how cool he is, how amazing he looks (and Connery does look incredible in this movie: I don't go for guys but I'd think twice if he tried it on! ajb007/biggrin )

I guess it does fit that Largo 'looks at this world and wants it all' though.

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

Read what Don Black said above, emtiem. Post 21.

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Re: AJB live commentary on THUNDERBALL

More about the soundtrack album(s)-
The original LP had to be released by a certain date, and Barry was still at work on the score, therefore it mainly includes music from the first half of the film as I said above.
In 1992 parts of the rest of the score were released in 1992 on "The Best Of James Bond 30th Anniversary Limited Edition". This was a 2CD set- the normal edition was one CD and covered the greatest hits. The cues were combined in a long (over 21 minutes) suite.
In 2003 the score was remastered (along with other Bond scores) by Lukas Kendall. He included more music than previously, usually combined in medleys (though shorter than 21 minutes) but not all that was possible. The reason was economics- to include all of the music would have required a double album and the record company wasn't willing to allow that. He did manage to include almost 80 minutes of music, but couldn't offer everything. The two vocal MKBBs aren't there, and sadly neither is the music for Fiona's fast drive with Bond ("How far do you go?").
There won't be time to go into all that while watching the movie tomorrow.