Posts Tagged ‘Goldfinger’

‘Goldfinger’ actor Martin Benson dies…

March 8, 2010

The Stage.co.uk reported last week that actor Martin Benson has died aged 91.

Bond fans may know him best as “Mr. Solo”, from the 1963 blockbuster Goldfinger, in which he refuses to take part in Goldfinger’s Operation: Grand Slam, and finds himself having a pressing engagement with Oddjob.

Benson, whose career spanned from the min-1940s until 2005, died in his sleep at home in Buckinghamshire.

He worked in film, television and on the stage, and is best known for playing Kralahome in the 1956 film version of The King and I.

Television roles included The Last of the Summer Wine, The Champions and Richard the Lionheart.

His final television appearance was in an episode of Casualty in 2005.

Rest in peace.

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Epitome of Cool…

March 8, 2010

Sean Connery for Louis Vuitton

Watchmakers International sponsors Ian Fleming’s Rolex in Bond Exhibit‏

February 15, 2010

COLUMBIA, PA:  For over 50 years, James Bond fans have had the need to know what watch Agent 007 wears. Fans fantasize:  They are James Bond when wearing his watch.

Vintage Rolex watches — similar to the Sean Connery Submariner in Dr. No, the George Lazenby pre-Daytona chronograph in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and the Rolex Explorer worn by the literary Bond and author Ian Fleming — can be restored today to their original performance standards.

Bob Ridley of Watchmakers International gives a new lease on life to even the oldest (and most desirable) James Bond Rolex models, including those originally worn in the earliest Eon Productions films. Watchmakers International has also signed on as exclusive sponsor for display of Ian Fleming’s personal Rolex 1016 Explorer throughout the upcoming National Watch & Clock Museum exhibit, “Bond Watches, James Bond Watches,” June 18, 2010, through April 30, 2011.

“These watches were meant to be worn,” says Ridley.  “My team makes that possible.”

This is particularly important to Bond watch owners.  “When I approached Bob with my own 1016 Explorer, my hope was that he could take it to a point where I could wear it on special occasions without a lot of worry,” recalls Dell Deaton, guest curator of the James Bond Watches exhibit.  “Bob said he could bring it back to a standard where I could wear it every day, the way it was designed to be worn.”

Vintage Rolex Explorer 1016 wristwatch with original Radium dial — just like James Bond wore in the 1963 novel, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Background items include a copy of that first edition book, a pre-publication Uncorrected Proof, and the very first publication of this story (part 1 of 3) in the April 1963 issue of Playboy magazine. Photo copyright http://www.jamesbondwatches.com, 2010.

“If you think about the 6538 Submariner that fans associate with the movie Goldfinger,” Ridley adds, “these Rolex watches are increasingly hard to find in any condition.  Proper functional restoration often begins by addressing neglect, water damage, and quite frequently the need to back-out previous misdirected repair issues.  With that, we almost always have to source Rolex parts or fabricate corrections based on a watch that even the most experienced Rolex researchers haven’t seen more than a handful of times in an entire career.

“By focusing only on the Rolex brand, we’ve developed that necessary familiarity.  We’ve also earned a respectable interface with Rolex technical support departments, with which we exchange information.”

At the same time, Watchmakers International brings a true collector’s eye to restorations — balancing desired performance against a commitment to retain investment value.  “The dial on my 1016 Explorer is cracking,” Dell Deaton notes.  “But replacement and even refinishing are out of the question:  My Rolex is just like what Ian Fleming saw on his wrist when he wrote that ‘Bond glanced at his watch’ in the final pages of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  That’s what I will still want to see after any work on it is done.”

“I gave Dell a number of proprietary options we’ve come up with for arresting the deterioration without any visual change to aesthetics,” Bob Ridley explains.  “These are things we have done for Watchmakers International clients that we’ve served for many, many years; the proof of longevity is reconfirmed upon intake inspection each time one of these watches comes back now for routine maintenance.”

“The addition of Bob Ridley, personally, and Watchmakers International, as a sponsor, raises an already high bar on what we expect this exhibit to deliver,” says Noel Poirier, director of the National Watch & Clock Museum.  “As an international association and repository for horology, our Museum and this exhibit can both show a great range of Bond-affiliated wristwatches, and then go beyond that to provide a great depth of understanding about how many of them functioned then and now, their design evolution paths, and, in particular to the Ian Fleming Rolex 1016 Explorer and related pieces, what their present condition tells them about their service to wearers as timekeepers.

“Watchmakers International is the ideal sponsor for the Ian Fleming Rolex as part of our ‘Bond Watches, James Bond Watches’ exhibit.  We’re truly honored to have them be a part of this.”

Watchmakers International is the exclusive sponsor for bringing the original Ian Fleming Rolex Explorerer 1016 to the entire run of this year-long exhibit.  With over 30 years experience in fine wristwatch work, certified horologist Bob Ridley offers a unique balance of technical skill, resources, and an understanding of value-aesthetics to the sole of his business:  Vintage Rolex restoration.  See www.watchmakers.com for more information.

Dell Deaton is guest curator of this “Bond Watches, James Bond Watches” exhibition and author-creator of www.jamesbondwatches.com.  He is a member of both the National Watch & Clock Association and American Marketing Association, and an internationally recognized expert on Ian Fleming and James Bond horology.

“Bond Watches, James Bond Watches” will be unveiled at the NAWCC Annual Convention on June 17, 2010, and runs June 18, 2010, through April 30, 2011, in Columbia, PA.

The National Watch and Clock Museum is operated by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) association close to 20,000 members, representing 52 countries. April through November the Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.  December through March hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Discounts are available to seniors, students, AAA members, and groups of 10 or more. Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to call ahead.  For more program information, directions, or general Museum information, call 717-684-8261 or visit our website at www.nawcc.org.

Peter Murton passes away…

February 11, 2010

Cinema Retro has reported that acclaimed production designer Peter Murton passed away just before Christmas 2009. Murton worked on the earlier Bond films, such as “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball”, and later became the art director for “The Man With the Golden Gun”. Murton was also the art director for Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War satire, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” in 1964. Another great artist has passed on. Condolences go out to the family of Mr. Murton.

Rest in peace…

Celebrate Thanksgiving weekend with James Bond…

November 25, 2009

The SyFy Channel will be airing a total of sixteen James Bond films this Thanksgiving weekend. Below is the full schedule:

Thursday – November 26th 2009

8:00 AM –  Dr. No
10:30 AM – Licence To Kill
1:30 PM –  Live And Let Die
4:00 PM – The Spy Who Loved Me
6:30 PM – Tomorrow Never Dies
9:00 PM – Casino Royale

Friday – November 27th 2009:

12:00 AM – For Your Eyes Only
2:30 AM – The Man With The Golden Gun
08:00 AM – Thunderball
10:30 AM – From Russia With Love
1:00 PM – You Only Live Twice
3:30 PM – Diamonds Are Forever
6:00 PM – Casino Royale
9:00 PM – GoldenEye

Saturday November 28th 2009:

12:00 AM – Goldfinger
2:30 AM – Never Say Never Again

 

All times are EST.

Review of Dame Shirley Bassey’s “The Performance”

November 2, 2009

Today, The Scotsman has released a review of Dame Shirley Bassey’s latest album, titled “The Performance”.

By Fiona Shepherd

DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY: THE PERFORMANCE
****
GEFFEN, £12.72

IT’S Dame Shirley Bassey these days, if you don’t mind – as if anyone needed reminding that we are in the presence of musical royalty. Elegant, commanding, playful, sophisticated, vulnerable – or, in the words of Manic Street Preachers’ frontman James Dean Bradfield, “this beautiful, glamorous singing beast” – Bassey is everything you could want from a diva and now she’s back to show yer Leonas how it should be done.

As was evident from her lauded appearance two years ago at the Glastonbury festival, she effortlessly musters the level of respect and regard afforded her fellow Welsh warbler Tom Jones, an old pro who just about manages to pull off the balancing act of moving with the times while remaining true to himself. Bassey, for her part, is about to show exactly how that is done on her first full studio album in more than 20 years. The Performance is dignified, heartfelt and timeless.

A good deal of the credit must go to Bond composer David Arnold in the role of producer. Given Bassey’s indelible association with the James Bond series – she is the only artist to have sung three Bond film themes – it must have taken all of five seconds to matchmake those two, and another ten to persuade John Barry and lyricist Don Black to compose a new song for their muse, the first they have written for her since Diamonds Are Forever. Our Time Is Now is a good, grown-up meditation on romance but it is far from the best this album has to offer.

More intriguing than the rekindling of old creative partnerships is the host of bright young things who have also queued up to write songs for Bassey. Some of the album’s contributors are no-brainers – the Pet Shop Boys, David McAlmont and Rufus Wainwright would probably have had diva strops of their own if they had not been invited to the party. Others, such as KT Tunstall and Kaiser Chiefs’ Nick Hodgson, are more unexpected choices, and some – we’re looking at Richard Hawley here – are downright inspired.

Most are understandably in thrall to the Bassey persona, writing songs to fit their conception of the veteran diva. And so Bassey comes out contemplative rather than shaking her stuff on opening number Almost There, written by Tom Baxter. You can see right away where he is going with the line “I’m not quite so young, I’m not quite so foolish in my defence”, but Bassey makes subtle work of its rather mournful tone before soaring on the big orchestral finish.

Her countrymen, the Manic Street Preachers, take the sentimental, pseudo-autobiograpical route with The Girl From Tiger Bay. It’s a lovely song from a band who are more than capable of whipping up some heart-tugging romance when they have a mind to and, unlike other tracks, it is strong enough to retain something of the Manics’ stamp even as it is submitted to the traditional Bassey takeover.

Apparently, we have Rufus Wainwright to thank for the impetus of the album, and won’t he love that. His contribution, Apartment, was the first track to fall into place and he dares to take Bassey somewhere different. Despite the Latino arrangement, there is more than a hint of the European cabaret tradition about its protagonist’s irreverent rejection of the fairytale lifestyle (“I’m running away from Cinderella, don’t want to go to Rapunzel’s hairdresser”) in favour of becoming a girl of independent means.

KT Tunstall also has fun with brassy Bassey without crossing over into kitsch on the bluesy strut of Nice Men, a good bad girl song on which Bassey demands to know “where have all the nice men, where have all the good men, where have all the bad men gone?”

Gary Barlow’s This Time is an old school Bacharachian ballad which is infinitely more dynamic than anything on the most recent Take That album, while Nick Hodgson’s classy composition I Love You Now also evokes old-school pop glamour without being a slavish pastiche of the sequined 1960s.

Best of the lot is Bassey’s beautifully controlled rendering of the tremulous, melancholic After The Rain, written by Richard Hawley, who is on formidable form right now.

Compared to these gems, Arnold’s two contributions are a little Bassey-by-numbers. No Good About Goodbye boasts a great title but sounds like an inferior Mad About The Boy, while As God Is My Witness is just plain turgid.

An old-school performer like Bassey knows that you need to hold something back for the finale – and the Pet Shop Boys-penned The Performance Of My Life provides the quintessential grandstanding finish which will please those looking for some va-va-voom from the Dame. It is to the writers’ credit – and Bassey’s, and Arnold’s – that this performance, along with the rest of the album, is more about soul-baring integrity than retro camp.

 

Sounds promising. I can’t wait to hear the album for myself. Keep an eye out for it on November 9th. I’m sure it’ll be worth the money.

Bring back Dame Shirley Bassey!

October 5, 2009

A behind-the-scenes look (or listen) at Dame Shirley Bassey’s new album project has been launched on YouTube. Here’s the video:

It’s obvious that this legend still has “her groove”. Those song excerpts are astonishing. I really can’t wait to hear this album in full.

EON Productions… do yourself a favor. Hire Dame Shirley Bassey to sing the theme song for the next Bond film. David Arnold’s got her back (he’s producing her new album), and she’s never failed the franchise.

Keep an eye out for “The Performance”, coming to stores November 9th. For more information, check out Dame Shirley’s home page: http://www.dameshirleybassey.com/

The Original James Bond Watch Coming to America

July 8, 2009

Licence To Blog has been granted official press information regarding the “Watches… James Bond Watches” exhibit…

COLUMBIA, PA:  Ian Fleming’s character James Bond has always been associated with the finest of everything; cars, clothes and, of course, watches. The National Watch & Clock Museum will be presenting an exhibit opening in the summer of 2010 that will explore the subject of the watches of James Bond. The exhibit, Watches, James Bond Watches, will feature the watch that provided the inspiration for James Bond’s wristwatch: Ian Fleming’s own Rolex Explorer. This wristwatch was recently identified by Dell Deaton of www.jamesbondwatches.com, as the original, literary James Bond watch in his recent article for WatchTime magazine. Mr. Deaton is serving as the National Watch & Clock Museum’s Guest Curator for the exhibit; it was through his direct work with Fleming heirs that the display of this important and historical timepiece is possible.

This is the first time that Ian Fleming’s watch has been exhibited in the United States. The watch was recently on display at the Imperial War Museum in London, featured in an exhibit on the life and work of Ian Fleming. Fionn Morgan, Ian Fleming’s stepdaughter, states “Ian would have enjoyed the idea of displaying his own Oyster Perpetual as part of an exhibition of James Bond watches…It is wonderful to see the James Bond legacy presented through the watches that this character has worn. It is further most gratifying to see Ian’s Explorer number 1016 displayed as the origin of this long and continuous chronology. Collectors and the public will learn a lot through this exhibition.”

“The National Watch & Clock Museum is honored to be able to display Mr. Fleming’s watch” Museum Director Noel Poirier comments, “and we are thankful to the Fleming family for allowing this one of a kind object to be a part of the Bond watch exhibit.” The exhibit will also include examples of the watches worn throughout the James Bond novels and motion pictures. Additionally, memorabilia from fans of the character will also be included in the exhibit.

The National Watch and Clock Museum is operated by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) association with close to 21,000 members, representing 52 countries. April through November the Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.  December through March hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Discounts are available to seniors, students, AAA members, and groups of 10 or more. Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to call ahead.  For more program information, directions, or general Museum information, call 717-684-8261 or visit our website at www.nawcc.org.

Ian Fleming on set of  "Goldfinger"

Ian Fleming on set of "Goldfinger"

Ian Fleming's Rolex

Ian Fleming's Rolex

National Watch & Clock Museum Logo

National Watch & Clock Museum Logo





Special thanks to Dell Deaton, of www.jamesbondwatches.com, for providing this press release. Be sure to check out www.jamesbondwatches.com for more information! Licence To Blog will also be keeping you updated…

Dame Shirley Bassey announces new album…

June 30, 2009

Dame Shirley Bassey’s website has reported that she’ll be making another album, produced by Bond composer David Arnold.

Official blurb from her site:

Dame Shirley Bassey – Signs to Geffen Records

Geffen Records are very proud to announce the signing of one of the most celebrated British singers of all time, Dame Shirley Bassey.

The iconic Dame Shirley Bassey, Britain’s most successful female artist ever is working on her first new studio album in almost a decade. David Arnold, the Grammy Award-winning producer best known for scoring five James Bond films is producing the album, due to be a set of contemporary songs released in autumn 2009.

During a career that has included 135 million record sales, Dame Shirley Bassey has had many highlights.  In addition to singing three James Bond theme songs she has received numerous awards including a DBE (Dame of the British Empire) in 1999.

Recently, Dame Shirley appeared at the Glastonbury festival in 2007, where at the same event Arctic Monkeys covered ‘Diamonds Are Forever’.  Kanye West also sampled the same track on his 2005 Grammy-winning song ‘Diamonds From Sierra Leone’.

Keep updated with this by visiting http://www.dameshirleybassey.com/ and signing up for the newsletter. This should be a very interesting album. Though I’m not a huge fan of Arnold’s Bond scores, I’ll say that he probably makes a better producer than composer. But, with Dame Shirley Bassey – the woman who brought us the most iconic James Bond themes of all time – you can’t go wrong!

Top 5 — John Barry 007 Scores

June 28, 2009

1. You Only Live Twice – John Barry captures the beauty of Japan in this score. Alongside the sweeping strings, and Far Eastern sounds, this soundtrack is also infused with some great themes. This score delivers music of suspense, romance and action. The sliding bass guitar  also brings the “coolness” of the James Bond theme to a whole different level. To me, this is Barry’s finest score of all time.

Recommended Tracks:

  • “James Bond in Japan” – Track 13
  • “Fight At Kobe Docks / Helga” – Track 3
  • “Mountains and Sunsets” – Track 7



2. “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” – Another brilliant soundtrack by John Barry. This seems to be a score that features one of his earliest uses of synthesizers, and it works extremely well. The score is infused with romantic music that fits the film perfectly. It also features some of the series’ greatest action cues. There’s plenty of music to enjoy on this score.

Recommended Tracks:

  • “Main Theme: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” – Track 6
  • “Battle at Piz Gloria” – Track 10
  • “Try” – Track 3



3. The Living Daylights – John Barry’s last James Bond score, and certainly one of his best. This score relies on synthesizers like “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, but the outcome is superb. This score is infused with many melodies, both romantic, suspenseful, and action-packed. This is definitely a perfect 80’s Bond score.

Recommended Tracks:

  • The Sniper Was a Woman – Track 3
  • Mujahadin and Opium – Track 10
  • Assassin and Drugged – Track 16



4. “Diamonds Are Forever” – Though the film was silly, John Barry seemed to have taken the score seriously, as always. Barry offers listeners a haunting theme for the film’s henchmen – the best henchmen theme of the series – and his style matches the sleaziness of the film perfectly. Some cues capture the silliness of the film, also, but I’d say that, overall, this is one of Barry’s more dark scores.

Recommended Tracks:

  • “Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd / Bond to Holland” – Track 14
  • “Gunbarrel and Manhunt” – Track 13
  • “Airport Source / On the Road” – Track 16



5. “Goldfinger” – This is most likely one of Barry’s more popular scores, and for a good reason! Not only does it feature Dame Shirley Bassey’s iconic Bond theme, but it also features a collection of great action and adventure music. This score is very jazzy at times, too. Overall, there’s not much to dislike about this Bond score. It has certainly earned the status of “quintessential”.

Recommended Tracks:

  • “Main Theme: Goldfinger” – Track 1
  • “Alpine Drive / Auric’s Factory” – Track 3
  • “Oddjob’s Pressing Engagement” – Track 4