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Senior Shackster
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792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I ordered the three Connery Bond blu rays on ebay for less than $18 each and
finally got around to watching them. They look pretty much identical to the last
restored editions since they appeared to have been made from the first HD masters
which were first bumped down to standard DVD before being released in the high
definition format.

The added pixels increase the sharpness if you project them on a DLP and look as good
as a 35mm Technicolor print on my 10 foot screen. The mono tracks are available
along with the 5.1 remixes which sound better in my judgment.

The only flaw is that the few opticals look grainier on blu ray. The wipes and
opening rifle scope intos are noticeably grainy compared to the standard def
version which softens them a bit as did the Technicolor release prints. Otherwise,
the rest of the fades and dissolves look fine because the negatives were A & B rolled
to make the printing matrices.

I did notice one slight change in the transfer. In the standard DVD Exclusive
edition of "From Russia with Love", the scene when Bond and Tatiana steal
the truck at night was so dark you couldn't see what was going on. In the blu
ray it's a bit brighter with more detail which is an improvement.

I should mention that I had to install an upgrade on my Samsung blu ray player
before these discs would work. Before the upgrade, when I clicked play on the
menu none of them would start. I've heard others have had problems with these
discs too so you might want to do some web surfing before purchasing them to
see if your unit needs one.

For more info on the individual films you can refer to my earlier review of the
Ultimate Editions.


In summary: Picture quality, sound design, cinematography, perfomances, story and screenplay all A +.
 

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Senior Shackster
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792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I forgot to add that for unknown reasons, the end credits of "Thunderball" is
missing the tag, "James Bond will return in You Only Live Twice". I have no
idea why and should not discourage you from purchasing the blu ray but it
was an unexplained curiosity.
 

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526 Posts
I ordered the three Connery Bond blu rays on ebay for less than $18 each and
finally got around to watching them. They look pretty much identical to the last
restored editions since they appeared to have been made from the first HD masters
which were first bumped down to standard DVD before being released in the high
definition format.

The added pixels increase the sharpness if you project them on a DLP and look as good
as a 35mm Technicolor print on my 10 foot screen. The mono tracks are available
along with the 5.1 remixes which sound better in my judgment.

The only flaw is that the few opticals look grainier on blu ray. The wipes and
opening rifle scope intos are noticeably grainy compared to the standard def
version which softens them a bit as did the Technicolor release prints. Otherwise,
the rest of the fades and dissolves look fine because the negatives were A & B rolled
to make the printing matrices.

I did notice one slight change in the transfer. In the standard DVD Exclusive
edition of "From Russia with Love", the scene when Bond and Tatiana steal
the truck at night was so dark you couldn't see what was going on. In the blu
ray it's a bit brighter with more detail which is an improvement.

I should mention that I had to install an upgrade on my Samsung blu ray player
before these discs would work. Before the upgrade, when I clicked play on the
menu none of them would start. I've heard others have had problems with these
discs too so you might want to do some web surfing before purchasing them to
see if your unit needs one.

For more info on the individual films you can refer to my earlier review of the
Ultimate Editions.


In summary: Picture quality, sound design, cinematography, perfomances, story and screenplay all A +.


Hello Richard,

Whats been going on? Its very good to hear these titles came out looking good. Thunderball, along with Twice and Goldfinger are my favorite Bond films. But their is something about Thunderball. Could it be Tom Jones!! No, I don`t think so.
 

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Senior Shackster
Joined
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792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Actually "Thunderball" is not among my all time favorites. Too much was cut
from the original Roadshow version and there are a lot of plot gaps and continuity
problems as a result. At the last moment they decided to make it a general release
rather than a reserved seat showing so they cut about 20 minutes and took out
the intermission. Some prints still had the exit music in the US although it's not on
the blu ray release. It's the only Connery film with a program book which I found
on ebay. So it was intended as a spectacular Roadshow with a 2 1/2 hour running
time, reserved seats and program books but UA got cold feet and cut it to the current
length and exhibited as a general release movie. Which is why there are scenes like Bond's assistant just turning up dead in a chair without explanation.

My favorite is actually "Diamonds are Forever" probably because it's the first
one I saw and is the funniest. In my opinion it has the best John Barry score and
the best theme song. I saw the other features in double bill re-issues afterwards
and in the repertory cinemas like The Elgin when I went to NYU.

"From Russia with Love" is the most realistic and works as a Cold War thriller
outside of the series. "Goldfinger" probably has the best pacing and is
the most entertaining of all of them. Also the best villains and climax. The
novel has an even wilder ending since Pussy Galore is a lesbian in the book and
after Bond has a roll in the hay with her, she changes her orientation.
 

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Actually "Thunderball" is not among my all time favorites. Too much was cut
from the original Roadshow version and there are a lot of plot gaps and continuity
problems as a result. At the last moment they decided to make it a general release
rather than a reserved seat showing so they cut about 20 minutes and took out
the intermission. Some prints still had the exit music in the US although it's not on
the blu ray release. It's the only Connery film with a program book which I found
on ebay. So it was intended as a spectacular Roadshow with a 2 1/2 hour running
time, reserved seats and program books but UA got cold feet and cut it to the current
length and exhibited as a general release movie. Which is why there are scenes like Bond's assistant just turning up dead in a chair without explanation.

My favorite is actually "Diamonds are Forever" probably because it's the first
one I saw and is the funniest. In my opinion it has the best John Barry score and
the best theme song. I saw the other features in double bill re-issues afterwards
and in the repertory cinemas like The Elgin when I went to NYU.

"From Russia with Love" is the most realistic and works as a Cold War thriller
outside of the series. "Goldfinger" probably has the best pacing and is
the most entertaining of all of them. Also the best villains and climax. The
novel has an even wilder ending since Pussy Galore is a lesbian in the book and
after Bond has a roll in the hay with her, she changes her orientation.
I guess being who you are at times, may have some disadvantages. You would be the only person that would have that information. Diamonds are Forever is a beautiful song, and Nancy is singing it very well. However, the music and soundtrack for Goldfinger is excellent. Especially when the movie first opens up with Sean Connery and Felix at the pool. The horns are incredible.
Had no idea Ms. Pussy was a lesbian in the book. Amazing. You just have too much info!!
 

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Senior Shackster
Joined
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792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I had read all of the novels and short story compilations by Ian Fleming during
the summers when we traveled around the country in our Winebago motor home.
Nothing else to do between tourist traps. So I was very familiar with the characters
and plots before I saw the first movie. The only book that stays very close to the
source is "From Russia with Love". "Dr. No", "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball" stay within
the ball park. All of the other Bonds regardless of who starred in them just used the
title and very little from the actual novels. Since Fleming was around during the first
two features one can assume he didn't object to any changes made in the movies.

It's a shame Warners cannot find the censor cuts of "From Russia with Love". Once
you know what's missing, you notice it on screen, especially the jump cut at the end
when Connery is looking at the 8mm footage. Even so, they stretched the Production
Code to the maximum with these movies since they were general audience releases,
not "adults only" films like "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf".

I had all of the soundtrack albums when I was a kid of course. I liked "Goldfinger"
but I still think "Diamonds" has the best cues. The eerie music when Bond is climbing
up the Wyte House building and moon buggy chase are atmospheric tracks. I also liked
the fact that Barry gave certain characters their own musical themes. The two hitmen
have a sax motif and Willard Whyte a brassy Las Vegas cue.The expanded CDs of the Connery Bonds are very good and I recommend them since they found some extra tracks
that wouldn't fit on the soundtrack albums.

I did a similar type of scoring in my latest movie, "What Really Frightens You",
giving each lead character their own theme. This kind of scoring has gone out
of favor in recent years but I still enjoy it.
 

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I had read all of the novels and short story compilations by Ian Fleming during
the summers when we traveled around the country in our Winebago motor home.
Nothing else to do between tourist traps. So I was very familiar with the characters
and plots before I saw the first movie. The only book that stays very close to the
source is "From Russia with Love". "Dr. No", "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball" stay within
the ball park. All of the other Bonds regardless of who starred in them just used the
title and very little from the actual novels. Since Fleming was around during the first
two features one can assume he didn't object to any changes made in the movies.

It's a shame Warners cannot find the censor cuts of "From Russia with Love". Once
you know what's missing, you notice it on screen, especially the jump cut at the end
when Connery is looking at the 8mm footage. Even so, they stretched the Production
Code to the maximum with these movies since they were general audience releases,
not "adults only" films like "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf".

I had all of the soundtrack albums when I was a kid of course. I liked "Goldfinger"
but I still think "Diamonds" has the best cues. The eerie music when Bond is climbing
up the Wyte House building and moon buggy chase are atmospheric tracks. I also liked
the fact that Barry gave certain characters their own musical themes. The two hitmen
have a sax motif and Willard Whyte a brassy Las Vegas cue.The expanded CDs of the Connery Bonds are very good and I recommend them since they found some extra tracks
that wouldn't fit on the soundtrack albums.

I did a similar type of scoring in my latest movie, "What Really Frightens You",
giving each lead character their own theme. This kind of scoring has gone out
of favor in recent years but I still enjoy it.
Its good to see that these four classic Bond movies stay close to the book. I`ve read Goldfinger only, I was very young when the movies appeared. Most of my reading then was the Hardy Boys, Sports Illustrated, and the beginning of my love for audio and equipment, Stereo Review and High Fidelity. What do you mean by expanded cds? Besides Goldfinger, There`s the Ultimate Bond Collection (Red Cover)Film Disc Collection-From Russia with love is nice, great horns, then there is of course "Diamond are Forever"-track 21-Additional Cues reminds us of the first homosexuals, then the Best of James Bond 30th anniversary edition-Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a nice cut, so which cds are you referring to?
Maybe you make a CD-R for me? BTW, what components are you using for your system? Someone as meticulous and detailed as you are about film, must have a first grade system!!
 

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Senior Shackster
Joined
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792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
"Thunderball", "You Only Live Twice" and "Diamonds are Forever" soundtrack CDs
all contain extra cues that they couldn't fit onto the record albums of the time
including some tracks that weren't used in the actual films. The one thing I miss
about the vinyl albums is their large record image design. These three had great
album covers which lose their impact on the tiny reduced size of the CD.

If you're a Bond afficiando, you might be interested in the merchandise too.
The Gilbert Toy company licensed the series for a couple of years and it ended
up being their downfall. Gilbert was known for their erector sets. They thought
it was a coup getting this license but they rushed a slot car set into production
and onto the shelves to quickly with a big price tag. It was a great set...providing
you had one that worked. Most of them didn't and the returns caused them to
fold. However, they did offer a very elaborate Aston Martin DB5 battery operated
tin car that rode, shot machine guns, had revolving license plates, tire cutters and
an ejector seat. They also had James Bond and Oddjob action figures with spring
arms that could fire or throw the derby. Aurora was the other company that got
a limited license to sell Bond and Oddjob plastic model kits. Then there were other
knock off brands like Zero M camera, radio and switchblades that turned into cap
guns with the flick of a switch. And six finger/finger cap gun. I had lots of the spy
toys when I was a kid and bought some of them on ebay which I put on display
when I screen the movies along with the posters, pressbooks and Thunderball program.
Pressbooks are fun too because aside from having the various ads to be used for
newspapers they suggest various gimmicks and promotional things to help sell the
film for that theater. Before the era of mutli and megaplexes, each cinema showed
just one movie and it was up to them to promote it and attrack viewers which was
part of the fun. Contests, parades, costumes and all sorts of hoopla in the community
was part of the moviegoing experience. Stores received free movie tickets if they
put lobby cards in their windows. And retail stores did their merchandise tie ins
coinciding with the releases. Sears Christmas Wishbook were also tied into the Bond
series with their toy section since many of the Connery pictures were release during
that season. There were even cardboard standies put outside the theater to attract attention. You can get all this stuff on ebay or at least do some surfing to see what
was sold as tie ins for this series.

Those days are long gone and most megaplexes barely have enough room for the posters much less any other time of promotion for the movie. Much of the fun of
moviegoing has been replaced with 'volume' screenings at megaplexes that are generic and without any sense of showmanship. Movies are no longer an 'event' as they
were back in the sixties.
 

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Registered
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526 Posts
"Thunderball", "You Only Live Twice" and "Diamonds are Forever" soundtrack CDs
all contain extra cues that they couldn't fit onto the record albums of the time
including some tracks that weren't used in the actual films. The one thing I miss
about the vinyl albums is their large record image design. These three had great
album covers which lose their impact on the tiny reduced size of the CD.

If you're a Bond afficiando, you might be interested in the merchandise too.
The Gilbert Toy company licensed the series for a couple of years and it ended
up being their downfall. Gilbert was known for their erector sets. They thought
it was a coup getting this license but they rushed a slot car set into production
and onto the shelves to quickly with a big price tag. It was a great set...providing
you had one that worked. Most of them didn't and the returns caused them to
fold. However, they did offer a very elaborate Aston Martin DB5 battery operated
tin car that rode, shot machine guns, had revolving license plates, tire cutters and
an ejector seat. They also had James Bond and Oddjob action figures with spring
arms that could fire or throw the derby. Aurora was the other company that got
a limited license to sell Bond and Oddjob plastic model kits. Then there were other
knock off brands like Zero M camera, radio and switchblades that turned into cap
guns with the flick of a switch. And six finger/finger cap gun. I had lots of the spy
toys when I was a kid and bought some of them on ebay which I put on display
when I screen the movies along with the posters, pressbooks and Thunderball program.
Pressbooks are fun too because aside from having the various ads to be used for
newspapers they suggest various gimmicks and promotional things to help sell the
film for that theater. Before the era of mutli and megaplexes, each cinema showed
just one movie and it was up to them to promote it and attrack viewers which was
part of the fun. Contests, parades, costumes and all sorts of hoopla in the community
was part of the moviegoing experience. Stores received free movie tickets if they
put lobby cards in their windows. And retail stores did their merchandise tie ins
coinciding with the releases. Sears Christmas Wishbook were also tied into the Bond
series with their toy section since many of the Connery pictures were release during
that season. There were even cardboard standies put outside the theater to attract attention. You can get all this stuff on ebay or at least do some surfing to see what
was sold as tie ins for this series.

Those days are long gone and most megaplexes barely have enough room for the posters much less any other time of promotion for the movie. Much of the fun of
moviegoing has been replaced with 'volume' screenings at megaplexes that are generic and without any sense of showmanship. Movies are no longer an 'event' as they
were back in the sixties.
I also miss my lp and vinyl for the same reasons. The little booklet you get with cds, just doesn`t do it for me either. But, that is where we are today.

I had no idea about the action figures. I would have been nice to have the Aston. I actually had an Aurora racing car set that my parents boughtme. I had a Lola gt, Ford Gt, and something else. Much fun set up on my ping pong table when not plaaying PP. The good ole` days.
So Richard, what amps and speakers and projectors are you using to play your films?
 

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Premium Member
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5,423 Posts
A different perspective...
I just picked up Dr. No and From Russia with Love (thanks to Best Buy $12.99). I did not notice any excessive grain or any other issue. Of course I grew up in the '70's and watched all of the early Bond films on TV. First one I remember seeing in a theater was The Spy Who Loved Me. So, in my opinion, Dr. No looked great especially since all I can remember to compare it to was TV in the 70's. :dontknow:
 

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Senior Shackster
Joined
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792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Nova,

The grain was only on an occasional shot which is why it's noticeable although I don't
think those two films have any opticals that aren't camera negative fades and dissolves. "Thunderball" does with the wipes which used duplicate negative stock
and they are grainy. The rear screen process shots when a character is driving
shows up the grain in the background, especially in "Goldfinger". The Bond movies
continued to use this technique even though it had fallen out of favor in the late
sixties and they started towing cars that the actors were really driving and filming
through the windshield so the background was real which was much more effective.
What's incredible about "Dr. No" is that it was an inexpensive film.They really
stretched their budget to make it look like an "A" picture with Ted Moore's outstanding
cinematography, Ken Adam's sets and of course Technicolor.
I wonder why "You Only Live Twice" and "Diamonds Are Forever" still haven't been
released on Blu Ray...
 

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Premium Member
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5,423 Posts
Richard,

Thanks for the info. Wow, for an inexpensive film Dr. No looks great on Blu-ray. Perhaps I didn't notice the grain on the rear screen process shots cause I didn't pay any attention. Knowing what the background is I usually focus on the characters.
 

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Senior Shackster
Joined
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792 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
What Stanley Kramer did in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" to reduce the grain
in the process shots was to project the background footage in 70mm which improved
it although it was still very obviously rear screen projection.

Movies like "Grand Prix", "Bullitt" and "The French Connection" made a tremendous
impact when they had the actors really driving cars in the chase or race scenes.
Unfortunately some producers continued to use process shots in features and television
in the seventies.

Rear screen driving shots is one of my 'pet peeves' in cinema. I really hate them along
with sequences where the director pans pass the edge of a set and goes into another
set which makes it obvious the location isn't authentic since the wall is missing. I always
thought it was a danger to call attention to the artificiality of movies. I prefer it when
they give the illusion that what you are seeing is really happening. I have a similar objection
to digital stunts that defy gravity as in the "Mission Impossible" series.
 

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I forgot to add that for unknown reasons, the end credits of "Thunderball" is missing the tag, "James Bond will return in You Only Live Twice". I have no idea why and should not discourage you from purchasing the blu ray but it was an unexplained curiosity.
Originally, in 1965, the tag said "James Bond will return in On Her Majesty's Secret Service." This was left off subsequent prints when it was learned early on that Eon would not be making that film next and they were undecided which film they would be making. There is a new book called The Making of On Her Majesty's Secret Service written by Charles Helfenstein, although I haven't read it.

Did you finish that horror film?

Richard
 

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I ordered the three Connery Bond blu rays on ebay for less than $18 each and
finally got around to watching them. They look pretty much identical to the last
restored editions since they appeared to have been made from the first HD masters
which were first bumped down to standard DVD before being released in the high
definition format.

The added pixels increase the sharpness if you project them on a DLP and look as good
as a 35mm Technicolor print on my 10 foot screen. The mono tracks are available
along with the 5.1 remixes which sound better in my judgment.

The only flaw is that the few opticals look grainier on blu ray. The wipes and
opening rifle scope intos are noticeably grainy compared to the standard def
version which softens them a bit as did the Technicolor release prints. Otherwise,
the rest of the fades and dissolves look fine because the negatives were A & B rolled
to make the printing matrices.

I did notice one slight change in the transfer. In the standard DVD Exclusive
edition of "From Russia with Love", the scene when Bond and Tatiana steal
the truck at night was so dark you couldn't see what was going on. In the blu
ray it's a bit brighter with more detail which is an improvement.

I should mention that I had to install an upgrade on my Samsung blu ray player
before these discs would work. Before the upgrade, when I clicked play on the
menu none of them would start. I've heard others have had problems with these
discs too so you might want to do some web surfing before purchasing them to
see if your unit needs one.

For more info on the individual films you can refer to my earlier review of the
Ultimate Editions.


In summary: Picture quality, sound design, cinematography, perfomances, story and screenplay all A +.
Hello Richard, how are you sir? Its been a while............So, from your response, would you say its worth getting these Bonds overall??!!
 

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I know you're asking Mr. Haines, but if I may venture an opinion, absolutely yes the early Bonds are worth owning on Blu-ray. But that's a qualified yes on account of the DNR. The films are thoroughly scrubbed and polished of all dirt and damage at the expense of grain. You'll find more resolution in the Special Edition DVD's. Resolution as in film grain that's supposed to be there. Director of Photography Ted Moore used film grain in the service of the story. At times Moore intended for shadows to drop off into darkness, especially in From Russia With Love, but the Blu-rays are brightened more than they need to be. And yet the Blu-rays are stunning. The digital realm is a strange viewing experience sometimes. Buy the Blu-rays, but hold onto your Special Edition DVDs.

Richard
 

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What's incredible about "Dr. No" is that it was an inexpensive film.They really
stretched their budget to make it look like an "A" picture with Ted Moore's outstanding cinematography, Ken Adam's sets and of course Technicolor.
Hard to believe Dr. No's budget was only $900,000 (or 300,000 GPB), which was low even by 1961 standards. It was an independent film with a distribution deal in place from United Artists. UA had made money on adventure films directed by Terence Young before and they were known for scouring the independent market for viable films. UA took risks.

Richard
 
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