Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 (2012)

Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 is a documentary that explores how the James Bond movies have become the longest-running film franchise in history. It was made for television, though it got a brief theatrical run in Great Britain.  The purpose of the film was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movies, which began in 1962 with Dr. No and ended most recently with 2012's Skyfall.

The film starts with a look at how author Ian Fleming, himself a former intelligence agent, created suave super-spy James Bond. Then the movie examines how Albert "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman became partners and acquired the rights to make the films.  All of the actors who have played Bond onscreen -- Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig offer commentary throughout the movie, although Connery's comments seems to have come from pre-existing recordings.

It was interesting to see the passion behind the films, and to hear about the troubles behind the scenes as well.  Connery left the franchise because he was dissatisfied with the money he was making. Lazenby tells why he was fired after only one appearance as Bond. There's the fascinating tale of how a man named Kevin McClory held the rights to Fleming's book "Thunderball" which led to decades of litigation. It was interesting to hear about the dissolving of the Broccoli-Saltzman partnership, how Pierce Brosnan got a second chance to be Bond after NBC surprisingly un-cancelled his TV series "Remington Steele", and how most of the powers that be did not want Daniel Craig to be hired as Bond.

The children of Broccoli and Saltzman also contribute to the narrative, as do a few of the Bond directors and other friends and relatives of the principals. Even Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton endorse Bond.

If the film has a flaw, I would say that it is too abbreviated.  I would have liked to have seen more film clips, some info on the onscreen Bond villains, and a little more of the supporting cast of Bond characters. That's quibbling though. What Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 accomplished most is that it whetted my appetite to watch all 23 of the Bond films in chronological order.  I thoroughly enjoyed this overview of Bond's success. Grade: A-.

I watched Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 via Netflix Streaming on April 1, 2013.

Fun fact: Broccoli and Saltzman's partnership was EON Productions, which was allegedly an acronym for the phrase "Everything or Nothing."

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