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You Only Live Twice

March 28, 2013

You Only Live Twice (1967)
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Actors: Sean Connery, Donald Pleasence, Mie Hama

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Synopsis: A mysterious space rocket is swallowing up US and Soviet shuttles, pushing both countries to the brink of a nuclear war. James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent to Japan, to investigate the region where it is thought the evil operation is being conducted from.

Review: You Only Live Twice was probably the first time in the series where we could begin to see the clear establishing of a Bond ‘formula’: from an outlandish conspiracy and a larger than life megalomaniac villain, to a hugely iconic evil ‘lair’ and a high quota of action sequences. What makes You Only Live Twice more admissible than many of the later entrants to the series is that with its Roald Dahl screenplay, the outlandish elements that were soon to become tired seem quite novel and imaginative here. The concept of a terrorist organisation intercepting shuttles and hiding beneath a huge volcanic crater off the coast of Japan is ridiculously compelling, and You Only Live Twice gets great mileage out of essentially only being set in one country – Japan – rather than the more bland globetrotting of other Bond movies. As for the ‘outing’ of Blofeld in this movie – though a nice, ripe performance from Donald Pleasence, I preferred it when Blofeld remained more enigmatic, chilling and unseen in the likes of From Russia With Love and Thunderball(March 2013)

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