CineSavant Column

Tuesday October 10, 2023



Correspondent Michael McQuarrie sends along a welcome link to something I definitely remember from the past, a full 56 years ago, as a matter of fact.

This must be the first movie tie-in ‘special preview’ TV show I ever watched — at 15 years I was totally gone on James Bond 007, and lost to having a reasonable interest in worthy cultural events. I remember the show strongly because I opted out of attending a school club party that night, where there were going to be GIRLS. Life is life and one makes mistakes, but I have to say it was a long time before I realized that Real Things with Real People are more important than my petty movie obsessions.

The show is “Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond!”  I believe it played on ABC and was a huge ratings hit, scoring at the level attainable only by 007 and the Beatles. The IMDB says that the show aired on June 2, 1967 … which was a Friday, and I think our fancy club party was on a Friday.

The special was an expensive promotion for the Sean Connery Bond movie You Only Live Twice, and it promised to take us ‘inside’ the world of 007. But most of the show simply strung together scenes from the first four movies, and teased film clips of major set-piece scenes from the new movie, which became massive spoilers. An interesting bit at the end hints that the next Ian Fleming book in line for adaptation will be On Her Majesty’s Secret Service — but when Danjaq didn’t know Sean Connery would jump ship.

Like an obedient fan I saw the movie in its first weekend, but the fun was diminished by already being familiar with so much on screen. Frankly, the expensive set-piece action scenes weren’t assembled very well, either. We still love YOLT but have to pick and choose the things in it that are actually good.

Hopefully more Halloween horror is on the way — Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson