Monday, November 05, 2012

Countdown to SKYFALL #1: Down The Gun Barrel On Bond

Since the 23rd James Bond movie, Sam Mendes’ SKYFALL, releases in 4 days, and also because it's the 50th anniversary of the series, I thought it would be cool to have some 007-centric posts leading up to my review of the highly anticipated film.

First, I thought I'd babble about one of my favorite parts of every Bond movie - the gun barrel opening, created by Maurice Binder. It's a piece of pure '60s pop art that I always love seeing. Check out this cut all of the previous 22 gun barrel sequences together in chronological order into this 9:09 clip from YouTube:


It's fun to see them back to back, because you get a mini-history of the actors who played Bond and see that Sean Connery and one-timer George Lazenby wore hats, Roger Moore mostly wore a tux (they use the same footage of Moore 5 times), and Pierce Brosnan also wore a tux but struck less of a pose than his predecessors.

Incidentally the first 3 gun barrels aren't Connery, they're stuntman Bob Simmons. For THUNDERBALL, they shot one of Connery that was first shown in color, then in reused in black and white in his next 2 Bonds for reasons unknown.

They re-use the same footage of Brosnan throughout his run too, but they add the bullet coming right at you in DIE ANOTHER DAY. Daniel Craig's first film as 007, 2006's CASINO ROYALE, doesn't open it with the gun barrel bit; it comes at the end of the cold opening leading into the theme song. 

In 2008's QUANTUM OF SOLACE, it appears at the end of the movie before the credits roll. Will it be back to the beginning of SKYFALL to pay homage to the tradition? We shall soon see.

I also love how the above montage of gun barrels works as a mini-history of how Monty Norman's (or John Barry's, uh, it's complicated) “James Bond Theme” changed to suit the times over the years. Listen how it starts out orchestral, then gets vamped up with surf-guitar, becomes slightly funk-ified in the '70s, and all techno-ized in the '90s.

The gun barrel sequence has been parodied many times, too many to list (though I'm sure a site somewhere does), but here's my top 5:

The Simpsons: “And Maggie Makes Three” (Aired: Jan. 22, 1995)

Monty Python's Flying Circus: “The Pantomime Horse Is A Secret Agent” Film from episode 30: “Blood, Devastation, Death, War and Horror” (Aired: Nov. 9, 1972)

Robot Chicken: “Dear Customer” (Aired: Dec. 6, 2009)

Saturday Night Live: Steve Martin as James Bond in “Bullets Aren't Cheap” (Broadcast: Oct. 17th, 1987)

Lego James Bond Gun Barrel Sequence (source unknown)

More later...

No comments: