The fallout from The Man With The Golden Gun – the ninth movie within the long-running James Bond collection – got here dangerously near ending 007’s string of adventures. For a very long time earlier than, Bond was a stranger to failure. The worldwide triumph of 1964’s Goldfinger proved Bond to be a cinematic phenomenon that producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli have been eager to proceed. The lack of star Sean Connery in 1967 couldn’t deter them, however the harsh response to George Lazenby’s debut in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) signalled the primary inklings of Bond fatigue amongst audiences.
From then onward, the vital and monetary success of the Bond franchise started to fluctuate like by no means earlier than. Saltzman, Broccoli, and EON Productions have been on uncharted floor. Connery’s anticipated return in Diamonds Are Without end (1971) proved a profitable try at injury management, however his refusal to proceed despatched the producers again to the drafting board. Roger Moore, then well-known for British present The Saint, was a welcomed, although predictable, alternative who paid off. Stay and Let Die (1973) cured some distaste left by its predecessors and amounted a $161 million gross – probably the most profitable Bond film to that time.
However simply as a brand new profitable period was seemingly dawning, The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) set every thing again. Audiences didn’t end up like that they had earlier than, and the critiques have been scathing. Issues weren’t prettier behind the scenes as inventive tensions started to rise. Producer Broccoli handled this adversity as a wakeup name, and the inventive choices he made in its aftermath took type in The Spy Who Beloved Me (1977) – the wildly profitable Bond movie that echoes by means of the franchise to today.
On paper, The Man with the Golden Gun had the standard substances for fulfillment, in addition to some surprises. EON had once more enlisted the expertise integral to the collection’ early hits, together with director Man Hamilton, screenwriter Richard Maibaum, and composer John Barry, together with co-writer Tom Mankiewicz, who had labored on the previous two Bond movies. Swedish actress Britt Ekland and a villainous Christopher Lee joined Bond in an Asian journey that fused automotive chases and gun fights with break-neck martial arts – a transparent try to capitalize on the Bruce Lee movies of the period. However evidently, this enchantment was not sufficient.
Launched in December 1974, The Man with the Golden Gun failed to enhance on the heights of Stay and Let Die, with a surprising $70 million drop on the worldwide field workplace. Moreover, critics loathed what they noticed as campy humor, unrealistic struggle scenes, a messy narrative, an uneven tone, and a waste of nice concepts; Lee’s portrayal of Scaramanga – a darkish, mirror picture of Bond – was praised and nonetheless ranks excessive in Bond’s rogues’ gallery.
Exterior of such damaging phrase of mouth, The Man with the Golden Gun’s failure was attributed to its stiff competitors and lack of promoting. Distributor United Artists had an overconfidence in Bond’s clout after Stay and Let Die, and any potential thunder for The Man with the Golden Gun had been stolen by blockbusters like The Towering Inferno and The Godfather Half II, launched that very same month. Whereas The Man with the Golden Gun was not disastrous, there was nonetheless little cause for a Bond movie to fall up to now so rapidly. The dip was the final straw to Broccoli, who sought to retool as soon as he’d gotten over numerous hurdles hindering the Bond franchise total.
After The Man with the Golden Gun, inventive and authorized boundaries reared their head and have been sure to place Bond on ice. Conflicts between Saltzman and Broccoli had been brewing because the franchise started to see new lows. Pivotally, Saltzman had skilled quite a lot of private and monetary points that took a toll on him, and after some debt hassle with Swiss banks, he was finally compelled to promote his share of the Bond franchise.
The Spy Who Beloved Me had been deliberate since The Man with the Golden Gun’s wrap, however was beset with troubles all through improvement. First, a contract clause barred EON from adapting Ian Fleming’s unique novel, necessitating for the very first time an unique Bond screenplay. Additional, an injunction swimsuit filed by Thunderball producer Kevin McClory halted an preliminary back-to-basics strategy for The Spy Who Beloved Me, because it featured SPECTRE and Blofeld’s return to Bond after six years. Director Man Hamilton’s deliberate return was additionally stopped, prompted by The Spy Who Beloved Me’s fixed script rewrites and his dedication to Superman (finally directed by Richard Donner.) In a deliberate gamble to bolster the collection’ popularity, sole producer Brocolli doubled the funds and was intent to make The Spy Who Beloved Me on a grandiose scale harking back to the Connery movies, recruiting You Solely Stay Twice director Lewis Gilbert and manufacturing designer Ken Adam.
As soon as every thing had been secured, Broccoli and EON Productions had the inexperienced gentle to start manufacturing. These battles have been an uphill wrestle, rendering The Spy Who Beloved Me a very long time within the making. Three years appears nothing between Bond movies in hindsight, however it was an unprecedented absence and damage the momentum of a collection that had remained reliably constant for 12 years. An enormous query at EON was whether or not or not curiosity in Bond had been maintained by means of this lengthy interval, and whether or not The Spy Who Beloved Me’s launch would spell final doom or an excellent rebound for the collection.
The Spy Who Beloved Me’s poster proclaimed it was the most important Bond film but, and that’s certainly what it grew to become. EON’s gamble proved fruitful as The Spy Who Beloved Me overtook Stay and Let Die to develop into the collection’ greatest monetary hit, taking $184 million worldwide. Modern critiques have been very enthusiastic, and its legacy in Bond historical past is epitomised by the villain Stromberg and his underwater base, the long-lasting henchman Jaws, and the aquatic Lotus Esprit.
Whereas sure plot particulars have been suspiciously just like You Solely Stay Twice, this didn’t appear to hinder the movie’s vital success or legacy. It’s develop into identified for cementing the Moore period of Bond, particularly for rounding out Moore’s interpretation of the character. Somewhat than imitate Connery’s bluntness like within the earlier movies, director Gilbert helped Moore to play to his strengths, changing Connery’s sharpness with a gentlemanly appeal, whereas effortlessly retaining the trademark tongue-in-cheek humor.
The follow-up Moonraker took Bond to new heights in additional methods than one, breaking The Spy Who Beloved Me‘s monetary information with $210 million. The collection had low factors within the a long time after The Man with the Golden Gun, however Broccoli’s successors have taken notes from his motivation and perseverance to show failure into success. As evidenced within the transitions from Die One other Die to On line casino Royale, or Quantum of Solace to Skyfall, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have efficiently demonstrated their key to Bond’s distinctive longevity: to have humility, be taught from errors. and to push tougher within the face of inventive adversity, aiming to ship the most effective Bond journey attainable.
Subsequent: Why James Bond Films Stored Recasting Blofeld