In anticipation of SPECTRE, FilmDungeon.com editor Jeppe Kleyngeld lists his favourite things about the James Bond series in 12 unique features. Enjoy!
10. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Films: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, THUNDERBALL, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN
Played by: Anthony Dawson, Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, Charles Gray, John Hollis, Max von Sydow
Quote: ‘Let his death be a particularly unpleasant and humiliating one’
Why memorable: Ernst Blofeld is the arch villain of the Bond series. As leader (Nr. 1) of SPECTRE, he is cunning and rotten to the core. He appears in seven Bond films and is finally killed by Bond (thrown in factory chimney by helicopter) in the pre-title sequence of FOR YOUR EYES ONLY. This is Bond’s revenge for the death of his first and only wife at the hands of Blofeld in AT YOUR MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE. Blofeld is played by a different actor in almost each of the seven movies he appears in and they all have a slightly different interpretation of the role. My favourite interpretation of Blofeld is the one performed by Donald Pleasence in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (photo).
9. Francisco Scaramanga
Film: THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
Played by: Christopher Lee
Quote: ‘My name is Scaramanga. Francisco Scaramanga. I feel I know you, although I never thought we should ever really meet’
Why memorable: An assassin with a golden gun who charges a million bucks per hit, but he is willing to do James Bond for free. It is all about the challenge for this pistol artist who grew up in a circus. Great portrayal by the dark and handsome Christopher Lee. He makes Scaramanga a truly dangerous and respectable opponent. Bond’s employer MI6 has evaluated Scaramanga as one of the finest shots in the world, and M authorizes Bond to assassinate the KGB-trained gunman – if he can.
Film: LIVE AND LET DIE
Played by: Yaphet Kotto
Quote: ‘At any cost – any – Bond must die’
Why memorable: After Blofeld has been the villain for three Bond movies in a row, it was time for something else. Kananga is a power-hungry political baddy with a taste for voodoo and sadism. He is also a drug manufacturer. On his island San Monique he has thousands of acres of poppy (heroin) fields, protected by the Voodoo threat of Kananga’s accomplice Baron Samedi. Then there is Kananga’s alter ego, the New Orleans based Mr. Big, distributer and wholesaler of the product through his chain of Fillet of Soul restaurants. Kananga/Mr. Big is excellently portrayed by character actor Yaphet Kotto as a frustrated, angry, impatient and violent bully. Kananga is named after Ross Kananga, owner of the crocodile farm featured in the movie.
7. Maximilian Largo
Film: THUNDERBALL, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN
Played by: Adolfo Celi, Klaus Maria Brandauer
Quote: ‘Do you lose as gracefully as you win?’
Why memorable: Icy villain that works for SPECTRE as head of its extortion operations, under the organization’s leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Appears in both THUNDERBALL and unofficial remake NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. I am personally more a fan of the second interpretation. Largo’s cover is that he is a well known millionaire and philanthropist. Largo’s two main headquarters are his super-yacht The Flying Saucer and a Moorish castle Palmyra located on the north coast of Africa. He seems very friendly and controlled, but all of a sudden he can get real psychopathic. A very scary acting job by Austrian character actor Klaus Maria Brandauer.
6. Alec Trevelyan
Played by: Sean Bean
Quote: ‘Why can’t you just be a good boy and die?’
Why memorable: Former colleague and friend of Bond who faked his own death and comes back nine years later to extract revenge on Britain for what happened to his parents in the war. This leader of the Janus Crime Syndicate is very angry and hateful making him an interesting antagonist. For James this is the first time he faces a former friend, but naturally he stays true to Britain. Sean Bean is excellent as the vengeful Trevelyan, whose face is scarred due to Bond, making him even more hungry for payback.
5. Elektra King
Film: THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH
Played by: Sophie Marceau
Quote: ‘I always had a power over men. Nobody can resist me’
Why memorable: THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH is the first James Bond movie where the main villain is a woman. This is revealed later in the film when Elektra is already a major love interest for James. She turns out to be pretty cold. She murdered her own father because she felt he hadn’t helped her sufficiently when she was kidnapped. Now she wants revenge on M, who worked together with her father during the kidnapping. Elektra is very sexy, smart, manipulative and above all: deadly. In short, the perfect Bond villain.
4. Max Zorin
Film: A VIEW TO A KILL
Played by: Christopher Walken
Quote: ‘Intuitive improvisation is the secret of genius’
Why memorable: A mad evil doctor did experiments on pregnant woman during the Second World War to enhance the intelligence of babies. Most of the women had miscarriages, but Max Zorin is one of the doctor’s success stories. He is extremely intelligent, but the treatment had a side effect: he is utterly psychotic as well. Zorin was trained by and long-affiliated with the KGB. Then he became a successful business man, first in oil, then in microchips. Zorin forms a plan to destroy his only competition in Silicon Valley by triggering a massive earthquake in the San Andreas Fault at high tide, causing the valley to flood. Zorin is completely ruthless and displays a total lack of loyalty towards his own men, as shown when he mows down hundreds of his own mine workers with a machine gun, laughing psychotically while doing it. He even betrays his own right hand woman May Day. Besides killing, he also has a strong passion for horse racing.
3. Karl Stromberg
Film: THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
Played by: Curt Jurgens
Quote: ‘Cancel transfer of 20 million dollars. Inform next of kin that a tragic accident has resulted in the deaths of Professor Markovitz and Dr. Bechmann. The funeral was at sea’
Why memorable: Shipping tycoon Karl Stromberg is, along with Hugo Drax in the follow-up MOONRAKER, the most ambitious Bond villain and among the most rich and powerful (and crazy). His masterplan is to destroy the world via a nuclear war and create a new civilisation under the sea. He can best be characterised as insane maniac who thinks he is God. Stromberg reclusively lives in his sea station ‘Atlantis’ that has a spectacularly beautiful aquarium that contains several rare species, but also sharks that he uses to feed his disloyal underlings to. Prefers not to shake hands.
2. Franz Sanchez
Film: LICENCE TO KILL
Played by: Robert Davi
Quote: ‘I just want you to know that this is nothing personal. It’s purely business’
Why memorable: Robert Davi plays the role of a lifetime as Franz Sanchez, a ruthless druglord who is completely believable in his cruel practices. From the moment he is introduced, he is evil and menacing. His first acts shown to us are whipping his girlfriend for cheating and having her lover’s heart cut out. Soon after, he throws Bond’s best friend Felix Leiter to the sharks. When LICENCE TO KILL came out, newspapers were full of cocaine kings like Sanchez, making him a very current villain at the time.
1. Auric Goldfinger
Played by: Gert Fröbe
Quote: ‘No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!’
Why memorable: Industrial tycoon and criminal mastermind that wants to increase the value of his gold supply (approx. 10 times) by blowing a nuclear bomb in the vault of Fort Knox, making the entire gold supply of the United States radioactive for 60 years. His plan is so ambitious that he must be a lunatic. He is, but still comes pretty close to achieve his operation Grand Slam, killing many people along the way, including the turned Jill Masterson, who is found covered in gold paint. ‘It’s the kiss of death…’. What makes Goldfinger so intriguing – apart from his brilliant name – is his love for gold. ‘All my life, I’ve been in love with its colour, brilliance and divine heaviness.’ He dies by getting sucked out of an airplane cabin through a window that Bond has shot.