Writing’s on the Wall

Big night.

In a few hours seeing the latest Bond SPECTREcle, as a completion of my major 007 project. Quite a happy prospect.

It is also an existential quest, as always. My parents in law are moving out of town. They sold their place to a crazy Chinese Dutch entrepreneur, and will move to Vijfhuizen early February next year. This will be the last night I’m crashing here. Me and my little girl.

The pieces are always moving. Constantly. It is enough to drive any man crazy. Still searching for a littl’ bit of purpose, eh? Yesterday, I attended a conference for credit managers. Does that sound depressing? Not to me, I’m used to it. But… I did witness this kind of odd, kind of scary phenomenon. A Dutch super star CFO, yes they do exist, who made it big in Switzerland as finance chief of a major logistics company, attended the conference. He did a session on global working capital, which I covered for my finance platform. In the room, there were about 20 credit managers, 25 tops. And the CFO started the session by saying he reached the age of 66 and recently retired… So what right?

Now here’s the scary part. If this guy – who made it to the board of a multinational, and was in charge of thousands of people, and billions of euro’s worth of assets – is now doing speeches for a bunch of credit controllers, if that is his future, then WHAT THE HELL IS MY FUTURE GONNA LOOK LIKE? Or for any other sad chap around me? Yes, even for the likes of Brad Pitt. Because if that guy completed a movie… let’s say Se7en. He completed Se7en and it’s a huge hit, right? And for a while this mofo is the hottest shit on the planet, and everything’s great for him, BUT then this tropical wind of bliss will blow over, people will move over to the Next Gigantic Thing, and Pitt Boy will be left a sorry ass wanker. A sad tad. Yes, it is true. It is true because it’s experience.

There is nothing you can do. No way to become immortal. I don’t care if your name is Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs or Freddie Mercury. Today it is SPECTRE. Tomorrow some other big thing will come along. Welcome to human existence.

There is a cure though: alcohol.

I am sitting in the bar of the Krasnapolsky right now ordering wine 7 euro’s a glass. One after the other… I am meeting my homeboy Willem in 20 minutes. Then we’ll grab a bite and check in for my childhood hero. My hero still… I’ll report afterwards.

Editor’s Note: The rest of the notebook consists of nothing but incomprehensible scratchings. There is only one sentence readable. It says: ‘Live raw and always live in the moment’.

Writings on the Wall 2

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James Bond: 10 Greatest Villains

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’
Ernst Blofeld 2
Ernst Blofeld 1
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’
Francisco Scaramanga 2
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.

8. Kananga
Film: LIVE AND LET DIE
Played by: Yaphet Kotto
Quote: ‘At any cost – any – Bond must die’
Kananga 2
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?’
Maximilian Largo 1
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
Film: GOLDENEYE
Played by: Sean Bean
Quote: ‘Why can’t you just be a good boy and die?’
Alec Trevelyan 1
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’
Elektra King 1
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’
Max Zorin 2
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’
Karl Stromberg 1
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’
Franz Sanchez 1
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
Film: GOLDFINGER
Played by: Gert Fröbe
Quote: ‘No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!’
Auric Goldfinger 2
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.

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James Bond: 10 Finest Bond Girls

In anticipation of SPECTRE, FilmDungeon.com editor Jeppe Kleyngeld lists his favourite things about the James Bond series in 12 unique features. Enjoy!

10. Christmas Jones
Film: THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH
Played by: Denise Richards
Quote: ‘Was that a Christmas joke?’
Christmas Jones
How fine? Well very fine, but still Christmas is often considered to be the worst Bond Girl ever. Audiences should reconsider. Just look at those legs in her first appearance! Holy Jesus!! Off course it is ridiculous that this character is a nuclear scientist, but who cares about these things anyway? This was the first Bond film to win a Razzie as Denise Richards got one in the category Worst Supporting Actress.

9. Solitaire
Film: LIVE AND LET DIE
Played by: Jane Seymour
Quote: ‘The cards tell nothing to those who cannot see.’
Solitaire
How fine? ‘And Solitaire’s the only game in town…’ And she is fair game for Bond because her current boyfriend is fiendish druglord Kananga. Solitaire is a tarot reader who is initially confused when she draws the lovers’ card when reading for James, but soon she gives in to the romance. This beautiful, delicate woman is portrayed by the extraordinarily fine (and appropriately named for the part) Jane Seymour (See More get it?). Solitaire’s mother also worked for Kananga, but lost her power and became useless to him. Solitaire seems to be heading for a similar tragic fate, but luckily she meets James and all ends well for her. Check out Solitaire’s High Priestess tarot card, it is in the likeness of actress Jane Seymour.

8. Andrea Anders
Film: THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
Played by: Maud Adams
Quote: ‘I’ve dreamt about you setting me free….’
Andrea Anders
How fine? The stunning Swedish born ex-model Maud Adams plays Andrea. She is the highly attractive mistress of super assassin Scaramanga, but wants to get rid of him. She strongly believes that James is the man for the job. Unfortunately Scaramanga finds out about her betrayal and offs her. What a total waste! And Bond only had the chance to make love to her once. Luckily actress Maud Adams returns in OCTOPUSSY.

7. Natalya Simonova
Film: GOLDENEYE
Played by: Izabella Scorupco
Quote: ‘Do you destroy every vehicle you get into?’
Natalya Simonova
How fine? Very cute Russian lady who has both the brains and the beauty. She worked as a Level 2 programmer at the Severnaya facility of the Russian Space Forces, and didn’t lose her cool when the treacherous General Ouromov and associate Xenia Onatopp caused a bloodbath within the facility. As the knowledgeable sole survivor, she is the perfect partner for James to take on his mission to track the missing GoldenEye satellite. As an intermezzo, they make love a few times.

6. Major Anya Amasova / Agent XXX
Film: THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
Played by: Barbara Bach
Quote: ‘Commander James Bond, recruited to the British Secret Service from the Royal Navy. Licensed to kill and has done so on numerous occasions.’
Major Anya Amasova
How fine? In Anya Amasova, Bond has met his equal. She is tough, professional and pretty. Initially, she wants to kill Bond as revenge for the death of her lover (also an agent). But after she executed a mission with James, she can no longer resist his charm. The perfect spy romance.

5. Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo
Film: ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE
Played by: Diana Rigg
Quote: ‘The only thing you need to know about me is that I pay my debts.’
Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo
How fine? When we first meet Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, known as Tracy, she wants to commit suicide by walking into the Ocean, but she is rescued by James. This troubled girl is the daughter of a powerful business man and is used to getting all that she desires, but she is unhappy nonetheless. Until she falls in love with James and he with her. It is easy to see why. She is kind and has this sort of majestic beauty, so when Bond asks her to marry him, it feels 100% natural. Only tragically it cannot last. Right after the wedding she is shot and killed by Blofeld’s partner in crime Irma Bunt.

4. Pussy Galore
Film: GOLDFINGER
Played by: Honor Blackman
Quote: ‘You can turn off the charm. I’m immune.’
Pussy Galore

How fine?
True, her name is a bit embarrassing, but whenever Bond calls her Pussy, it sounds like beautiful music. Pussy is a great pilot and very sexy. She works for the bad guy initially, but switches sides halfway after her intermezzo with James in the stables. The character is probably based on Blanche Blackwell, a Jamaican of Anglo-Jewish descent, who is thought to have been the lover of Bond creator Ian Fleming during his later life.

3. Melina Havelock
Film: FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
Played by: Carole Bouquet
Quote: ‘I don’t expect you to understand, you’re English, but I’m half Greek and Greek woman like Elektra always avenge their loved ones!’
Melina Havelock

How fine?
Melina Havelock is a black-haired Greek beauty that is passionate about taking revenge on the murderers of her parents. Armed with a crossbow, she sets out to find them and meets James underway. He naturally falls for her beauty (that hair, my god!). And she falls for him as well, but not before she has had her revenge. Then he gets to see her whole beauty, but not the viewers. ‘For your eyes only, darling.’

2. Vesper Lynd
Film: CASINO ROYALE
Played by: Eva Green
Quote: ‘Am I going to have a problem with you, Mr. Bond?’
Vesper Lynd
How fine? Vesper Lynd is a classy girl with a gorgeous appearance. She is without a doubt the most beautiful and sexy accountant who ever lived… Makes James want to quit his job, so that is telling of how fine Vesper is.

1. Honey Rider
Film: DR. NO
Played by: Ursula Andress
Quote: ‘You smell nicer already.’
Honey Rider
How fine? The shot in which she comes walking out of the water in bikini is breathtaking. That image alone makes Honey Rider the iconic Bond girl. But besides beauty, she has substance as well. Her father was a marinist, looking for special sea shells all over the world until he disappeared on Key Crab, Dr. No’s secret island. Honey has picked up her father’s trade. She is a ballsy woman, not afraid to visit the dangerous island where the metal-handed Dr. No executes his evil nuclear plans. She shows her courage again when she attacks Dr. No’s henchman to help Bond. In short; very pretty, smart, nice and spicy. The perfect Bond girl cocktail.

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James Bond: 10 Best Pre-Credit Scenes

In anticipation of SPECTRE, FilmDungeon.com editor Jeppe Kleyngeld lists his favourite things about the James Bond series in 12 unique features. Enjoy!

The 10 Best Pre-Credit Scenes 


10. Die Another Day
Die Another Day 1
Multi-dollar action sequence in North Korea, featuring terrific hovercrafts and high-tech weaponry. In his last performance as Bond, Brosnan comes surfing in on this high stakes assassination mission. The images have a very bleak colour, fitting and stylish for the North Korean setting. Most of the action consists of a hovercraft chase through a damp North Korean forest.

9. Licence to Kill
License to Kill
Felix Leiter’s wedding is rudely interrupted by the DEA. They are after a South American drug lord who is currently on the Bahamas’ and they enlist CIA-agent Leiter to catch him. Bond goes along for the ride, but ‘strictly as an observer’. Yeah right. It is too much to explain all that happens next, but it’s very good stuff. It ends in a brilliant stunt, namely a DEA helicopter that plucks Sanchez’s plane straight out of the sky. Leiter and Bond still make it to the wedding in time by parachute.

8. Octopussy
Octopussy 1
Octopussy 2
007 becomes a one man army in this adrenaline fuelled start of OCTOPUSSY. He pretends to be Colonel Luis Toro in order to enter a heavily armed enemy base in Cuba to place a bomb. But he is caught, so he has to go with Plan B. That involves attacking the base with a micro airplane, being chased by a heat seeking missile and using that to blow up the main hangar (where the enemy’s secret weapons are stored). Off course he also snugs a girl during all of this. That is how you fulfil your objectives in style.

7. Thunderball
Thunderball 3
James attends the funeral of Colonel Jacques Bouvar, an operative from SPECTRE (Number 6). On his coffin are the initials JB and Bond remarks that he would have liked killing Bouvar himself for murdering two of his colleagues. Later, Bond goes to the château of Bouvar where he identifies his foe disguised as his own widow. A spectacular fight ensues in which no piece of furniture is left unused. After Bond killed Bouvar with a fire poke, he makes a spectacular escape using a jetpack and his Aston Martin DB5. Very cool sequence that sucks you right into the movie.

6. For Your Eyes Only
For Your Eyes Only
It took a while, but James finally gets his revenge on his arch enemy Ernst Stravro Blofeld for murdering his wife Teresa in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE. This credit sequence has no direct link with the story in FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, but does fit the central ‘revenge’ theme. Bond is called away while visiting his deceased wife’s grave. As he approaches Blofeld’s hide-out, the controls of his chopper are taken over by the old SPECTRE leader. After Blofeld has toyed with him for a while, Bond manages to take back control of the chopper again, scoops up Blofeld and drops him in a factory chimney. ‘Mr. Bond’, he pleads, ‘We can do a deal. I’ll buy you a delicatessen. In stainless steal.’

5. Casino Royale
Casino Royale 1
This back-to-the-beginning entry in the series opens with a grainy black and white sequence in which Bond earns his Double 0-status. We learn it takes two kills to become a Double 0. The first one is a real die hard kill in a men’s room. But the second one is considerably easier. Nice to meet you, Mr. Bond.

4. Skyfall
Skyfall 1
SKYFALL opens with a massive pursuit through Turkey. Bond needs to get his hands on a stolen list with identities of secret agents. He chases the bad guy on foot, by car, by bike and by train. With trademark humour (‘just changing carriages’) and plenty of demolition. The perfect opening for Bond’s 50th anniversary movie.

3. You Only Live Twice
You Only Live Twice 1
It begins with the brutal space jacking of Jupiter 16, an American spacecraft. With the cold war going on, the Americans are quick to accuse the Russians, but her Majesty’s government does not agree. Their sources say the enemy’s spacecraft has landed in Japan, so all secret intelligence should look in that direction. ‘Our man in Hong Kong is on it right now’, says a British official. Cut to James Bond making love to a Chinese girl. Soon after, Bond is executed off screen and the police finds his dead body. Surely, James can not be dead? Very suspenseful opening of the fifth official Bond movie.

2. The Spy Who Loved Me
The Spy Who Loved Me
A submarine hijacking, a terrific skiing purchase, the classic British flag escape… This is how you start a Bond movie. The action is also a set-up for the plot, unlike the usual standalone pre-credit scenes. Bond kills a Russian agent who happens to be the lover of a female Russian spy (the gorgeous Triple X) who James will very soon meet…

1. GoldenEye
GoldenEye 2
It is a breath-taking moment, when James bungee jumps of a massive dam in Russia. After that comes the toilet joke (‘beg your pardon, forgot to knock’), the first we see of Pierce Brosnan’s humorous take on 007. After that it is action time with Bond and colleague 006, who are assigned to destroy a chemical weapons factory. After 006 gets killed by General Ouromov, Bond makes a very narrow escape by pulling an unbelievable airplane stunt. Spectacular opening in every way.

007

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