Opinion - And Twice Is The Only Way To Live!
20th June 2007
In the fourth part of the special "And Twice Is
The Only Way To Live" series, cast and crew members from
the production look back on the film on its 40th anniversary.
Vic Armstrong - On His First 007 Adventure...
I received a phone call from a mate of mine, Bill Weston.
“I’ve got a contract you can have, Vic”, he
said. “I can’t do it.” Bill was doubling for
Keir Dullea in 2001 and it was going on forever. Meanwhile, this
movie was under way at Pinewood Studios called You
Only Live Twice. “Just tell them you’re replacing
me.” I couldn’t believe it. I tore up to Pinewood
and was directed to the backlot, where the famous “007 Stage”
stands today. Back then it was just barren ground, out of which
had temporarily sprouted a mass of scaffolding. Inside was a marvel
of set design – a volcano rocket base, the new headquarters
of SPECTRE. I was gobsmacked.
I haven’t seen a set to this day as big as that. I met the
film’s action coordinator, the legendary Bob Simmons. Pointing
up to the roof Bob said, “We want somebody to slide down
there on a rope firing a gun –think you can do that?”
I said, “Yeah, piece of cake.”
||Virtually every stunt man in England had been brought in
for this battle sequence and others besides. There were mini
cab drivers, strong-arm men, drug dealers, spivs, everyone
you could think of – real tearaways, but fantastic characters.
They brought in girls by pretending they were holding auditions
for the next Bond movie and filmed them doing the most outrageous
things. And they got away with it. You’d be locked up
and they’d throw away the key these days. And you could
buy anything you wanted on that set. Smoked salmon, sherry,
toys, anything – it was all in the back of their cars.
All these things were going on. It was hysterical.
The first thing everyone had to learn was how
to slide down from the roof ninja-style, using a piece of rubber
hose that we could squeeze on the rope to break the fall. At the
top it was scary as hell – 125 feet between you and the
studio floor. If you let go of the rope, you were a goner. On
one take this guy came hurtling down, whoosh, straight into the
ground. The director yelled “Cut!” and everyone ran
back to their starting positions except this one guy who was still
moaning “Aarghhh!” I thought, “He’s a
good actor!” We walked over and he had broken both ankles.
He was in agony.
On that movie, I caught my first sighting
of a star I’d work with many times in the future,
Sean Connery. But I was a nobody in those days and the stars
walked on rarified air way from the workers. So I never
met Sean back then. He was just God, brought in and out
of the set, a bit like the Pope arriving at the Vatican
for a service. He came in on his little cart and went out
again, stopping only for a few Hail Marys.
By far my biggest job in movies to date,
You Only Live Twice was a massive learning curve for me,
just being around so many stunt men, soaking up their experiences.
And I learned so much from Bob Simmons. Even today when
I see that volcano sequence I get a huge kick out of knowing
that I’m the fist ninja coming down, guns blazing.
-- Vic Armstrong, 2005
(Excerpted from Vic Armstrong’s column
in Cinema Retro magazine #4. Reprinted with permission. The
covers Bond-related stories in every issue. Visit www.cinemaretro.com)
Vic Armstrong's first James Bond
film was You Only Live Twice
where he was an uncredited stuntman. He went to work on a further
XX 007 adventures, culminating in an Second Unit Director role
for 2002's Die Another Day. He
is the world's most prolific stuntman according to The Guinness
Book of World Records.
Shane Rimmer - On The Acting Challenges..
right in the middle of a lot of work with Gerry Anderson,
mostly writing for him at that point – Thunderbirds,
Captain Scarlet and that sort of thing. Occasionally I
would provide the voices for guest characters. All of
I had to act visually again – of course on the other
projects I was doing voice work and I didn’t have
to present myself in front of the camera.
The tough thing about You
Only Live Twice was that the control console was
staggering. It was huge! Every bit of space on it was
occupied by a
dial or a button or a gage. So, you could go through the
sequence once but there were going to be retakes. You’d
either do it all again, or just bits and pieces of it.
Remembering what button did what, on top of the fact that it had
to coincide with whatever you were talking about, was a challenger. It
was a tracking device – trying
to keep track of this run-away rocket. That was tough, your heart
was in your mouth! I’m sure a couple of times I did it,
the sequence wasn’t quite the same. You just had to have
blind faith and hope to God that it made sense. It was quite
a staggering piece of machinery to get used to. That was about
the most memorable experience from my point of view. -- Shane Rimmer,
Shane Rimmer was born in Toronto,
Canada. After a successful career in Canadian Radio & T.V.
he was brought to England in the late 50’s by Director Richard
Lester to appear in an ITV Network Special. He stayed on to appear
in 50 films in the U.K. & Europe.
Wing Commander Ken Wallis - On Flying Little Nellie...
I hadn't been in a James Bond film before in
fact, I knew of them, but I hadn't even seen one. I didn't
realize what the long term effect that it would have. It was
wonderful and I must say that I got on with everyone well.
It was a bit like typical filmmaking where you have to do the
shot time and time again it was some interesting flying. I
had been to Japan before but that was with the atom bomb but
this was after the war. So very different…
It was wonderful I didn't realize
the long term effect that it would have, when I talk about Autogyro’s people aren’t
to sure what but then if you say well did you ever see the James
Bond film You Only Live Twice
they know exactly what you're talking about.
still a big girl it took me a while to remember why she was called
Little Nellie, it was because of my nickname early in the war,
from the musical star Nellie Wallace not Wallis but nearly the
same. So the name Nellie stuck with me. -- Wing Commander Ken
Wing Commander Kenneth Wallis
MBE, DEng (hc), CEng, FRAeS, FSETP, PhD (hc), RAF (Ret'd), is
one of the leading exponents of autogyros. He has held 34 records
relating to them. He provided and flew Little Nellie in the James
Bond film You Only Live Twice. and is President of the Norfolk
& Suffolk Aviation Museum.
Nancy Sinatra - On Performing
I was panic stricken from the very beginning of the whole
procedure. I would rather have root canal surgery than go
through that again!
Only Live Twice was difficult in a lot of ways. The
fact that is was quite rangey, and I wasn't used to that,
I was used to my little octave and a half. I even asked
John [Barry], are you sure you want me to do this, because
maybe you need Shirley Bassey? But they said no, we want
you, we want your sound.
There were bad notes, they just editted
it together. They didn't want to embarrass me. I tried
best - I was 26 years old and really scared. But there
is a sweetness to it that the other Bond songs just don't
have. -- Nancy Sinatra, 2007
Nancy Sinatra is an American
singer and actress, best known for her 1966 signature hit
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". She is the
daughter of popular singer Frank Sinatra, and performed
the title song for "You Only Live Twice".
Above: Singer Nancy Sinatra and composer
John Barry at CTS studios recording the theme song in 1967
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