Klaus Maria Brandauer
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|Worldwide Box Office
Fatima Blush: "Oh, how reckless of me: I made you all wet!"
Bond: "Yes, but my martini is still dry."
||7 Oct 1983
||30 Nov 1983
|| 8 Dec 1983
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||16 Dec 1983
||26 Dec 1983
||20 Jan 1984
||20 Jan 1984
Facts And History
Although Never Say Never Again was not released until
1983 – the same year Eon released their thirteenth
installment in the James Bond canon: Octopussy –
the film’s history begins 24 years earlier,
when Kevin McClory and scriptwriter Jack Whittingham
collaborated with Ian Fleming on a series of original
treatments and scripts in 1959-60. These scripts
evolved into the basis for Thunderball, which was
intended to be released in 1960 as the first 007
There were concerns, however, with McClory being
the producer on the film, and in 1961, Fleming
published Thunderball as a novel (plagiarizing Whittingham’s
script on over 200 pages with no acknowledgments),
and signed a movie deal with Cubby Broccoli and
they got the short end of the stick, McClory
and Whittingham began taking legal action against
Fleming for his plagiarism; but wanting to move
forward with their deal, Broccoli and Saltzman
dropped Thunderball and
moved forward with Dr. No (with Richard Maibaum
writing). Dr. No was
released in 1962, and Broccoli and Saltzman
(under the title of ‘Eon Productions’)
moved forward with their next 007 film, From
Russia With Love.
In December 1963, McClory and Fleming settled
out of court. McClory was given the film rights
to Thunderball (including Blofeld and SPECTRE);
but lacking financial support, he eventually
Eon for backing, and Thunderball was released
in theaters in 1965. According to the agreement
between McClory and Eon, Eon was permitted
to continue using Blofeld and SPECTRE after
for the next 10 years.
"Good to see you
Mr. Bond. Things have been awfully dull around
here. I hope we're going to see some gratuitous
sex and violence!"
Above: Roger Moore in "Octopussy" was in direct competition with this McClory film.
In 1976, McClory and Sean Connery began writing the
script for a new 007 adventure (to be entitled either
Warhead, Warhead 8, or James Bond of the Secret Service),
based on Thunderball, but United Artists filed suit,
and McClory did not have the financial backing for
another legal battle, so plans were scrapped temporarily.
Eon also planned, in early
scripts, on using Blofeld
and SPECTRE for its upcoming production of The Spy
Who Loved Me, but upon McClory’s objection,
Blofeld was replaced with Karl
Stromberg, and all
references to SPECTRE were removed.
Then in the early 1980s, McClory
met producer Jack Schwartzman, and they began working
on the Warhead
project again. Receiving financial backing from Warner
Bros., they won a court case granting McClory the
right to make his 007 film, as long as it was a basically
a remake of Thunderball. Lorenzo Semple Jr. went
to work on a new script, and in October 1983, Sean
Connery returned as James Bond, Agent 007 in McClory
and Schwartzman’s Never Say Never Again.
Above: Kevin McClory, Executive
Producer onboard "Never Say Never Again".
‘Unofficial’ Bond Film?
Although Never Say Never Again stars Sean Connery
as James Bond, and although the story is based
strongly on Thunderball (which is considered
part of the official 007 series), Never Say
Never Again has always been billed as an ‘unofficial’
Bond film, for the simple reason that it was
not originally produced/released under the
mantle, and was intended as competition for
the official series.
Ultimately, the 'official' series was the victor, with Octopussy
beating Never Say Never Again at the 1983 box
office - by a margin of $23 million.
In 1997, MGM did acquire
the rights to this movie from Sony (who bought
MGM with a group of investors in 2005),
is currently distributed for television alongside
films from the official series, but most
still view Never Say Never Again as a one-off
spin-off from the official series and not
of the official canon.
Did You Know?
Besides Sean Connery, only one other actor was involved
in both Thunderball and Never Say Never Again –
Robert Rietty provided the voice for Emilio
Largo in Thunderball, and he played the Italian
Minister in Never Say Never Again. Five people were
involved in technical aspects of both films: Michael
White, Lionel Strutt, George Leech, Ricou Browning,
and Jordan Klein Sr.
Images courtesy Amazon Associates