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You Only Live Twice| James Bond Film | Hollywood Movie Reviews

Fifth in the James Bond film series, this was the first film which do not follow the book. It took some characters and locations from the book but goes with entire new story. The trend then was followed in other Bond movies. The poster of the movie says [Sean Connery Is James Bond (in) Ian Fleming’s] You Only Live Twice …and “Twice” is the only way to live!.

Movie :
You Only Live Twice
Producers : Harry Saltzman, Albert R. Broccoli
Director :
Lewis Gilbert
Screenplay :
Based On : You Only Live Twice by
Starring : Sean Connery (James Bond), Akiko Wakabayashi (Aki), Mie Hama (Kissy Suzuki), Donald Pleasence (Ernst Stavro Blofeld), Tetsurō Tamba (Tiger Tanaka), Teru Shimada (mr. Osato), Karin Dor (Helga Brandt), Bernard Lee (M), Charles Gray (Dikko Henderson), Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Ronald Rich (Hans), Tsai Chin (ling), and others…

We see that in the Orbit, an astronaut got out to do some stuff form a spacecraft by USA. He was linked with the spacecraft physically and communicating with his fellow in the space craft and the base station. All of a sudden they see another spacecraft approaching their way. It was way big in the size. Before they could realize anything the another spacecraft (unidentified) grabs the US spacecraft within it. And the physical connection of the astronaut (who was out of US spacecraft) was broken and he left free in the Orbit!!

The scenes are taken with good care but we see the camera was shivering a little (especially when a spacecraft grabbed by the another). May be it is to create the effects of reality.

It resulted into an immediate international meetup where USA was blaming USSR for the same and they warn them that the similar act is considered as the act of war! However USSR denied that it played any role in the mishap. British govt. representative affirms that USA is right at its place though they deny the role of USSR in the same. And it ultimate resulted to the British secret service MI6 (and hence James Bond – the agent of 007)’s involvement in the investigation of the same!

James Bond was in China at the time and he was attacked in the hotel and got dead on the spot! The attack left no chance of self-defense for James Bond.

As James was a Naval commander his dead body in a coffin was dropped into the deep sea for the last voyage. We then see the British Navy staff (different segment) re-collects the water-proof coffin from the sea and when it was opened, James was alive in there. We got to know that in order to fool the opponents, false assassination of Bond was planned. So now enemy think to have no fear from that side and Bond who is dead (for the world) can keep running the investigation freely.

A nice theme! right?

Due to suspicions and found of some evidences which lead to the Japanese sea Bond’s area of operations now is Japan. It is worth to note that the movie explores some Japanese culture related stuff in details. Especially a Japanese marriage. Almost all the Bond movies explore the International canvas. But no other movie explore such stuff in such details. Actually, it is worth to note the Ian Fleming himself wrote in detail about the Japanese stuff in his book.

Bond in Japan was contacted by Aki, assistant to the Japanese secret service leader Tiger Tanaka. Who is very co-operative with him and supports him till the end. The meeting of Bond and Tiger Tanaka was quite melodramatic. But before meeting him, James Bond has to meet Dikko Henderson, an MI6 operative in Japan. He knows some facts about the stuff and was telling Bond that it was no Russia involved in the mishap, but, before he can finish who is actually involved in the same, he got killed in front of Bond!

Bond chases the killer and ultimately overpowers him and kill him. Then with the link of his getaway car Bond was landed to Osato Chemicals. Here he infiltrates and get into the office of the boss of the company and steals some document there. However he was in danger as the men of the Mr. Osato, the president of the company were chasing him. But, he is James Bond, so he was saved on time by Aki. Which lead him to Tiger Tanaka.

What happens now? Who was responsible for the stuff? Does Mr. Osato play any role in the mishap? Will any of other Bond’s support got killed in the course? All, the questions are answered while watching the film.

Sean Connery is the perfect choice for Bond of course. Though it was the movie from when the alternative of him is started to hunt for. The Japanese actors played their part pretty well. Finding two Japanese girls who played main part was difficult task as most of the chosen ones were not good at English. The locales are explored pretty well. The screenplay is good. It is interesting to note that the original novel by Ian Fleming was considered as a kind of travelogue and not much scope to make a movie from, at least the production team thought so. So the screenplay writer have to do a lot of work and then the screenplay was adopted properly into the movie. The Little Nellie autogyro (the small helicopter) played a vital role in the movie and shooting for the same was lenghty, costly and difficult process. The volcano base of the SPECTRE was created in a studio, with operative helipad and monorail. It is said that the set costs around USD 1million! The first half of the movie is quite good and the second half escalates the stuff a little more. It gives sometimes the feelings of having flows in the story. The areal scenes are a must to mention positive stuff of the film.

It was no doubt a good watch for the Bond movie lovers.

Interesting Facts:

  • Actually – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – was intended to be made instead of – You Only Live Twice. But the hunt for high and snowy location requires significant time. Which made the producers to go for this film.
  • Originally the SPECTRE headquarters was a shore fortress. But during the search for the locations in Japan, the location searching team got to know that Japanese did not built fortress near seashore. This made them to locate present the SPECTRE headquarters inside the volcano.
  • An incident reflecting the name of the film was happened with the location searching team. Actually they all were to return via a flight, but as they got a chance to see the Ninja demonstration, they cancelled the flight and stayed for the demonstration. The flight crashed after 25 minutes of take off and all the fellows on board were got dead!
  • Jan Werich was originally cast to play Blofeld. Though in screen-test he found not menacing enough and hence the role went to Donald Pleasence.
  • A one hour colour television program entitled – Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond ; was produced by the Eon Productions to promote the film.

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