Tony Mastroianni Review Collection
Noise, Gimmicks Highlight Latest Agent 007 Thriller
Cleveland Press 1967
"You Only Live Twice" is the fifth of the James Bond movies ("Casino Royale" doesn't count) and if it turns out to be the last it will be remembered as the noisiest and most gimmicky of the lot though not the best.
I found the movie fairly enjoyable, not because of any comparison with the first four but because it is so far superior to the imitations that have flooded the screen ever since Sean Connery and company started making the adventures of agent 007.
Actually the producers urge audiences to watch for the next Bond adventure, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" at the fadeout. But the edge is off and "You Only Live Twice" is less a sequel than it is an echo, reminiscent in a nostalgic sort of way of those earlier successes.
THE ONE-LINE GAGS are still in evidence but not so many and not so good. The double-entendres are still an unsubtle example of corny vulgarity.
Connery himself seems slightly jaded with the role and though he goes through the motions with as much energy, it is without the old sparkle.
Where producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman have it over their competitors is their ability to work the formula for maximum excitement and mount their productions with a spare-no-expense lavishness.
IN THIS MOVIE they have worked a climax in which Japanese secret service commandos pour into an underground rocket installation for a noisy and fast-paced battle while Bond fights to press the right button -- the one that prevents World War III with only seconds to spare.
The new mechanical gimmick in the movie is a minicopter -- a one-man helicopter armed with rockets, machine guns, cannon, air-to-air missiles, flame throwers and bombs. Bond fights an aerial dogfight in it with four conventional copters.
OTHER THAN THAT Bond remains as intrepid as ever, fighting off hordes of evil men and cutting quite a swath through the local female population. Though sex remains part of the formula, it has been played down as compared with the earlier films.
The screenplay by author Roald Dahl takes little from the Ian Fleming novel except the title and the Japanese setting.
THE SCREEN PLOT, more science fiction than espionage story, finds that evil organization SPECTRE launching spacecraft which gobble up American and Russian spacecraft.
The two countries accuse each other and are about to start a shooting war when Bond saves the day.
You won't believe it but you may enjoy it.