Discussion:
Lewis Gilbert, 97, Bond Director
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c***@aol.com
2018-02-27 16:23:57 UTC
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Directed 3 James Bond films including You Only Live Twice among many other films.
That Derek
2018-02-27 16:34:35 UTC
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["What's that in the pool? Algae" -- comedian Rip Taylor]

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/lewis-gilbert-dead-alfie-james-bond-director-dies-at-97-1088811

Lewis Gilbert, Famed U.K. Director of 'Alfie' and 3 James Bond Films, Dies at 97

7:45 AM PST 2/27/2018
by Alex Ritman

The Oscar-nominated filmmaker was behind more than 40 films.

Lewis Gilbert, the Oscar-nominated British film director behind more than 40 films, including Alfie and three James Bond titles, has died. He was 97.

Born in London, Gilbert started out as a child actor in the 1920s and 1930s and had an uncredited role alongside Laurence Olivier in 1938's The Divorce of Lady X. But in his late teens he decided to move towards directing, assisting on Alfred Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn.

After WWII – during which he worked for the Royal Air Force's film unit on documentaries – he made a name for himself as a director on a number of successful war films, including Reach for the Sky, Carve Her Name with Pride and Sink the Bismark.

Arguably Gilbert's most famous film came in 1966 with Alfie, starring a rising Michael Caine. The low-budget film about a young womanizer would go on to win the Jury Special Prize in Cannes, and receive five Academy Award nominations, including one for best picture.

Shortly after Alfie, Gilbert was persuaded by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli to direct the fifth Bond film, 1967's You Only Live Twice starring Sean Connery. It would be the first of three 007 titles he would helm, returning later for The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker.

The 1980s saw him return to smaller British drama, with 1983's BAFTA-winning Educating Rita – reuniting him with Michael Caine and serving as a breakout film for Julie Walters – and 1989's Shirley Valentine, both based on Willy Russell plays.

He was awarded the CBE in 1997 and in 2001 was made a fellow of the British Film Institute.

"The BFI salutes the most prolific of British filmmakers, awarded our highest accolade, a BFI Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to British film, everything from three Bond films – including the best, You Only Live Twice – and definitive stories of British bravery in WWII with Carve Her Name with Pride and Reach for the Sky, to three films that will forever be remembered for their working class heroes: Alfie, Rita and Shirley," said BFI creative director Heather Stewart.

"In Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine he gave us funny and real character studies of women we normally never get a chance to see on the big screen."
Bryan Styble
2018-02-27 20:18:51 UTC
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I especially appreciate your posting this one, Derek, as I had not read of his demise.

While "Alfie" is truly a remarkably-nuanced (and acted) film, Lewis Gilbert's Bond films were simply terrible. "You Only Live Twice" foolishly dumped the novel's plot--in my view the most expertly-crafted of the 13 Fleming 007 novels--in favor of a positively silly orbital narrative.

The Broccoli family should have realized they should never do another space-oriented Bond picture, but then they went ahead with "Moonraker" anyway, by far the most preposterous of the Bond films, and that's really saying somethin'.

Now, that cinematic disaster's principal problem--aside from its unrelenting scripted stupidity--was of course the casting of Roger Moore, a precipitous downgrading of talent from Connery on the scale of Jack Burns replacing Don Knotts in Mayberry or "Archie Bunker's Place" supplanting "All in the Family" on CBS.

But if Gilbert was such a terrific Bond-flick director, he would have reined in Moore's selfishly-unserious approach to the part. But instead he just presided as Moore did all that dumb mugging for the camera, etc.

As for "The Spy Who Loved Me", in book form it was perhaps the weakest of Fleming's efforts, but of course the producers ignored the novel's plot as they always did after "Thunderball" anyway. Now, what they offered up instead to moviegoers was certainly more spectacular...but ended up like EVERY turn of Moore's in a Bond film, in effect reducing 007 to 000.

BRYAN STYBLE/Florida
c***@aol.com
2018-02-27 20:25:28 UTC
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You’re nuttier than usual Bryan. You Only Live Twice is one of the best Bond films. The Fleming books are total shite, written at a literary level lower than John Grisham.
Michael OConnor
2018-02-27 23:37:53 UTC
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Post by c***@aol.com
You’re nuttier than usual Bryan. You Only Live Twice is one of the best Bond films. The Fleming books are total shite, written at a literary level lower than John Grisham.
Compared to most of the Moore and Brosnan Bond films, I would have to say YOLT has to rank as one of the better Bond films. I'd probably rank it at least in the middle, maybe a little higher. There have been 24 Bond films made so far, and without doing an official ranking, I might rank it around number 10.

As a Connery Bond film, it was a notch down from Thumderball, which was a notch down from Goldfinger. The plot was ridiculous, but the action sequences, especially Bond's helicopter chase, were well done, and the score was perhaps the best of any Bond film with the exception of Goldfinger. Donald Pleasance was great as Blofeld.

I was discussing Moonraker in another forum the other day, which was IMO along with A View to a Kill the two worst Bond films. I mentioned that the one thing that could have made Moonraker at least a watchable film would have been in casting the late, great Victor Buono as the villain Drax and giving him considerable screen time at the expense of Richard Kiel.
t***@iwvisp.com
2018-02-27 20:39:54 UTC
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On Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 12:18:55 PM UTC-8, Bryan Styble wrote:

I respect your opinions Bryan but to throw a little reality into the mix, you give the Director too much credit for what you don't like about the three films he directed. Clearly his direction reflected the producers' desires and their choice of lead actor. Otherwise Gilbert would not have been rehired for the second and third film. So, if there is blame, the majority falls on the Broccolis.

Secondly, it's a waste of time comparing films to the books, in almost all cases; but, especially with the Bond films. Whatever level of intellectual readership Fleming was trying to reach has little to do with the potential viewership of the Broccoli's Bond films. You may see it as dumbing the films down for the unwashed masses. They see it as profit.

That is, compare the pound/dollar income generated by these three novels to their feature film counterparts.

Ray Arthur
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