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File 007 | The Atomic Blackmail (1965) – The fourth and “Aquatic” film in the James Bond spy franchise



007 – No Time to Die, the twenty-fifth official film in the longest-running film franchise, is slated for release on October 7, 2021 – after being pushed back from last year due to the pandemic. In order to heat up the engines of this new blockbuster which, as we said, is part of one of the biggest, most traditional and beloved film franchises in the history of the seventh art, we have decided to create a new series of stories dissecting a bit of all the previous films, bringing you lots of curiosities and lots of information.

In this fourth film, 007 Against Atomic Blackmail (1965), James Bond was at the peak of his popularity, playing the role of king of popular culture not only in his home country or the United States, but around the world. . Here, 007’s adventure has truly reached blockbuster levels and would show why it has become the most enduring franchise in cinema. Find out below.

Read also: File 007 | Goldfinger (1964) – Discover the third film in the James Bond spy franchise


At this point, 007 – James Bond was a truly global phenomenon. All manner of merchandising has been produced stamping the character, with many products targeting younger audiences (such as lunch boxes and toys). The British invasion of 007 was only comparable to that of the Beatles, and with the success of Goldfinger (1964), theaters were open 24 hours a day to accommodate all audiences wishing to see the film. During the period, there were also countless James Bond film imitators, after all who would be crazy to avoid a piece of this pie? Whether in the movies or on television, it was a craze for secret agents. On small screens, the most famous are The Agent of UNCLE (1964-1968) and the parody Agent 86 (1965-1970).

One curiosity, in the end credits of the 007 movies that always point to the hero’s next adventure, is that Goldfinger had caused the premiere of Her Majesty’s Secret Service – a fact that would not materialize until four years later. For the next version, Goldfinger was chosen Thunderball, or Atomic Blackmail as it would be called here in Tupinikim Lands. At this point, it was also imperative that 007 embrace unprecedented forms of overproduction. After all, Bond already had his many impersonators and couldn’t look bad in front of them. As such, the franchise’s biggest budget to date has been invested at $ 9 million, which is nine times more than the original The Satanic Dr. No.

For the company, the director of the previous one, Guy Hamilton, was considered. However, as the feature films were recorded consecutively, with Blackmail Atomic slated to premiere exactly one year after Goldfinger, Hamilton was unable to accept the task. The solution was to find the director of the first, Terrence Young, fresh from his last foray two years earlier.

Read also: File 007 | Moscow Contra 007 (1963) – Check out the second film in the James Bond Spy franchise

For the fourth time, Sean Connery has played the role of James Bond’s spy in the franchise. Here, however, the actor who had been elevated to star status because of the character was already showing wear and tear and dissatisfaction in the role. Connery was embarrassed that he was seen by the public and the industry in general as just 007 and not the actor he imagined himself to be. Thus, he sought to invest in new roles that would allow him greater scope in his performance. He was also beginning to show a personality who was going to be considered “difficult”, refusing to give interviews to promote the new feature film. The only one he gave was to Playboy magazine, where he made controversial statements.

To make matters worse, in one action scene, due to a mistake, Connery comes face to face with a real shark inside one of the underwater tanks – an accident that could have cost him his life. . Who Said James Bond Was Hard To Kill Only On Screen?

Read also: File 007 | The Satanic Dr. No (1962) – Discover the first film in the James Bond spy franchise

secret mission

For the fourth film, it was not only director Terrence Young who returned to the 007 spy universe. After showing up in the first two films, the SPECTER criminal organization would rely on the third, Goldfinger – oddly the most praised and successful to date. . In any case, the producers have once again opted for the return of the villains agency as a challenge to the hero.

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For many, Atomic Blackmail was until then the “most mechanical” movie of 007, appearing to have been made with “a lot of cooks in the kitchen”. Nothing could be more natural since it was also the most expensive and most ambitious bet to date. Thus, 007 took on its blockbuster air for good. One of the more megalomaniacal adventures has been creating a lot of the action scenes, especially in the third act of the film, submerged in an underwater way. Today the gimmick is considered a mistake because underwater you lose the speed you would expect to see in an action scene. But it remains a bold choice.

Here we also have a greater use of spy trinkets, giving more involvement to the gunsmith Q. After all, imitators like Agent 86 have played a lot with all the spy paraphernalia, like the ” cone of silence ”and the phone shoe. In The Atomic Blackmail, James Bond uses several artifacts from his Aston Martin automobile and a jet pack he uses in the opening scene, being the true prototype of a transport never used by military personnel as it is considered too dangerous. The mini jet only flew 20 minutes. Other than that, a compact respirator Bond uses in the underwater scenes tricked the military who, thinking it was real, contacted the film’s production for the patent.

bondgirl and allies

In the first three films of the franchise, James Bond’s preference was blondes, with platinum characters like Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) and Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman). So, in the fourth round, the producers were happy to also pay tribute to brunettes and redheads. On the brunette side, we have Paula (played by Jamaican Martine Beswick), a nice Bondgirl who gets involved with the protagonist, but is quickly eliminated, staying on stage for a short time. The protagonist is another brunette, Domino, played by French beauty Claudine Auger (died in 2019 at age 78). Domino starts off on the wrong side of the story, having a romantic relationship with the villain, but has a chance to redeem himself when he meets Bond.

However, for many villainous Bondgirl Fiona Volpe, role of Italian redhead Luciana Paluzzi, really steals the show in the female cast. Moreover, Italy has a strong influence on the cast of this film as we will see below. Fiona Volpe is a strong character, who even seduced by Bond does not change sides and remains loyal to her employers in the villainous organization. She is a step beyond what had previously been worked out in the characters Tatiana Romanova and Pussy Galore, and would serve as a precursor role model for the villainous Bondgirls – an element that would also become a tradition in the franchise.

Finally, here we have a new appearance from Felix Leiter, Bond’s partner in the US CIA, and another performer is judged in the character, this time Rik Van Nutter, the agent’s third performer in three previous appearances. ‘M’, the 007 boss, was played for the fourth time by Bernard Lee, as secretary and flirtatious Moneypenny took the form of Canada’s Lois Maxwell for the fourth time. “Q”, first appeared in James Bond’s second adventure, was played for the third time by Desmond Llewelyn, the franchise’s longest-serving actor – after the eras of Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan .

Bad guys

As noted, SPECTER is the main antagonistic attraction again in Atomic Blackmail, but we still don’t have the reveal of the organization’s leader, Number 1 Blofeld – who once again only appears briefly stroking his white kitten. . In his place, who’s running the show here is number 2 (get the Austin Powers credentials?) Emilio Largo, gray and with a stylish eye patch. And as stated above, we have another Italian actor playing a leading role in the film. Sicilian Adolfo Celi saw Largo, Bond’s main enemy in this fourth film, and like the previous villain, he must have been voiced in most of his lines. The thought is repeated here for many fans, with one part believing that Luciana Paluzzi and her Fiona Volpe are even stealing many moments from Largo.


So many investments have not gone unreturned. Atomic Blackmail managed to beat the numbers of its predecessor Goldfinger and not only became the most financially successful to date, but would become the highest grossing film in franchise history, readjusted for inflation (which would exceed billion dollars), only behind the recent Skyfall (2012).

Much of the film’s success and money is due in particular to Bondmania which was established around the time, when viewers around the world in the mid-1960s only wanted to consume spy stories. We can’t blame them, after all today we only consume superheroes. So if the space was open for 007’s “clones” to succeed, what would I say for the original, and A Blackmail Atomic was lucky enough to appear right at the top, on the crest of that wave.

In fact, in a narrative aspect of the scenario, the feature film is inferior to the previous three, truly ensuring its splendor of overproduction, which encompasses several technical aspects. It is undeniable that at this point, with more money at stake, Atomic Blackmail is overtaking its predecessors and even using the Cinema Scope image, with the widescreen display instead of the square format as before.

In terms of prestige, he equates his feat with that of the previous Goldfinger, who won the Oscar for sound effects. Atomic Blackmail took theirs in the visual effects category. Other than that, the fourth film is wrapped up in everything we would come to know and love about the rules and the clichés that would be used to burnout within the franchise. And that was exactly what fans were hoping for, demonstrating that fan service isn’t something new.

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