1. Unused Audio Commentaries

    By Luke Freeman on 2004-05-21

    When did it all go wrong? When did the relationship between supplier and consumer deteriorate? I think it may have been around the time that milk bars started selling bottled water, but it could have been as far back as when newsagents began putting their dirty magazines into plastic wrapping so that you couldn’t read them for the articles without purchasing them first. Whatever and whenever the moment was, that moment marked the decline of civilisation as we know it. Businesses, manufacturers, suppliers, they just don’t care about the consumers anymore. The desire to produce a quality product that meets or even exceeds the consumers’ demands is long gone. Now it’s all about the money, bleeding the customers dry and forcing them to make do with second-rate products.

    One example of this is the James Bond DVDs. Sure, they were okay, but the could have been so much better. It’s great to have the films on DVD, but how about some decent extras? There are barely any deleted scenes or original interviews, and while some of the audio commentaries are quite good, others leave a lot of be desired. There really is no reason for that. There are plenty of deleted scenes and interviews gathering dust in old archives, aching to be cleaned up and transferred to DVD for the enjoyment of viewers. I know fans would love to see the deleted scene from Moonraker where Jaws goes undercover as an Elvis Impersonator, or the hear the Desmond Llewellyn interview where he made those slightly out-dated comments regarding black slavery. What’s even more startling than the absence of these extras is the fact that there are several original audio commentaries in existence in voiced by actors and directors that were recorded but never made their way onto the DVDs.

    Below is a list of some the commentaries that we are missing out on.

    Diamonds Are Forever (Mankewicz / Robinson)

    Tom Mankewicz voices a full commentary, in which he offers an explanation for Blofeld’s abundance of hair and Bond’s lack of that ties into the plot, and gives detailed back story for each of the funeral parlour gangsters. Joe Robinson (Peter Franks) makes a brief cameo in the commentary, where he denies the rumour that he adiently pulled off Sean Connery’s hairpiece in the elevator fight scene, but confirms that, for authenticity purposes, he really did have the diamonds shoved up his, uh, yeah. Commentary may sag in the third quarter where, for filler, Mankewicz yawns and then wonders out loud why it is that the murderer is never Colonel Mustard with the candle in the kitchen.

    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Lazenby / Hunt / Picker / Wilson)

    The plan was for star George Lazenby, director Peter Hunt, former Untied Artists President David Picker, and Michael G. Wilson to each provide a separate solo commentary, with the four getting sliced together into one superb effort. Lazenby tells of how he and Hunt had a major run in on the set. Hunt claims that there was on animosity between himself and George Lazenby. Picker goes into detail explaining that despite the fact that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service wasn’t as successful and the Connery outings, it still did good business at the boxoffice. Wilson reveals “the film took a long time to make it’s money back”. Apparently the commentary was scraped due to confusion.

    For Your Eyes Only (Glen / Moore)

    This commentary by Roger Moore and director John Glen was canned due to technical reasons, which is a shame because Moore and Glen appear to have good chemistry, even giving a marvellous rendition of the Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” routine. But sadly, on many occasions throughout the commentary the audio doesn’t properly pick up what has been said, hence why it was unused. For example: Moore reveals that this is the only one of his Bond films where he didn’t sleep with one of the female co-stars in real life. Glen is quite startled by the revelation, and enquires about A View to a Kill. Roger mutters something about “that bird in the pre-credit scene”, but sadly the microphone doesn’t fully pick it up.

    The Living Daylights (Brosnan)

    Possibly the best commentary of the all, the commentary of The Living Daylights by Pierce Brosnan. For years fans have dismissed it as little more than a myth, an urban legend, but I can assure you that it does exist, deep within the MGM archives. Brosnan is tied to a chair and forced to watch the film that he was denied the opportunity to star in. As Dalton walks along the gunbarrel opening, we hear Brosnan proclaim “that should be me up there”. From then until midway though the Q scene, he gives a bitter recount of the events that prevented him from being in the film. But the real highlight comes in the second half, where Brosnan breaks down into tears as he comes to the realisation that the film is 50 times better than any of ones that he has starred in.

    A plea to MGM: Please, please, include these audio commentaries on the 2005 DVD releases. It’s what the fans want.

    Until next time,