1. Sean Connery has died

    By Stefan Rogall on 2020-10-31

    Connery. Sean Connery.
    What can you say about a man whose work already had achieved a legendary status during his lifetime? A man who was one of the last true movie stars. A versatile actor who got the chance at big time stardom early in his career by taking on a part which nobody knew would still generate blockbuster movies almost 60 years later.
    Countless obituaries will give you all the details about Connery´s long and productive career, about the many awards he was given, the big range of films he starred in. In fact, I had already written one such obituary, as it is always done for newspapers so one can react immediately at the sad news which inevitably come. But when I learned about Connery´s death today and reread what I had written I did not think it did justice to what I actually thought and felt. So I threw it away and started again.
    Because we´re here on a James Bond fan site. And people come and discuss all things related to this character for one reason.
    Sean Connery.
    If he had not starred in “Dr. No” we would not have gotten the series of films which built on that surprise success. If Connery had not embodied Ian Fleming´s creation so charismatically, giving the character his own spin, audiences would not have wanted more of it.
    Sure, every generation gets its own Bond actor to celebrate, and some here would consider Connery not even their favourite. I was born in 1969, ironically the year of George Lazenby´s only turn as Bond, but I grew up with Roger Moore, the one actor who was able to carry the torch Connery had left behind and cemented the immortal status of the film series for all future incarnations. When I saw Connery as Bond for the first time I was even taken aback at how different he was from Moore. I was admittedly a bit scared of him because he was so much more forceful and sardonic and at times even cruel. But I discovered very soon that he was a perfect Bond. I saw a man who entered a room and commanded it. A man who was really a man, possessing strength and wit and skills, employing brute force but only when it was needed, showing fear without giving in to it, standing his ground even in the face of insurmountable problems or bad guys trying to start World War III from a hollowed out volcano. A man whose toughness was never mean-spirited but an asset to rely on.

    Of course, as we all know, the proudly Scottish actor born in Edinburgh as Thomas Sean Connery, was eager to move on from Bond, establishing himself not only as a popular star actor but also as someone who did not play along with the idiocy of the film industry. He always fought for what he felt was right, he carved out his space and delivered performances which proved that he could do anything as an actor. His wry humour lifted every film he starred in, his appearance even seemed to become more powerful the older he got. The camera loved him, and so did world wide audiences. When he decided to retire and not make any movie anymore, cinema was all the poorer for it.

    Yes, I never knew Sean Connery personally. And I would never claim that I at least felt as if I knew him, just from watching his movies. Still, there is a certain (pardon the pun) bond between a performer and his audience. Something that immediately pulls us into a story when the actor is skilled and charming and compelling enough to do so. Sean Connery was one of those rare actors, and to think that he, even after a long life of 90 years, has left us, is hard to accept.  Because this reminds us that this part of the past is really gone. His absence is a huge loss. There are not many actors of such iconic stature around anymore, and there are not many who reach that point in today´s cinema. And in a year which already saw the deaths of Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Michael Lonsdale, the passing of Sean Connery is another gutpunch for us Bond fans. A year which did not allow us to watch the last Bond film of Daniel Craig´s tenure now even takes away the first and greatest and best Bond of them all.

    But as Sean Connery as Bond has taught us: never give up. Fight for what is right. Keep up the good work. And stay in the game until the evil geniuses are taken care of.

    Photo: © 1962 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. and Danjaq, LLC.

  2. And there goes the November release…

    By Helmut Schierer on 2020-10-02

    Deadline Hollywood (what an apt name…) just reports that NO TIME TO DIE will be delayed to the Easter weekend 2021 – for now, that is. Fans are of course extremely miffed, to say the least. But everybody with an even distant relationship to the concept of ‘reality’ will at least have had cautious reservations about this November release date anyway.

    Be that as it may, for now we’re looking at Easter 2021 as the new release date for NO TIME TO DIE. Stay tuned and stay healthy…

  3. Michael Lonsdale dies aged 89

    By Stefan Rogall on 2020-09-22

    He was an actor, a director and a painter – but I, like so many here, encountered him in 1979, displaying a steely, eerie calmness as Sir Hugo Drax, hiding his contempt for James Bond withstanding every amusing attempt to rid him of his life.

    Michael Lonsdale followed the wonderful Curt Jürgens, playing another megalomaniac insanely planning to change the world through mass murder, but while Jürgens, in the massively successful “The Spy Who Loved Me”, brought a creepy world weariness to his Stromberg, Lonsdale played Drax in “Moonraker” as a deeply determined, arrogant oligarch enjoying his luxurious life – and delivering his sardonic one-liners with slow-burn glee. He is the perfect counterpart to Roger Moore´s playful Bond, both underplaying the silliness of the whole extravaganza, thus making it work even better and transforming it into one of the most entertaining Bond films ever.

    Born in Paris on May 24, 1931, the son of a French mother and a British father lived in London, Morocco and Paris where he studied acting. His breakthrough in the films of Francois Truffaut (“La Mariée était en noir” / “Baisers volés”) was followed by more than 240 films. One of the most celebrated character actors, Lonsdale worked with legendary directors such as Louis Malle (“Le souffle au cœur”) , Marcel Carné (“Les assassins de l’ordre”), Jacques Rivette (“Out 1: Noli me tangere / Out 1: Spectre”), Orson Welles (“Le procès”), Fred Zinneman (“Day of the Jackal”), John Frankenheimer (“Ronin”) and Steven Spielberg (“Munich”). Fun fact: he is one of the rare Bond villains who acted with three other Bonds: Roger Moore (“Moonraker”), Sean Connery (“The Name of the Rose”) and Daniel Craig (“Munich”).

    In 2011 he won the César, after being nominated three times, for Xavier Beauvois´ “Des hommes et des dieux”. He died on September 21st, 2020, in Paris, in his grandfather’s apartment, where he had been living since 1949.

  4. Dame Diana Rigg dies aged 82

    By Helmut Schierer on 2020-09-10

    Diana Rigg in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (c)

    With great sadness today we learn Dame Diana Rigg has passed away. The actress, a veritable legend of the British stage and one of the most popular British actresses since the late 1960s, died aged 82, as various sources now report.

    Her fans will always remember her as Mrs Peel, her role in the British cult tv series The Avengers, and of course as Tracy Bond in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE. She played alongside Vincent Price and Ian Hendry in THEATRE OF BLOOD and starred with Peter Ustinov, Jane Birkin, Maggie Smith and James Mason in EVIL UNDER THE SUN. Countless stage and tv productions attest to an enormous career.

    Crew and members of will not forget her.

  5. And now we have…

    By Helmut Schierer on 2020-09-03

    …that second trailer that was promised. Without further ado, meet…

    This November.

  6. So there is…

    By Helmut Schierer on 2020-09-01

    …a new poster for NO TIME TO DIE.

    Optimistically states ‘November’. Supposedly, a new trailer is also expected for Thursday.

  7. Honor Blackman dies aged 94

    By Helmut Schierer on 2020-04-06

    Blackman beside Patrick Macnee, her partner in The Avengers, and in a scene from GOLDFINGER

    Honor Blackman, best known for her roles as Pussy Galore in GOLDFINGER and Cathy Gale in the tv series The Avengers, has passed away aged 94. Her family gave a statement to the media:

    “It’s with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Honor Blackman aged 94. She died peacefully of natural causes at her home in Lewes, Sussex, surrounded by her family.”

    Blackman’s role as Goldfinger’s private pilot – and leader of an all-female deadly flying circus – has become iconic over the decades, a fan favourite and a blueprint for the cliché of the ‘Bond-Girl’. A girl that knows how to handle guns and sometimes is seen throwing Bond around in decidedly un-girly fashion…

    But her career went on after 1964 to numerous film and tv roles. She appeared in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, SHALAKO and BRIDGET JONES as well as Colombo, Doctor Who and Coronation Street. Blackman also publicly supported the Liberal Democrats and was a staunch republican, who turned down a CBE so as not to become a hypocrite.

    For many fans around the world today’s news of her death will be a sad loss. Crew and members of will fondly remember her.

  8. A Message from the CBn Team

    By Heiko Baumann on 2020-03-20
  9. See you later…

    By Helmut Schierer on 2020-03-06

    …hold your breath.

    To borrow fellow CBner Jim’s phrase, some light entertainment finds itself rescheduled. Bummer. This week the premiere of NO TIME TO DIE was moved to 12. November (UK) and 25. November (US) respectively. 2020, in case you wondered.

    The Interweb immediately reported a combined heart-quake of 16.99 on the Bond fan scale. Fans wept. Fans ranted. Fans threatened to slash their wrists. Some even did it on camera and posted it to the channels of their vast media empires, freely admitting they may be hapless know-nothings but insisting to prove it for 20 minutes so even the last doubts quietly left by their backdoor. Oh well…

    Did this come unexpected? Not exactly. Everybody who hasn’t been living under a stone in a deep deep well in an abandoned old ruin on the wrong side of the Borgo Pass, or at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, must have had at least a wee tiny little inkling that things were going on. Or make that things, sounds more ominous. Befitting a situation were surgical masks are suddenly harder currency than the dollar.

    So in all fairness, one could have paused for a moment when China closed off Wuhan region. One might have hesitated when one heard about lockdowns in Italy, quarantines in Japan and cases popping up wherever authorities started to look. And one must have been aware of nasty things afoot once there was a COBRA meeting – that’s COBRA!!! for the initiated – scheduled 72 hours in advance. Now that’s a sure sign of perilous machinations; Britons only unpack their COBRA!!! gear when it absolutely cannot wait longer than a weekend.

    So the shockwave that rippled the Interweb right after announced the decision to delay this premiere was curiously at once genuine surprise – How dare reality interfere with my – MY! – Bond film? I’ve got a Europe trip booked here! A Midori bursting at the seams with travel vouchers and lounge passes! Is Tyler Brûlé aware of this? Does he approve??? – and yet it fell into a conspicuously quiet atmosphere where Bond fans apparently had started to hold their breath for a few days already. Bond may be a fantasy pastime but most fans are still dimly aware there’s such a thing as a market. And that it’s unlikely NO TIME TO DIE can be that huge success hoped for in a market significantly cut to size. And this is just the reality of it, the part that’s measured in currency: with the outbreak of Covid-19 there’s simply no way a blockbuster can live up to its potential.

    That aside there are the obvious health considerations. And the ethical ones, should your own health just not be all that important to you. Bond fans are famous for braving oceans, hazards and disease with aplomb, and their hands do not falter when disbursing cheeky sums. But they cough and sneeze and mop their beaks like ordinary mortals and their grannies want to celebrate a few more birthdays like everybody else.

    So what can we take home from this series of unfortunate events? Apart from washing our hands. Properly. With soap. I’m looking at you, Pilatus; one more time!

    Well, we know now how Fido must feel when we tease him with a Frankfurter. This is cruel and one should not do it. On the other hand…

    The film is already there, shot and edited and marketed and ready to eat. View. Unlike the Frankfurter it’s not going to rot – not that Fido would mind a rotten Frankfurter; Fido would fight a Rottweiler about a rotten Frankfurter any rotten day. Rot my words. Whatever this film’s qualities may be, they are not going to change between now and November. Nothing is really lost, NO TIME TO DIE is simply waiting a little stretch down the river. We’ll arrive at its secrets in no time at all, hopefully all well and in good health.

    And should some nasty creature have ideas about reaching up to that shelf where NO TIME TO DIE waits now, with intentions of spoiling it…it better be somebody who is not going to be missed. Because that shelf is inside a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.

    That sign doesn’t lie.

  10. New release date: November 2020

    By Helmut Schierer on 2020-03-04

    For obvious reasons…