Jump to content


This is a read only archive of the old forums
The new CBn forums are located at https://quarterdeck.commanderbond.net/

 
Photo

Kevin McClory and Thunderball


30 replies to this topic

#1 JimmyBond

JimmyBond

    Commander

  • Executive Officers
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 10559 posts
  • Location:Washington

Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:23 AM

I've read countless retellings of the famous courthouse that eventually gave the world NSNA. I also know that in order to make Thunderball EON had to get McClory to co-produce the film with them.

What I don't know is how much influence McClory had on the film, and how and if that changed Harry and Cubby's roles on the film vs. their roles on the past three Bond films. The only thing I really know is that this experience kept the duo from co-producing a serious version of Casino Royale with Feldman.

#2 RJJB

RJJB

    Sub-Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • Pip
  • 475 posts

Posted 31 August 2011 - 12:13 PM

I've read countless retellings of the famous courthouse that eventually gave the world NSNA. I also know that in order to make Thunderball EON had to get McClory to co-produce the film with them.

What I don't know is how much influence McClory had on the film, and how and if that changed Harry and Cubby's roles on the film vs. their roles on the past three Bond films. The only thing I really know is that this experience kept the duo from co-producing a serious version of Casino Royale with Feldman.

Read the book The Battle for Bond by Robert Sellers. It details the entire history. I'm only in the early part of the. book, but Kevin McClory does not sound like the bad guy he is generally assumed to be.

#3 Revelator

Revelator

    Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • PipPip
  • 572 posts
  • Location:San Francisco

Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:33 AM

Read the book The Battle for Bond by Robert Sellers. It details the entire history. I'm only in the early part of the. book, but Kevin McClory does not sound like the bad guy he is generally assumed to be.


Wait till you get to the end of the book then.

#4 Guy Haines

Guy Haines

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3075 posts
  • Location:"Special envoy" no more. As of 7/5/15 elected to office somewhere in Nottinghamshire, England.

Posted 19 October 2011 - 07:17 AM

I have read "The Battle For Bond", and a very interesting read it is. One thing you will find is that, when "Thunderball" came to be produced, McClory had to, as the book says, abandon his slim chance of actually directing it, but the real loser seems to have been Jack Whittingham, who co-wrote the original screen treatment with McClory and Fleming. In terms of the production he was pretty much frozen out altogether.

I was fortunate to have bought the first edition of the book, before it was pulled from the shelves at the insistence, on pain of legal action, of the Ian Fleming Foundation.

Just as I highly recommend DoubleNoughtSpy's book about the making of "OHMSS", so I would also recommend "The Battle For Bond", if you want an insight into how these films are actually made.

#5 Napoleon Solo

Napoleon Solo

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 1376 posts

Posted 19 October 2011 - 11:12 AM

I have read "The Battle For Bond", and a very interesting read it is. One thing you will find is that, when "Thunderball" came to be produced, McClory had to, as the book says, abandon his slim chance of actually directing it, but the real loser seems to have been Jack Whittingham, who co-wrote the original screen treatment with McClory and Fleming. In terms of the production he was pretty much frozen out altogether.

I was fortunate to have bought the first edition of the book, before it was pulled from the shelves at the insistence, on pain of legal action, of the Ian Fleming Foundation.

Just as I highly recommend DoubleNoughtSpy's book about the making of "OHMSS", so I would also recommend "The Battle For Bond", if you want an insight into how these films are actually made.


I think it was Ian Fleming Publications (the Fleming heirs) that took legal action against the book, not the Ian Fleming Foundation (a non-profit group that preserves James Bond vehicles).

#6 Guy Haines

Guy Haines

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3075 posts
  • Location:"Special envoy" no more. As of 7/5/15 elected to office somewhere in Nottinghamshire, England.

Posted 19 October 2011 - 02:57 PM


I have read "The Battle For Bond", and a very interesting read it is. One thing you will find is that, when "Thunderball" came to be produced, McClory had to, as the book says, abandon his slim chance of actually directing it, but the real loser seems to have been Jack Whittingham, who co-wrote the original screen treatment with McClory and Fleming. In terms of the production he was pretty much frozen out altogether.

I was fortunate to have bought the first edition of the book, before it was pulled from the shelves at the insistence, on pain of legal action, of the Ian Fleming Foundation.

Just as I highly recommend DoubleNoughtSpy's book about the making of "OHMSS", so I would also recommend "The Battle For Bond", if you want an insight into how these films are actually made.


I think it was Ian Fleming Publications (the Fleming heirs) that took legal action against the book, not the Ian Fleming Foundation (a non-profit group that preserves James Bond vehicles).

Yes, the Fleming heirs were the ones I meant. I was under the mistaken impression that their organsiation was called the Ian Fleming Foundation.

Apologies all round! :)

#7 Napoleon Solo

Napoleon Solo

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 1376 posts

Posted 19 October 2011 - 05:01 PM

Yes, the Fleming heirs were the ones I meant. I was under the mistaken impression that their organsiation was called the Ian Fleming Foundation.

Apologies all round! :)


I think one or two of the Flemings may have actually been on the board of the Ian Fleming Foundation in the 1990s, but that's no longer the case.

#8 Guy Haines

Guy Haines

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3075 posts
  • Location:"Special envoy" no more. As of 7/5/15 elected to office somewhere in Nottinghamshire, England.

Posted 19 October 2011 - 06:15 PM


Yes, the Fleming heirs were the ones I meant. I was under the mistaken impression that their organsiation was called the Ian Fleming Foundation.

Apologies all round! :)


I think one or two of the Flemings may have actually been on the board of the Ian Fleming Foundation in the 1990s, but that's no longer the case.

I've just checked the website of Tomahawk Press, publishers of "The Battle For Bond", and they refer to the "Ian Fleming Will Trust" as having brought the threat of legal action. Either way, a body representing the interests of the Fleming family, or estate, took exception to some of the content of this book, hence its withdrawal and re-issue.

#9 nickjb007

nickjb007

    Midshipman

  • Crew
  • 80 posts
  • Location:NC

Posted 07 November 2011 - 02:46 AM

Is there a difference between the first press and the re-issue of "The Battle for Bond" books.

#10 doublenoughtspy

doublenoughtspy

    Commander RNVR

  • Commanding Officers
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4122 posts
  • Location:USA

Posted 07 November 2011 - 04:00 PM

Is there a difference between the first press and the re-issue of "The Battle for Bond" books.


Yes, the Fleming letters have been removed from the re-issue, I think there are fewer photos, and the actual size of the book is much smaller - almost to paperback size. On the plus side, the reissue does have an introduction by Len Deighton that the first printing does not.

#11 Simon

Simon

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5884 posts
  • Location:England

Posted 17 November 2013 - 02:14 PM

Referencing the 'new' story as on the front page; James Bond Rights Finally Secure.

 

I must admit to thinking all this had been completed with the Sony involvement some years ago.  I didn't know there were still rights to something still outstanding...

 

Thoughts?



#12 Dustin

Dustin

    Commander

  • Commanding Officers
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5786 posts

Posted 17 November 2013 - 04:31 PM

Referencing the 'new' story as on the front page; James Bond Rights Finally Secure.

I must admit to thinking all this had been completed with the Sony involvement some years ago. I didn't know there were still rights to something still outstanding...

Thoughts?



Very difficult question, as the entire ill-fated Thunderball complex. As far as I can tell from the various different - and vastly differing - accounts, the original lawsuit by McClory didn't just question Fleming's right to the story and characters of Thunderball, then Longitude 78 West. Due to the basic nature of the project - the first cinematic adaptation of the Bond character using a completely original storyline - McClory in effect claimed intellectual property on the entire cinematic concept of 'James Bond' as developed by Xanadu '58 and '61, which would have placed him between Fleming and any agreement with other producers who were interested in James Bond.

How could he argue such a case? Two major points. Firstly the Xanadu project (Fleming, Bryce, McClory and Whittingham) was set up with only very little contractual basis, and what little there was came late to the party. Secondly the setup came into the world as result of Fleming looking for interested parties to film one or more of his books. But McClory argued the stories were not visual enough and they should develop an original storyline with an eye on location and visual action, to which Fleming agreed. He certainly didn't think that step would then result in McClory claiming part of the intellectual property on the entire development of a screen James Bond. When Fleming finally used the TB story for his own book and published it without credit to McClory and Whittingham that was of course a grave mistake. But I'm fairly sure he'd have been dragged to court anyway when the Eon deal turned out to be a success, as McClory would have hardly watched without cutting his own pound out of the body.

As far as I know the court settled the matter with the entire film rights on TB going to McClory, but things as game character rights didn't exist back then, so they were probably either Eon's along with the Bond character, or they were used for a fee. After all Blofeld also was used after TB in the Eon series, no idea how that was possible when the character rights on Blofeld were with McClory. The whole shenanigans around TSWLM was also a result of McClory shaping up for his own TB remake after the cooling-off period of ten years after TB's release. It could be Blofeld and SPECTRE only fell to McClory during that battle, of course most likely - the year being 1976 - still without proper ruling regarding computer games.

The recent development suggests Eon was probably after Blofeld/SPECTRE for some time. Maybe it simply was a matter of reaching a general basic agreement, after which it then still took months to sort out all necessary details. That would explain the interview and this official press release now.

#13 Simon

Simon

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5884 posts
  • Location:England

Posted 17 November 2013 - 04:58 PM

Many thanks for that.  You clearly appear to have a bunch of knowledge to hand there.

 

I was under the impression following the purchase of NSNA and the ability to remake CR after Sony's sale / involvement / agreement, that the statement I had read, which was one of, 'All Bond rights and knowledge now resides under the Eon roof', meant the legal ownership story was resolved in perpetuity.

 

I wasn't expecting any further news on this at all, hence my surprise.

 

Cheers Dustin.



#14 Dustin

Dustin

    Commander

  • Commanding Officers
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5786 posts

Posted 17 November 2013 - 08:27 PM

You're welcome but I'm hardly the most knowledgable person regarding McClory and the trouble he caused. The whole thing was initially documented and covered only very cursory and many statements from those involved rely solely on memory and notes, making the effort of giving an unbiased record of events around Xanadu and McClory's supposed input an extremely difficult task. Moreover, many accounts of those parties are definitely lacking crucial details one would probably need to fully understand events.

However, the facts, such as they have been disclosed outside the courts, do not actually present McClory and his claims in a favourable light. Firstly, there is the undisputed fact that a large part of the script work on TB/Longitude was done by Jack Whittingham, yet nobody heard much about Whittingham gaining much from the lawsuit. Because at some point Whittingham apparently became McClory's employee IIRC, so McClory sued for the work of his employee, who supposedly gained little to nothing from it. Secondly, whatever development work happened - work in this context could mean anything from talk over drinks to exchange of letters and actual meetings with agenda, discussing and solving of organisational problems and so on - was as such not in fact any more 'original' than one would expect any Bond project to be: suave elegant British agent prevents major catastrophe with the help of beautiful females on a number of exotic locales. There is nothing to this that would not automatically turn up with any project using Ian Fleming's creation. The fact that McClory was for a time in a pole position doesn't really support a claim to the creation of the cinematic character. It is not exactly clear, how much of the creation of Blofeld and SPECTRE can be attributed to McClory's input, or how they were in effect a necessity to the shaping of the TB/Longitude plot. Had they been indeed thought up by McClory there would hardly have been further use of them after the court ruling.

Next there is McClory's bidding for his own Bond series based on the Longitude scripts, either as films or TV series. Given those scripts are apparently just different versions of the same basic story it seems not exactly trustworthy of McClory to threaten for decades to push his own Bond version with as little to back his proposal as a familiar storyline already filmed twice. And on top of that with next to no actual room to develop or vary his story.

All in all it seems as if McClory's plan had been to just cut himself another piece of a cake he already ate twice.

#15 AMC Hornet

AMC Hornet

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5857 posts

Posted 17 November 2013 - 09:54 PM

I remember seeing a full-page advert in Variety late in 1984:

 

Kevin McClory's

Paradise Productions III

announces a new series of

James Bond films

commencing with

S.P.E.C.T.R.E.

 

This was followed by an invitation to interested investors to contact McClory through the production office address.

This was very exciting to see at the time but as we already know, nothing came of it, nor of the announcement that McClory had partnered with Sony some years later.



#16 stromberg

stromberg

    Commander RNVR

  • The Admiralty
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6841 posts
  • Location:Saarland / Germany

Posted 18 November 2013 - 12:38 PM

All in all it seems as if McClory's plan had been to just cut himself another piece of a cake he already ate twice.

 

I've always been under that impression.

 

Yes, Blofeld and SPECTRE were used after TB, but only in that 10-year-period in which McClory wasn't allowed to use any of his rights. When that time was over and Eon wanted to use them again in TWSLM, he was back like a Jack-in-the-box, and forced Eon to rename their villain and ommit SPECTRE. This is pure (educated) guesswork, but I believe that McClory managed to keep some rights on Blofeld and SPECTRE, because these are the two elements for which he had some sort of proof that actually invented them.

 

Now that Eon made big bucks with Skyfall, it was the perfect time for the McClory estate to make Eon an offer they can't refuse. For old McC himself, this was his ace up his sleeve, his ultimate option to be a thorn in Eon's side. For his heirs, those were just some rights to make some of money from (which they now did), but nothing personal.

 

Hope that this is now really (really, really, really) the last thing we heard of this.



#17 Simon

Simon

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5884 posts
  • Location:England

Posted 18 November 2013 - 09:33 PM

Yes, the history is 'fairly' well documented and understood - now.

 

But was anyone else surprised that in fact, there was actually still further copyright ownership out there that did not reside chez Eon?  That only now, we are being told what I personally thought was already understood or taken for granted?

 

As an aside, Sylvan Mason, Jack Whittingham's daughter, looks to be selling some of her wares pertaining to this at Bonhams in December.  I am only aware of this as I was some time ago, in conversation with her to buy her Thunderball Premiere brochure.  She wanted ¬£2000 for it - the heightened value being because it was 'given to Jack at the premiere.'

 

Which was all well and good, but there was no provenance to suggest this outside of it being purchased from the Whittingam estate; this then having been lost when the next buyer moved it on.  Will be interesting to see what it does go for but I got mine eventually for roughly half that.

 

There are also some early treatments and drafts for Thunderball as worked upon by Jack et al.

 

Lot 95 and onwards.



#18 TheREAL008

TheREAL008

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 1190 posts
  • Location:Brisbane

Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:08 PM

I don't know. If it's true that EON used some of the Skyfall profits to buy the rights of Blofeld and SPECTRE, then it says to me that EON caved in and just paid McClory's estate when they could have just continued on with Quantum and left Blofeld, SPECTRE, and McClory in the past.

 

However, if McClory were smarter, he could have used his so called rights to develop a counter series about the exploits of SPECTRE and Blofeld which would have been really cool. We could have had two sides of the same coin, but no...people had to think with their wallets instead.



#19 MajorB

MajorB

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3700 posts
  • Location:Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, USA

Posted 20 November 2013 - 06:50 PM

I don't think it was "caving in" at all. Having any of the film-related rights for Bond controlled by anyone else would always be a concern for Eon. Look how much hassle they had dealing with McClory's various endeavors over the years? Every time he "announced" a new Bond film, however unlikely, Eon would have to gear up for another possible legal fight. That kind of thing takes enormous time, effort, and money to deal with. I would think that when these (yes, surprising) last bits became available to acquire, their reaction would be "Hot damn! Grabe 'em!"  And that their relief at now having everything behind their portcullis would be considerable.



#20 AMC Hornet

AMC Hornet

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5857 posts

Posted 20 November 2013 - 08:16 PM

I don't expect we'll ever see an EON film based on any of McClory's treatments. We may never see SPECTRE again either. The whole point behind buying up the rights is to keep them from being sold to anyone else and preventing any more 'rogue' productions from surfacing in the future.



#21 plankattack

plankattack

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 1385 posts

Posted 20 November 2013 - 09:44 PM

It definitely wasn't caving. It was putting an end to the whole business once and for all. The chance to "buy them off" and be done with it was too good to pass up. Obviously without knowing the exact figures, it's hard to surmise whether it was good business from a business perspective, but from an operational one, it was a loose end that was better off tied up.

 

As for McClory - well, he was either a poker player who continually won small pots by bluffing with a bad hand, or someone who had a CR-style royal flush that never found a jackpot to match it.

 

As for what this means going forward, I'm the only one who is not gaga at the thought of EON getting back Blofeld and SPECTRE. The chance to do it over and do it right is inviting, but I'm not sure how much the average movie-goer really "gets" the character of Blofeld. It's not like EON left an indelible impression with their Three-Amigos interpretation 45 years ago, and unlike Batman's Joker, there isn't a sense (outside fandom) that Blofeld is the arch-nemesis that we've all been waiting for.

 

Personally, I'd rather see a great actor being given a great villainous role - that's more important to me than it being Blofeld.



#22 stromberg

stromberg

    Commander RNVR

  • The Admiralty
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6841 posts
  • Location:Saarland / Germany

Posted 20 November 2013 - 09:57 PM

I don't expect we'll ever see an EON film based on any of McClory's treatments. We may never see SPECTRE again either. The whole point behind buying up the rights is to keep them from being sold to anyone else and preventing any more 'rogue' productions from surfacing in the future.

Most certainly. For the same reasons, Eon always buys the rights for continuation novels: they don't intend to make films from them, they just don't want anyone else to do it.



#23 AMC Hornet

AMC Hornet

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5857 posts

Posted 20 November 2013 - 10:53 PM

Actually, EON doesn't have to buy the continuation rights. They already have a deal with IFP called a 'First Refusal' option. Until/unless EON actually declines to purchase the rights, IFP can't offer them to anyone else. So EON stays quiet and the rights remain in limbo.

 

If EON were purchasing the rights there would be no reason not to have made Gardner-based films by now. Simg could explain all this (again) if he cares to.

 

Remember this next time the Sun claims that the next film will be based on the latest continuation novel.



#24 AgenttiNollaNollaSeitsemän

AgenttiNollaNollaSeitsemän

    Sub-Lieutenant

  • Crew
  • Pip
  • 493 posts
  • Location:Oulu, Finland

Posted 21 November 2013 - 07:00 AM

Was McClorys credit as a producer in Thunderball merely a form of appeasement/filling a contractual obligation from Broccoli & Saltzman or did he actually do something?



#25 Turn

Turn

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6837 posts
  • Location:Ohio

Posted 21 November 2013 - 01:01 PM

As for what this means going forward, I'm the only one who is not gaga at the thought of EON getting back Blofeld and SPECTRE. The chance to do it over and do it right is inviting, but I'm not sure how much the average movie-goer really "gets" the character of Blofeld. It's not like EON left an indelible impression with their Three-Amigos interpretation 45 years ago, and unlike Batman's Joker, there isn't a sense (outside fandom) that Blofeld is the arch-nemesis that we've all been waiting for.

 

Personally, I'd rather see a great actor being given a great villainous role - that's more important to me than it being Blofeld.

This is a good observation, especially when you consider many people can't separate the YOLT Blofeld from Dr. Evil in Austin Powers films. It seems the impression of Blofeld is more memorable and important than the actual portrayals in EON's films.



#26 TheREAL008

TheREAL008

    Lt. Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPip
  • 1190 posts
  • Location:Brisbane

Posted 21 November 2013 - 06:04 PM

Not really. No one ever said that Blofeld HAS to be interpreted in that fashion again. If he does come back he's probably going to be a faceless persona with no bald head, or monocle. 



#27 AMC Hornet

AMC Hornet

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5857 posts

Posted 21 November 2013 - 06:12 PM

I used to think he had a monocle too.

Then I notice that it was only the way Pleasance's eyelid was dragged down by the scar tissue makeup that gave him that appearance.

Baron Strucker, in the Nick Fury comics, was bald with a monocle. That must be who the spoofers have Blofeld confused with when they present that image (either that or with Largo's eyepatch).



#28 Simon

Simon

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5884 posts
  • Location:England

Posted 21 November 2013 - 06:14 PM

I don't think it was "caving in" at all. Having any of the film-related rights for Bond controlled by anyone else would always be a concern for Eon. Look how much hassle they had dealing with McClory's various endeavors over the years? Every time he "announced" a new Bond film, however unlikely, Eon would have to gear up for another possible legal fight. That kind of thing takes enormous time, effort, and money to deal with. I would think that when these (yes, surprising) last bits became available to acquire, their reaction would be "Hot damn! Grabe 'em!"  And that their relief at now having everything behind their portcullis would be considerable.

 

I agree entirely.

 

Lord knows how much time was wasted and 'might' have contributed to delays in getting the next film into production.  So having all this tied up now, makes extremely good business sense.  Indeed, I think a lot has to be said about how well Eon in its current form has gone about the business side of Bond - buying all these loose ends makes the Bond position very strong, almost untenable now.

 

That said, I wonder if they have also managed to ensure TV rights issues the world over, are forever controlled and unlikely to cause similar situations as the '89 - '95 dry spell.  Off topic, I know.  Not looking to distract.



#29 S K Y F A L L

S K Y F A L L

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 6889 posts
  • Location:CANADA

Posted 25 November 2013 - 04:04 AM

Good for EON. I wonder what went through Logan and Mendes'es head when they heard the news. 



#30 AMC Hornet

AMC Hornet

    Commander

  • Veterans
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5857 posts

Posted 25 November 2013 - 04:19 AM

Good for EON. I wonder what went through Logan and Mendes'es head when they heard the news. 

"Oh God, now the rumour mill's going to gear up with 'Blofeld to be in Bond 24' stories..."