Posted 09 October 2012 - 07:59 PM
Whenever this question is posed, I was always direct the inquirer to this fantastic post made by ACE several years ago:
What if George Lazenby had not left the series and OHMSS had been an even bigger hit? DAF would not have been made (at least the way it was - the need to recapture Goldfinger would not have been there). Peter Hunt was eager to direct YOLT and I am suggesting that Hunt, a Fleming fan, may have wanted to have a more literary resolution to Blofeld.(Yeah, I know he said that if GL had continued, the crane movement from the Aston Martin leaving the wedding would have led to a death of Tracy PTS for BOND 7 - but leave me alone, I'm having fun here!). He is therefore going to film the essence of the novel but call it something different and follow up OHMSS quickly, now back to a Bond a year. It is based on unused ideas and locations floating around Eon from around the shooting of OHMSS. I have also preposterously extrapolated the mindset of continuing in the Fleming vein to include using Ian Fleming's You Only Live Twice (which is where the title comes from), the short story Risico as well as Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (me having fun/being a wisenheimer). It also borrows from the headlines of the time and tries to be more hip and youth orientated but bleaker and more ambiguous according to the perceived prevailing cinematic trends. It is generic and clumsy with the casting and cultural representation of the region. Now either the film is a hit and Lazenby continues with The Man With The Golden Gun or the film gets flak in America and Lazenby bails out leaving the producers with the need to resucitate the series as in life.
THE DRAGON WITHIN
1969 - OHMSS
1970 – THE DRAGON WITHIN
James Bond : George Lazenby
Major Leopold: Marlon Brando (on his downers and cannot get employment easily at this stage in his career. Beat a similarly desparate but CR ’67 tainted Orson Welles to the part)
Jean Ramadia: Catherine Deneuve (considered for Tracy)
Col Russhon: John Gavin (almost...)
Ng Tram: (unknown beautiful Vietnamese/Chinese model shtumped by George Lazenby during filming)
Felix Leiter: Dennis Hopper
Lei: Bruce Lee (trying to break into movies after his stint on US TV)
Phu: Burt Kwouk
M: Bernard Lee
Q: Desmond Llewelyn
Moneypenny: Lois Maxwell
Sir James Molony: Kenneth More (a good friend of Lee’s and later possible M replacement)
Blofeld: Telly Savalas
Irma Bunt: Hermione Gingold (Ilse Steppat having passed away in 1969 - exactly 1 year before my birth! - thanks to Sir Hillary Bray for this and the casting suggestion)
Directed by Peter Hunt
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Francis Ford Coppola (a young American writer/director having trouble getting a gig. FFC meets in Cubby's favoured Italian restaurant, Versuvios, round the corner from the UA building in NY)
Locations: France, London - UK, Cambodia
A be-Trilby'd figure strides into aim and turns, drops to his knee and fires - the legend "Albert R Broccoli and Harry Saltzman present" appearing in B&W contrast to the background to the strains of a Moog-driven John Barry arrangement of the James Bond theme. The gunbarrel opens on the view of a dark seascape tumultuous with a storm front in a concrete rectangle matching the Panavision frame. Pullback to reveal...
EXT. FORTIFIED EMPLACEMENT, THE MAGINOT LINE, FRANCE - PTS
A gun slit in a concrete cavern – rotting and falling apart. A match is lit and we see James Bond, lighting a cigarette. An oriental man, PHU, speaks to Bond in French. “Do you have the troop movements?” 007: “Of course, but I thought the French had pulled out of Vietnam?” The response is an inscrutable smile. Bond hands over a leather document case, clicking something as he goes. Money is handed to Bond and as PHU leaves, the document case flares in the darkness, the magnesium charge going up. Bond leaps upon PHU and they have cat and mouse chase in the warren of tunnels, ending in a tough, tightly edited, hand to hand fight in the confines of the bunker. PHU escapes Bond’s clutches and runs out of the bunker to across open ground. Bond gives chase and we see a close up of a sign in French, but subtitled: DANGER – MINES. Bond gives chase on foot and PHU turns around, firing. Bond returns fire and there is an explosion. CU on Bond and PHU and the sign and they realize on what they are running. On the horizon we see a group of men bending down and shooting at Bond from the cover of a large Citroen DS, just the muzzle flares of their weapons and the zing of bullets and the odd explosion as a mine goes off. PHU jumps in the car just as a bullet of Bond’s hits a mine and the car explodes. Bond sighs, out of breath, the stormy North Atlantic in the background, his face lit orange by the flickering flames…
TITLES: …over which a silhouette of a dragon is imposed as Aretha Franklin belts out a soulful title song music by John Barry, lyrics by Don Black over a Maurice Binder title sequence with nudes and a pearl, oyster shell, and ruby motif. The dragon silhouette returns and fades into a wrought iron coat of arms on a gate opening into...
...QUEEN MARY ROSE GARDEN, REGENT'S PARK, LONDON.
A dishevelled Bond with hippy moustache is walking idly through the rose garden and his buzzer bleeps. Bond saunters to a red telephone box: “007 here. Yes Penny, yes alright”
UNIVERSAL EXPORTS, LONDON.
Bond’s office is a mess. He takes a sip from his hip flask while source music, Blood, Sweat and Tears, is playing then fading, "And now on Radio Caroline..." CU of fingers turning off the transistor radio and pull back to reveal MONEYPENNY. Flustered at his appearance she berates and proceeds to smarten him up…cut to immaculate Bond standing before M in the SIS Chief's office. Bond’s failure to apprehend PHU is just the latest in a long line of recent failures. Does 007 need extended leave of absence? Does he need time to recover from his unfortunate personal events? 007 resolutely refuses. M confines Bond to desk work and recuperation. Bond goes to the underground shooting range and fails dismally in his Walther target practise. Q chastises Bond for having lost his sharp eye: “No point issuing you any field equipment 007. I doubt you’ll be in the field again!”
M and SIR JAMES MOLONY in the quiet confines of a London club. M confides his concerns about 007. Molony says Bond needs a tough, important assignment to shake him out of his malaise…and then they are joined by Bond, in black tie. The situation is set out. The US is withholding vital intelligence “involving enemy destruction of Great Britain” from the UK due to recent spy scandals. Bond is to go to Cambodia for a diplomatic mission to release vital intelligence. “But sir, I’m a man of action, not a diplomat!” “Not very effective recently. Win back your spurs 007 and we’ll see.”
PHENOM PENH, CAMBODIA
Bond, in white dinner jacket, meets FELIX LEITER disguised as a war photographer who leads Bond to COL RUSSHON at exclusive, ex-French colonial hotel. Russhon orders Bond a vodka martini, shaken not stirred. Col Russhon explains that as the war rages in neighbouring Vietnam, the US government intel has found there is an ex-French army officer operating out of the jungles in Cambodia, selling arms to the VietCong. The source of arms must be discovered and Major Leopold but be terminated. The US cannot do it but a British agent would be useful. “You are to slay the dragon within”. "Yeah, man!" opines Leiter, smoking an odd-looking, roll-up cigarette. Leiter explains he is leaving and getting posted back to Nevada, USA. The US will then release vital intelligence information to the UK. Bond meets his contact, the peacenik daughter of a French soldier, Jean Ramadia and while travelog-ing around the capital and shtumping her, she tells him about LEOPOLD. They are attacked by a cycle fleet of brigands led by lithe LEI in a crowded market place, a bomb goes off in Bond’s hotel room wounding Jean, nearly tipping Bond into despair again. However, Russhon tells Bond he needs to go into deep cover.
CAMBODIAN JUNGLE, CAMBODIA
They go into a jungle village where Bond is introduced to the beautiful Ng Tram. Bond begins a process of cultural assimilation including schtumping Ng. Russhon comes to visit and reveal photographs of the arms dealer connected to Major Leopold. Bond stiffens: BLOFELD and IRMA BUNT! Bond, Ng and a troop from the village trek through the jungle. A one point, a LEOPOLD scout causes an elephant stampede but Bond and Ng survive. Finally they reach LEOPOLD’s base – a massive temple complex. Bond sends Ng away to get airpower to blast the co-ordinates at dawn. Bond then explores the compound and sees a soldier thrown into the alligator-filled river by the temple. He finds an empty operating theatre with strange, skin-like substance. Ducking back, he hears a passing conversation in an Eastern language, subtitled thusly, "Our experiments in augmentation surgery on the Visitor and his frau have gone very well!" Finally Bond meets LEOPOLD face to face where he reveals that PHU worked for him and LEI is his henchman. His private army is providing the VC with state of the art weapons supplied by an external power. “Blofeld!”. Taken aback, LEOPOLD says that the R&D of using the weapons in the theatre of war is invaluable and by providing them to the VC, Blofeld gets what he wants and the war will escalate forcing the US to take nuclear action. LEOPOLD believes the US and the French have been too soft and that they should nuke the VC. That is what they are planning to do. Bond says nuclear war will follow. Bond is led by LEI to a giant bamboo grinder to die. He escapes and finds warren of tunnels built underneath the temple, fighting a guard, mirroring the PTS fight. He proceeds to set charges and track down Blofeld. Dawn arrives and the treetops reveal anti-aircraft gun emplacements which erupt into life as the air power called in by Ng (riding in the skies) pounds the temple and surrounds. Bond is in the bunker which begins to blow up. LEOPOLD and Bond duke it out in collapsing tunnels and LEOPOLD is last seen with trapped in a rock cavern with earth slowly filling up around him. Bond emerges from the warren of tunnels to find a sailing junk puttering off. Bombs still explode as the airstrike continues. Bond jumps on it and out emerges BLOFELD and BUNT. Bond knocks BUNT into the alligator filled water and then fights BLOFELD, strangling him with rope from the decking. A lasting CU on Blofeld’s neck reveals unusual scarring, not from the rope. The country side is blowing up around them due to the airstrike. Suddenly, out jumps LEI and they have a strange fight with their hands and grunts. LEI says, "I see you are an expert in Kung Fu." "Yes, I learnt in Japan". LEI gets the better of Bond and is about to kill 007 when - KER-BLAM - the boat takes a direct hit!
Slow fade to...
Ng Tram's village in the jungle. Ng nursing Bond, still in peasant uniform. Montage of relationship is intercut with montage in London. Moneypenny in tears, M thoughtfully holding his pipe while closing Bond's file, soundtracked by a haunting, prog-rock ballad performed by Blood, Sweat And Tears. We end with following a newspaper from press to stall finishing on a CU of Bond's obituary in newspaper. Throughout this section Bernard Lee as M reads the obit in voiceover.
We end in a village with a quick quick shot revealing Ng is pregnant. Bond working paddy fields and a helicopter lands. Russian. The head of village points to Bond and we then see from Ng’s POV Bond being led to the helicopter and it flying off in the distance…we stay on Ng’s tear-filled eyes.
THE END OF THE DRAGON WITHIN
JAMES BOND WILL RETURN
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER/THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN