The series was becoming a cliché of bombs and bosoms that was thoroughly lapped up by parasitic competing studios. The value of the spy movie was being diluted as other film companies began to draw life-blood from the famous franchise by making diet-Bond films. Many of them were hackneyed spoofs like Casino Royale (1967), starring David Niven and Peter Sellers.
Operation Kid Brother (1967)
However, other non-EON spy films attempted to fall in between parody and serious action film. Case in point, Operation Kid Brother (1967) (aka Operation Double 007, aka OK Connery ). While Sean Connery was phoning in what he wished to be his last Bond film, his brother Neil Connery was filming his first Bond-ish film.
Initially released in Italy two months before Twice opened in the UK, Kid Brother makes no bones about cashing in on the Connery name as well as that of the supporting players, including Lois Maxwell, who plays Miss Moneypenny in the “real” Bond films. However, Kid Brother wants to be considered a decent action film in its own right by making Neil’s character an authority on psychology who is called in to help with some mayhem after the doctor’s brother (ahem) is away on an important case and can’t make it. It’s more like a fan fiction film than a spoof.
But then again, with the tagline, "Operation Kid Brother is too much for one mother," you have to wonder just how serious it's supposed to be. In any case, Kid Brother lives on in infamy lampooned by the robots of the TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000, where Crow T. Robert declares, “No matter what‘s gone wrong with his life, Neil can always look in the mirror and say to himself, ‘well, at least I didn’t do Zardoz.’”
It actually works!
In 1967, Popular Science Magazine gushed over the fact that the autogyro at Bond’s beck and call in his latest film “is not a gimmick set up by special effects men and trick photography.” The author goes on to give dimensions, etc. and assures the reader that “It‘s the real thing.”
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A little over 25 years prior to his release of You Only Live Twice, producer Albert Broccoli made his debut in films working as assistant director on The Black Swan, which stars ravishing redhead Maureen O’Hara as the spitfire who aides another man of mystery, the pirate Jamie Waring (Tyrone Power). Around that time Broccoli was also an uncredited AD for The Outlaw, starring the buxom brunette, Jane Russell, who slinks around (almost) wearing a peasant blouse in this western. It’s a stretch, but you could say that these two female characters are the cinematic prototypes of the Bond girls.
|A man of mystery and a proto-Bond girl?|
Black Belt Magazine
Sean Connery makes the cover of the August 1967 issue of Black Belt Magazine, however columnist Andy Adams turns a critical eye to how martial arts is portrayed in the film. “Western movie audiences will get their first real opportunity to see a wide variety of martial arts being used in action in the latest James Bond epic, ‘You Only Live Twice,’ states Adams. “ Just how authentic are the techniques is another question entirely,” he notes.
You can read the article “007‘s Newest ‘Gimmick’: a Whole Arsenal of Japanese Self-defense Arts” here on page 34 et. seq.
And that is a bit of Bond trivia from 1967.