Ian Fleming novel that introduces Bond's most implacable, sinister, and dedicated enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

The book opens with M., fresh from a health spa, sends Bond there for a naturopathic cure. He crosses paths with a Count Lippe, a man with a secret. He attempts to kill Bond in a traction machine "accident". Bond survives and burns him badly in a Turkish bath cabinet.

Lippe works for S.P.E.C.T.R.E., the Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion. This organization of criminals and spies (including members of the now-defunct SMERSH) has been making money hand over fist through assassinations, spying, kidnapping, and now embarked on their final plan. S.P.E.C.T.R.E. has stolen two nuclear bombs, and is holding the governments of America and Britain hostage for 100,000,000 pounds.

The governments scramble. Operation Thunderball is the global search for the bombs. Bond ends up relegated to a backwater, following up on a minor lead, a hunch of M.'s that the plane might be in the Carribean. Once there, Bond hooks back up with Felix Leiter, his ex-CIA Pinkerton friend, now reactivated as a CIA agent for the emergency.

The bombs are there, ready to be set. Blofeld's lieutenant Emilio Largo is also there, coordinating the operation from his hydrofoil, the Disco Volante. His cover as a treasure hunter is unassailable, so Bond cannot move until Largo goes to set the first bomb. Bond, leading a navy crew from a nuclear submarine, captures the bomb, and is nearly killed by Largo. The Girl (did I mention the girl?) saves him, for her own reasons.

Blofeld never directly confronts Bond in this book. He is pulling the strings from Europe. But Bond has made a potent enemy...

A cross between Dub/Drum'n'Bass and Trip-Hop from the Thievery Corporation side of the spectrum, Thunderball is a downtempo band composed of two full-time DJ's, plus several part-time musicians. The two masterminds behind the operation are Steve Raskin and Sid Barcelona, both situated in Washington D.C., which other than Bristol, England, is considered the Trip-Hop/downtempo capital of the world.

Thunderball is currently signed to ESL (Eighteenth Street Lounge), a record label owned by Thievery Corporation, and also the name of the restaurant/bar that Thievery Corporation owns. ESL is known for its downtempo, with tastes spanning from Alternative/Electronic to Drum'n'Bass/Film music. Some other popular bands on the label include Ursula 1000 and Farid.

Some of the musicians that Thunderball has collaberated with include Miss Johnna M., Mustafa, and Akil (vocals), Rob Myers (guitars/sitars), Kevin Cordt (trumpets), Steven Albert and Nick Pellicciotto (percussion/drums), and DJ Niv (turntables).

Anyway, Thunderball currently has two full-length albums released, with a third coming early next year, name currently unknown. Thunderball has also released several singles, remixed several artists (mostly Dub), and appeared on many ESL compilations.

Discography

Full-length

Singles
  • Hijack
  • Selector
  • This Girl
  • Pop the Trunk
  • Solar
  • Vai Vai
  • Heart of the Hustler
  • The Cobra Connection
Compilations
  • Dubbed Out in D.C.
  • Covert Operations
  • Complements of ESL Music
  • Departures
  • Modular Systems
Remixes
Information from my memory of The Making of Thunderball, let me know if I got anything wrong and I will change it!

Thunderball is in fact the Bond movie that was originally a movie. Flemming was always keen to get the character onto the screen, and co-wrote Thunderball with another writer. He then wrote the novel, and was met with legal action. This delayed the production of Thunderball, so the first Eon film was Doctor No. The co-writer, Kevin McClory, retained enough rights to the story to make the almost identical Never Say Never Again.

Thunderball started production on the day Goldfinger opened in theatres, and they pulled off a grueling stint to get it out a year later. One of the biggest challenges facing the crew was the fact that a surprising amount of the movie takes place underwater. It is worth noting that the underwater propulsion devices in the movie were all made by some guy in Miami, and the designer said it gave him much confidence in his work, because "If I could think it up, there would be someone in the world who could make it"

Among other wonderful things that stand out is the Disco Volante, Emil Largo's yacht. In the movie it drops the back end and converts into a hydrofoil for a speedy getaway, and that really is what it does - they bought a hydrofoil and built a back end on it so it looks like a yacht. The joins consist of two couplings, and was pretty unstable, yet they managed to film on it for months. The final fight scene between Bond and Largo is not actually filmed on the yacht, but on a reconstruction. The Disco Volante met its end when the crew's liason with the US military (If you want to know his name watch Goldfinger, they put his name up as C.O. of Fort Knox) provided them with some rocket fuel for the climactic crash into a reef. They got it the night before filming, and did not get a chance to test it out, and so when the hydrofoil seems to leave suspiciously little wreckage after the crash that's because it's about a thousand feet in the air and decending FAST.

The sharks were all real, and all live, apart from the one that chases Sean Connery out of the pool. They had no idea how to handle live sharks, and learnt by trial and error. The scene in the underwater tunnel linking the pools where Bond meets Largo's sharks did not involve any acting, Connery really did freak out.... more than once actually. There is one bit where he is supposed to be in a perspex corridor, keeping the sharks out. Only no one told him there was a section missing, and guess where one of the sharks went at the first opportunity?

And if anyone tells you otherwise, you let them know that the jet pack is real.

Pat Fearing: What exactly do you do?
James Bond: Oh, I travel... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.

Because of the most excellent nodes above, there is not much left to add. Still, one or two points could be made. Released in 1965, this movie was directed by Terence Young, and written by Kevin McClory. It featured Sean Connery at his best in the title role of James Bond. As the plot has been directly adapted from the novel, which has already been detailed by eponymous, i won't reiterate it again. Suffice it to say that it worked, and made a fun movie.

Trivia:

In this movie, we finally get confirmation that there are 9 double-0 agents, although we don't get to see them clearly. Apart from Bond, there seem to be 7 other men and one woman.

Miss Moneypenny: In the conference room. Something pretty big. Every double-o man in Europe has been rushed in. And the home secretary too! James Bond: His wife probably lost her dog.

Q has a few aces up his sleeve as usual. First and foremost, the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger makes a reappearance, complete with Machine Guns, oil dispenser, smoke, bullet-proof shields, ejector seat, saw-blade from wheel-hubs, homer terminal and Homers. Additionally, we see a bell-textron rocket belt, a miniaturized breathing apparatus for underwater ops, an underwater breathing pack with motor, dye container, 2 compressed-air missiles with explosive heads and finally, an underwater camera. With best wishes from the British taxpayers.

Q: Try to be a little less than your frivolous self OO7.

Which brings us to the Bond Girls. The lineup is quite nice once more, starting with Molly Peters as Patricia Fearing, the woman in the Health Clinic Bond visits. She tries to resist his charms, but fails, naturally.
Then we have Claudine Auger as Domino Derval, at first Emilio Largo's mistress. She betrays her guardian when Bond informs her that Largo was responsible for her brother's death. She then helps 007 track down two missing nuclear devices and foil SPECTRE's plan.
And finally Fiona Volpe alias Luciana Paluzzi, the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. agent sent to kill bond. She meets Bond, picks him up and takes him for a ride. She has sex with Bond but claims not to have enjoyed it. Later, she is shot while dancing with Bond, inspiring Bond to utter the great one-liner: "Do you mind if my friend sits this one out, she's just dead!"

Previous Bond: Goldfinger; James Bond will return in: You only live twice

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