Bond in Japan
Blofeld: James Bond, allow me to introduce myself. I am Ernst Stavro Blofeld. They told me you were assasinated in Hong Kong.
James Bond: Yes, this is my second life.
Blofeld: You only live twice, Mr. Bond.
In the fifth official film, released in 1967, Sean Connery returned as James Bond, for what he said was the last time. He was tired with playing the role, which shows at times, Connery seeming tired and bored. But the farewell was only short-lived, as he returned to the role two more times... Lewis Gilbert directed, and Donald Pleasance finally gives Blofeld a face, although this will soon change again... This is definitely not the best Bond, but it does have it's points in favor as well.
James Bond: Oh the things I do for England.
S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is trying to play the super-powers off against each other by stealing Russian and American spacecraft so that they appear to be destroyed. However, the MI-6 suspects that the mysterious craft are coming down in Japan, and Bond is sent to investigate. But first of all Bond’s death is faked in Hong Kong, so that he is free to investigate across Japan. Bond’s first contact, Henderson, is killed but Bond secretly rides with the killers to the Osato chemical company, where he manages to "procure" some documents. After his escape, Bond is rescued by pretty Japanese agentess Aki (soon to be killed with poison meant for Bond), who takes him to Tiger Tanaka, head of the Japanese secret service.
Aki: I think I will enjoy very much serving under you.
The clues lead to a small volcanic island off Japan’s coast. 007 ‘marries’ Kissy Suzuki, another agent, and they go to the island on their honeymoon. Bond investigates with the help of the ingenious Little Nelly, a gyrocopter sent by Q, but finds nothing. But local rumors lead to a secret tunnel. Bond and Kissy investigate, barely escaping a gas attack. The tunnel leads to the top of the volcano, which turns out to have been hollowed out to form the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. base.
Blofeld:Kill Bond! Now!
Finally, after 5 movies, Bond meets his Nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld face to face. Bond gains entry via the Thunderbirds-style retracting lake, is spotted when disguising himself as an astronaut, but manages to escape. Opening the roof for the ninja-troops to enter, a huge battle commences. But time is running out as the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. rocket is approaching an American spacecraft, the "destruction" of which would trigger a nuclear war. But Bond manages to blow up the rocket, as well as the entire hideout, escapes along with Kissy, Tiger and many ninjas, finally ending up once more adrift in a raft with the main girl. But Blofeld got away as well...
Blofeld: Goodbye, Mr. Bond!
Tiger Tanaka: You know what it is about you that fascinates them, don't you? It's the hair on your chest. All Japanese men have beautiful bare skin.
James Bond: Ancient Japanese proverb, "Bird never build nest in bare tree."
As most of the film takes place in Asia, it is no wonder that the Bond Girls are all asians as well Akiko Wakabayashi as Aki and Mie Hama as Kissy Suzuki are just too cute. However, there seems to be no chemistry between Connery and the girls. But then we also have Karin Dor as the devious Helga Brandt, who oozes seduction and successfully tricks 007 with her feminine wiles. Her performance is villainous, without being overdone.
Tiger Tanaka: Rule number one: never do anything yourself when someone else can do it for you.
James Bond: And rule two?
Tiger Tanaka: Rule number two: in Japan, men come first, women come second.
James Bond: I just might retire here.
"Q" (the late Desmond Llewelyn) developed a gyrocopter (Little Nellie) with homing missiles, a helmet-camera, cigarettes with rocket-powered darts, gyro-jet rocket guns and finally, a special breathing shroud used in the sea burial James received. Nice stuff.
Ken Adam's fantastic volcano set was built at Pinewood Studios for the same cost as the whole of Dr. No. Most interiors were shot at Pinewood and much filming took place on location in Japan.
The 'Little Nellie' was in fact a genuine aircraft spotted by Saltzman in a magazine. When filming the sequence, a S.P.E.C.T.R.E. helicopter collided with a filming helicopter. Both made it back to the ground, although cinematographer Johnnie Jordan lost a leg. He would later return for On her Majesty's Secret Service with a false leg, and the sequence was finished in similar scenery in Spain.
Blofeld: The firing power inside my crater is enough to annihilate a small army. You can watch it all on TV. It's the last program you're likely to see.
James Bond: Well, if I'm gonna be forced to watch television, may I smoke?
Blofeld: Yes. Give him his cigarettes. It won't be the nicotine that kills you, Mr. Bond.
The producers faced a crisis on location when the Japanese extras were unwilling to strip to their bikinis. Eventually they were persuaded after appeals by Cubby Broccoli and publicist Tom Carlisle.
Originally, Czech actor Jan Werich was supposed to play the role of Blofeld, but got ill was replaced by Donald Pleasance who took 7 days to decide on the final scarred appearance of the villain.
Actress Akiko Wakabayashi (Aki) could not drive a car, so for the scenes when she was behind the Toyota’s wheel the car was pulled by six strong crew members.
The theme and title for You Only Live Twice would nearly have been Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Bonds real life nickname in Italy and Japan) but they went with the book title instead. This information was brought to you by Master Villain
To finish up and complete the writeup, here is a nice link to all things Bond:
Previous Bond: Thunderball, James Bond will return in: On her Majesty's Secret Service