007 MAGAZINE - The World's Foremost James Bond Resource!

EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE

 
 
Dr. No/From Russia With Love press advertisement

“Look Up! Look Down! Look Out!… James Bond Does it Everywhere!”
Following Dr. No and Goldfinger’s run at the Gala cinemas which ended on January 30, 1965 there was a brief five-week period where no Bond films were showing in London. The Continentale then showed From Russia With Love from March 7 for one week, then it transferred to the Berkeley; while at the Gala Royal, Marble Arch (also owned by Kenneth Rive) Dr. No was shown again from March 28 to May 8, 1965. Although it had been Kenneth Rive who had kept Bond alive in London by frequent screenings of the first three films, United Artists then re-released Dr. No and From Russia With Love on an official double-bill which opened on November 7, 1965 at the 600-seat Studio One cinema at Oxford Circus where it played until February 10, 1966.

Dr. No/From Russia With Love double-bill

The double-bill had already been successfully released in the United States in May 1965 and explains why the film logos used on the posters are the US versions, and not those seen on advertising materials created for their original UK release. Although the pressbook advertised the availability of a new quad-crown poster for the double-bill, the National Screen Service (the company who supplied publicity materials to UK cinemas) produced several variant posters and newspaper advertisements (illustrated below) used during the initial campaign which utilised the layouts created for the US release. The various taglines would be re-used on all subsequent re-releases throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The double-bill was hugely successful and played in London and across the country for at least six months.

Dr. No/From Russia With Love press advertisements
Thunderball premiere announcement

Bondmania Hits London!
The world premiere of Thunderball was originally scheduled for October 21, 1965 at the Odeon Leicester Square. Post-production delays resulted in the cancellation of the London opening and Thunderball subsequently premiered in Tokyo on December 9. A press screening was held at the Odeon Leicester Square on 27 December, two days before the rescheduled premieres at the London Pavilion and Rialto cinemas. Promotion for Thunderball was in full swing from early November. A display of props from the film (including the two-man submarine sled and the BSA motorcycle ridden by Luciana Paluzzi) appeared in the Thomas Wallis department store in Oxford Street, close to the Studio One cinema where Dr. No/From Russia With Love would open on November 7.

Thomas Wallis window display November 1965
Thunderball newspaper advertisement
Thunderball Premiere 1965

ABOVE: (left) Adolfo Celi and Claudine Auger attend the Thunderball premiere at the London Pavilion. (centre) The London Pavilion Wednesday December 29, 1965 (right) Goldfinger star Honor Blackman also attends the Thunderball gala premiere at the London Pavilion whilst other stars appear at the Rialto cinema 200 yards away in Coventry Street.

Thunderball premiere tickets

Thunderball premiered in London on December 29, 1965 at two venues with director Terence Young, stars Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi and Goldfinger's Honor Blackman and Tania Mallet attending at the London Pavilion; meanwhile Mollie Peters, Martine Beswicke and Guy Doleman were among the celebrities appearing at the Rialto cinema 200 yards away in Coventry Street. Other guests attending the premieres and after show supper-dance at the Royal Garden Hotel included producer Kevin McClory, composer John Barry, production designer Ken Adam and Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton.

Thunderball Box-Office

Although Thunderball is technically captioned with a 1965 release date it would not actually have been seen by the majority of its audience until early 1966. After its double premiere at the London Pavilion and Rialto cinemas on December 29, 1965, Thunderball then went on general release in London and across the country on January 2, 1966. A week after its release the film had broken house records at the 11 London cinemas where it was playing. Thunderball remained at the London Pavilion for a staggering 20 weeks and also played simultaneously at the Rialto for 12 weeks!

Goldfinger was then re-released at the 600-seat Odeon Haymarket on February 3, 1966 where it played for six weeks. With Dr. No/From Russia With Love still playing at the Studio One cinema at Oxford Circus, all four James Bond films could then be seen in the West End.

Thunderball
then played at the Continentale on Tottenham Court Road for the last two weeks of June 1966. Kenneth Rive once again used the James Bond films as guaranteed money makers in brief engagements at his London cinemas between his usual programmes of foreign art-house films. He replayed the Dr. No/From Russia With Love double-bill at his 360-seat International Film Theatre in Bayswater for three weeks in August 1966, and again at the Berkeley from December 1 to 14, 1966.

Casino Royale Newspaper advertisement
Casino Royale poster by Frank McGinnis/Odeon Leicester Square premiere

ABOVE: (top left) Although not part of the offical James Bond series Casino Royale had a poster designed by Robert McGinnis who painted the 'Sean Connery with Girls' panel on the US posters for Thunderball. This artwork was used exclusively on the UK quad-crown poster for Thunderball. He would go on to paint the posters for You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service (with Frank McCarthy); and would be the sole artist for Diamonds Are Forever, Live And Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun. (top and bottom right) Over the weekend of 15th and 16th April 1967 a number of tattooed body-stocking-clad models were driven around London in a Ford Mustang convertible, taking part in a promotional drive and giving away film posters and copies of the Pan paperback tie-in of Ian Fleming's original novel. (bottom left) The Odeon Leicester Square on the evening of  April 13, 1967.

“James Bond is Back to Back!”
There was then a six-month break before Bond returned to the West End. As the rights to Ian Fleming’s CASINO ROYALE had not been available to EON Productions in 1961, there was always the possibility that a film version would be made by another company. Charles K. Feldman had acquired the rights in 1960 but was unable to come to an agreement with Albert R. Broccoli & Harry Saltzman to make it as an official entry in the EON series. Ultimately Casino Royale was produced as a spoof version along the lines of the producer’s previous success What’s New Pussycat (1965). Casino Royale had its London premiere on April 13, 1967 at the Odeon Leicester Square where it played until May 17. Critically panned, but very successful at the box-office (taking £8,000 in its first three days at the Odeon Leicester Square), Casino Royale spent another four weeks at the Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square and a brief engagement at Kenneth Rive's International Film Theatre, Bayswater in Christmas week 1967, before becoming a late-night attraction at many London cinemas in the following years. With its catchy tag line “Casino Royale is too much for one James Bond!”, its success obviously worried United Artists, who erected a huge poster on the roundabout at Marble Arch reminding cinemagoers that “Sean Connery IS James Bond” and You Only Live Twice was coming soon!

You Only Live Twice newspaper advertisement

ABOVE: You Only Live Twice opened to the public on June 13, 1967 at the Odeon Leicester Square and in the weeks before its release it was impossible to avoid the posters and advertisements across London proclaiming 'Sean Connery IS James Bond'.

“Twice Is The Only Way To Live!”
You Only Live Twice premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square on the evening of Monday June 12, 1967 in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip. Sean Connery attended along with his actress wife Diane Cilento; screenwriter Roald Dahl was accompanied by his actress wife Patricia Neal and the late Ian Fleming’s close friend Ivar Bryce. Also attending were Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes who were then in England filming Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at Pinewood Studios. Although Casino Royale was still playing in London, You Only Live Twice proved hugely successful and broke house records in its first week at the Odeon Leicester Square. You Only Live Twice moved to the London Pavilion on August 31, 1967 where it played until October 17. The film also played concurrently at Studio One, Oxford Circus from September 14 until November 16, 1967 before moving to the Windmill Cinema (formerly The Windmill Theatre) until December 16, 1967.

You Only Live Twice premiere and London Pavilion 1967

ABOVE: (top left) Sean Connery and wife Diane Cilento arrive at the premiere of You Only Live Twice (top right) Crowds gather outside the Odeon Leicester Square on June 12, 1967 (centre left) Sean Connery presents Diane Cilento to Her Majesty The Queen at the premiere of You Only Live Twice (bottom left) You Only Live Twice breaks the house record at the Odeon in its first week (bottom right) You Only Live Twice also played at the London Pavilion during September/October 1967.

You Only Live Twice also broke the house record at the Odeon Leicester Square in its second week - taking £19,473. It even took in a respectable £9,160 in its final week before transferring to the London Pavilion. You Only Live Twice was the penultimate film screened at the Odeon Leicester Square before it closed for 'modernisation' on September 21, 1967. Most of the beautiful art-deco features which had survived the London bombings in World War II were disposed of. The three-month £200,000 facelift included a new front-of-house canopy, restyled foyer & circle lounge and the auditorium was fitted with new seats. The cinema re-opened on December 27, 1967 - the same week Casino Royale played at the International Film Theatre, Bayswater.

Best ever take in second week

You Only Live Twice - London Pavilion 1967

ABOVE: Shaftesbury Avenue 1967 - The rear hoarding of the London Pavilion advertises You Only Live Twice which played there from August 31 - October 17, 1967 [inset] the front of the London Pavilion, Piccadilly Circus at night.

You Only Live Twice at the London Pavilion 1967


JAMES BOND NEWS

 FACT FILES