Charade (1963): Cary Grant’s Bond movie?

10 JULY 2023

JBC rating: *****

James Bond Connections (1):

  • Title sequence designed by Maurice Binder (Bond titles, various, 1962 – 1989).

Director Stanley Donen’s superb comedy thriller Charade is frequently (and justly) referred to as the greatest suspense film Alfred Hitchcock never made. Less discussed, Charade also displays key influences from the then new James Bond franchise, and not just Maurice Binder’s Dr No-style title sequence featuring familiar flashing colours (below). Most intriguingly, the film stars screen legend Cary Grant, famously United Artists preferred choice as James Bond in 1962 (and Cubby Broccoli’s best man during his 1959 wedding). Grant plays a government agent who, in a departure from his usual civilian roles, carries (and fires) a gun during his mission to protect Audrey Hepburn’s wealthy jet-setter Regina ‘Reggie’ Lampert as she’s pursued across Europe by a rogue’s gallery of villains.

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The Tamarind Seed (1974): the spy who loved Julie Andrews

19 JUNE 2023

JBC rating: ***

James Bond Connections (5):

  • Soundtrack composed by John Barry (Bond composer, various, 1962 – 1987).
  • Song lyrics by Don Black (Bond lyricist, various 1964 – 1989).
  • Director of Photography Freddie Young (Cinematographer, You Only Live Twice)
  • Title sequence designed by Maurice Binder (Bond titles, various, 1962 – 1989)
  • Featuring actor Bryan Marshall (Commander Talbot in The Spy Who Loved Me) as security officer George MacLeod

The 1974 UK produced spy drama The Tamarind Seed features English star Julie Andrews as British Home Office official Judith Farrow, who unwittingly becomes involved in international intrigue after a holiday romance with Omar Sharif’s Soviet attache Major Feodor Sverdlov. In writer-director Blake Edwards’ intelligent adaptation of Evelyn Anthony’s 1971 novel, Sverdlov hopes Judith will help facilitate his defection to the West and in return he will expose the identity of ‘Blue’, a Soviet mole working at the highest levels of the British state. The east meets west plotline anticipates themes in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and both films provide a snapshot of contemporary thinking regarding the Soviet Union in the age of détente. The film can also be seen as a companion piece to Alfred Hitchcock’s underrated Torn Curtain (1966), another spy thriller featuring Julie Andrews unwittingly involved in a defection plot. However, in contrast to these two films, the quietly satisfying spy drama The Tamarind Seed largely eschews large-scale action or suspense sequences in favour of characterisation and acting fireworks.

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Kaleidoscope (1966): stealing the plot of Casino Royale

13 JUNE 2023

JBC rating: ****

James Bond Connections (2):

  • Maurice Binder (Title designer, various 1962 – 1989) produced the title sequence.
  • Featuring Anthony Dawson (Professor Dent in Dr No) as a London casino manager.

The highly enjoyable 1966 comedy thriller Kaleidoscope begins as a romantic caper from the mould of Charade (1963), with added swinging 60s style and fashions. The James Bond connection isn’t immediately obvious, as the film follows an American playboy enacting an ingenious scheme to fraudulently win a fortune from casinos across Europe. Maurice Binder’s fun title sequence, featuring iconic London sights shot through a kaleidoscopic filter (below), is unlike any of his work for EON. Actor Anthony Dawson, so memorable as the slimy Professor Dent in Dr No, barely registers in his tiny (and uncredited) role as a casino boss. However, the second half of the film, focusing on an attempt to bankrupt an international villain during a high-stakes poker game, is clearly lifted from Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale (1953) and features a similar aftermath. Ironically, this section of Robert and Jane-Howard Carrington’s lively script is far closer to Fleming than the first “adaptation” released the following year!

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Gold (1974): Roger Moore mining Bond

21 MAY 2023

JBC rating: ****

James Bond Connections (8):


  • Starring Roger Moore (James Bond, 1973 – 1985) as Rod Slater.
  • Featuring Bernard Horsfall (Campbell in OHMSS) as Dave Kowalski.
  • Featuring (briefly) Andre Maranne (uncredited as SPECTRE No. 10 in Thunderball) as a syndicate member.


  • Directed by Peter Hunt (Bond editor 1962 – 1967, Director OHMSS).
  • Production designed by Syd Cain (From Russia with Love, OHMSS & Live and Let Die).
  • Edited & 2nd unit directed by John Glen (Bond editor / 2nd unit, various 1969 – 1979; Bond Director 1981 – 1989).
  • Titles designed by Maurice Binder (Bond titles, various 1962 – 1989).
  • Camera operated by Alec Mills (Camera crew, 1969, 1981 – 1989).

The classic South Africa-set action thriller Gold was Roger Moore’s first film following his highly successful debut as James Bond in Live and Let Die (1973). It set the template for Moore’s non-EON career in the 1970s and 80s when, more than any other James Bond actor, he seemed happy to capitalise on his star persona by portraying a succession of smooth and sophisticated heroes straight from the 007 mould. Many EON regulars would join Moore for his non-Bond ventures. Indeed, one reason for the fact Gold is arguably the best of them is the fact the credits include more EON crew members than any Roger Moore movie outside of James Bond.

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