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Tag Archive: Sean Connery


Everyone is a suspect.  The clues are everywhere.  For mystery lovers, it’s a staple.  It’s Agatha Christie’s most well-known 1934 novel come to life, Murder on the Orient Express, the fourth major production for film or television of the classic whodunit in the English language–the 1974 Academy Award winning Sidney Lumet film being the best known.  For the older generation the story is known, but for a new generation the stage is set for a big screen version of Clue/Cluedo.  As with the 1974 version, the cast of the 2017 version is extraordinary.

So how do you cast a film against the last generation of film greats?  Leading a bevy of thespian knights and dames, Sir Kenneth Branagh both directs and stars as master detective Hercule Poirot, the world’s greatest detective, played previously by Albert Finney (who refused a knighthood in the year 2000).  Sir Derek Jacobi plays the butler Edward Henry Masterman in a role played by Sir John Gielgud in the earlier version.  Dame Judi Dench plays Princess Natalia Dragomiroff, formerly played by Dame Wendy Hiller.  In an update for the new version, American actor Leslie Odom, Jr. (Supernatural, Gotham) takes on the role of Doctor (formerly Colonel) Arbuthnott, played previously by Sir Sean Connery.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Daisy Ridley as governess Mary Debenham, formerly played by Dame Vanessa Redgrave.

The list of American actors includes a fascinating mix of genre favorites old and new.  Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp takes on the role played before by Richard Widmark as the debonair businessman Edward Ratchett.  Academy Award nominee Michelle Pfeiffer is widow Harriet Hubbard, a role played in the 1974 film by Lauren Bacall.  Academy Award nominee Willem Dafoe is Professor Gerhard Hardman, played earlier by Colin Blakely.  Academy Award winner Penélope Cruz plays a newly named character, Pilar Estravados, a missionary, in the part played before by Ingrid Bergman.  Rounding out the cast is Josh Gad (Frozen) as Ratchett’s assistant Hector McQueen (played before by Anthony Perkins), and British TV regular Olivia Colman (Broadchurch, The Night Manager) plays the maid Hildegarde Schmidt (previously played by Rachel Roberts).

Take a look at this first trailer for the new Murder on the Orient Express:

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Scotty in kilt

That is, if you’re in Scotland.

Census records estimate that more than twice as many people of Scottish ancestry live in the United States than in Scotland.  Is it the destiny of Scotland to declare its independence from Great Britain?  If not now, then when?  At the beginning of the day everyone has been waiting for, polls show the likely outcome as a dead heat.  We’ll soon learn the answer we’ve all been asking:  Will they or won’t they?

Of course there are all sorts of implications to a yes vote, not the least of which is what kind of economic impact it will have on England, on the United States, and the world.  If Scotland wants to make a statement to the world this could very well be Scotland’s day.  So if you’re one of those Scots that are 16 years old or older and done voting or you’re in the States and can’t vote today, then what better than a brief celebration of all things Scottish?  As Mike Myers’ character Stuart Rankin, proprietor of the store “All Things Scottish,” said on Saturday Night Live, “If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap.”

Sean Connery

Scotland is well known for its inventors and their inventions.  You wouldn’t be reading this website or surfing the Internet at all without the communications technologies that sprouted from Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone.  John Logie Baird would invent the first television.  Scots invented the refrigerator and the flush toilet, the kaleidoscope and the lawnmower.  And–shazam–James Goodfellow invented ATMs so we can get money to buy stuff on nearly any street corner.

Our future is defined in part by the adventures of a Scot in space–James Doohan’s Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott from Star Trek, an engineering miracle worker who exemplifies Scottish ingenuity.  And of course, there’s James Bond, the character, whose parents were Scottish, and Sir Sean Connery, the Scottish actor, the most famous Bond, and a supporter of today’s “yes” vote.

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From Russia with Love book cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

The fifth James Bond novel, From Russia with Love, was a popular mainstream read back in 1957.  One of President Kennedy’s favorite books, the film adaptation would be the last movie he would ever see before that fateful trip to Dallas in 1963.  From Russia with Love reflects a lot about the Cold War era and Europe in the late 1950s.  As part of the James Bond universe it is a rare faithful adaptation of an Ian Fleming novel.  And, unlike some of Fleming’s Bond novels that fail to hold up to modern sensibilities, including The Spy Who Loved Me (previously reviewed here) and Live and Let Die (reviewed here), From Russia with Love is full of political intrigue and spymastery, putting it toward the top of Bond’s adventures along with the novels Casino Royale and Moonraker.

A nice twist is the admission within the story of the more ludicrous elements, as just that, ludicrous.  Namely, the plot focuses on a sort of off-the-book operation by SMERSH (SPECTRE in the film, the Soviet secret spy program), and its efforts to kill Bond and exact revenge on MI6 through an elaborate sex scandal plot, all for the deaths by Bond of Le Chiffre in Casino Royale and Hugo Drax in Moonraker and other bruises to the Soviets.  Its means?  By assigning a Soviet cipher clerk (think Bletchley Circle) named Tatiana Romanova, stationed in a consulate in Istanbul, to pretend to fall in love with a photo of Bond and attempt defection to Great Britain.  The catch?  Only James Bond can collect her in Turkey and bring her over to the Brits.  Dangling the carrot of a Spektor code breaker machine that the Brits have never been able to get their hands on, she’s SMERSH’s best bet to finally bring Bond to his knees.  Thankfully, MI6 doesn’t blindly jump right in–MI6 sees it as an obvious trap, yet the value of the code breaker is too good to pass up, and it’s just the type of mission Bond is good at.

From Russia with Love classic pulp cover

There’s more to From Russia with Love than the typical Bond novel.  Sure, there’s the suave spy, the womanizing, the “Bond girl,” the martinis.  There’s also the exotic locations.  You’ll get the feel you’ve been to Istanbul, to the “stinking streets” of the city, to the Soviet consulate, the SMERSH training grounds, to a party and fight and bombing at a Gypsy village, and a ride on that famous train, the Orient Express.

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Jeff Bridges in Seventh Son

How can you get any cooler than Jeff Bridges’ hacker/video game mogul character of Flynn in Tron?  As The Dude in The Big Lebowski?  Two new trailers will no doubt elevate even diehard Jeff Bridges fans’ views of this singularly awesome genre actor.

We already previewed the first trailer for next week’s release R.I.P.D. here at borg.com R.I.P.D. adapts the Dark Horse Comics paranormal cops series and stars Ryan Reynolds as Nick Walker and Bridges as Roy Pulsipher, a gun-toting badass that makes Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn from the True Grit remake look like a wimp.  This new trailer for R.I.P.D. relies heavily in its attraction on the coolness that is Mr. Bridges.  Add to it that mammoth revolver and this movie looks like a guaranteed summer blast.

Just check out Bridges in this cool new trailer for R.I.P.D.:

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1966 Adam West Batmobile

This weekend the Batmobile from the original 1960s Batman series sold at auction for a whopping $4.62 million by the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company.

The original Batmobile began as a unique 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car built in Italy by Ford Motor Company, which was heavily modified by legendary customizer and car creator George Barris to become the original 1966 Batmobile in both the live action TV series, and the movie adaptation starring Adam West and Burt Ward.  George Barris reportedly bought the 1955 car for $1 back in 1966 and spent $15,000 in 15 days creating the final look for the car.  The Batmobile has a V-8 engine and functional instruments in the steering wheel, as well as a push-button transmission. Barris owned the car all these years, touring the car at conventions, and finally decided to let the car go in this weekend’s auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Rick Champagne, a Phoenix-area logistics company owner, placed the winning bid, saying he “really liked Batman growing up”.

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With 50 years of James Bond books, the attention given to Ian Fleming for his success, President John F. Kennedy mentioning publicly he was a fan of Fleming’s work, and dozens of movies, it’s no wonder Life Magazine covered Bond and Fleming so much over the years.  This month Life Books chronicles the Bond jubilee year with a hardcover book and a condensed magazine version of that book, with its LIFE 50 Years of James Bond and  LIFE 50 Years of James Bond–On the Run with 007 From Dr. No to Skyfall.

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If you were married 50 years ago this time of year (and you know who you are), you’d be celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary–known as the Golden Anniversary.  James Bond, the British agent that never grows old throughout his film franchise also scores a Golden Anniversary this year as several companies celebrate his 50th year on the silver screen.  It’s not the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, but, hey, it’s close–and heck, she’s the Queen.  In a year of Olympics in London and British TV series making their mark overseas, it seems fitting that all things James Bond are big from now through the end of the year.

First up is “Global James Bond Day,” slated for October 5, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the London premiere of Dr. No, starring Sean Connery as the first actor to portray Bond, in the first of now 23 official Ian Fleming James Bond novel adaptations.  Although we’ve seen no nations making this a holiday or even a nationally recognized celebration, Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment all are partnering on this big marketing push leading to the release of Skyfall starring Daniel Craig, premiering November 9, 2012, in the U.S.A.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Passion Pictures and Red Box Films are also releasing a documentary about Ian Fleming and the men who made James Bond the largest movie franchise in film history.  Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007 focuses on the individuals who have kept Bond fresh and alive with the changing times, Bond producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.  Theater dates for the documentary have not yet been released.

Collectors of screen-used James Bond memorabilia will be happy to hear Christie’s will be auctioning off 50 lots tied to the franchise via an online and live auction charity event benefitting twelve charities (full details are at www.christies.com/bond).  Lot details will be released in September.

If you’re in London you can catch some of the most iconic items from the 007 movies displayed at the “Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style” exhibition at the Barbican center in London continuing through September 5, 2012.  If you’re not in London but are lucky enough to be living in or visiting Canada between October 26, 2012 and January 20, 2013, the Toronto International Film Festival and Bell Lightbox will be hosting its own spinoff of the London “Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style” event.

Exhibition highlights include the steel teeth worn by Richard “Jaws” Kiel in The Spy Who Loved Me (1997); storyboards for Diamonds are Forever (1971);  the Anthony Sinclair overcoat worn by Sean Connery in Dr. No (1962);  the poker table from Casino Royale (2006); and multiple gadgets from Q Branch including the attaché case given to Bond in From Russia With Love (1963).

The preservationists of original Albert Broccoli’s EON Productions donated copies of each James Bond film–the New York Museum of Modern Art will be hosting its own Bond film retrospective this year.

Like Bond music like Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die?  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be hosting a “Music of Bond” night in Los Angeles later this year.  If you don’t live in L.A., you might want to know that the best single CD James Bond orchestral compilation of music ever created, Bond and Beyond, was recorded by the late, great Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops in 2002, and can still be found at Amazon.com and other online stores.

And those who saw the big Bond 50 booth at Comic-Con will already know that all 22 Bond films to date will be released for the first time in one Blu-Ray collection beginning September 24, 2012.  You can pre-order the Blu-Ray collection Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection for a discount off the release price now at Amazon.com and get a limited edition hardcover book including 50 years of Bond movie posters.  It will also be available in a standard DVD collection edition, also now at a pre-order discount at Amazon.com.

And borg.com is participating as well as we continue our “Retro reviews” of all the original James Bond novels, continuing later this week with Ian Fleming’s Moonraker.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Interview by C.J. Bunce

One of my favorite people in the Star Trek world is Penny Juday.  Not only is she a great person, she is always willing to share interesting stories about her days working for Paramount on Star Trek.  As a former U.S. Navy Submarine fleet detailer, Penny Juday staffed the Navy’s sub-fleet with crew assignments. She joined the Star Trek Deep Space Nine decorating department in 1991. Penny was soon hired as the personal assistant to the production designer of Star Trek, which then led to becoming the art department coordinator of Star Trek for the next 18 years, where she also served as Star Trek archivist. During her off hours Penny attended art school at Otis Parsons and earned her certificates as designer and illustrator.  borg.com is happy to welcome Penny here today.

CB:  Penny, you have a pretty unique college background, studying art and design, as well as computer science and physics.  And you were on your way into Intelligence in the U.S. Navy.  You seem to be cut out for your role as guardian of the secrets behind the Star Trek franchise.  How did that background help you move into the role as Art Coordinator and Star Trek Archivist at Paramount Pictures?

PJ:  I was a submarine fleet detailer.  They wanted me to go into INTEL when my tour was up but they would not agree to anything I asked for in return.  In retrospect it was not such a good idea on my part, of course.  I assigned submariners to their duty stations as they came out of school in Groton and kept track of all the available positions for enlisted crew for all the submarines.  I had to make sure they were properly and completely staffed at all times.  If one were taken ill or sadly, killed, I had to find the replacement ASAP.  I studied computer science and physics while in the Navy.  Another decision gone wrong.  If I had stayed with that, I could have been the girl Steve Jobs!  At the time computer programmers worked nights and weekends since it was still reel to reel and we worked while others didn’t.  I just couldn’t do that.  How it helped with my Star Trek job?  You have to be extremely resourceful to get a lot of military jobs done for many reasons.  My boss on Trek, Herman Zimmerman (who we called “Z”) often told just about anyone who would listen that I was the most resourceful person he had ever met.  I could find just about anything we needed to get a job done, or anyone, for that matter.  If a prop guy told Z we couldn’t find a particular product I would get the task.  Now that’s fun and interesting.  One of my favorite things was when I would call a company and tell them who I was and who I was with.  Usually there was a minute of total silence because they did not believe me, of course.  Then when it sunk in I was telling the truth…  I can’t tell you how much I could achieve with vendors just because I worked on Star Trek.  They would jump through a lot hoops to help us.  And the undercover Trekkies that I would run across!

Penny in her Star Trek “toybox” warehouse at the Paramount set.

The archives–being a personnel person in the Navy I took care of thousands of records, copied thousands of pages of documents, records and cared for the same, so making an archive was cheese cake.  Again finding anything… I was sent to Long Beach Naval Station to finish my Navy tour.  There had been a serious lack of commitment to record keeping, and personnel records were a mess so I was sent to help redo and get it smooth again.  Within days this Chief Petty Officer comes to my desk, almost in tears, very upset, telling me his records had been missing for weeks, meaning, he doesn’t get paid, can’t move forward in any capacity–remember this was before documents were scanned and kept on computer.  Some info was in Washington on OCR documents but the bulk of your records were still just paper in a manila folder in a real filing cabinet.  If that went missing you were in serious trouble.  So Chief tells me the story… he had been in day after day, asking someone—anyone—to search for his records.  “They cannot be found,” they tell him.  Knowing full well how badly the records in Long Beach had been stored, mostly by young “kids” who just didn’t care and wanted to get through their tour period.  I asked him his full name, was there any known misspellings, etc.  I take the “intel,” go to the records room and start the search… yup, under his middle name.  Chief hung his head in silence.  I still cry when I think of how happy it made him.  I got a letter of appreciation for that one, which is a small Navy award.  My work at the station was awarded several times with a scholarship, award letters, and I was the only female side boy at the station to pipe the leaving Captain away and pipe in the new Captain.  Side boys are the crew who line the plank at attention and one blows the pipes–a very great honor.

Star Trek cadet piping in Captain Kirk on the USS Enterprise refit (one of Penny’s duties in the US Navy).

CB:  You worked for several years with the Star Trek franchise but also worked on other notable films.  How did your work on Star Trek compare with your project and art coordinator daily duties on other action films like The Hunt for Red October and Alien Resurrection and comedies like Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Wayne’s World II?

PJ:  I have to start by saying nothing compares to Trek.  Nothing.  However, that being said The Hunt for Red October was my first film.  Poor Anthony [Penny’s husband, Anthony Fredrickson] is tired of watching it.  It is near and dear to my heart not only being the first film but they used the USS Houston, in the film known as the USS Dallas.  I was the detailer who put the original enlisted crews on board all the Los Angeles class boats as they were being built.  Eventually I got to see the Houston in dry dock in San Diego.  All the Los Angeles class subs look a like so they could easily get by with using one for another.  The first thing I saw walking on set was the missile silos.  I told the decorator I didn’t remember seeing neon around the bases on the real subs.  “Shuuuh,” he said.  But then standing next to Sean Connery was the memory any girl would cherish, whew.  Can’t believe I was still standing when he walked away.

The Hunt for Red October production photo.

CB:  As art coordinator for Deep Space Nine through Star Trek: Nemesis and Enterprise, you were second in command to art director and production designer Herman Zimmerman, known not only for his incredible futuristic sets on Star Trek but also work on Happy Days, The Land of the Lost, The Tonight Show and Cheers.  What’s the secret to running a multiple Emmy-nominated art department?

PJ:  First, I used to watch Land of the Lost all the time, even at my age it was just fun.  So on a Deep Space Nine episode we had a very rustic cottage with a fairly short door.  Z and a lot of us are inside, the special effects guy, Joe, comes in who was well over six feet tall.  The way Joe came in for some reason Z said you remind me of a Sleestak.  I said I was shocked that he knew this word.  I asked him how he knew what a Sleestak was.  He said, “I designed him.”  I had no idea.  So I was constantly learning of Herman’s accomplishments and shows, and awards, and the list goes on of things he has done throughout time, even working on one of my favorite soaps.

Original Herman Zimmerman Sleestak (display by Tom Spina Design).

As far as running art departments, whew!  Especially on larger shows like films.  I can’t make the list long enough of what your job title is.  You are the middle girl between most of the departments and the art department.  You are the coordinator for just about everything the art department needs.  The art coordinator is one of the first people in—meaning we are given a blank space to fill right down to the pencils.  You have to get it all, the phones, the phone lines, desks, copiers, papers all the supplies, set up the kitchen, often interview or find staff to be interviewed by the art director, depending on who that is, usually my production designers know me well enough that I hire the staff and set the deals.  Then research, finding things, orders, craft service kitchen, oh, boy!  Talk about egos–and the special needs of each and every one of the artists.  Can you say “four different kinds of coffee?”  I had a set designer who constantly demanded their own office because this person didn’t want to hear others talking.  Production meetings, usually keeping all the budgets for set decorating, often construction, and the art department.  Time cards for all of the above.  Location tours, call sheets, scripts, clearances (which I have no idea when the art coordinator became responsible for making sure everything was cleared but that happened somewhere in time).  Product placement, but I have to tell you… talk about fascinating… your every minute is different.  Alien 4 was one of my favorite films to work on at Fox.  Huge art department, sets, budgets, construction, and a lot of people from Star Trek, however, one of the first things the production designer told us was: “I see anything that looks like Star Trek, you’re fired!”  Ok, but he was a lot of fun to work for.

Filming the Baku Village at the Lake Sherwood set.

Sometimes things would go wrong or go missing.  When we were out at Lake Sherwood for the Baku village in Star Trek Insurrection, Worf’s teeth came up missing.  They were very expensive to make so there was one set at the time.  So the hunt was on and of course we were still shooting Deep Space Nine at the time.  That created quite the stir to have a whole lot of people searching for Worf’s teeth.  So yes, they were found, but at great cost to both productions.

Penny Juday (far right) as an extra in Star Trek Generations, in Ten Forward on the USS Enterprise-D. Also in this scene were Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard, Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan and Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Soran.

CB:  You were able to work with the Star Trek original series cast on Star Trek Generations, and even performed on camera as an extra.  What kind of interaction did you have behind the scenes with the original Enterprise crew?  Any lasting impressions?

PJ:  I met Mr. Kelley on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as they were walking out of the Klingon courtroom.  He had had a long day but stopped and introduced himself to me, shook my hand.  What a lovely, gracious man.  Shatner ran past, couldn’t leave the set quick enough, which is understandable.  I later met him on Star Trek Generations.  We were in the Valley of Fire, north of Las Vegas.  I was put in the crew van which was traveling to the site in the desert where the bridge set was.  I was in charge of taking orders for the crew gift bomber jackets.  He had never heard of a bomber jacket.  So that was a great fun thing to do, he got a laugh out of the whole thing.  Ms. Nichols, I interviewed her for Star Trek: The Magazine.  Again just so warm, friendly, kind, happy to talk to me.  I think I have met them all at one time or another and what an experience to meet your idols from your favorite show and then get to work with them.

Energy beacons used by The Borg that Penny helped to create for Star Trek: First Contact.

CB:  Part of your many roles for Star Trek included locating found props in the real world, such as purchasing furniture for sets or odd bottles to get re-dressed for use in Quark’s bar in Deep Space Nine.  What were some of the stranger creations you were asked to come up with?

PJ:  Wow, there are so many!  I think the Borg energy packs in Star Trek: First Contact—where they are on the dish—the Borg pull out these long acrylic tubes that glow… those were bird feeders that we put fluorescent tubes in, wrapped them in the mess they are shipped in, then wrapped those in a lighting gel.  When I called the company, because we needed a lot of them, they were so excited and it was hard for them to believe how they were going to be used.  I think the second is all the vacuum packaging we used.  If you look at the packages your cookies, candy, make-up, anything with a molded part, you will see a great deal of interesting usable shapes.  We had stacks of packages friends and family would save up for us, just in case we needed something on the run.  Anthony had a kludge closet in the art department where we would store found objects for instant prop and model making.  Then I think the Picard family album was probably one of my favorites.  I worked on that for weeks digging through flea markets, yard sales, antique shops, asking crew for items, family photos and such.  I would get French newspapers and make up articles, soak them in coffee or tea then run over them with the car.  So much fun!

Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) flipping through the Picard family album Penny Juday created. The original album was on display for years at the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas.

Please come back tomorrow for part 2 of our interview with Penny Juday.

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