Top positive review
We Have All The Time In The World
on 16 March 2017
This is a wonderful book by Charles Helfenstein about the much maligned James Bond movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". No stone has been left unturned in his quest to present all the possible information available on this movie. It is doubtful any other book could match the detail and presentation quality of this incredible work.
It is divided into eleven sections, starting with an examination of Ian Fleming's novel of the same name as the film. Widely regarded as Fleming's best book, Helfenstein reveals where Fleming obtained inspiration for the plot, characters and place origins for his story.
Next, the scripts and false starts to the movie's production are described, including changing a horse race on ice to the now famous car race on ice. And a full table of changes throughout the planning phase reveals some more rather wacky ideas, including that Gert Frobe should return to play Goldfinger's brother, Blofeld should be played by Max von Sydow, and a revealing interview with legendary screenwriter Richard Maibaum on how plans and ideas continually changed.
The casting section describes how Sean Connery quit after "You Only Live Twice", and the frantic search for a new Bond unearthed the unknown non-actor Goerge Lazenby. He apparently walked into the producer's office and said "I believe you're looking for James Bond". His model looks, confidence/arrogance and his ability to energetically fight got him the job - and the fact he was on a very low salary. To balance the fact that the Bond actor was an acting novice, experienced actors like Telly Savalas, Diana Rigg and Gabriele Ferzetti were chosen for key roles.
During the production and press conferences, Diana Rigg said about Lazenby "I'll sum him up in three words: He is gorgeous!". Helfenstein describes that everyone involved thought Lazenby was a great choice, which seems surprising now as he is not viewed by many in that light.
Helfenstein fully describes the filming locations, including the dramatic and breathtaking mountains at Piz Gloria in Switzerland, the London locations where a major scene involving a chase through the capital city was eventually deleted, and the colourful and emotional wedding scenes which were filmed in Portugal. Many black and white and colour photos are used throughout - the book is overflowing with great images!
The post production involved a battle to reduce the length of the film to a manageable level, and a frantic search for a theme tune ended with the iconic "We Have All The Time In The World" by the legendary Louis Armstrong, which has proved to be a timeless classic.
Helfenstein also provides lots of information on the marketing of the movie, product adverts for toy cars and other items, movie posters from around the world, how the premieres unfolded and the rather mixed newspaper reviews. And, he describes the legacy of the movie, and what happened next - Sean Connery ultimately came back for "Diamonds Are Forever".
To finish, Helfenstein has four interesting interviews with George Lazenby, Diana Rigg, Telly Savalas and director Peter Hunt.
Overall, Helfenstein has produced a masterpiece of a book. One possible criticism is that for the price it maybe should be a hardcover book. But for the James Bond aficionado, this book is everything you could ever dream of.