21. April 2014 05:08
Never Say Never Again premiered in Great Britain on December 14th, 1983, before opening around the country the following day. Presenter Michael Wood does a pretty good job as a first time presenter at a Royal Premiere, at least during the scripted segments. However, when interviewing the cast members and celebrities including Pamela Salem (Miss Moneypenny) and Barbara Carrera (Fatima Blush), he tends to squander his time by throwing out the same kind of meaningless questions that you can tell they have already answered a thousand times while promoting the film, and can now answer on auto-pilot. Some of his interviews are even so awkward they are a little uncomfortable to watch - even the amiable Terry Wogan seems to be struggling to establish any kind of rapport with the presenter. Fortunately, Wood redeems himself somewhat when talking with Sean Connery, who seems genuinely taken aback by a new question about whether he might go on to direct or produce any future James Bond films - no doubt he was typically asked if he would star in any more. Connery gives a curious response though, claiming that David Tomblin (one of Never Say Never Again's assistant directors) held the rights to direct the next two James Bond films.
The Highlight of the show for me, is when he interviews Rowan Atkinson about his role as Nigel Small-Fawcett (what a great name - the antithisis to Goldfinger's Pussy Galore). Atkinson smoothly takes control of the conversation and with great wit regails us with a small anecdote about how he came to be involved in the film. Also watch out for a glimpse of Ringo Starr and his beautiful Bond Girl wife, Barbara Bach, and of course, a young, and rather dashing looking Prince Andrew, who as a para-trooper and helicopter pilot himself does a pretty good job of channeling James Bond in his Tuxedo as he makes his way down the line. Along the way he stops to talk to director Irvin Kershner about The Empire Strikes Back, which Kershner also directed.
During the 30 minute show, Wood says something like "hundreds of celebrities arriving now" at least three times as the camera pans to the red carpet to show a crowd of people I don't recognize today as being famous, but perhaps some of them were 30 years ago.
I don't know if the young presenter is to blame for the failure of the programs final conceit - he mentions how Connery did most of his own stunts, so he should too, then Wood dons a motorcycle helmet climbs onto a motorcycle and we cut to Bond's motorcycle chase in the movie - or if he just played along, but either way it's a little cheesy - a simple good night would have been a classier way to end.
Watch to the end to see the end credits role over the music video to Lani Hall's Theme song.
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