The 40th Anniversary of Thunderball
Cine Lumiere, London, England. 20th November 2005

After our hugely successful Celebration of Bond & Evening with George Lazenby in June, people asked what would be next. In answer, we said "never again". Famous last words ...

A couple of months later, Dave Worrall of Cinema Retro magazine suggested the idea of a Thunderball 40th Anniversary screening in London. It was to be a fairly modest but high-brow affair with some drinks and canapes, and maybe a Q&A on stage with a few members of the cast and crew. A few days later it had grown into a 9 hour extravaganza, involving ourselves, Cinema Retro and www.mi6.co.uk

Cine Lumiere, in London's South Kensington, was chosen as our venue, and November 20th the date.

Eon Productions immediately offered their support, and arranged with MGM to ship over the studio's archive 35mm print from California especially for our event, thereby ensuring we had the best print of the movie in the world.

Cast and crew members excitedly confirmed they'd be with us: Mollie Peters, Martine Beswicke, Earl Cameron, George Leech, Peter Murton, Sir Ken Adam and Don Black. Unbeknown to Don at that time, Cinema Retro was planning to bestow their first 'Oustanding Contributions To Cinema' award on him on the night, and we recruited David Arnold to do the honours on stage (though by that time Don knew he was to be the recipient).

 

Euan Lloyd
Justin Llewelyn
Peter Janson-Smith

 

To pay tribute to those no longer with us, we thought it would fitting to hold on-stage discussions ... Peter Janson-Smith came to talk about his client and friend Ian Fleming, Justin Llewelyn to talk about his father Desmond, producer Euan Lloyd to talk about his mentor Cubby Broccoli, and flying in from Monaco Steven Saltzman to talk about his father Harry, joined on stage by Sue St Johns, Harry's former secretary. Eunice Gayson also attended to pay tribute to director Terence Young.

The great and the good were fittingly remembered.

Visual treats were also in store with two rare documentaries - A Child's Guide To Blowing Up A Motorcar (never knowingly seen in public before), and the 1965 tv documentary The Incredible World Of James Bond, unseen for 40 years.

Cinema Retro's Lee Pfeiffer was MC for the day, and along with Gareth Owen, also hosted the on-stage discussions.

 

Steven Saltzman
Sue St Johns
Eunice Gayson

 

With a capacity crowd of 150 people, all warmed up with hot tea and coffee, and biscuits, the day started at 3.45 with them climbing the stately marble staircase in Cine Lumiere to enter a darkened theatre.

 

Martine Beswicke & Mollie Peters
Earl Cameron & George Leech

Peter Murton & Martine Beswicke
Peter Murton, Martine Beswicke, Mollie Peters, Earl Cameron & George Leech

 

A few hours later, they emerged noisy with enthusiam, to partake of a champagne reception kindly sponsored by Taittinger, and a delicious french style buffet meal ... which, naturally, included lots of French wine too. Foyer displays of rare posters and memorabilia helped transform the cinema reception into Bond heaven for fans.

There, guests and fans mingled, chatted and posed for photographs in what was a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Amongst the fans in attendance was young James Bond novelist, Charlie Higson.

 

Sir Christopher Frayling & Sir Ken Adam
David Arnold & Don Black O.B.E

 

Following the earlier tribute chats, the cast and crew on-stage discussion was swiftly followed by Sir Christopher Frayling in conversation on stage with Sir Ken Adam, ahead of the trailer for the new 'From Russia With Love' video game by Electronic Arts and a fantastic free prize raffle (organised by mi6.co.uk) where 20 prizes of books, games, posters, t-shirts and lots more were up for grabs. But those not lucky enough to win need not have worried as everyone received a goody bag at the end of the evening, including a signed copy of Sir Christopher and Sir Ken's Art Of Production Design book, three cast signed photos, a copy of Cinema Retro magazine, a 32 page colour brochure produced especially for the event, a mini poster of the film, key ring, cards and a Sideshow 12" collectible figure of Sean Connery in Thunderball - putting the value of the bag alone at almost £100!

At midnight, South Kensington filled with enthusiastic Bond fans clutching goodie bags ... all asking "what's your next event?"

We've now learnt never to say never.

We must say a big thank you to the following:

  • Robin Harbour for loaning us his amazing Thunderball collection
  • Amy & Janet who manned the ticket desk
  • Tom Stroud for taking some wonderful photographs
  • Our sponsors - Sideshow Collectibles, Electronic Arts, Titan, The RocketBelt Caper, Puffin UK, MovieMarket.co.uk, MovieGoods.com, John Murry, Beaulieu Motor Museum, Island Outpost, RC2, Corgi andTaittinger
  • The staff of the Cine Lumiere who ensured the day went smoothly and without a hitch
  • And finally to you all for coming out on a freezing November afternoon and supporting our event

"One of the most professionally-organised Bond events I've ever attended, and it was so nice to be able to meet up with my old comrades again. Thank you."
Sir Ken Adam (production designer)

 

"I just want to thank Cinema Retro for presenting me with such a magnificent award, and to the other colleagues for organizing such a great event. One I will always treasure. I told John Barry about it the following day and he said he would dearly love to be at the next one."
Don Black (song writer)

 

"What a magnificent print of Thunderball. Brilliant! Great night, and loved the special colour brochure you produced for the occasion. Glad to be part of a very special event."
Sir Christopher Frayling (Rector, Royal College of Art)

 

"Always fun to meet up with old friends, but this was probably the best to date."
Mollie Peters (actress)

 

"We can't thank you enough for a terrific day. It's been wonderful, and we're delighted to have been a part of it. Thank you!"
Mr & Mrs Earl Cameron

"Thank you all for putting on such a top notch event and for inviting me to be a part of it. It was lovely to see so many old friends, and meet so many enthusiastic Bond fans. When is the next one?"
George Leech

 

"This was my first time at a Bond tribute event, so I didn't know what to expect really. Boy, this was like being at a premiere of a movie, and to see such a stunning widescreen print, after all those years, was a real treat. Well done chaps."
Peter Murton (Art Director)

 

"To see so many people dressed in black tie at the champagne reception was wonderful. A class act. Ian would have loved this."
Peter Jansen-Smith (Ian Fleming's literary agent)

 

"It was like being a film premiere party. Men dressed in tuxedos, women looking glamorous, everyone drinking champagne and mixing with the stars - incredible! Oh, and you showed Thunderball on the big screen too! Magnificent event - when's the next one?"
Euan Lloyd (film producer)