Friday, May 27, 2011

Raquel Welch In Thunderball

 Originally meant as the first James Bond film, Thunderball is, to date, the most financially successful movie of the series, and, adjusting for inflation, made the equivalent of $966.4 million in 2008 currency.
Broccoli’s original choice for the role of Domino Derval was Julie Christie following her performance in Billy Liar in 1963. Upon meeting her personally, however, he was disappointed that she did not have the full figure he was looking for and turned his attentions towards Raquel Welch and signed her after seeing her on the cover of the October 1964 issue of Life magazine. 20th Century Fox was not happy.
“Next thing, the studio called me on a Saturday,” she said. “Now in Hollywood, nobody calls anybody from the studio on a Saturday. I mean, the head of the studio just doesn’t go near a phone, any phone, on a Saturday. But he did. ‘We gotta picture for you – Fantastic Voyage,’ he said. ‘Well, I don’t wanna do it; I wanna do Thunderball.’ And he said: ‘Well, that’s tough, baby, because we have a deal going with those boys and we have cooled the whole issue.’
“As it turned out, they used four girls in Thunderball. I looked like three of ’em. We would have cancelled each other out. But in Fantastic Voyage, I’m the only girl… No chance of being mistaken for Stephen Boyd or Donald Pleasence!”
As she was an unknown, it was no big deal. Eon released her – “which may or may not have done her a favour,” pondered Cubby. Ironically, she had already tested for Fox’s Bond flick, Our Man Flint. And that did no one any favours. Welch, however, was hired by Richard Zanuck of 20th Century Fox to appear in the film Fantastic Voyage the same year instead. Faye Dunaway was also considered for the role and came close to signing for the part.

The United States and the Soviet Union have both developed technology that allowed matter to be miniaturized using a process that shrinks individual atoms, but its value is limited. Objects only stay miniaturized for a limited amount of time depending on how much miniaturization the object undergoes.
Scientist Jan Benes, working behind the Iron Curtain, has figured out how to make the shrinking process work indefinitely. With the help of the CIA, he escapes to the West, but an attempted assassination leaves him comatose, with a blood clot in his brain.
To save his life, Charles Grant (the agent who extracted him, played by Stephen Boyd), pilot Captain Bill Owens (William Redfield), Dr. Michaels (who is later revealed to have a fear of small spaces, played by Donald Pleasence), surgeon Dr. Peter Duval (Arthur Kennedy) and his assistant Cora Peterson (Raquel Welch) board a specially designed nuclear submarine, the Proteus, which is then miniaturized and injected into Benes. The ship is reduced to one micrometer in length, giving the team only one hour to repair the clot; after that, the submarine will begin to revert to its normal size and become large enough for Benes' immune system to detect and attack.
The crew faces many obstacles on their journey. An arteriovenous fistula forces them to detour through the heart (a temporary cardiac arrest must be induced to avoid destructive turbulence), through the inner ear (all in the lab must remain quiet to prevent similar turbulence) and replenish their supply of oxygen in the alveoli of the lungs. When the surgical laser needed to destroy the clot is damaged, it becomes obvious there is a saboteur on the mission. They cannibalize their radio to repair the laser. When they finally reach the brain clot, there are only six minutes remaining to operate and then exit the body.
Before the mission, Grant was briefed that Duval was the prime suspect as a potential surgical assassin. But as the mission progresses, he pieces together the evidence and begins to suspect Michaels. During the critical phase of the operation, Dr. Michaels, knocks Owens out and takes control of the Proteus while the rest of the crew is outside for the operation. Duval successfully removes the clot with the laser, but Michaels tries to crash the sub into the clot area to kill Benes. Grant fires the laser at the ship, causing it to veer away and crash. Michaels is trapped in the wreckage and killed when a white blood cells attacks and destroys the Proteus. Grant saves Owens from the ship, and they all swim desperately to one of the eyes, where they escape via a teardrop seconds before they return to normal size.

Sources : bond ambition and 

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