Baker’s Log – A Quick Look: You Only Live Twice (1967)

You Only Live Twice

Coming in the wake of the massively successful THUNDERBALL, the lackluster spoof CASINO ROYALE, and the better-than-you’d-think OPERATION KID BROTHER, right at the very height of the spy craze, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE was a pull-out-all-the-stops, give-the-audience-everything-it-wants-and-more grand scale adventure. An adventure Connery decided would also be his last as the world’s most popular spy (such was his desire at the time, anyway).

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE follows Bond as he goes up against SPECTRE’s scheme to trigger atomic war by stealing American and Russian space rockets from orbit and concealing them in their secret headquarters housed inside a Japanese volcano! Behind the whole plot is SPECTRE No. 1 Ernst Stavro Blofeld, memorably brought to life by Donald Pleasance. The image of Pleasance, clad in his grey uniform, bald head, and ragged scar across his eye, became one of the most iconic of screen villainy. It was this enemy that Mike Meyers famously parodied as Dr. Evil some 30 years later. YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE contains some of the biggest action the series ever produced, not the least of which includes a commando raid against SPECTRE’s most impressive secret lair. “Sean Connery IS James Bond!” the ads read in response to the same year’s spy spoof. Nancy Sinatra provides the title tune, which, while sweet, seems a bit lounge for the series after the surging hits of the previous films (it foreshadowed perfectly the breathy ballads that defined the Moore era, however). Though the script isn’t the strongest of the series, this one, like THUNDERBALL, makes up for it by being an out-and-out experience. Plus, this one has Ed Bishop and Shane Rimmer in the same shot, so it’s automatically the coolest Bond film of all.
You Only Live Twice
Version of the film’s poster featuring Bond Girls (left to right) Akiko Wakabayashi as Aki,
Karin Dor as Helga Brandt, and Mie Hama as Kissy Suzuki. Learn more on Akiko and Mie
in this article on Asian Bond Girls.

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About the author

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Rock is a pencil jockey by trade. He's done work for AC Comics, Main Enterprises, and Moonstone, among others. Some of the strips he's created include Dinosaur Girl (AC Comics, creator, writer, pencils), Crissy Carrots (Main, creator, writer, pencils), and Betsy the Bookwriter (Main, co-creator, writer, pencils). His specialty is cheesecake cartooning (what they call "good girl art" these days).

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Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English, traveling, and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the monthly magazine, Effective.

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