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Saturday, 16 November 2013

Bond fight

All followers of the James Bond film franchise will be aware of those two movies that fell outside the accepted (Eon) canon, Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again. The earliest was the awful David Niven spoof; thankfully, the rights were eventually acquired so that the first Bond book could be filmed properly, in the first Daniel Craig outing.

The second film, Never Say Never Again was as a result of a legal dispute between Kevin McClory and Ian Fleming over the genesis of Thunderball, the book.
Although Never Say Never Again was not released until 1983, the film’s history begins 24 years earlier, when Kevin McClory and scriptwriter Jack Whittingham collaborated with Ian Fleming on a series of original treatments and scripts in 1959-60. These scripts eventually evolved into the basis for Thunderball, which was intended for release in 1960 as the first 007 film. Delays occurred and in 1961 Fleming published Thunderball as a novel (allegedly plagiarizing Whittingham’s script on over 200 pages with no acknowledgments), and signed a movie deal with Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.
McClory and Whittingham began taking legal action against Fleming for his alleged plagiarism; but wanting to move forward with their deal, Broccoli and Saltzman dropped Thunderball and moved forward with Dr. No (with Richard Maibaum writing). Dr. No was released in 1962 to great acclaim, and Broccoli and Saltzman (‘Eon Productions’) moved forward with their next 007 film, From Russia With Love.
In 1963, McClory and Fleming settled out of court. McClory was given the film rights to Thunderball (including Blofeld and SPECTRE); but lacking financial support, he eventually turned to Eon for backing, and Thunderball was released in theatres in 1965. According to the agreement between McClory and Eon, Eon was permitted to continue using Blofeld and SPECTRE after Thunderball for the next 10 years. [That explains why SPECTRE seemed to disappear…]

McClory died in 2006, but the legal wrangling had not been successfully settled.

Now, almost exactly 50 years since the out-of-court settlement that saw Ian Fleming end lengthy litigation wit McClory over the copyright and film rights to Thunderball, Danjaq and MGM announced on 15 November they have acquired rights and interests owned by the McClory estate, bringing all remaining Bond intellectual property under one roof.

It looks as though not only will James Bond return, but perhaps SPECTRE and even some incarnation of Blofeld…

Information gleaned from a fascinating site,

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