The fourth of the Sean Connery James Bond films, Thunderball is definitely a mixed bag, its thrilling action highlights separated by long stretches of tedium. By the time Thunderball was released, producers Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli had given up taking Bond seriously; thus, the film is full of groanable one-liners from Sean Connery (after nailing a villain with a speargun, he mutters "I believe he got the point") and serial-like dialogue along the lines of "Don't kill him. I have a better plan." After a dreary, drawn-out underwater battle, the film comes to a rousing conclusion in a runaway hydrofoil. Nearly kept off the screen due to a plagiarism suit concerning the original Ian Fleming novel, Thunderball proved as a big a cash cow as the early Bondfests; it was remade in 1983 as Never Say Never Again, again with Sean Connery in the lead.
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Thunderball finds James Bond matching wits with the sinister espionage organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E, (which stands for Special Executive for Counter-Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). This time, SPECTRE hijacks a NATO nuclear bomber, hiding the bombs under the ocean depths and threatening to detonate the weapons unless a ransom of 100,000,000 pounds is paid. The mastermind behind this scheme is international business executive Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), who maintains a pool full of sharks for the purpose of eliminating enemies and those henchmen who fail to come up to standard. Dispatched to the Bahamas, lucky Mr. Bond enjoys the attentions of three nubile ladies: Largo's mistress Domino Derval (Claudine Auger), British spy Paula Caplan (Martine Beswick, previously seen as a gypsy girl in the 1962 Bond epic From Russia With Love) and enemy agent Fiona Volpe (Luciana Paluzzi).
All Movie Guide - Hal Erickson
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