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Never Say Never Again

Year: 1983
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Irvin Kershner
Writer: Kevin McClory/Jack Whittingham/Ian Fleming/Lorenzo Semple Jr
Cast: Sean Connery, Kim Basinger, Barbara Carrera, Bernie Casey, Rowan Atkinson, Max Von Sydow, Klaus Maria Brandauer
James Bond had endured despotic regimes, lunatic billionaire madmen, sharks, snakes voodoo, a diamond cutting machine and other tribulations without number, all the while without breaking a sweat and going to bed with the hot chick at the end (and several throughout).

But it was a lawsuit that nearly bought him undone long before this film even got off the ground. The rights-holder to the original Thunderball screenplay (not the shooting script), Kevin McClory, sued Bond creator Ian Fleming for the rights to characters, logos and ideas he'd hatched, and part of the awarded damages was the right to remake his script, which explains this being a loose remake of Bond's second cinema outing in 1965.

Suffering the ailing health that would eventually kill him, Fleming was encouraged to settle out of court and the suit was settled at the end of 1961. McClory got the rights to the original Thunderball script and the right to remake it.

So Saltzman, Broccoli and Eon Productions have nothing to do with it, which is not only why it never ended up in any James Bond DVD box sets, but didn't contain all the Bond stalwarts like Moneypenny and Q.

It took another 20 years and retired Bond Connery - then 53 - was coaxed back to the role. Was it because of the presence or Irvin Kershner at the helm, flush with success after The Empire Strikes Back three years before?

Possibly, although despite some negative reviews there's nothing wrong with the film. It follows Bond conventions of babes, exotic locations and distinctive set pieces. The underwater battle, casino videogame death match and affair with the delectable Fatima Blush (Carrera) were all Bond-like trappings, and the result was satisfying.

With McClory and partner as well as Fleming credited as writers, the script was penned by Lorenzo Semple Jr, the writer of my favourite film from the 1970s, King Kong .

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