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Goldfinger at the London Pavilion June 1968

ABOVE: Piccadilly Circus 1968. Goldfinger is re-released at the London Pavilion on June 20, 1968. Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey is also shown on an advertising hoarding. '2001' opened at the Casino Cinerama cinema in Old Compton Street on May 1, 1968 where it ran for 47 weeks! The 'Casino' cinema reverted to its original name as the Prince Edward Theatre in 1978, opening with the world premiere stage production of Evita, and has been host to many successful West End musicals in subsequent years.
BELOW: Thunderball then replaced Goldfinger at the London Pavilion from 4 July, 1968 and the pair then formed a double-bill which played at selected provincial cinemas from late July.

Thunderball London Pavilion July 1968

“A Bond-Buster of a Programme!”
With You Only Live Twice still playing across the country a year after its initial release, United Artists reissued Goldfinger at the London Pavilion on June 20, 1968 where it played for three weeks. It was replaced on July 4 with Thunderball which remained until July 16 to make way for the premiere of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. In July 1968 Goldfinger and Thunderball could also be booked as a double-bill to play in the evenings as part of a new programme with Thunderbird 6 in the afternoons. The original Thunderbirds Are Go had premiered at the London Pavilion in December 1966, where it was something of a box-office disappointment. The National Screen Service once again produced an Exhibitors' Campaign Book and new poster for this re-release. Although not technically a triple-bill (Thunderbird 6 was designed to play matinees for children as a ‘U’ certificate; and the two Bonds for adults as ‘A’ certificates in the evenings), a full-colour quad-crown poster was produced and used in those cinemas which chose to play all three films. Many cinemas chose to simply book Thunderbird 6; whilst others across the country opted for the 007 double-bill. A separate quad-crown poster was available for the two Bonds, but due to its uninspired design was rarely used. Some enterprising cinema managers simply created their own foyer display using two single double-crown posters (20" x 30") also available from the NSS. Goldfinger/Thunderball played across London in July and August 1968.

Thunderbird 6 - Goldfinger/Thunderball quad crown poster 1968

ABOVE: (top) UK Exhibitors' campaign book produced by the National Screen Service to aid cinema managers in the promotion of their programmes. (bottom) UK quad-crown poster [30" x 40"] for those cinemas who chose to screen Thunderbird 6 and Goldfinger/Thunderball. The 'triple bill' played across London in July and August 1968.

Manchester 1968
Goldfinger/Thunderball quad crown and double crown posters

ABOVE: (top) Thunderbird 6 and Goldfinger/Thunderball played in Manchester in July and September 1968. (bottom left) The extremely rare UK quad-crown poster available for those cinemas who chose to play the Goldfinger/Thunderball double-bill. (bottom right) Goldfinger and Thunderball double-crown posters [20" x 30"] for those cinema managers wanting to create their own foyer displays.
BELOW: Dr. No/You Only Live Twice quad-crown poster displayed when the two films played at the London Pavilion in April 1969.

Dr. No/You Only Live Twice London Pavilion April 1969
On Her Majesty's Secret Service newspaper advertisement
On Her Majesty's Secret Service poster Shaftesbury Avenue 1969

ABOVE: Shaftesbury Avenue 1969. Advertising hoardings announce the forthcoming release of On Her Majesty's Secret Service at the Odeon Leicester Square and The Lion In Winter (1968) which was currently playing at the Odeon Haymarket. Both films featured a soundtrack by John Barry who would win a second Academy Award for his outstanding score for The Lion In Winter; the film also marked the screen debut of a 22 year-old Timothy Dalton playing opposite Katharine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole.

“This Never Happened to the Other Fella!”
You Only Live Twice was released again on a double-bill with Dr. No at the London Pavilion in April 1969, and also played across the country in the following months. James Bond was out of the West End until December 18, 1969 when On Her Majesty’s Secret Service had its Royal Charity Premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square. New Bond George Lazenby attended the event alongside co-star Diana Rigg. Also attending were producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, director Peter Hunt, composer John Barry and Thunderball producer Kevin McClory. Although George Lazenby had already announced to the world that he would not be playing 007 again, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service went on to become the biggest grossing film of 1970 in the UK. Cinema attendance across the world was then at an all-time low and many box-office failures had changed the way films were made and marketed.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service
then had a trade show at the London Pavilion on Friday December 19th at 10.30am, with the first public screening at the Odeon Leicester Square at 11.35am on the same day. The Odeon also hosted a late-night charity show on December 20, 1969. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service then transferred to the London Pavilion in early 1970, before moving out to provincial cinemas in March.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service Odeon Leicester Square 1969

On Her Majesty's Secret Service broke the all-time house record at the Odeon Leicester Square set by You Only Live Twice, taking £22,883 in its second week of release - a fact United Artists were only too happy to celebrate.

Lazenby’s only Bond outing was also hugely popular across the UK and was still on release provincially nine months after its initial opening. The lack of new films meant that some cities such as Manchester were playing On Her Majesty’s Secret Service at three cinemas simultaneously in September 1970. This no doubt contributed to its overall success at the box-office on its initial release. United Artists succeeded in luring Sean Connery back for Diamonds Are Forever and in a 1971 interview for the BBC he commented on the lack of success of its predecessor. The US release of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was initially hampered by the New York Times listing it as one of the 10 worst films of 1969, although many other US newspapers gave the film more positive reviews. A disastrous US TV showing in 1976 (re-edited and screened over two nights) didn’t help matters. The myth that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was a box-office disaster perpetuated for many years resulting in it becoming the black sheep of the franchise, only being finally restored to the position it now holds through the emergence of Bond fandom in the early 1980s, and its continued championing in 007 MAGAZINE.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service breaks Odeon house record

Unlike Casino Royale (1967), which was more popular in London than in the suburbs, On Her Majesty's Secret Service proved more successful in the provinces, with many cinemas holding the film over for several weeks. On Her Majesty's Secret Service was only shown for one week in March of 1970 at most suburban London cinemas, and was re-issued twice more on double-bills with Live And Let Die in 1974, and Diamonds Are Forever in 1976.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service London Pavilion 1970
ABOVE: Piccadilly Circus 1970. On Her Majesty's Secret Service plays at the London Pavilion following its initial engagement at the Odeon Leicester Square.


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