007 MAGAZINE - The World's Foremost James Bond Resource!



“See The World's Greatest Villains...”
Since Roger Moore took over as James Bond in 1973, the six Sean Connery films had not been seen in London's West End for two years. However, Connery's six Bond films could still be seen on double-bills in provincial cinemas throughout 1974. The sale of the UK television rights to screen the first six James Bond films had caused such controversy in early 1974 that it resulted in a delay to the transmission of Dr. No. Originally scheduled for September 1974 the TV premiere was postponed and the film was eventually screened on October 28, 1975.

United Artists then programmed a season of all six Connery Bond films which played on double-bills for three weeks at the London Pavilion from May 22 to June 11, 1975. From Russia With Love/You Only Live Twice played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday; Dr. No/Diamonds Are Forever played on Sunday and Monday, and Goldfinger/Thunderball on Tuesday and Wednesday. A quad-crown poster was created for this season (which mis-spelled Rosa Klebb) showing a graphic representation of 007 in the gunbarrel sequence, although the figure used was a Roger Moore pose – not Sean Connery. The season also played in selected cities where the pairings of films were different to the London release. Some cinemas played a different film each on day of the week; whilst others also included On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Live And Let Die as part of the season. The National Screen Service produced a set of black-and-white front-of-house stills which were made available to cinema managers who booked the films from May through to the end of 1975.

A Season of James Bond 007 - London Pavilion 1975

Following the 1975 season James Bond films were then absent from London's West End cinema screens for almost 18 months. During this time Dr. No and From Russia With Love were shown for the first time on UK television, with both films ranking number one in the weeks TV ratings. Goldfinger premiered on the ITV network on November 3, 1976 again topping the ratings for that week.

“Moore and Connery - Together at last...”
Although Roger Moore was now firmly established as James Bond, United Artists had not paired either of his outings on a double-bill with a Sean Connery film. Live And Let Die had been paired with On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1974. In September 1976 it was announced that Moore and Connery would finally be together in ‘one terrific all-action programme!’ - the two films were Diamonds Are Forever and Gold (a 1974 action thriller directed by Peter Hunt). Advance publicity announced that the double-bill would play at the London Pavilion from October 21, 1976.  However, as the Pavilion had been operated by United Artists since 1934; and Gold was not a UA distributed film, the double-bill did not end up playing at their flagship venue. It was very unusual to see films from two different distributors on the same bill and the advertising campaign for this pairing was handled by both Hemdale and UA. The Diamonds Are Forever/Gold double-bill did play across the UK in late 1976.

Daimonds Are Forever/On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Diamonds Are Forever therefore returned to the London Pavilion on a double-bill with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service for three weeks commencing Thursday October 21, 1976. The double-bill was accompanied by a hastily produced and rather uninspiring two-colour quad-crown poster seen only at the London Pavilion. The double-bill would not play provincially until 1978 when it was accompanied by a different, but equally uninspired quad-crown poster.

Diamonds Are Forever/Gold publicity ad/The Spy Who Loved Me
The Spy Who Loved Me newspaper advertisement

“It's The Biggest. It's The Best. It's Bond. And Beyond”
The Spy Who Loved Me had been promoted as the next film in the series as early as May 1975 for a 1976 release, with Harry Saltzman & Albert R. Broccoli producing, and Guy Hamilton once again directing. Hamilton left when he was signed to direct Superman: The Movie; but later withdrew from that project and was replaced by Richard Donner. Harry Saltzman sold his share in the Bond films to United Artists in 1975 for £20-million, resulting in Roger Moore’s third outing as James Bond being produced solely by Albert R. Broccoli. A number of script problems and an injunction against EON Productions by Kevin McClory (if the organisation SPECTRE or main villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld were used) delayed production until August 1976.

The Spy Who Loved Me Odeon Leicester Square 1977
Roger Moore, Barbara Bach. Lewis Gilbert and Richard Kiel at the premiere of The Spy Who Loved Me Odeon Leicester Square 1977

ABOVE: (top left) Double-crown poster seen on London buses in the weeks before the opening of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). (top right) The Odeon Leicester Square hosts the Royal World Charity premiere on the evening of 7/7/77. (bottom left) Roger Moore, Barbara Bach and director Lewis Gilbert at the premiere of The Spy Who Loved Me (bottom right) Richard Kiel meets Princess Anne watched by production designer Ken Adam and Michael G. Wilson.

The Spy Who Loved Me had its press screening at the Odeon Leicester Square on the morning of Tuesday July 5, 1977; followed by a world premiere at the same cinema on the evening of Thursday July 7, 1977. The Royal Charity Premiere held in the presence of Princess Anne and Lord Mountbatten was attended by Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Curt Jurgens, Richard Kiel, Desmond Llewelyn, Walter Gotell and director Lewis Gilbert. Producer ‘Cubby’ Broccoli also attended with wife Dana and daughter Barbara. The Spy Who Loved Me broke the house record at the Odeon Leicester Square, taking a staggering £57,625 in its first seven days and continued to play at the flagship venue until September 15, 1977. For the first two weeks of September 1977 The Spy Who Loved Me was playing simultaneously at the Odeon Leicester Square, London Pavilion and the 2,172-seat Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road. The Spy Who Loved Me continued to play at the Dominion until Christmas; and at the Pavilion until February 25, 1978.

The Spy Who Loved Me London opening/London Pavilion

Following its huge success in the West End, The Spy Who Loved Me was pre-booked for a two-week engagement at North London cinemas from August 28, 1977; and in South London from September 4, 1977. The Spy Who Loved Me was the top box office attraction in the UK in 1977, and in the USA it was second only to George Lucas's record-breaking space opera Star Wars, which did not open in the UK until December 1977. Following its 25-week engagement at the London Pavilion The Spy Who Loved Me then played for three days from Thursday March 2, 1978 at the small 171-seat Times Centa 1 cinema situated inside the entrance to Baker Street underground station on Marylebone Road. Opened in 1938 as The Topical News Theatre, this venue originally had one 306-seat auditorium which showed newsreels, and was the only cinema to be built inside a London underground railway station.

Marler Haley posters for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Special double-crown and quad-crown posters were produced by Marler Haley solely for use in Odeon cinemas. These posters, produced in very limited numbers, appeared in foyer displays across the country during the initial release of The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977. The graphic image of Bond on the quad-crown poster was used in pre-production artwork and letterheads for You Only Live Twice (1967), and later in the Christmas teaser trailer for Diamonds Are Forever (1971) for which Marler Haley had also designed special posters. The company also produced posters for Live And Let Die (1973), The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983), A View To A Kill (1985) and The Living Daylights (1987).

The tag-line “Nobody Does It Better” was also used on the double-bill quad-crown poster for The Man With The Golden Gun/Live And Let Die, which opened at the London Pavilion on Thursday March 30, 1978 – where it played for three weeks before transferring to Studio One, Oxford Circus which had debuted the original Bond double-bill of Dr. No/From Russia With Love in 1965. The venue had now been converted into a triple screen cinema and The Man With The Golden Gun/Live And Let Die played for two weeks at the 200-seat Studio One, before moving to the smaller 88-seat Studio Three for its second week week.

The pairing of Roger Moore's first two outings as 007 had already been programmed as early as November 1975, accompanied by a two-colour quad-crown poster in the provincial cinemas where the double-bill played. Unusually this poster does not include Roger Moore's name or any credits other than the film titles. The double-bill was shown at many Odeon cinemas across the country in the 1975 Christmas holiday period. Although Roger Moore was the current James Bond, several other Odeon cinemas showed Diamonds Are Forever/Goldfinger or Diamonds Are Forever/You Only Live Twice instead.

The Man With The Golden Gun/Live And Let Die double-bill 1975 release

The Man With The Golden Gun/Live And Let Die double-bill

Live And Let Die was released once again at the London Pavilion on a double-bill with The Spy Who Loved Me for four weeks from Thursday February 1, 1979, and again for two weeks commencing March 25 at the Gala Royal, Marble Arch. The pair also played across the country in the months leading up to the release of the next film in the series.

The Spy Who Loved Me/Live And Let Die double-bill

The Spy Who Loved Me end credits

ABOVE: (left) Two-colour quad-crown poster that accompanied the release of The Spy Who Loved Me/Live And Let Die in 1979. (right)  For Your Eyes Only had been announced as the next film in the series and listed as such in the end credits of The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). However, EON Productions decided to film Ian Fleming's third novel Moonraker next due to the rise in popularity of the science fiction genre in the wake of the huge success of Star Wars (1977). This was not the first time the title of the next film in the series was changed. On Her Majesty's Secret Service was due to be filmed with Sean Connery in 1964 and Goldfinger's end credits were altered for general release prints as Thunderball was chosen instead. The original end credits for Thunderball also announced On Her Majesty's Secret Service as the next film, but this time the caption was removed before the film was released resulting in a clumsy optical wipe. The tradition of announcing the title of the next film continued up until 1983, when the end credits of Octopussy stated that James Bond would return in "From A View To A Kill". This was the title of the first short story in Ian Fleming's FOR YOUR EYES ONLY anthology published in 1960.

Moonraker newspaper advertisement

“Outer space now belongs to 007”
Roger Moore's fourth James Bond film was first screened for the press on the morning of Monday June 25, 1979 at the Odeon Leicester Square. Moonraker then had its Royal World Charity Premiere on the evening of Tuesday June 26, 1979, and opened to the public the following day. The premiere was attended by Roger Moore with wife Luisa, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel, Corinne Clery, Producer Albert R. Broccoli with his wife Dana, and Desmond Llewelyn with his wife Pamela. In its first seven days at the Odeon Leicester Square Moonraker had not surprisingly broken the all-time theatre box-office record held by The Spy Who Loved Me, and grossed £85,990.

Also attending the Moonraker premiere was Bernard Lee who had played ‘M’ in every Bond film since 1962. Lee later attempted to shoot his scenes on For Your Eyes Only with Lois Maxwell in November 1980, but it was evident he was too ill to continue. The 73 year-old actor died on January 16, 1981.

Moonraker Odeon Leicester Square
Moonraker premiere Odeon Leicester Square

Moonraker played simultaneously at the Odeon Marble Arch during August/September 1979 before moving from the Odeon Leicester Square to the London Pavilion on September 5, to make way for Ridley Scott’s Alien. Both films were nominated for an Oscar for their special effects with Alien winning. 007 would have to wait until Skyfall (2012) before the Academy awarded another golden statuette to the Bond series. Moonraker eventually finished its 21-week run at the Odeon Marble Arch on Saturday December 22, 1979.

Moonraker - Odeon Marble Arch 1979

Moonraker remained at the London Pavilion until January 5, 1980 and then transferred to the smaller 222-seat Classic 3 Haymarket, where it played until the end of the month. Moonraker had therefore played continuously in London’s West End for a staggering seven months!

“James Bond on the South Bank”
In January 1980 the National Film Theatre on London's South Bank (just over a mile away from the West End) presented a season of all eleven James Bond films, marking the first time any of the series had played at the prestigious venue. The National Film Theatre opened in 1951 as part of the ‘Festival of Britain’ and moved to its present location in 1957. Capable of screening all formats of film from 16mm to 70mm, the venue showed a huge selection of classic and contemporary films each year, with new and re-releases, film seasons, and director and actor retrospectives. Although the screenings were open to the public, tickets were available to members as a priority and advertised via the NFT's monthly printed programme. The NFT was re-launched as a three-screen complex in 2007 and renamed BFI Southbank. The 1980 James Bond season opened in the 450-seat NFT1 4.15pm with a double-bill of Dr. No/From Russia With Love on Tuesday January 1st, with a second screening of Dr. No at 8.45pm. The double-bill was the first screening of the new decade, with Casablanca playing in the smaller 160-seat NFT2. 

National Film Theatre 1980 James Bond season

The season continued at 4.15pm on Saturday January 5, 1980 with a triple-bill of Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice. The trio screened again on Sunday 6th January this time in reverse order. A week later another triple-bill of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever and Live And Let Die began at 3.45pm in NFT1, and was repeated on Sunday January 13th, again in reverse order. The final triple-bill of The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker played in NFT1 from 3.45 on Saturday January 19, 1980 with the films in reverse order on Sunday 20th. Coincidentally this day also saw the UK television premiere of Live And Let Die on the ITV network when the film was viewed by a staggering 23.50 million viewers (which was almost half of the entire population). Roger Moore's debut film as 007 still holds the record as the most-viewed film ever screened on UK television - an achievement likely never to be surpassed!

National Film Theatre 1980 James Bond season

In the programme notes Adrian Turner incorrectly stated that Goldfinger's main titles were designed by Maurice Binder, and commented that On Her Majesty's Secret Service was “Possibly a therapeutic film for EON; certainly a brave and successful one which deserves a new audience”. Although the film had not been seen on the big screen for several years, it was greeted with rapturous applause by the sell-out audience.

The season concluded in NFT1 on Thursday January 24, 1980 with a screening of several episodes from the 8-part 1977 Open University series focussing on the making of The Spy Who Loved Me. The documentaries were made as study material for the Open University course Mass Communication and Society, and originally screened every two-weeks in the early hours of the morning on BBC2 from July - October 1977. The series was repeated annually for six years on BBC Television, and remains one of the most in-depth insights into the making of a James Bond film ever produced. The full 184-minute series is available in poor quality on Youtube, and one episode was released as an extra on the original US MGM DVD of The Spy Who Loved Me in 1998.

“Bond meets the Panther”
Kenneth Rive’s La Continentale cinema on Tottenham Court Road finally closed its doors on August 31, 1976 (the same day as the Berkeley) – the final film screened was The Return of the Pink Panther. Its sequel The Pink Panther Strikes Again was released in December 1976, and later re-issued on a hugely successful double-bill with The Spy Who Loved Me which opened at the London Pavilion on Thursday March 2, 1980, where it played for four weeks.

The Spy Who Loved Me/The Pink Panther Strikes Again London Pavilion 1980

The James Bond films had been successfully paired with others from different franchises or genres for provincial releases throughout the 1960s and 1970s, so the 007/Pink Panther combination was not as unusual as one might initially expect. Peter Sellers had of course starred in the 1967 version of Casino Royale playing one of the many mock James Bonds, and even shot a spoof gunbarrel sequence for The Pink Panther Strikes Again, but this was ultimately deleted from the final cut! A two-colour quad-crown poster was created for the release using a slightly altered version of Bob Peak's artwork from the original The Spy Who Loved Me poster in reverse. The unlikely double-bill was also very successful outside London, initially playing during the Easter school holidays.

The Spy Who Loved Me/The Pink Panther Strikes Again double-bill

Moonraker/The Man With The Golden Gun double-bill

The London Pavilion once again played host to the latest Bond double-bill of Moonraker/The Man With The Golden Gun for two weeks from July 3, 1980. The pair were still screening in London and provincially until August – only four months before the TV premiere of The Man With The Golden Gun on Christmas Day.


James Bond UK posters