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“See The World's Greatest Villains...”
Since Roger Moore took over as James Bond in 1973, the Sean Connery films had not been seen in London cinemas for two years. 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 showed a season of all six Connery Bond films which played on double-bills for four weeks at the London Pavilion from May 18 to June 14, 1975. Dr. No/Diamonds Are Forever played on Sundays and Mondays; Goldfinger/Thunderball on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and From Russia With Love/You Only Live Twice on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Two quad-crown posters were created for this season showing a graphic representation of 007 in the gunbarrel sequence, although the figure used was a Roger Moore pose – not Sean Connery.

A Season of James Bond 007 - London Pavilion 1975

Following the 1975 season James Bond films were then absent from London 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.

Diamonds Are Forever therefore returned to the London Pavilion on a double-bill with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service for three weeks commencing October 24, 1976. The double-bill was accompanied by a hastily produced and rather uninspiring two-colour quad-crown poster and marked the last time On Her Majesty's Secret Service would play in the West End.

Diamonds Are Forever/On Her Majesty's Secret Service

On Her Majesty's Secret Service Double Crown poster

On Her Majesty's Secret Service later played on a late night double-bill with Goldfinger at the Gate Cinema, Notting Hill on September 21, 1980 - although the film had been shown on UK television for the second time two weeks earlier. It was not unusual to see different pairings of Bond films at cinemas across the country in the years when a new film was not on general release. Double-crown posters were often displayed in cinema foyers to advertise any films which didn't form part of an officially released United Artists double-bill.

Diamonds Are Forever/Gold publicity ad/The Spy Who Loved Me... for 1976

“It's The Biggest. It's The Best. It's Bond. And Beyond”
The Spy Who Loved Me was being 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 withdrew as 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 – where it played until September 15, 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. For the first two weeks of September 1977 the film 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. 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.

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), For Your Eyes Only (1981), A View To A Kill (1985) and The Living Daylights (1987).

The tag-line “Nobody Does It Better” was 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 March 26, 1978 – where it played for four weeks before transferring to Studio One, Oxford Circus which had played 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 Live And Let Die/The Man With The Golden Gun played for two weeks at the 200-seat Studio One, before moving to the smaller 88-seat Studio Three for two weeks commencing April 30, 1978.

The pairing of Roger Moore's first two outings as 007 had already been programmed as early as 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 one month from February 7, 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 OHMSS 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.

“Outer space now belongs to 007”
Moonraker
then took up residence at the Odeon Leicester Square following its Royal World Charity Premiere on June 26, 1979. The event 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.

Also attending was Bernard Lee who had played 'M' in every Bond film since 1962. Lee 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 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 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!

Moonraker Odeon Marble Arch/London Pavilion 1979
London Pavilion 1980

“Bond meets the Panther”
Kenneth Rive’s 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-released on a hugely successful double-bill with The Spy Who Loved Me which opened at the London Pavilion on March 23, 1980, where it played for three weeks. United Artists had successfully paired films from different franchises for provincial releases in the Sixties, so the 007/Pink Panther combination was not as unusual as one might initially expect. Thunderball had played on a double-bill with The Magnificent Seven in 1972, and You Only Live Twice with Guns of the Magnificent Seven in 1974. 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 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 6, 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.


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