Dolled-Up Instalment: "Quantum of Solace" just started with the tale of the marriage, but Ian Fleming put a framing device of Bond being told the story at a cocktail party so he could put it in this collection.
Inspiration for the Work: "Quantum of Solace" was based on a story told to Ian Fleming by his neighbour and lover Blanche Blackwell about a real-life police inspector, who Fleming turned into the civil servant, Philip Masters. As thanks for the story, Fleming bought Blackwell a Cartier watch.
Working Title: "For Your Eyes Only" was originally called Man's Work, then Death Leaves an Echo.
Write What You Know: "The Hildebrand Rarity" was based on an occasion in April 1958 when Ian Fleming flew to the Seychelles via Bombay to report for The Sunday Times on a treasure hunt. He combined the backdrop of the Seychelles with his experience he and Blanche Blackwell had undergone when they had visited Pedro Keys, two islands off Jamaica, and watched two scientists do something similar with poison to obtain samples.
Terence Young, Guy Hamilton, Lewis Gilbert and Peter R. Hunt were all asked back to direct, they all passed on it for various reasonsnote (Gilbert was burned out after working on two large-scale Bond films in succession, Young and Hunt were busy working on Inchon and Death Hunt respectively, while Hamilton was living as a tax exile and thus unable to work in the UK for the timespan required to produce a Bond film). Furthermore, United Artists couldn't afford to hire any of them. Second unit director John Glen was therefore promoted to director, and would remain in the chair for the entirety of The '80s.
Ken Adam didn't return as production designer, as he was busy working on Pennies from Heaven, hence the lack of his minimalist futuristic sets. He would not come back thereafter, Moonraker remains his last film in the franchise.
Breakaway Pop Hit: Sheena Easton's title song. She has the distinction of being the only performer of a Bond title theme to appear in the film's opening titles.
Roger Moore hated the final scene with Margaret Thatcher. He felt it didn't suit the serious tone of the rest of the film. He also didn't like getting a clue about the ATAC from a parrot. Moore thought it the type of silliness his Bond films were usually criticized for being.
The veteran screenwriter of the franchise, Richard Maibaum, wasn't too fond of the film.
We tried to return to the earlier films with For Your Eyes Only but we didn't have Sean to make it real. And I was very disappointed with the way the love story was handled. The whole idea was that the great lover James Bond can't get to first base with this woman because she was so obsessed with avenging her parents' death. Nothing was ever done with it. It was as if the director didn't feel there was a love story there at all.
Carole Bouquet doesn't look back fondly at the film. She found it "boring" to film and resented that "to be a Bond girl, you have to be a looker and not necessarily a good actress".
Lynn-Holly Johnson, 22 when the movie came out, plays the underaged (16, according to some sources) Bibi Dahl that Bond refuses to bed. Contrast Carole Bouquet, only a year older, whose character seems to be in her late twenties, who ends up in bed with Bond.
Roger Moore himself. Already older at the time of his first film than many Bond actors were when they left the role, this movie officially made him the oldest actor to play Bond, at 53 years old when it premiered (he would retire from the role at age 58 with A View to a Kill).note Sean Connery was 53 when he returned for Never Say Never Again after leaving the role at 37 and again at 41; everyone else who played 007 more than once filmed their last Bond movie in their mid-to-late 40s except Daniel Craig, who did his last Bond film at age 51. It's painfully obvious in Bond's romantic scenes with Melina, whose actress, Carole Bouquet, was exactly 30 years younger than Moore.
The first involved a scene on the Havelock's boat just before Bond starts working with Melina on the case. Melina tells Bond that she tried to call him at his hotel room, to which he replied that he didn't make it back last night. Clearly jealous, Melina replies that she is not interested in Bond's sex life, who in turn replies that he has more serious matters to discuss. The scene ends with Melina and Bond entering her cabin. Director John Glen cut the scene as he felt it did not fit Melina's character.
The second major cut was to the ice hockey fight sequence. The action was originally longer, featuring more stunts and Bond taking control of a Zamboni ice rink machine. The scene in the final film ends at the third period buzzer, but extra shots were filmed of Bond dumping snow from the machine on the three goons trapped in the net, and a final reveal shot of actor Charles Dance as one of the skaters.
Died During Production: By the time filming started, Bernard Lee was in the final stages of his stomach cancer, and thus couldn't reprise his role. Therefore, M is explained as being on leave. Albert R. Broccoli refused to have him replaced for the film out of respect, so his lines were given to Bill Tanner. The scene with Q in the confessional was originally to have M (indeed, the scene makes far more sense if you imagine Bond is talking to his boss rather than the guy who makes his gadgets). Lee eventually died on January 16, 1981, shortly before filming was wrapped. Robert Brown's M (possibly a promoted Admiral Hargreaves from The Spy Who Loved Me) replaced him starting with Octopussy.
German hitman Eric Kriegler is played by British actor John Wyman, Cuban hitman Hector Gonzales is played by Indian-Trinidadian actor Stefan Kalipha, and Belgian hitman Emile Leopold Locque is played by English actor Michael Gothard. The other German hitman, Claus, is played by Englishman Charles Dance.
Recurring character Russian General Gogol is played by the German character actor Walter Gotell.
English actress Jill Bennett plays the Germanic/Scandanavian skating coach Jacoba Brink.
The real kicker is the famous lampshade-hanging scene with the Austrian Countess von Schlaff who turns out to be from Liverpool (played by the late Australian actress Cassandra Harris, wife of Pierce Brosnan until she died in 1991).
Fatal Method Acting: Stuntman Paolo Rigonu became the first fatality on a James Bond movie set. He was killed when the bobsled he was driving overturned while shooting the film's chase scene in Cortina d'Ampezzo.
Hostility on the Set: According to Albert R. Broccoli, Carole Bouquet caused problems onset when her then-boyfriend Jean-Pierre Rassam was arrested for drug offences caused her to be late to the set. She also tactlessly told Roger Moore that he reminded her of her father (the 30 year gap between them likely didn't help).
Recycled Script: Aside from the basic "Beautiful girl and a decoder machine" plot nabbed from From Russia with Love, many of the details are strongly reminiscent of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. In both films Bond is with a Countess, on a beach, threatened by mooks, kicks a gun out of a mook's hand, and he's wearing a tuxedo sans jacket. Both films show Bond at a casino with the aforementioned Countess. Both times the women are losing at baccarat. The opening teaser sequence shows Tracy Bond's grave and Blofeld in a neck-brace. Also the fact in this film Melina is Half-English, Half-Greek. In OHMSS Tracy was Half-English, Half-Italian. Both films have Bond allied with a crime syndicate figure who doesn't sell drugs. Bond also escapes in both films by riding in the car of the female lead who does the majority of the driving. Both films have a wedding scene and Bond riding in a helicopter piloted by someone else. Both films have Bond speaking with a "priest" at some point. Both films are set in the Alps at one point, show a Bond Girl on ice,have Bond on skis getting shot at, and have a bobsled track fight/battle sequence. Mountain climbers are shown in both at some point. Both films have a Germanic female character who is in charge of a girl/girls. Finally, in both films Bond and his crime syndicate ally assault a mountaintop lair.
Referenced by...: The opening sequence — Bond visits the grave of a loved one, only for Blofeld to try and kill him — is not a million miles from the premise of the opening sequence of No Time to Die, one of several franchise Mythology Gags in that film.
Refitted for Sequel: The bow (well, crossbow) wielding heroine and the keelhauling sequence appeared in early drafts for Moonraker. According to John Glen, the latter scene, which was taken from Live and Let Die, was on the cards for ages, but nobody wanted to try it because they had no idea how to pull it off.
Wag the Director: Attempted, but failed by Roger Moore, who disliked the scene where Bond kicks Locque's car over the edge of the cliff. He suggested that the scene be changed so that the car falls over by itself after Bond gives Locque his "calling card" back, but director John Glen said that his suggestion was the type of silly stuff they were trying to get away from.